Luce At The Intercontinental recently announced Mumbai based culinary student as the winner of the Culinary Clash competition, Patricia Mascarenhas reports.
Mumbai-born Ronak Nanda, 26 and a student of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, San Francisco recently won the third annual Culinary Clash programme, a cooking competition and scholarship fundraiser for culinary students. The competition was organised by Nanda’s college in collaboration with Luce At The Intercontinental. Winners received scholarships amounting to more than $4,500 as an award.
Culinary students compete for a chance to cook with Michelin-star Chef Daniel Corey at Luce and have their menu featured at the restaurant. Students submitted menus and corresponding recipes through February2014, and three finalists cooked at Luce to showcase their menu. Event judges included a panel of hotel executives, local personalities, and food writers, as well as guests of the restaurant that evening.
Nanda and his sous chef Cavin The, both culinary students, took top honors in the competition. Born and raised in Mumbai, Nanda always loved eating and cooking. “My passion for food started with TV and has developed in the last five years. It brings joy to me to watch people enjoy what I made,” said Nanda. Hence he decided to move to San Francisco and join culinary school. “I enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu’s Associate of Occupational Studies programme in 2012 where I am now pursuing an associate’s degree in culinary arts and working on improving my skills,” he added.
Nanad impressed diners, guest judges, and Luce’s chef Corey with his menu of crispy pork belly, wild striper with french gnocchi, and kumquat ice-cream. As the winner of the Culinary Clash, he received a scholarship prize and will now work with Chef Corey in May to compete in the Ultimate Culinary Clash against four other teams from Inter Continental properties. “I won $1500 against my tuition, but more than that I got a chance to work in a Michelin star restaurant and got to work with some great chefs,” he said adding that he will also get to meet new chefs in the next level of this competition.
Culinary education programmes provide students with the skills and knowledge they require to enter the culinary profession as well-trained cooks. However, competitions play a vital role in this education as they continually raise the standards of culinary excellence. There is no better way for a culinarian to hone his/her craft than by putting his/her skills and knowledge to the test in a competitive format. “This competition has given me more of a practical experience in how a kitchen functions every day and how much time and effort goes in planning and executing an idea,” informed Nanda.
Speaking of the way forward Nanda said that he was looking forward to working with chefs around the globe to learn from them so that he could fulfill his dream of starting his own a restaurant in India. “Food demands love, passion, dedication and lots of hard work. As a beginner in this industry, it has given me a push and has taught me a lot,” he concluded.