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SICA (South India Chef’s Association) is back to conducting India’s most significant 6th Edition of the SICA Culinary Challenge & Exhibition 2023 after five years since its 5th Edition in 2018.
The SICA Culinary Challenge & Exhibition 2023 is set to take place from September 15th,16th, and 17th, 2023 at Hall No. 2 Chennai Trade Centre. The Live Cooking Competition will be held separately on 4th & 5th September 2023 at IHM Chennai. The final Grand Award ceremony will take place on 18th September 2023 at Radisson Blu Hotel GRT Chennai.
“This competition would usually take place three years. This is a wonderful platform for budding chefs, professionals, and students to gain skills, knowledge, and exposure. Participation is the key to not winning as it would give the chefs an experience to elevate themselves to international standards. These are the thought processes behind the competition,” said Chef Damodaran, President of SICA.
The primary objective of the culinary contest is to provide a dynamic and recognised platform for culinary professionals in India to display their individual and collective skills and showcase our local creative culinary talent to the rest of the world. The South India Chef’s Association is a fraternity of culinary professionals representing the finest hotels, restaurants, and culinary institutions in South India.
“Our Ultimate motto is to reach the Global Culinary Art standards. There is still a long way to go for India. Using competitions like these, we are working with the local talent, enhancing their knowledge and skill sets. We also want to motivate the youngsters to participate in such competitions to understand the market trends and industry needs,” said Chef Sheetharam Prasaad, Culinary Director of GRT Hotel & Resorts, General Secretary of SICA, and Vice President of IFCA.
Juries and participation
IFCA and SICA have invited juries from more than 11 countries to preside over the esteemed competitions. The World Association of Chefs Society (WACS) has also endorsed Chef Thomas Gugler, the WACS president, and Chef Daniel Schade, the head of Culinary Olympics and President Association of Chefs Germany.
“This is going to be the country’s biggest culinary challenge and sets benchmarks for competitions that would have international standards. We do this to showcase to our next generation of culinary members where the world of culinary is heading and where we are. We want to identify the gap and look for solutions to resolve it,” said Chef Kasiviswanathan Muthuraman, Director of Food & Beverage and Vice President of Karnataka Chapter, SICA.
“It gives us pride and joy to do this not only for the future culinary generation but also for the whole Indian fraternity. Each competition is not meant to only decide the winner but to also ensure that every participant takes back learnings that would enhance their skills, he said.
This year, over 2000 participants are expected to take part in the competition with teams from 4 countries – Sri Lanks, Maldives, Mauritius, and Malaysia participating. This is the first time for the SICA Culinary Challenge & Exhibition 2023 to have more than one international participation. The 5th edition had only one country, Sri Lanka, participating. Besides, this edition has also 2X times the increase in the participation of Culinary students across the country.
“The Culinary Challenges acts as a platform for the young chefs and the fraternity to come forward and display their skills. We want to showcase to the world and to the country that we are second to none. This would act as a beautiful platform for us, for India to showcase ourselves for the culinary Olympics,” said Ajeeth Janardhanan, Culinary Director at Residency Hotel.
“We also see the passion that burns amongst those preparing for the competition. They all want to win that accolade. This motivates us in the industry to bring in a platform as big as this,” he adds.
The competition is not only for those in culinary and the hospitality and F&B segments. Some of the competitions that are set to take place are Three-tier Wedding cake, fruit and vegetable carving, and a three-course set dinner menu. This edition has also introduced Live Innovative Biryani and Creative Skilled Paratha.
Intent of the Competitions
This edition would be one of the largest gatherings of food and beverage industry professionals –executive chefs, F&B managers, general managers, academicians, kitchen equipment manufacturers, and technocrats.
Workshops were conducted across various southern cities by the SICA team to ensure the participants knew what to prepare for. One of the aims of this edition is to assist in pre-selecting the culinary teams in India for global representation. The SICA team has requested the Juries from WACS to identify the team that has the potential to compete in the Culinary Competition.
“India has not been represented in the Culinary Olympics till now. We expect to identify a few from these competitions to represent India in the upcoming Culinary Olympics in 2024. We would also have rigorous training for the team.” said Chef Damodaran.
Secondly, to develop the Indian culinary stature and ignite creativity and interest in culinary art amongst the budding chefs and students.
“We also want to build a network among chefs where we want the members of the industry to use this as a platform to upgrade their skills. The competition is a platform for learning among the chef fraternity around the world,” said Chef Sheetharam.
The applications are open till 10th September and for Live cooking till August 31.
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