Sikkim's culinary competition aims to recognise state's lost recipes
Gangtok: The state of Sikkim has some of the best cuisines in the country, but it often gets clubbed and confused with Chinese and Nepali cuisines. The Himalayan Organic Master Chef competition being organised in the state aims to remedy this and provide a platform to the lost and forgotten cuisines of the state.
There are 13 participants from the state, with 12 students from the Institute of Hotel Management and one volunteer as a participant. This competition is more inclined more towards giving a platform to the cuisines than the chefs.
In the second audition at IHM campus in Rumtek, East Sikkim, Judges and faculties from IHM namely Sanjiv Pakhetra, Senior Lecturer at IHM Sikkim, Chef Shamson Tamang from Darjeeling who also serves as the President of Indian Royal Gorkha Culinary Chef Federation, Master Chef Rishiraj Singh and MS Shergill from Punjab, Master Chef Bikas Kuriyal from Uttarakhand and Chef Yougen Sherpa and Chef Biren Subba from Sikkim judged the event.
The judges said, "Sikkim's local cuisine remains unknown, so through the competition we try to explore and promote local cuisines at a national and international level."
The grand finale of the audition will be held at May Fair Hotel on December 18, where the winners will be declared.
Sanjiv Pakhetra, Senior Lecturer at IHM Sikkim, stated, "The program has been designed in such a way that these skilled students go and learn more culinary skills from industry experts. This is for the local people of the area, and it was organised in the last minute, so it involved mostly students. We are hopeful that more students will join next year".
He further highlighted, "We will need publications as these are the foods from Sikkim and not Chinese. We must promote them outside of the State. Last December, we had taken part in a food festival in the Northeast, showing our cuisines. Yet, we must try to differentiate our cuisines from those in Nepal. There are so many Sikkimese people doing well in culinary skills in top tier hotel, but we must recognise them".
Norgay Lachungpa of TAAS stated, "This competition in its first season is a big step towards Sikkim's local foods and cuisine. There was a lack of platform, but here the judges are a huge blessing who have had the distinction of being Master Chefs in various competitions. There is a hidden talent among our people in culinary skills, and that needed to be exposed. This competition is the perfect platform for the same, which was lacking before. Master Chef is a brand, and bringing them internationally will help Sikkim."