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Reality video series launched with student chefs from 16 schools across India

Student chefs with the judges

Joanna Kane-Potaka (left) with Sourish Bhattacharyya (extreme right) and Sanjoo Malhotra at the launch.

Who will be the Smart Food Culinary Champions of India?

NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 20, 2019 /EINPresswire.com/ -- A Smart Food Culinary Challenge video series, the first ever 'reality show for a cause' with young chefs pan India, was launched on Wednesday at Tasting India Symposium in New Delhi through the SmartFood Global YouTube channel. In order to popularize millets among aspiring chefs, this five-part docu-drama captures the exciting journey of 56 student chefs (28 teams) from 16 culinary institutes across India in their attempts to bring innovative millet cuisines to the table.

Guided by expert chefs Anahita Dhondy, Chef Manager, SodaBottleOpenerWala; Ramasamy Selvaraju, Executive Chef, Vivanta by Taj and Vinod Bhatti, Range and Commercial Manager, IKEA Food, India, the student chefs learnt about the nutritional benefits of millets and different ways of sustainably cooking them by sourcing locally and preventing wastage.

The series was produced for M S Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences (MSRUAS) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) with an aim to bring millets back into the culinary mainstream. It was launched by noted gastronomes Sourish Bhattacharyya, Founding Director of the symposium and Sanjoo Malhotra, Co-Founder of the symposium in New Delhi.

Five episodes of the series will be released @ 7 pm every Friday starting this week: Episode 1 on 20 December 2019, Episode 2 on 27 December 2019, Episode 3 on 3 January 2020, Episode 4 on 10 January 2020 and the grand finale Episode 5 on 17 January 2020.

Watch the trailers here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMYx5Fy4u0s

“It has been my goal to promote our traditional foods among the youth and help them better understand nutrition. Millets deserve a lot more attention as they are Smart Food—good for you, the planet and the farmer,” said Chef Anahita Dhondy.

"This year, the competition has reached a whole new level. The students outdid themselves in using these traditional grains in both fine dining and traditional dishes," Chef Ramaswamy Selvaraju, Executive Chef, Vivanta by Taj.

“The majority of the student chefs had never cooked millets but were really excited to learn about the huge variety in types and ways to cook them, ranging from savory to sweet dishes by using millets as a rice substitute, in flour and flakes or by popping them,” explained Priya Arjun, Head, Nutrition and Nutraceutical Research Centre (NNRC), MSRUAS.

"The innovative ways these students have used millets in desserts, salads and in main course is commendable. They have replaced rice completely with millets," said Chef Vinod K Bhatti, Range and Commercial Manager, IKEA Food, India

The reality series captures the preliminary round at MSRUAS as well as the live challenge held during the Organics & Millets 2019 – International Trade Fair at Bengaluru earlier this year. The students took on a variety of dishes, from traditional to fine dining platters, desserts and beverages, using at least 50% millets, while proving that these ancient grains are versatile as well as nutritious. The young chefs impressed the judges with their hearty and wholesome three-course meals, and seven exceptional teams progress to the final round, where one team is crowned the Smart Food Culinary Challenge Champion. In addition to testing their culinary skills, the challenge also tested their knowledge of millets through a rapid quiz.

“Creating a reality show like this engages the youth with millets in a whole new way. The students were very excited to learn and connect with their traditions and at the same time accepting millets as a new age food,” noted Joanna Kane-Potaka, Executive Director of Smart Food and Assistant Director General – External Relations, ICRISAT.

Learn more and watch the releases at: https://www.smartfood.org/project/culinarychallenge/

About

The Smart Food initiative is a global initiative to bring foods that fulfil all criteria of being good for you, the planet and the farmer into the mainstream. The key objective of Smart Food is to diversify staples with Smart Foods, starting with millets and sorghum. Given that staples often constitute 70% of a meal and typically comprise of refined carbohydrate, and hence little nutrition, this is where we can have a big impact. See www.smartfood.org

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics is an international non-profit organization that conducts agricultural research to bring prosperity to the smallholder farmers in the drylands of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. ICRISAT has a specialty in millets, sorghum, pigeonpea, chickpea and groundnuts. ICRISAT’s global headquarters is in Hyderabad, India and it has offices in eight countries in Africa. It is a member of the CGIAR System Organization (a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future). See: www.icrisat.org

M S Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences has four verticals – Academic studies, Academic research, Training, Skill development and Lifelong learning and a Techno Centre for consultancy, product design and development, and entrepreneurship development. Students of the university can expect to experience an integrated approach to academics, research, training, real-life problem solving and entrepreneurship. See www.msruas.ac.in

Rohit Pillandi
ICRISAT
+91 9949513812
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