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The 11th Upper Crust Food & Wine show added yet another exciting chapter to the Food & Wine story of Mumbai.
The organizers left no stone unturned to put up a great show and ensure maximum participation; adding to the fun and glory of this exciting weekend event was the pleasant weather.
Sula Vineyards, Grover Zampa Vineyards, Fusion Wines, Pause Wines, Fine Wines n More, Rio Sparkling Wines, Myra Vineyards were amongst some of the reputed wine brands which attracted great attention from visitors. While few people thronged the stalls of their favourite wine brands and picked up bottles for self consumption as well as gifting; there were others that seemed interested in a stall that sold accessories for food and beverages. Besides the slide and lock pen, the wine aerator, wine preserver and a wine chiller seemed to be a hit amongst visitors.
The main highlight of the event was a live cooking show which had a captive audience enjoying the show thoroughly. Chefs were judged on the basis of the aptitude in the Kitchen (Behaviour), taste and creativity (Experimenting with new ingredients). The participants of the competition included Chef Irfan Pabaney of ‘The Sassy Spoon’, Mumbai, Chef Lawrence Hai Ming Lao Lao of ‘Chao Ban’, Mumbai, Chef Ajay Chopra of ‘The Westin Mumbai Garden City’, Mumbai and Chef Mayank Tiwari of ‘Olive Bar & Kitchen’, Mumbai.
The chefs were given some unique ingredients to experiment with. Besides regular vegetables and chicken; ingredients like wine, beer, Vanilla, oranges and some other exotic fruits also formed a part of the temporary central kitchen. Chef Lao finished his cuisine ‘Stir friend chilly chicken with asparagus’ in approximately 20 minutes, which earned him the name of ‘Lao Express’, the fastest chef. He also wished everyone Merry Christmas in Chinese. Chef Ajay made a dish with Red Wine and Beer. The audiences termed him as a perfect chef material due to his enthusiastic smile, meticulous cooking style and of-course a nice round belly. Chef Irfan made a dish named ‘Chicken Ha Ha Ha’. He was the most jovial and entertaining chef and kept the audience entertained with his funny one liners. He seemed to be thoroughly enjoying his cooking. He also distributed brownies made by him amongst the audiences.
After much deliberation by the judges, Chef Mayank Tiwari emerged as a winner for his dish ‘Chicken with Winter Veggies and orange and beer emulsion. His dish also contained wine. He won a couple stay for 3 nights in any ITC hotel in India.
Families and friends alike were seen enjoying themselves to the appetizing aromas from the live cooking competition as well as the food stalls put up in the lawn area.
The city of dreams truly came alive with a fun session of food and wine and lots of amazing activities.
By Neeta Chhatwani