Foodistan, the first Indo-Pak joint cooking contest
By our correspondent
LAHORE: Jang Group's strong resolve of finding common ground to kindle the peace initiative, "Aman Ki Asha", scored another winner through a first of its kind Indo-Pak culinary face-off - "Foodistan".
Following the trail of people-to-people and sector-to-sector interactions between Indians and Pakistanis, this unique cooking competition, aired on Geo TV in Pakistan and NDTV Good Times in India, gives more reasons to people across the border to relate to each other in a friendly manner.
The Pakistani contestants travelled to India as Foodistan's first season was recorded in India while season two is going to be recorded in Pakistan for which the Indian team of chefs will visit Pakistan.
During a press conference at a hotel here on Tuesday, the Indian delegates from NDTV Good Times expressed their excitement regarding their visit, particularly to the Lahore Food Street. They were surprised to find the diversity the flavors at both sides of the border had despite the shared food culture.
Foodistan, a battle of taste between India and Pakistan, is a reality TV show where similarities and differences between foods of both the countries are unearthed by the food-loving peoples through an exciting competition between Indian and Pakistani chefs.
The show, a joint venture of Geo TV Pakistan and NDTV India, is loved by the people in India, said NDTV Lifestyle Limited CEO Smeeta Chakrabarti while adding, "Foodistan is where flavour rules and taste buds are the currency."
She said the programme had helped them better understand both countries' food culture just as most Pakistanis believed that all of India was vegetarian which was not true.
"The first dish cooked by the Indian chef in the programme was Mutton Pulao, which shows that the Indian society, as perceived by most Pakistanis, is not totally meat-intolerant," she said.
NDTV Lifestyle Vice-President Business Development Atul Seth said that his great grandfather was a Lahori and coming back to Lahore after all these years was an exciting and pleasant experience. Praising the flavors on exhibit in the Lahore Food Street, he said that he was thoroughly entertained by the cultural cuisines.
Atul also complimented the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway, saying it would have taken at least 14 hours to cover the same distance in India. He said the Indian ministers should visit Pakistan to see its roads.
Monica Narula, Vice-President Programming, NDTV Lifestyle Limited, said few people knew about Pakistani food in India but Foodistan proved an initiative which had highlighted regional similarities and differences between foods of both countries.
"We have heard of Mardan's Mardangi (masculinity) but came to know of the Pakistani city's Chapli Kabab through the show," she added.
It is pertinent to mention here that 16 seasoned chefs, eight each from India and Pakistan, are contesting in Foodistan, produced and broadcast by NDTV Good Times in India and the Geo Television Network in Pakistan.
Mahmood Akhtar, the chef of the hotel where press conference was held and who represented Pakistan in the show, said Foodistan had provided a good exposure to him as he had learnt many new recipes. "I was also offered job in India," he said while sharing his experiences.
Mohammad Ikram, chef of another five-star hotel, said the chefs of both the sides worked hard and learnt from each other. He said some Pakistani chefs, including him, had been invited to India for a festival, adding that interaction between peoples on both the sides should be promoted more and more.
Director Sales & Marketing Geo TV Nasir Siddiqui stressed the need of similar joint ventures on both sides of the border in the future. He also thanked the visiting delegates and the sponsors of Foodistan.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
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