Tarini Moghe, a first year masters student in Ayurveda at DY Patil College, Pimpri, Pune, was among the 18 winners of the All-India Ayush Master Chef Competition held during the Global Ayush Investment and Innovation Summit in Gandhinagar, Gujarat . Her award-winning ‘moong-stuffed roll-ups’ entry won her a cash reward of Rs 75,000 as she battled amongst 30 contestants in the final of the contest.
The All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi, had announced a pan-Indian Ayush Master Chef competition on March 31 this year 2022. Within a fortnight, more than 200 participants had sent in their applications for the competition, and 30 names were shortlisted. after screening nominations under different categories, said Dr. Medha Kulkarni, Head of Department of Swastha Vritta (Preventive and Social Medicine).
The Ayush Chef competition, launched by the AIIA in association with the National Institute of Naturopathy (NIN) in Pune and the Central Council for Naturopathic Research, aimed to raise awareness about the nutritional value of forgotten indigenous ingredients and recipes giving them a modern twist and assessing the nutritional value of new-age cooking ingredients.
Under the theme “Ahara for Poshan”, the Master Chef competition had six categories of entries: cereal-based preparations, millet-based preparations, nut/legume-based preparations, fruit/vegetable-based preparations , dairy-based preparations and melting.
The competition aimed to raise awareness of the nutritional value of our indigenous ingredients and recipes and entries were reviewed by an international jury. From the final round, three winners were selected in each of the six categories. A cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh was given to the winner, while Rs. 75,000 and Rs 50,000 were awarded to the first runner-up and second runner-up respectively.
Professor (Dr) Tanuja Manoj Nesari, Director of AIIA, said: “It is heartening to see such an overwhelming response from cooking enthusiasts across the country who have sent us their innovative contributions that bring out the true essence of India’s ancient culinary treasures. ”
Of 203 entries received in six categories, 28 entries were from grains, 47 from millets, 26 from nuts/legumes, 26 from fruits/vegetables, 10 from dairy and 66 from the fusion category. Participation was seen in 15 states in India as well as overseas – Maharashtra (41), Gujarat (30), Karnataka (29), Tamil Nadu (23), Uttar Pradesh (23), Delhi (23 ), Uttar Pradesh (15), Uttarakhand (11), Madhya Pradesh (9), Kerala (5), Bihar (4), Odisha (2), Rajasthan (2), Goa (1), West Bengal (1) and Haryana (1). Two entries were received from France in the French language with English subtitles.
The participants came from various professional categories, including Ayurveda practitioners, teaching staff, chefs, Unani practitioners, housewives, dieticians, agronomists, engineers, pharmacists, filmmakers, trainers in stress management, entrepreneurs and others. For example, Kevin Auzou from Nice, France, who has studied Ayurveda for ten years and spends six months every year in Gandhinagar training under the guidance of Vaidya Ashwin Barot was among the 30 participants in the final round. “I make kichadi masala,” he said as Tarini used green moong (soaked overnight, sprouted and boiled) to make a mixture with carrots, flax seeds to roll in a layer of flour of moong and buttermilk. “I am really happy. This summit provided many opportunities related to traditional medicine systems,” she added.