Tag: Foodmaniacs

Father’s Day Cook Off by FoodManiacs and Ikreate in Association with Crowne Plaza, Gurgaon

Two passionate foodies and marketing experts came together to make this Father’s Day a memorable one by organising a live cook off in association with Crowne Plaza, Gurgaon. I joined hands with Foodmaniacs, founded by Vickrham, who is a well known face in the food marketing & PR industry and a renowned blogger, to create a beautiful event dedicated to Fathers. We thought of giving a tribute to fathers and dedicating a dish to them by participating in a live cook off. We together conceptualised the event and invited participants through a small contest on Facebook. To grace the occasion and make it a healthy competition, we invited Master Chef Season 5 Star Siddharth Talwar, who along with Executive Chef Nilesh Dey of Crowne Plaza, made for the judges panel.


Total of 8 contestants participated in the live cook off. A market place with choicest of ingredients was created for people to select from as they had to cook on spot using those available ingredients only. Some strict rules were laid by Chef Nilesh and Chef Siddharth, primary one being controlled use of ingredients and no wastage. The cook off was judged on criterions of presentation, wastage, cleanliness of workstations and of course taste and innovation of the dish.

Participants were given a time span of 1 hour in which 10 minutes were to explore the market place and pick up the ingredients. Rest of the time was to be used for preparation, cooking and presentation. Individual workstations equipped with induction stoves, essential utensils, chopping boards etc were provided to all participants. There were also arrangements for using the oven, grills and high flame stoves. I have to say that the arrangements by Crowne Plaza were impeccable. Each and everything was taken care of, from hygiene station offering aprons, chef caps, to gloves and the fully functional workstations, all was done with extreme professionalism.

A wonderful contest too place between the participants, where in every one crafted beautiful dishes, made not just with ingredients but lots of love, dedicating the dishes to their fathers. It was a tough time for judges to figure out which was the best dish, because trust me I am not boasting, but each and every dish was truly remarkable. The presentation, the taste, and the overall selection of dishes prepared by participants was done with such expertise that it seemed as if a mini- master chef episode is in progress. After a lot of tussle, judges finally decided to give way not one but two prizes as choosing one did not seem justified. Even those who did not win, were still winners as the gap was just about1-2 marks here and there.

Sandeep Batra, who cooked GolMirch Chicken and Rita Arora, who prepared a lovely Chicken Roulade were declared as top winners, but like I said, others too were winners in their own regards. We got to taste some lovely and unique dishes like South Indian Style Pasta, Laal Maas, Fried Fish with Coconut Sauce, Tamatar Jeera Chicken, Chicken Koftas and some Juicy Chicken Legs.

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We also got to try and taste amazing Grilled Chicken Sandwiches prepared by two lovely kids Myeshha, Vickrham’s daughter and Armaan, my son, who dedicated these dishes to their respective fathers, oops sorry, in Armaan’s case he dedicated it to me only as I am a single parent 🙂

The winner announcement was then followed by a high tea session, where in we got to interact with participants, try their delectable dishes, and also indulge in some lip smacking snacks served by Crowne Plaza. The winners carried beautiful hampers back home and the bloggers were given a lovely cake by the hotel. Even the children were given special packs of chocolates as a wonderful gesture by the hotel.

Overall it turned out to be a great event, much greater than my expectations and through my post I would like to thank first and foremost my partner in crime Vickrham for his support and belief. Crowne Plaza for believing in our concept and becoming our hospitality partners, all the participants, without whom this won’t have been possible, bloggers and media for making the buzz about the event, keep doing it guys, thanks to you all, and last but not the least, the PR team of Crowne Plaza, Chef Nilesh Dey and Master Chef Siddharth Talwar for being part of our event. Also a big thank you to all the fathers of the world, for just being what they are, and of course my father too! Look forward to many more events together.



FICCI organised Foodzania, a food service retail conclave, partnered by Foodmaniacs

FICCI organized, the first ever Foodzania, a Food Service Retail Conclave on November 18,2016 at FICCI, Federation House, New Delhi. Invited by Vickrham, owner of Foodmaniacs a food based portal, which happened to be the Online Partner for the event, we felt privileged to be a part of such a prestigious event.

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The whole day conclave started with a nice spread of Tea, Coffee and Breakfast for the participants. The Conclave was divided into six sessions each touching a particular aspect of the Food Retail Industry. The first session touched upon the State of the Industry & Food Policy. After the welcome address by Piyush Patodia, Chairman FICCI Task Force, the session was addressed by Sh.Hem Pande, Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food n Public Distribution, (MoCA). He touched briefly on the state of Food Industry and emphasized on the need for the Industry and the Government to work closely for the benefit of the Consumer.img_6230


The session was also addressed by Shri Pawan Aggarwal, CEO, FSSAI, who strongly believed that more n more of eateries of all tiers be recognized by FSSAI so as to be able to educate and monitor even the smaller players there by ensuring safe n hygienic food to reach the consumers.

The session saw a wide range of speakers like Mr Scott S.Sindelar, Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs, American Embassy in New Delhi, India. Mr Sunil Kapur, Chairman,K-Hospitality Corp, Mr Rahul Singh, Hon.Secretary, NRAI, Founder & CEO, The Beer Cafe, Mr Henrik Osterstrom, Country Food Manger, IKEA and Mr Amit Lohani, MD, Max Foods and Conveyor, Forum of Indian Food Importers. Each one them spoke about the on growing demand for the Industry to be given its due recognition by the Government to ensure further organized growth in this sector.

Session 2 saw the discussion moving to another very important aspect of the Food Retail Service Industry, the availability of skilled manpower. Rightly titled Skill Development Gaining Critical Importance in F&B Sector-“Elevating Skills”. The session was addressed by Mr. Praveen Roy, Chief Executive Officer, Tourism and Hospitality Skill Council, Mr Chetan Arora, Development Agent and Multi Unit Owner, Subway India, Chef Y B Mathur, Executive Director, Culinary Design & Application Group and Ms Diksha Pandey, Head, Mountain Trail Academy. They emphasized on the need for more training centers for the F& B sector and especially in two or three tier towns n cities to facilitate the young there to pursue their dreams of joining the Food Industry.

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Session 3 namely Creating one stop shop-“Making Food in India & Ease of doing Business” was addressed by Mr Atul Chaturvedi, Joint Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy n Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Mr Rajat Wahi, Partner and Head, Consumer Retail and Agri Sectors, KPMG in India, Mr Sumitro Ghosh, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Starbucks India, Mr Unnat Verma, MD Pizza Hut India Subcontinent, Mr Pankaj Chaddah, Co founder, Zomato, Mr Murli Parna, CEO, Sagar Ratna, Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, Celebrity Chef, Entrepreneur, Restaurant Owner and Mr Rakesh Banga, Founder, Farmland Premium Foods LLP. Lots of grievances on part of the Industry were put forward, the main being the License Raj, which surprisingly continues to harass the industry. Multiple government departments issue licenses for the same project often over lapping each other. It was really sad to know that to even start a Restaurant in our Country it needs anywhere between 20 to 30 licenses which may take over a period of six months to a year to acquire.

Another session to follow was Disrupting Food Pallet which was addressed by Mr Rajesh Sawhney, Founder, Inner Chef. Mr Nandan Reddy, Co founder, Swiggy, Mr Saurabh Kochhar, CEO, Food Panda, Mr Raghav Verma, Co -founder, Sunshine Teahouse Pvt. Ltd (Chaayos), Mr Ankur Gupta, Co founder, Drifter’s Cafe, And Mr Vikrant Mishra, Co founder, Eggjactly & Sushi House Mafia. The emphasis here was on the emergence of increasing online business in Food Retail and some innovative offline business models like Food Trucks, Food Aggregators and out of the box OSR models. These business ideas are in for a quantum leap in the coming years and do seem to be the disruptive force to regular Food Retail.

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The session Extraordinary journey of Extraordinary Chefs saw Ms Kavneet Sawhney, Director Culinary Communications, Founder of The Gourmet High Street talk us through with Ms. Nita Mehta, Celeberity Chef, Author and now a Restaurant Owner. She traced her journey from Ms. Nita Mehta being a housewife to now a Celebrity on her own. Ms. Mehta shared her personal experiences, her trials and tribulations along her journey. A real role model for any budding entrepreneur.


I also got a chance to get clicked with the legendary Ms Nita Mehta and she came across as a very warm person. She also shared a beautiful message for all aspiring chefs.


The last session “Going Beyond Borders” With Celebrity Chefs Ranveer Brar and Vicky Ratnani was a really enjoyable one with their most candid comments. Everyone at the event was waiting for this finale of the conclave and looking forward to their interaction with these both celebrity chefs. Ranveer as usual had his answers ready for everything with a heavy dose of wit in them, while Vicky was at his intellectual best. I also got a chance to get clicked with my favourite chefs.





All in all a wonderful Conclave. Kudos to FICCI for organizing it and bringing forth the problems of this ever-expanding industry to the fore. The Conclave also had lunch catered by The Embassy, New Delhi.

Cocktails and Dinner was followed at the end of the conclave. I am really grateful to Vickrham and Foodmaniacs for making me a part of this amazing journey of learning about the food industry and a chance to rub shoulders with who is who of the food world.


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