BENGALURU: For 10-year-old Hasvika Sridharan, cooking is just another hobby among many others, like dancing, singing, playing football and tennis. Her love for cooking motivated her to contest in Young Chef India Junior - 2019, a national-level cooking competition conducted by International Institute of Hotel Management. Sridharan, a student of Harvest International School, didn’t just take part in the contest but also won the title of Young Chef India Junior - 2019.
Watching her mega finale episode on the Food Food channel, Sridharan felt just as thrilled during the actual moment her name was announced as the winner. “It was an unforgettable moment. I joined this contest after watching MasterChef on TV. We never expected that we would come to this level,” she shares.
Though exciting, the journey was not easy, since it had multiple rounds, including a non-fire and pre-recipe round. “I was sick on the first day of my contest. I told my mom that I want to participate in the contest, though I was not well. So, she taught me a simple recipe: Pasta cheese balls,” she explained. The dish was a hit with the judges and she was selected in the top 20 from the south zone.
In the south zone finale, Sridharan made spaghetti with soya balls in red sauce and trifle. “Many times before that round, I failed to make perfect trifle. But I never wanted to give up,” she reveals. Even in the mega finals, which took place in New Delhi, she had to face challenges. “I had to make cupcakes, which have eggs and I am a vegetarian. So I asked my aid at the contest to break the egg. I beated it and did the other procedures.”
The finale was judged by Chef Shaun Kenworthy, culinary director, indismart group, and Abhishek Gupta, executive sous chef Leela Palace Hotels and Resorts. Sridharan recalls, “I was excited when Chef Sanjeev Kapoor wished us luck. I like Chef Shaun also I have so many photos of him.” Her finale dish was included paneer and palak balls on rice, which was inspired by Kapoor’s recipe.
Sridharan credits her parents for her win and says, “When mom helps me in cooking food, papa is the one who tastes my food.” Radhika, Hasvika’s mother laughingly tells CE that while she doesn’t mind Hasvika cooking pasta repeatedly, the only problem is that even she has to keep tasting it that many times. “It’s all family effort,” adds Radhika.