What makes a cooking competition interesting? Good chefs, well equipped kitchen or tough judges? Actually it is as simple as an ingredient called arrowroot. The semi-finals round of the Sun Gold Sunrice Superchef Pro were set on two rounds on Saturday 23rd June at the Sarit Centre Exhibition Hall. This competition has so far generated interest from leading hotels and restaurants in the city and the sponsors have had the chance to sample their products with the best of chefs.
Every competition there was a makeshift professional kitchen set up for their cooking made up of a work station by Kitchen Professionals, Hotpoint, LG, Kenwood Appliances from Hotpoint Sarit Center, utensils by Vinod Stainless steel by Vivek Group and items from Oshwal Wholesellers. A cooking competition requires also the best ingredients which included Sungold Oil, Browns Cheese, Top Food Spices, vegetables from Corner Shop Diamond Plaza, milk from Premier Milk, pantry items from Chandarana Supermarket and Spice World Ltd, sauces from American Garden, drinking water from Aquamist and fresh juices from Frosti Juice and Dairy Blend.
Cooking fans have streamed in to witness what goes behind the kitchen door for a professional chef when he is preparing a meal that you pick from their menu. The professional chefs have come to realize their strengths and appreciate their weaknesses to work or innovate with their style of cooking. The judges have had the opportunity to give birth to the food critic in them to public scrutiny. This is Neil McCarthy of Creative Kitchen and Aero Club East Africa and Dinesh Trivedi of Hotel Intercontinental and Palu a Freelance Food & Beverage Consultant.
The first round offered the secret ingredient plantain which is like a banana but used mostly in cooking just like potatoes. It can be steamed, boiled, grilled, baked or fried and the four chefs had to come up with a starter, main course or desert with 45 minutes of cooking time. It seemed like a breeze for Chef Emmanuel Aluda of Sarova Stanley and he was named the first finalist of the Super Chef Pro competition after this round. At this point the Judges brought in a twist and another secret ingredient for the second round that was going to determine the second finalist. With lesser time of 40 minutes they had to use arrowroot to get them one step closer to the big prize. Arrowroot is basically starch and is used as in the making of biscuits, jellies, hot sauces and more. The challenge is that it takes longer to cook and creativity would also determine what dish can be made. But the twist was that the other three chefs had to also compete with the wild card entry, Alex Njue and only one of them will get to go into the finals.
After the sweat, quick hands and hard work it was Chef Joseph Macharia who made it. The judges called it experience and expertise and are looking forward to the battle between Emmanuel and Joseph. Both were confident of their skills and are planning to give each other some tough but healthy competition. This is going to be one to watch for on Saturday 30th June at the Sarit Center and who knows there may be another twist to spice up the final.