CORPCHEF – An Inter Corporate MasterChef Tournament in Mumbai

Being a culinary expert, my relationship with food has always been special, and the immense pleasure which I get from cooking is beyond measure. During my stint in an IT firm, I did not encounter with a single person who liked – or I would say loved – cooking, and I started believing that the art of cooking is losing its charm these days especially in case of the corporate professionals. However, the Inter Corporate MasterChef competition proved me wrong to some extent, and it was a great opportunity for me to witness the finesse of some culinary experts who basically are the modern day corporate professionals.

The event known as CORPCHEF was organised by Party Sharty company, and this programme intended to recognise and reward people – professionals from companies such as J.P. Morgan, Yes back etc. – exhibiting great cooking skills. Amit Mehta who is the owner of the aforementioned company did a stellar job in managing the entire show. A total of 53 teams, where each team comprised of two people, participated in this corporate battle. The tournament consisted of three rounds, and the elimination of some teams at the end of every round gave three major finalists at the end. The lucrative prizes consisted of Club Mahindra holiday packages and a trophy for all the three major winners. It was a great way for the participants to take a break from their monotonous routine and indulge themselves into a different excursion altogether.

The sight of corporate people wearing aprons and toques, showing their creative aspect in cooking wonderful dishes at their respective counters, and running with their presentable plates all around the place was hard to miss. Some dishes looked absolutely spectacular in presentation. The energy and liveliness at the event were the irrefutable facts that demonstrated the fun and culinary merriment among the crowd. The programme had some fun activities for the spectators as well where the correct answers to some culinary questions such as: what is the difference between a Biryani and a Pulao, what are the different types of Pasta etc. gave them an opportunity to win some gift hampers. The huge open space was covered, and the absence of air conditioning system resulted in too hot and sultry environment; however, this fact did not seem to bother the cheerful crowd, and everyone at the event- especially the audience cheering their favourite teams – continued to actively participate with great merriment and gusto.

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Sodexo which is a hospitality company was the major sponsor of this event. I had the impression that Sodexo only distributes meal coupons to the corporate people; however, after meeting some in-house chefs of Sodexo at the event, I realised that this huge company has a plethora of services to offer, surprisingly. Sodexo is one organisation which focuses on improving the quality of life in corporate, healthcare, universities, schools, construction sector etc. It’s basic objective is to enhance the health and well-being of employees, students, patients, doctors, through a wide range of services from construction to reception, sterilization of medical equipment, cleaning and food services. For example: if the quality of food in a school does not match the normal standards, Sodexo sends its team of chefs where they give required training to the school staff in order to maintain the quality of food. There are many more examples about how Sodexo plays an important role in providing quality of life services, and I was very glad to know all these details about this company in the event.

Raisa DSouza and Naveen Khadilkar who are the in-house chefs at Sodexo were the judges of the corporate MasterChef competition. Along with judging the competition, Raisa DSouza with her amazing culinary skills gave a live demo of the dish Chicken moose tartlet with spicy fig jam. Everybody enjoyed her 30 minutes session, and I took some great tips from it. Raisa Dsouza has been associated with Sodexo from the last three years, and she mentors lot of people in her current role. She uses her culinary knowledge to develop the company’s profile, and her main focus is to position Sodexo on the food segment. It was an immense pleasure to connect with her, and she did enlighten me about all the work – other then meal coupons – taken care by Sodexo.

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I had a wonderful time in attending the event where I also got the opportunity to connect with some great people.

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