What happens when you win Food Fiesta's cook-off, straight from the winners' mouth.
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The very first season of Food Fiesta was a roaring success, be it the number of cities covered, the quality of chefs involved and even the contestants who came and participated at the cook-off demonstrated a rare blend of passion and excitement that infected everybody. We got the winners from Ahmedabad, Indore and Chandigarh to share their fabulous stories and recreate the magic of Food Fiesta Season 1 even as Season 2 kicked off in spectacular style in Indore on January 7, 2017.

Santosh Gupta – Winner from Food Fiesta Ahmedabad

santosh food fiesta winner

“I was not even interested when the call for participation came in. Then I saw that chefs Kunal Kapur and Pankaj Bhadouria were coming to Ahmedabad and decided I had to go. You see, cooking is a passion of mine since age 10 and Pankaj Bhadouria, like me, is a teacher so I connect with her the most,” Santosh Gupta, who won the cook-off at Ahmedabad says.

Gupta, in fact, bunked the day at school and came all the way to Ahmedabad from his residence at Mount Abu to take part in Food Fiesta. He also became the only male contestant to win out of all the cities where the event occurred last year.

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“I was speechless when I met the chefs. My idols were within my reach, all thanks to Food Fiesta and Living Foodz. I follow Living Foodz regularly and have recordings of Pickle Nation hosted by Kunal Kapur so it was surreal to see him face-to-face. He gave me a difficult ingredient to work with but I made the best recipe and also nailed the plating that ultimately led me to winning the cook-off,” Santosh recalls.

But the best part of Santosh’s win came a day after he won the Ahmedabad event. “The event at Ahmedabad was held on February 13, 2016 so I had the perfect Valentine gift for my wife when I reached home the next day,” Santosh says with a smile on his face.

Sushma Srivastav – Food Fiesta winner from Indore

sushma srivastav indore food fiesta 2016

Sushma Srivastav’s case sounds too good to be true – except that it is. Sushma had tagged along with her friend for the Food Fiesta event that was held in Indore. She wasn’t really thinking about winning – except that she knew she would. As she says, “I have won all the cooking competitions I have ever taken part in.”

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Sushma says she has always been fond of food and was happy to see two of her favourite chefs – Rakhee Vaswani and Vicky Ratnani – at the venue and interact with her. “I learnt a lot of new tips and tricks that I didn’t know before. I prepared an unique crispy cauliflower dish that the judges loved and won the cook-off,” she says.

And her secret to winning every cooking competition? “I always keep things simple and follow all the instructions,” Sushma reveals.

Lakshmi Aggarwal – Food Fiesta winner from Chandigarh

lakshmi food fiesta winner

Lakshmi Aggarwal delayed sending in her application for Food Fiesta until the very last minute. She had a very selfish motive for taking part in Food Fiesta. “I am a big fan of Ranveer Brar. I love his cooking style and innovative fusion dishes,” Lakshmi tells shyly.

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To ensure she got a call, Lakshmi says she sent her best recipe that ultimately led her to meeting Ranveer Brar in person. “It is one of my best memories related to food,” Lakshmi says of her meeting with Ranveer and chef Ajay Chopra.

The response from chefs and other contestants led Lakshmi to exploring more avenues to keep up with her passion for cooking. Although she has small kids to look after, Lakshmi has decided to open a food blog to share her food knowledge. She credits Food Fiesta for opening up an entire new world of food for her. “It was such a good experience that I recommend everyone who loves food to attend Food Fiesta,” Lakshmi concludes.

After all, it’s difficult to find an event that has the best chefs, great dishes and a fulfilling experience that is hard to rival anywhere. If you’re as excited as the winners of Food Fiesta’s first season and have yet to register yourself for it, then head right here.

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