Entrepreneur-Restaurateur Rohini Dey, founder of the famed New York and Chicago Vermilion has announced a unique competition for chefs in India. An ex-World Banker and former McKinsey consultant, this PhD turned restaurateur comfortably straddles the worlds of Business, culinary and glamour across the US and India. Vermilion's intellectually provocative indian-latin cuisine and concept is borne out of Rohini's passion to celebrate Indian cuisine in the US and from her extensive travels and vision. Chefs from Vermilion's kitchens have gone on to be celebrities in the US Gastro World (on Chopped, Top Chef, Iron Chef, Next Iron Chef) and launch their own restaurants.
Rohini is on a quest now to find incredible talent from India to lead her restaurant kitchens in New York and Chicago and to promote on a global level. Being held in Mumbai & Delhi, two chef-search cook-offs will give chefs, who have dreamt of working at marquee restaurants internationally, an opportunity to both showcase their culinary skills and to walk away with a life-altering opportunity - a chance to lead the kitchens and work at New York's & Chicago's Vermilion restaurants.
"Through these cook-offs, I look forward to unearthing amazing culinary talent in India - both aspiring and veteran - and providing this talent a global platform to innovate on. As well as reach newer culinary planes with our contemporary Indian Latin melding. While I'm a true and die-hard ambassador of Indian cuisine, I believe much still needs to be done for us to get to the level of international success as French, Italian or even Japanese fare. Currently Korean and Vietnamese are all the rage in the US, and Chinese and Thai are considered mainstream, but Indian cuisine is still very much on the fringe. The world is increasingly open to bolder flavors and experimentation, the timing couldn't be better, and these are steps in the right direction," says Rohini Dey.
All contestants at the cook-off will have to prepare one indian-latin dish (their own interpretation of this melding) and present them to the renowned judging panel comprising of restaurateur and entrepreneur Rohini Dey; Chef Vikas Khanna, Chef Nikhil Chib, Shabana Azmi, Sharmila Tagore etc. Contestants will also be interviewed by the judging panel.
The level of kitchen lead position offered will depend on the winner's background and qualifications. Vermilion will sponsor winners to come to the US and work and will sponsor them for permanent residency with further expansion plans.
20 exceptionally talented chefs in India, with rich restaurant experience ranging from sous chefs to executive chefs, will be named as finalists on 20th April 2013. The finalists will compete in a live cook-off for the judges on April 23rd in Mumbai at Indigo, Colaba and April 30 in Delhi at Q'BA, Connaught Place.
The 23-year-old talented Aseema Mamaji from Mumbai beat her fellow finalists in a Live Indian Latin cook-off to be crowned the winner for an exciting salary of up to $70,000 to work at a renowned restaurant in New York & Chicago plus US permanent residency sponsorship. The Judges were absolutely blown away with her beautiful presentation, her mix of Indian & Latin and her cooking skills.
In picture: Judges, winner (4th from right) and other contestants
The 26 years old talented Himanshu Saini from Delhi, who presented a dish Sarson Ka Saag Qusedilla with Butter Milk foam, beat his fellow contestants during the live cook-off on which they were given 2.5 hours to cook and plate their dishes. The presentation, flavor, originality and creativity was what gave him an added edge over his fellow participants & garnered a score of 128 points from the judges.