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A Rendezvous with Saffola Masala Oats & Michelin Chef Vikas Khanna

Saturday, August 03, 2013 , 36 Comments


So I can cook haan! I can cook and impress the Michelin star Chef Vikas Khanna with my fusion dish and kindle away a Foodathon. Read more to know how and when...

I am a foodie who loves trying new things. My passion takes me to scour through the food shelves of supermarkets to pick newest things on shelf and try it out. Well that makes me food- shopaholic too.

So one day when I received a mail invitation from this sweet PR person from MSL 20:20, a food based event in Delhi, I was on moon. Why? The invite read- with the celebrated Master Chef Vikas Khanna. 

My friends know I am not a celebrity monger and hates all this over rated celebrity business but Vikas Khanna is among those few exceptions who I admire, celebrity or no.

I couldn't contain my excitement and was on all my four. It would be my last event in city as I was wrapping up my household and shifting to Mumbai, the very next day. The very next day? I have called my packers and movers that day so I can take a flight to Mumbai the very evening. Where is the time to attend any event? I thought and then saw Vikas Khanna's face popping out from invite. I shuffled my calender upside down, cancelled my farewells, other invites, plans, shopping etc including my shifting. Made few furtive calls here and there and shifted my travel plans to the day after the event. Fly another day, Numerounity, I told myself. 

Happiness comes in small packets- The Invite
The mail invite was followed by this sweet gesture of an invite. Thanks so much Foodathon team for your fine little surprises. The personal invites were sent in the form of a little yellow box with a card on top and some pcs of the India's most favorite vegetable like- Brinjal, Bittergourd (karela) and hold your horses- Apple gourd aka Tinda.

Interesting and thoughtful! I thought of cooking them up in a lovely concoction and taking them to event but abandoned the idea as our cooking gas supplies were taken off :( Ironically speaking, all my dreams of serving my home made dish to Chef Vikas Khanna were washed out by Tinda! Little did I realize that why someone like Khanna would even talk to someone like me, leave alone tasting the dish that I bring from my not so humble home. Never mind, if he is Khanna, then I am Khetan. Usse jyada vowels to mujhme hai (I have more vowels than him). Lolz! Little did I know what the day had in store for me!

Prelude to a great day in offing
My mother was visiting me that time and was equally kicked up to meet the chef that we all admire on TV, in blood and flesh. We reached the venue- Blue Frog on time and the event was yet to start. The hospitable team of organizers requested and escorted us to wait in the coffee lobby and much to our surprise, we found Vikas Khanna sitting there with his entourage discussing about the event.

How much I felt like going ahead and giving him a tight hug but practicality drew me back. With no intention to encroach on his personal space we moved to another sofa table and tucked ourselves in, only to see him walking towards us and greeting!!! Voila! The man is so grounded and down to earth. He spoke to otherwise shy mom and made her feel really joyous. Some people may name it PR but whatever it is, we were all touched by his gesture and chatted with him till the event began and we were taken to the main restaurant. 

The event
Blue frog proved to be a great host, again (Earlier I visited the place for Microsoft Offfice 365). The venue was buzzing with invitees and hospitality team alike. The setting was done in subtle lights, good warmth and unusually apt for a food based event. Attention to details were given and in totality the arrangements were highly hospitable and inclusive. The event started with important introductions and it felt nothing short of an actual Masterchef kind of kitchen with all its set-up. After initial introductions by our bubbly EmCee and Chef's super delectable "Hind-jabi" (mixture of Punjabi & Hindi) the atmosphere became relaxed and friendly.

Chef Vikas Khanna is a charmer!


Chef Vikas Khanna spoke on various topics like why Indian food is not considered very healthy in west and how his grand father survived for long owing to his good health and food regime. All his discussions were full of anecdotes and he came across as very lively, grounded and humorous being. A charmer Indeed! During the entire course of event, he cooked twice including cooking poached stuff Tindas with Paneer (Cottage Cheese), Onions and Bread crumbs. People who tasted it, vied for it.

The ultimate Cooking Faceoffs

The venue had six well equipped cooking slabs indicating a challenging cooking face off. It all started with a set of 15 questions related to food as first qualifier round to chose first 6 contestants. The questions were interesting and much to my own surprise I was the first participant selected for the cook-off round. Did I tell you how my smile went from ear to ear and tension from head to toe when I stood near a cooking station?

The rest 5 contestants were selected and I was happy to see few known faces there. All of them were exclusive food bloggers and here was I, who barely cooks at home. The contest had 20 minutes cooking time wherein all contestants had to cook a healthy cum tasty dish keeping 4 parameters in mind- Health quotient, Taste, Presentation and my saving grace-Innovation. The ingredients were made available at the booth and we were free to use any of them except Saffola Masala Oats.
Our little Pantry
The Cooking Stations

I cooked a Bengali-Italian fusion dish with Pan smeared Aubergines (the not so likeable Brinjals), Sprouts, veggies, Olives, Cottage cheese cubes, Cherry Tomatoes, nuts and Cheesy falafel sticks (Sorry I couldn't post a picture here as I was busy cooking and couldn't find time to click pictures. May Be I shall share my "on spur of moment" recipe sometime. Happy?). During the cooking process, Chef visited all the counters checking the dish and giving his opinions on the same. He was surprised to see that am making a variant of the popular "Baigun Bhaja". He apparently liked my dish a lot and after little confusion over an equally deserving contestant, he chose mine as the winner of first contest. First cooking ContestFirst contestant, first prize- not bad. Do you know what it did for my morale when Chef said two extra praising words for it :) Here's few Glimpses-

Another round of contest followed up with new contestants. This time, contestants have to cook/ innovate using Saffola Masala Oats. Another 6 contestants took the table and churned up some interesting dishes like Oats Upma, Pizza, Polanta (Kofta) and more. The winner was chosen and we proceeded for prize giving ceremony where every participant took away a chef signed chopping board and winners an Amazon Kindle each! Chef Vikas Khanna was a gracious guest and I look forward to meet and interact with him again. Off course, hoping sincerely that he is not dating Padma Lakshmi as alleged. No please! ;)


The event was a big hit among all and I was so glad that I was a part of it. My food shopaholic nature had already got Saffola Oats in my kitchen and on plate too, making it more relevant for me. 
Now post this event, i will try their other variants too (some may even feature on this blog). The time spent was wonderful and worth it's flower in my book of memories.

This event had boosted my cooking belief that how being a master is not always important but trying something from heart also helps. All you need to do is cook from your heart. Yes, Healthy can be tasty if made with heart. So, which side of food are you? Healthy or tasty? I will say combine both and make all the difference!

Here's leaving you post event video comment from yours truly! Savor it! YouTube Video


All Collages designed by- Numerounity
Picture Courtesy- Foodathon Team
VJ Sharma- brilliant Shots
Pawan Soni from Indian Food Freak
Faizen Patel
Sangeeta Khanna (for invitation box click)
For more pictures, pl click here- Foodathon

Many Thanks to Saffola Masala Oats for this event. bring them more and Yes, we love Oats!

The autor is half Human, half machine. Go Figure or just revel in what I write

36 comments:

  1. congrats Ekta :) you have cooking talent too! Wonderful :)

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  2. Congratulations for winning the contest and meeting your favourite chef!

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    1. Thanks Indiawilds...I am yet to taste his cooking, so not sure whether he is favorite yet or not :)

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  3. congrats ,.. now please do share some good recipes now !

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    1. Thanks...Recipes...lolz...will do so soon :0)

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  4. Congrats...and The Recipes..when r u sharing :-)

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  5. Congrats Ekta nice to cook and win contests :)

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    1. Thanks so much! Yes, it feels great and really very great :)

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  6. Awesome...it is one yummy post. Ekta you are now a Cyber celebrity... :)

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    1. Thanks soooo much! Lolz...I am too small to be a celebrity :)

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  7. Wow! Loved reading every bit! Very beautifully narrated! Congratulations on the big win. :)

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    1. Thanks sooo much Solitary Reaper! Keep visiting! :)

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  8. Congratulations! And what a wonderful way to be recognised for another facet of yours!

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    1. Thanks sooo much ilakshee...Welcome to my blog :)

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  9. Congratulations Ekta..my heart always bows down before people who can cook good food...as I am a pathetic cook myself :( Hats off to you lady!

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    1. Thanks Jiggyasa...without sounding too much modest, I think I can cook but ow good/bad, I cant comment on that. May be it was Vikas' goodness that he liked my food. Otherwise I believe in eating more than cooking :D

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  10. congratulations!! well written and well cooked!!!!

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  11. oh, absolutely fab. The presentation and the writing was awesome.

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    1. Thanks soooo much Dream Peddler! :)

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  12. Ekta - it's such a aawie moment .. Congratulations girl and what makes it perfect is Chef Vikas is such a hottie :D

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    1. Yeah he is lolz! :) I never thought that I will get to meet him as neither am I food blogger nor a celebrity or TV personality...The prospect of meeting him, talking and winning was such an exhilarating experience. Whoa! I do not want to sound a teeny weeny bopper at age of 33 :)

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  13. Congratulations Ekta! Great job !

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  14. the wow oment in your life .. expressed in words the last snap says it all...great it feels to be admired and awarded by whom you consider the maestro :)
    Congratulations from the bottom of my heart lady .. for making the first place for yourself in the contest :)
    All the very very best for future too
    BTW .. they know it so well.. those vegetables .. even though I am vegi now .. I can gulp them inside .. beside Begun Bhaja .. thats the only form of Brinjal which i love .

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    1. Thanks so much My say! Yes, it was a truly a wonderful experience indeed.

      Well I don't call Vikas a maestro yet as I have just heard about his culinary marvellence but unfortunately never tasted them. For me he is that cute face and a good vibe celebrity :)

      I am waiting to meet maestros from Masterchef Australia and cook a Indian dish for them...ummm may be Rajasthani food :)

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  15. Congrats for winning the contest. Vikas khanna looks a very friendly person on tv shows as well. I love his humbleness. I envy u as u had the opportunity to meet him and just like you I hope he is not dating PL :)

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    1. Thanks so much! Pl do not envy me. He is quite around in India these days and you may meet him very soon :)

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  16. Congratulations for winning the contest. Saffola is by far, the best cooking oil I have come across. And meeting chef Vikas Khanna is like the Wow moment. Your blog is well written; you have brought it out beautifully every precious moment of yours. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. Congratulations for winning the contest. Saffola is by far, the best cooking oil I have come across. And meeting chef Vikas Khanna is like the Wow moment. Your blog is well written; you have brought it out beautifully every precious moment of yours. Thanks for sharing!

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