It is the season of restaurant and food awards. Last week, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants created a buzz among gourmands in India as the Dubai-based Indian restaurant Trèsind Studio ranked 11th on the prestigious list. At home, another award platform got chefs talking. After all, it was about the beloved biryani.
New Delhi’s ITC Sheraton and Kolkata’s ITC Shonar hosted the Daawat Biryani Champions League on June 19 and 24, respectively. It was a chef-focussed competition spotlighting India’s spectacular diversity of biryani, and each participating chef gave this ever popular dish their own creative spin.
The competition was open to only professional chefs and the selection criteria needed each participant to submit a video of themselves cooking the dish. The prize money for the biryani champion was a generous ₹51,000.
The Kolkata edition of the competition had six finalists and 150 entries, reported a story by APN news. The finalists were chef Sarfaraz Hossain of Al – Faiz Family Restaurant & Caterers, chef Ahmed of Sanjha Chulha, chef Sharafat Ali of Aminia Restaurant, chef Mohammad Al Qamar of Kohinoor Biryani, chef Rajkumar of Hatari Restaurant and chef Ashok Biswas of The Sonnet. Bookmark these restaurants if you wish to go on a biryani train in Kolkata. The winner was Sarfaraz Hossain of Al – Faiz Family Restaurant & Caterers.
In Delhi, five chefs from the city battled it out in a 90-minute cooking session. A PTI story reported that the five participating chefs were: Lakhan Singh of Marketplace, Laxman Singh of YBiryani, Mohammad Shaan of Khan Chacha, chef Moinuddin of Impresario Resto and Raphe Azam of Biryani by CTJ. The winner was chef Lakhan Singh. It’s a good idea to memorise the names of these restaurants if you are a biryani lover.
The judging panel consisted of food critic Vir Sanghvi, restaurateur Shaun Kenworthy, food writer Madhushree Basu Roy and chef Manjit Gill, the president of the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (IFCA).
In an article published by Telegraph India on 20 June, Gill rightly pointed out, “Events like these are the reason why chefs come out of their restaurants and can be seen in action along with other chefs. It gives them a chance to learn from each other.”