Samayal Rani Yaar contest wrapped up with grand finale

By Aaditya Anand M Published on Jul 30, 2018 03:52 PM IST

Judge chef Koushik with the three winners of Samayal Rani Yaar contest.

Chennai: Talk Media's 'Samayal Rani Yaar' contest culminated successfully with R Vanaja from T Nagar bagging the 'Samayal Rani' title on Sunday.

The finale had 13 winners from the semi-finals in Tambaram - Selaiyur, Mylapore - T Nagar and Nanganallur - Velacheri, participating enthusiastically at VMA Hall, West Mambalam.

The contestants were asked to prepare dishes using coconut within the stipulated time period of 90 minutes.

Chef S Koushik, who goes by the nickname 'Mad Chef' Koushik, was the judge for the finale.

First prize winner Vanaja with judge Koushik

Vanaja, the title winner, particularly impressed the judge by preparing 15 dishes including Nellai Thengai Paal Sodhi Kuzhambu, Sirudhaniya Thengai Chappathi, Thenga Adai Payasam, Thengaipaal Kalkandu Sambha Pongal, Thengai Paal Vendhaya Kali, Thengai Paal Varagarisi dish, Thengai Kadugu Pachadi, Coconut Finger Crispy, Coconut Navadhaniya Keerai Pakoda Gravy, Coconut Masala Herbal Milk and Aval Rice with Coconut Curd.

Second prize winner Seethalakshmi

"In any cooking competition there is never a winner," declared the chef-judge. But the number of dishes Vanaja had prepared amazed him. "I am looking forward to learning some recipes from her," said Chef Koushik.

"I feel very happy to win a cooking competition in Chennai, coming from a village called Narasinganallur in Thoothukudi," said Vanaja, who has been living in Chennai for the past one year.

Third prize winner Chandrakanthi

"I prepared for one week before the finals and all the dishes I prepared were actually simple to cook but very healthy. I practised at home and was confident of preparing everything within the time limit," she beamed.

Seetha Lakshmi from Mylapore bagged the second place by preparing Dry Coconut Laddu, Neeru Dhosa with Mango Ras, Coconut Vada and Coconut Kara Dosa.

Judge with all the participants

But the person who won everyone's heart was 85-year-old Chandrakanthi from Mylapore who bagged the third place.

She had prepared Thinai Payasam, Ulunthu Kai Kutthal Arisi, Ellu Thogaiyal and Kollu Thogaiyal.

The winner was given a trophy, memento and a cash award of Rs 10,000 and gift hamper by Dr Oetker. First runner-up was given a cash award of Rs 5,000 along with the trophy and a gift hamper by Dr  Oetker.

Third prize was the trophy, Premiere kitchen set and gift hamper from Dr Oetker

Dishes in the making

Gift hampers were given to all 13 finalists sponsored by Dr Oetker Subramaniam was the representative from the company and his family member had participated in the semifinals last week in Alwarpet.

The sweet smell of coconut mixed headily with the spices and drew one by the nose to the venue.

The participants not only cooked the dishes tastily, but also decorated them tastefully.

Some of them like Suriya Sridharan and Sujatha Srinivasan had taken great pains to display the ingredients as also make their spread appear attractive.

Some of the recipes were beyond one's imagination, as pointed out by the judge who is an accomplished chef himself.

It was astounding to know that so many dishes could be made with just coconut.

While announcing the winners, Chef Koushik said he wanted to learn some of the recipes from the participants and asked them to get in touch with him for any help with culinary delights.

This spoke volumes about the calibre of the participants and the quality of the 'Samayal Rani Yaar' competition that was conducted by Talk Media.

JUDGE CHEF KOUSHIK

Always generous with his knowledge of food, Chef Koushik knew his calling when he turned five. Also known as The Mad Chef for several reasons, one being that he is completely mad about food, another that he hails from Madras - as Chennai was called during his college days.

His urge to cook was more than a passion: it was a compulsion.

Devouring Asterix and Obelix comics, inspired his first cooking adventure. At the age of five, this champ went straight for the Cheese Fondue.  And got it right. There was no looking back. School done, he went straight to IHM, Bangalore.

He was in the right place at the right time. Indians were just beginning to explore new tastes, textures and consistencies on their palates. Restaurants were the new ‘thing’. The Chef was on a roll. Small kiosks, wayside bakeries, fine dining restaurants, or  100-seater casual diners sought him out. His magic at the stoves quickly became legendary.

Some of his recipes are bold and innovative, experimental, even. Yet, when he puts them together, his signature brings out new yet harmonious tastes, exploding with strong personalities, or gently unraveling those subtle flavours, one at a time.

Today, his company, Eatitude, has the right attitude towards food and hospitality. No project is too small, no dream too large for the Eatitude team, a group of handpicked people with expertise in the restaurant-related areas.

They go into details of feasibility, menu planning, man power recruitment, material sourcing, machinery procurement, providing marketing strategy, product development,  costing, recruitment and training, kitchen work flow planning, etc.

Chef Koushik’s projects span India, his expertise touches all aspects of food. Projects he’s worked on include restaurants and cafes such as Jonahs Bistro, Cleo’s Grill, Maplai, Koala Joes, Sloppy Joes, Illusions - The Madras Pub, Peaches, Gokulams, Java Green, Dewberry’s, Soup and Salad Café, the Bayleaf, Mash @ Besant Nagar, and several others.

The Mad Chef’s forays into television have seen him on Masala Express and Thamizhagathin Samayal Champion.

Judge checks out various dishes

Judge announces winners

Compere Balasubramani keeps participants familiesengaged in a Pattimandram.