Meet The Finalists of McDonald’s Chef Challenge

Some of the best aspiring chefs in the country are now the finalists in the McDonald’s Chef Challenge.

Always striving to offer better and tastier burgers to its loyal customers, McDonald’s has started a first-of-its-kind campaign, in association with various Institute of Hotel Management, called the ‘Chef Challenge’. Several aspiring chefs from IHMs came together for the challenge and created a variety of burgers for this Challenge.

It was a cut-throat competition, but the ones who really succeeded in stimulating the taste-buds of the judges were chosen for the final round. Read on to know the six finalists of the McDonald’s Chef Challenge.

Tejas (IHM Ahmedabad)

Tejas from IHM Ahmedabad had chosen Computer Applications as his field of career initially. But fate had other plans for him. He could not ignore his passion for food for long, and decided to get into hotel management. Tejas says that when he registered for the Challenge, he barely knew much about burgers. But he impressed the judges with his Trico Burger – read chicken patty, Tsatski and Schezwan sauce.

His thoughts on McDonald’s: “Spending time at the McDonald’s kitchen made me realise how important hygiene and cooking processes are and I was awestruck by the discipline in the McDonald’s kitchen. I aim to become the king of McDonald’s kitchen someday.”

Deepika (IHM Goa)

For someone who has grown up admiring chefs like Sanjeev Kapoor, love for food and cooking came naturally to Deepika from IHM Goa. Deepika likes to add a tangy twist to her recipes and her burger for the McDonald’s Chef Challenge was no exception. She made a mayonnaise based sauce with red chilli, sesame seeds and olive oil and added pickles to the burger, furthering the tanginess.

Deepika visits McDonald’s frequently and guess what she loves the most there? MacFries. “I truly believe that McDonald’s has the world’s best fries,” she says.

Shashank (IHM Hyderabad)

Shashank from IHM Hyderabad loves his spices and herbs. He grows micro herbs like parsley, thyme and rosemary and uses them to enhance the flavours and add his personal touch to food presentations. The talented young man from Bihar draws inspiration from France’s Chef Paul Bocuse who is known for his high quality restaurants and innovative approach.

Mac Nawabi is what he calls his burger. Like a true fan of Lakhnawi cuisine, he used ingredients like hung curd and mint for his sauce. And one cannot miss his key ingredient: Lazzat-e-Taam, a blend of 108 spices that is used in Awadhi cuisine.

Karuna Banerjee (Mumbai IHM)

IHM Mumbai’s Karuna Banerjee comes from a family that represents multiple cultures from around the world. Her British grandmother made sure the kids in the family were exposed to varied cuisines. So, it was not surprising when she brought European flavours on the plate. Her salad was a mix of Green Apple and Sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) and the sauce was a blend of sweet and spicy onion relish and apple cider vinegar.

Karuna says she loved the Challenge. “I had to cook within certain set of parameters. It encouraged me to invent a dish which was practical, cost effective and also pushed me to think creatively. It was a learning experience for me at the Chef Challenge,” she says.

Radhika (IHM Chennai)

IHM Chennai’s Radhika wants to be a food photographer someday. It was her love for barbeque that inspired her to create a spicy barbeque flavoured burger. She kept the salad simple and added a citric touch to it using some lemon dressing. She aptly named it the Chilly Barbeque burger.

What Radhika loves most about McDonald’s is its menu innovation.  “I am amazed by the menu innovations at McDonald’s and have always been a huge fan of the brand,” she says.

Nikhil (IHM Bangalore)

IHM Bangalore’s Nikhil wanted to create something that was unique, that had never been tried before at McDonald’s. So he gave his burger a Vietnamese touch by recreating the Vietnamese Sauce Sriracha which is extremely hot and spicy. For the salad, he picked radish, carrot, pickle and cilantro. Nikhil aspires to be like famous chef Imtiaz Qureshi.

Nikhil loves that fact that a McDonald’s menu has something for everyone. “I believe that McDonald’s is the only food brand in the country that can satisfy the taste buds of each and every age group of India. Also McDonald’s experiments with different menu options so that no customer can ever get bored,” he says.

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