Taj city hosts cooking contest for visually impaired

Sightless but not tasteless. This was proved by the visually impaired contestants who participated in a three-day cooking competition, the first of its kind held in the Taj city.

Named the 'Golden Eye Chef: Cooking Beyond Seeing contest', the contest proved an unexpected hit, as 32 participants from 21 Indian cities participated to test their culinary skills, that surprised the trained chefs of the star hotels.

Akhil Srivastav of Antardrishti, the NGO which organised the competition for fully blind and partially blind, said 32 contestants, 12 in each category, representing 12 states, demonstrated their culinary skills before a panel of master chefs from different star hotels, including celebrity chef Gautam Mahirishi, Indra Dev, Aditi Madan and Kuldeep Singh.

In the finale round held at Culinary Junction, Udipi restaurant, contestants were given cheese with 20 odd ingredients arranged on a separate table with required utensils. "Though cooking is not easy even for trained hands, the contestants used all their abilities of touch, smell and imagination to prepare dishes that impressed the judges," Srivastav said.

In the fully blind category Arti from Mumbai was the winner, followed by Kavita of Siliguri and Vipin Singh of Vapi. In the partially blind category Mumbai's Foram Naresh Loiya, Agra's Shreya Gupta and Jalandhar's Annpoorna Kaur were declared the winners.

The unique contest proved that disabilities cannot stop a winner from forging ahead, Sanmay Prakash, a member of the organising committee said. The competition began on October 17 at the Heritage Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management, continued in Jaypee Hotel's training centre, and ended at Udipi hotel Sunday evening.
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