In a land blessed by many natural bounties, especially those of an edible nature, it is no surprise that the Bangladeshi culinary scene is so rich. With population levels exceeding 150 million, hidden amongst this mass of human beings, are individuals who have managed to not only make full use of all the varieties of fruits, fish and meat available, but rather transformed the act of cooking into a full art form. However, finding these gems among such a large group was never going to be easy, but an attempt was made nonetheless. This attempt has been styled the Rupchanda-Star Lifestyle Super Chef 2014, the most comprehensive search for Bangladesh's premier chef, the Super Chef.
The Rupchanda-Star Lifestyle Super Chef 2014 has travelled five divisions of the country in their hunt for the best chef among the best. The journey began on May 10, 2014, in Sylhet and went on to Rajshahi, Barisal, Khulna, Chittagong and Dhaka. NTV, the TV partner of the Rupchanda-Star Lifestyle Super Chef 2014 has now begun airing the search for all to see. And it's a show chock full of surprises, a real roller-coaster ride of emotions where the choice is never a simple one. The first instalment of the show aired on NTV this Monday at 9:00 pm local time.
The show kicked off with the participants registering for the chance to show off their culinary skills. 200 participants were present for the first round of auditions which was held in Pallabi Community Center in Sylhet. Popular author and TV personality Shawkat Osman and culinary expert Shaheda Yeasmin along with local judges Jyoti Bhattacharjee and Zakiya Sultana, both teachers with long experience in the culinary arts, were the judges for the round. Inclement weather was not enough to deter the participants and the numbers were evidence of that fact.
Since it was the first episode, the participants were unsure of what to expect but so were the judges. An MCQ round kicked off the proceedings, followed by another open-ended questionnaire. These were designed to test the participants' general knowledge regarding cooking. The question and answer sessions were then followed by the actual tasting and judgment of the food that each of the participants had brought. As expected, Shatkora made more than one appearance, proving to be a popular choice among the participants. A rainbow custard cake and different types of kebabs also had the judges wondering.
Finally, of the 200 participants, 30 were short-listed. These 30 then appeared before the judges and the judges conducted the skill tests. The participants were asked to cut vegetables in different styles, asked questions and were asked to do tasks around their kitchens to prove their capability. The judges also reserved judgment on the X-factor of the candidates, secretly gauging whether they had the charisma, endurance and innovation to really succeed as the Super Chef. As with all the other districts, four of the best participants were selected. Sabrina, Shimu, Yasmin and Shelina were the lucky four and they will now take part in the grand finale to be held in Dhaka.
The next stop for the Rupchanda-Star Lifestyle Super Chef team will be Khulna. Tune in next week to NTV on Monday at 9:00 pm to catch the next episode of the Rupchanda-Star Lifestyle Super Chef 2014. The show has been produced by Shuvrow Wahidul Islam and the first episode was hosted by Reetu Sattar and Shawon Khan.
Photo: Shahrear Kabir Heemel