The TIMES NOW - 'The FOODIE' Award
Saturday morning started with a huge surprise when I opened my mail. There was a tweet from Kunal Vijayakar congratulating me for being shortlisted in the twitter contest and was invited for ‘The Foodies” award function at ITC Grand Maratha, Andheri on 10th March 2014. I couldn’t believe that lady luck had showered her blessings on me finally.
I along with my brothers reached the venue on time as I didn’t want to miss any bit of the function. The circular tables were well arranged and the white cloth elegantly draped over them. Our eyes were caught by the beautifully laid flower arrangement on the center of each table. The crew members were still busy setting up the stage. We made ourselves comfortable on one of the chairs, while watching them run around.
In a little while, one by one all the celebrities started walking in. The first one to arrive was Suhel Seth, followed by Kunal Vijayakar and Rashmi Uday Singh. I was so thrilled, hard to believe that I am seeing them in reality.
They were soon joined by Cyrus Broacha, Pooja Bedi, Rahul Roy, Satish Kaushik, Bachi Karkaria and Kalpana Lajmi. Boman Irani was seen with his wife and son.
Kangana Ranaut, Vikas Bahl, Sharman Joshi, Mahi Gill, Jackky Bhagnani paid a flying visit.
While we were watching them all chatting, giggling and cracking jokes, suddenly I was taken aback by Randhir Kapoor’s entry.
Is this a dream? I had to pinch myself to realize that I was awake. So many celebrities under a single roof ….
It was 7.30 pm and time to start the award function. The Foodie Guru Kunal Vijayakar along with Affrida Ali hosted the show. Could we ever have anyone better than Kunal Vijayakar to host a Foodie show?
This award function reminded me of Flimfare, ZeeCine Award function, as it was similar to those. The awards were divided regional wise i.e East, West, North and South zone. This was then subdivided into Local Cuisine, Debut Restaurant, Fine Dinning, Vegetarian Restaurant, Non-Veg Restaurant, Indian Coastal Cuisine, Street Food, International Cuisine, etc. Just like the Filmfare award this also had a Lifetime achievement award and a Legend award too.
There were 4 – 5 nominees in each category and a winner amongst them. The winners were as below:
Best South Local Cusinie: ‘Nalas Appamkadai’ from Chennai.
Best North Local Cuisine: ‘Indique’, Jodhpur.
Best EastLocal Cuisine: ‘6 Ballygunge Place’, Kolkata.
Best West Local Cuisine: It was a tie between ‘Chaitanya’, Mumbai and ‘Sanman’, Alibaug.
Debut restaurant: Again a tie between ‘Jhalfarezi’, Kolkata and ‘Cirque Signature, The Leela’.
Special debut restaurant: ‘The Spare Kitchen’, Mumbai.
Best Non-Vegetarian Restaurant: ‘The Flying Elephant, Park Hyatt’, Chennai.
Best Vegetarian Restaurant: Tie between ‘Hotel Nalapaka’, Bangalore and ‘Manis Lunch Home’, Mumbai.
Best Coastal Cuisine: Once again a tie between ‘The Konkan Café, Mumbai’ and ‘Karavalli’, Bangalore.
Best Street Food: ‘Kusum Rolls’, Kolkata and ‘Chaudhary Namkeen’, Jodhapur.
Special Jury Award: ‘Jilani’, Mumbai.
Best International Restaurant: ‘Diva, The Italian’, Delhi and ‘India Jones, Trident’, Mumbai.
Best Fine Dinning: ‘Risala, Umaid Bhavan’, Jodhapur and ‘Kainoosh’, Delhi.
Special jury award: ‘Masala Library’, Mumbai.
Lifetime achievement award: ‘Tunde Kababi’ from Lucknow.
The Legend award: ‘Yadani Bakery’, Mumbai
In order to cut the monotony of honoring the trophies, magic show by Hasan Rizivi was arranged to entertain the audiences.
So over all this was like a filmfare award function for food. Finally it was the best tweet award; my heart started palpitating so fast that I could actually hear the beats. I wanted to know who all were nominated for the tweeter award but when Kunal Vijayakar announced that there were no nominees but only a single winner, I was in shock. On this note along with the pacing heart beats, even butterflies started fluttering in my stomach. OMG this means it’s me by default … I just can’t believe this … I said to myself, “If this is the dream, I don’t want to wake up”. When my name was called out, I walked up to the stage with the butterflies still fluttering in my stomach. Satish Kaushik, Bachi Karkaria and Ratan Jain were already on the stage. They congratulated me and handed over the trophy. By this time my heart beats were so loud that it actually got merged with the applause. They asked me to say my tweet, which I did surprisingly without apprehension and this lightened my anxiety. Holding my trophy I felt like winning an Oscar award J.
Now comes the most awaited part of the day. Can the Foodies Awards function be complete without ‘THE FOOD’J??? During the course of the function itself the starters were circulated around. Starters like Prawn Salt & Pepper, Cheddar Cheese Aranchini, Roasted Eggplant Calonate, Carmalized Onions & Bell Pepper Tarts, Smoke Salmon & Dill Cream Cheese Rolls, Galouti Kebab … oopf the list goes endless...We had to stop ourselves from hogging more as the main course was still pending and we need to do justices to it as well.
After a while we headed toward the dinner hall. What a Crazy Buffet Spread from all over the Globe…
There was huge spread of Pork, Turkey and Chicken Mortadella. Basket of assorted Baguette, Buns and Croissants.There was another counter for Nawabi Khana with huge spread of Murg Nihari, Chicken Biryani, Dum Biryani, Mutton Biryani, Veg Biryani and Prawn Biryani etc... Hot naans and rotis from tandoor were served along side.
Live Station was all set for fresh hot Roast BBQ Chicken, Ravioli and Rosti. Hotel Dakshin had laid their table with varieties of South Indian dishes like Chapa Pulusu, Meen Gassi, Lemon Rice, Veg Korma, Urlai Roast along with this there was live station, where crisp hot Sundal were served on our plates. Pan Asian also showed that presence at the buffet counter.
And last but not the least Dessert, a sweet way to end the meal J… There was a huge circular table surrounded with the spread of desserts. Chocolate mousse, chocolate mud pudding, chocolate eclair, chocolate mud pie, assorted cheese cakes, chocolate brownie, assorted fruits kulfi etc… Having said that how could one forget our own desi mithai? Jalabi with rabdi took edge over the other videsi mithai. There was live counter for different type of halwa like beetroot, wheat, moog dal, gajar, dudhi etc… We actually hogged ourselves to glory.
A day full of surprises, excitement and foodJ. This was the most memorable day in my life. It was a dream come True ..... Wishing to experience many more days like this one…