Pathare Prabhu Junior Masterchef Challenge and Ruchira 2015
I was back at the Pathare Prabhu Community Hall at Khar for another culinary treat.This time it was organized by the Pathare Prabhu Mahila Samaj which was celebrating 100 years since its establishment in September 1915.A special all women's cooking contest was organized as was the Junior Pathare Prabhu Masterchef Competition
The organizers provided gas cylinders to each adult participant...there were 21 adults and 7 children.There was a magic box of ingredients and each adult had to use three from it and each child two.
The time limit was one hour for children and two hours for adults.This was to be judged by Chef Tushar Deshmukh who is a self taught chef.He learnt from his mother and when she died in the bomb blasts that struck our city,he took to cooking under his grandmother's watchful eye(at the age of 9 years) and credits her for his success.His mother used to run the Jindal canteen and died on her way back from work.Tushar went through hard times and then set up a car rental business which is doing exceedingly well.Now he is indulging his culinary desires.He was appeared on television several times and has launched "Flavours",a restaurant in Portuguese Church,Dadar.He is CKP and has participated in his community festival at Thane.He believes in a style of cooking that provides what slow cooking does but with lesser time.He organized an event called "Chef Re Chef" wherein participants were of all ages and a two and a half year old cut onions with such precision that it left everyone flabbergasted.
Tushar also believes that we should use natural produce to the maximum.When chefs and bloggers talk about indigenous ingredients like bajra,it sets a trend and this is what will benefit farmers and public alike.He showed children how to make bajra as an ingredient and they loved it better! He feels we should be innovative and create healthy exciting dishes for our future generations
At the event,Chef Deshmukh opened the boxes and revealed the ingredients to the participants
The Pathare Prabhu community continues to amaze me.Here were members of their community from the age of five to eighty years,all excited to cook on a summer afternoon! Bimba Nayak was the chief organizer of the event
Kids younger than nine years made sandwiches with smileys and what not! Kids older than 9 yrs were part of the Junior Masterchef competition and adult women contested for Ruchira
I met the very gracious and dignified Mrs Vandana Navalkar,who has written a book on Pathare Prabhu customs ten years ago.It includes rangolis for every festive occasion! She was earlier Chairperson of Kutumb Sakhi,a catering cooperative involving women
The contest theme was sandwich and chaat for children and starter and main course for adults
Dhavnit Talpade won the title of Pathare Prabhu Junior Masterchef for his corn chaat
I hopped around to discover kheema,biryani,clam curry and green chicken cooking away
The aromas were enticing!
The choice of dishes and plating was amazing! The Clam Curry above was the winner!
There were a large number of gifts for winners.The jewelry set below was for Number 1 in Ruchira.It went to Kalpana Kothare for Fish Balls and Clam Curry,along with a Paithani saree and many more gifts.
Well,I'd say I got some great prizes too! Mrs Navalkar's book "San ani Utsav" and Bimba Nayak's superlative Pathare Prabhu Kheema ani Pav!