Cookathon for Karnataka-Improving Nutrition in Mid-Day Meals was a unique initiative spearheaded by Ashoka India, The Akshaya Patra Foundation and Something’s Cooking during early April. It was a cooking competition that encouraged participants to make use of local ingredients in their own creative way to dish out a recipe that will improve the nutrition of the mid-day meal scheme beneficiaries. All the participants were divided to eight regions namely Bellary, Bangalore Urban, Bidar, Chamrajnagar, Coorg, Dakshin Kannada, Hubli and Shimoga. The event was well-received by the group of 36 cooks and experts. The participants received encouragement and support all the way through the 48 hours from a team of experts comprising of Sunetra Roday, a Nutritionist and retired Principal of Maharashtra State Institute of Hotel Management & Catering; Chef Lars Charas, Programme Manager, Feed the Planet, Netherlands; Chef Manisha Bhasin, ITC Maurya, New Delhi; and Chef Ranajoy Chowdhury, Chef Samuel and Chef Senthil, three professors from the Institute of Hotel Management, Bangalore.
At the end of 48 hours, the participants of Cookathon for Karnataka-Improving Nutrition in Mid-Day Meals dished out over 60 recipes. All the recipes were assessed by a panel of four judges namely - Vijayalakshmi, Assistant Director, Mid-Day Meal Scheme Karnataka; Madan, Chef Rajesh, MTR Foods; Sunetra Roday, Nutritionist and retired Principal of the Maharashtra State Institute of Hotel Management & Catering; and Chief Operating Officer of Akshaya Patra. Ragi laddoo by organic farmers K. Kallappa and his wife Sumangala from Bellary was adjudged as the best dish of the event. Kallappa said that ragi is a very nutritious ingredient rich in calcium and fibre and jaggery is rich in minerals like iron. With the intention to showcase the much higher nutritional benefits of millets and jaggery as compared to popular rice and sugar they presented their dish of ragi laddoo. Vijayalakshmi, Assistant Director, Mid-Day Meal Scheme Karnataka said that in her more than 32 years of service, she has never witnessed such a collective event like the Cookathon for Karnataka-Improving Nutrition in Mid-Day Meals. she also said that this event being the starting point, it can be replicated at district level where women folk can come forward and share their nutritious recipes.
To see what are the other dishes that stood the test of judges read Akshaya Patra Blog. The Akshaya Patra Blog will also provide you with more insights about the event.