On Saturday I attended the food exhibition organised by Food & Hospitality World at the MMRDA grounds at BKC.
For those to whom these acronyms sound like Greek or who are unfamiliar with Mumbai, MMRDA is the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority while BKC is the Bandra Kurla Complex or the latest business centre in Mumbai.
With that out of the way, let me get down to the main event – the Cornitos Food Blogger Event. I am a home cook ( I think Chef is too fancy a word to describe my amateurish attempts at being a fancy cook) so I was literally like Alice in Wonderland at this event that opened my eyes to many things. First off, I discovered so many new ways of presenting food looking at all the options available to hotels and institutional caterers. There are literally hundreds of different kinds of dishes in which to serve up tiny tid-bits or show off your food in a way that says EAT ME. While most of the products are not meant for the home-cook, there are many ideas which one can incorporate while entertaining guests – especially those who need to be impressed! And I discovered that there were some exhibitors who did have retail sales through outlets like Foodhall , Premsons and their own distributors in town.
The contest which had three slots was open to food bloggers and even walk-ins from among the visitors to the show. It was organised by Cornitos and co-sponsored by Del Monte.
A healthy snack?
Now I am not a great fan of ready-to-eat snacks nor packaged sauces and dips, but I must say this meet opened up new avenues for easy entertaining. According to Mr. Anuj Arora of Cornitos, their Nachos are air-fried and healthy and are the only fast food items available at every Delhi Public School , testimony to their healthy and nutritive value. Similarly, I found the Del Monte range of sauces and juices tasty and really easy to use.
Since ours was the first slot, the organisers were a bit slow to flag off nor were the rules very well enunciated. But essentially the contest was a test of culinary and artistic skills where we were supposed to choose from among the various flavours of Nachos available, team them up with different sauces and top them up with healthy options of natural vegetables so that we came up with fast food that was healthy, attractive and tasty.
Del Monte & Cornitos – a great combination
Del Monte like Cornitos really need no introduction to the Indian market because they’ve been around for a while now. But what most people don’t know is that they are easy enough to use on an every day basis to create snacks that are appetising and nutritious.
The two flavours of Nacho that I used were Cheese and Herb and Olive and Herb simply because I prefer using ingredients that are not too spicy. Perhaps I should have been a bit more adventurous and gone beyond my comfort zone and tried out flavours like Barbecue, Thai and Tikka. But perhaps now that I’ve got the hang of using Nachos, I may try them some other time.
The Del Monte products that I used were the Regular Mayonnaise, the Mint Mayonnaise, and the sliced black olives.
Other sauces that were provided by the organisers which I used were the Cheese sauce, the Sasla and the Barbecue sauce salsa.
The healthy options as toppings were a bit harder to choose from but I went with the alfalfa sprouts, the red and green bell peppers and sprouted moong. Onion was a popular choice among many contestants as was corn but I thought that the onions would be a bit too strong and smelly for a cocktail snack.
It was fun trying out the various combinations especially since we weren’t allowed to taste what we were assembling – so largely it was like groping in the dark – coming up with flavours that blend well and look good to boot!
Since I wanted to assemble a cocktail snack, it didn’t take me much time because the tiny plate that we were supposed to assemble our creations on could only accommodate around 11 nachos. But our chief guest Shipra Khanna was over an hour late and by the time she judged some of the dishes, they were soggy! Some of the concoctions were literally “when Sev Batata Puri goes Mexican” while some were ” Can you spot the Nachos beneath the topping?” but all in all, they were tributes to the cooks’ culinary and artistic abilities.
As the judge pronounced, all of us were winners because we participated in the competition and we went home happy with a tropy, a certificate and Del Monte hamper each while the top three in our round got special certificates, special trophies and a special hamper each!