Bhubaneswar : The Millet Food Festival organised by the Govt. of Odisha along with the renowned local restaurant Michael’s Kitchen was concluded on May 20 in Bhubaneswar, with many citizens from the capital visiting and trying various local and international delicacies prepared by Chef Michael and his team. The festival also featured a cooking competition May 18 , where home cooks showed up and displayed their culinary skills.
The “Millet Food Cooking Competition’, a sub-event for the Millet Food Festival, was held on May 18. Exclusively designed for the talented home cooks and creative housewives of the state, this electrifying sub-event was a key highlight of the Millet Food Festival. Aimed at raising awareness about the health benefits of millet and encouraging healthy cooking practises, the competition was hosted by Michael’s Kitchen in association with the Odisha Millet Mission and sponsored by Milk Mantra.
The 25 participants were required to prepare a dish with millet as its primary ingredient. The judging panel comprised Chef Michael himself, Mr. Ratikant from Odisha Millet Mission, and Ms. Niharika Dash Sarangi, a nutritionist. A variety of dishes such as Veg & Chicken Ragi Momo, Gupchup, Kodo Millet Chicken Biryani, and many more unique takes on millet were presented to the jury to judge. The suspense mounted as they sampled each dish, seeking the perfect combination of taste, presentation, and nutritional prowess.
The results were announced on the final day of the food festival, and the “Mix Millet Thandai” by Ms. Dharitri Sahoo was declared the winning dish. The winner was presented with a 1-month professional training at Michael’s kitchen and gift hampers from both Odisha Millet Mission and Milk Mantra. Chef Michael and Shailendra Kumar Mohanty, Joint Director Agriculture, presented the awards and distributed participation certificates to the rest of the contenders.
Upon winning the competition, Ms. Sahoo commented, “It is a great pleasure to cook for such a reputed jury and come out as a winner. As a dietitian, I am excited to see the government taking the initiative to promote millet in such a creative yet competitive manner. Looking forward to the 30-day training from Chef Michael and his team. ”
While the state government has always considered the Odisha Millet Mission an integral part of their governance, collaborations like the Millet Food Festival prove to act as a catalyst for vast acceptance among the general public. Addressing the participants, Mr. Shailedra Mohanty said, “I want to congratulate Chef Michael, his team, and all the participants for making the event successful. These kinds of collaborative efforts by the government and local celebrities are set to act as examples for others to adopt and consume millet.”
The competition promoted ingenuity and innovation with millets among the homemakers and housewives of the state, proving that millets are easily a better nutritional choice for their families. Furthermore, the Odisha government plans to keep on collaborating with such institutions and individuals to increase the acceptance of millets in the state.
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