The Rupchanda-The Daily Star Super Chef goes to Mymensingh
When the dust had settled after the culinary melee at Mymensingh, three participants stood tall. The Rupchanda-The Daily Star Super Chef 2015 had finally come to Mymensingh and 7 February would be a date to remember for everyone present. Even before the audition began, the mood was set. Everyone had come to win and none among the 45 who made the risky journey to the venue on the day were there just to make up the numbers. Quality wasn't just assured by Mymensingh; it was guaranteed.
The first step of the auditions was the written exam. The written test resulted in the participants being whittled down from 45 to 12. The 12 then went on to the next round. The next round was when their cooking skills were really put to the test. The judges, poet Anwara Khan and Mahbuba Khan, proprietor of Rupantor, judged the dishes carefully. These people were going to be part of the biggest culinary competition in Bangladesh and therefore they needed to be the best among the best and all needed to show the seeds of Super Chef quality that the central round judges would nurture and grow throughout the competition.
The 12 challengers faced each other in a cook-off. All worked hard on their dishes and were even given time to shop for the ingredients that they needed. They were then given a time limit for their cooking. At the end, 3 proved that they weren't just pretenders but were actually ready for what was about to come. Dr.Abdullah Al Bari, an associate professor of the Genetic and Plant Breeding department of Bangladesh Agriculture University was the first to make the cut. “I never knew how to cook before going abroad for my studies. That is when I had to cook for myself and found a passion that I did not know I possessed,” Bari explained. Indeed, given his profession, it was quite a refreshing change of pace. Bari had almost self-taught himself, learning through his environment and adapting as needed.
The second participant to make the cut was Sabrina Khan, a familiar face in the competition, who participated in last year's edition as well. Sabrina Khan had fared well the last time around, cracking the top ten and this time she was even more prepared than before. “I have been learning new recipes, cooking techniques and training myself. I am here to win and I have worked hard for it,” she said. Sabrina Khan had easily become one of the early favourites and with good right. She easily seemed to be the best prepared of the lot, who had ample experience and who already knew what a Super Chef needed to have. Her previous experience would be a huge factor and may just see her through to the very end.
Finally, there was 18-year old Zahidul Islam. Learning to cook from his mother and already having established a small pitha business, Zahid got the yes card through sheer willpower. Indeed the odds were stacked against the youngster, but he persevered and for that he was rewarded. He was going to Dhaka and the unassuming lad was going to go far if his early enthusiasm and skill was anything to go by.
These three would now go on to the central round to be held in Dhaka. This is where the story really lay and this is where it would begin for them. The first chapter in what may prove to be an illustrious career for them all began here, today. The Rupchanda-The Daily Star Super Chef 2015 would now go on to make legends. Whether they were born with greatness or had it thrust upon them mattered little; this was a fight and at the end history would be made.
Photo: Aminul Islam