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Who is Girija Kirpekar-Naik? Meet Pune’s Best Chef!

So the news is out and MealTango has announced Pune’s Best Chef! With over 40 participants, 350+ Shares and 37K+ Views, foodies across Pune have finalized the winners of the contest!

Among the 40+ contestants, there were many special ones! However, there was one who stole a lot of votes and won our hearts at the cookout competition.

Just for some extra information – The cookout competition was a surprise visit at the contestants home and they were asked to chalk out a dish in front of us. The dish was then tasted by a panel of judges present with us and ONLY THEN, the results were declared!

On our journey to Mumbai from Pune, we got a chance to get up close and personal with our fellow winners. Here are some excerpts from our conversations with them -

pbc8.jpgMealTango’s Best Chef Contestant and Pune’s Best Chef: Girija Kirpekar-Naik

MealTango: “How did you develop such a strong passion for cooking?”
Girija: “I completed my degree in Hotel Management and Catering Technology from Pune, where I was raised all my life. On completion of my training at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai, I moved on to Singapore. Due to unfortunate circumstances, I had to switch my career in a corporate sector. I dreaded each day of my job and realized that all I craved for was the kitchen & food world! So maybe, in those moments of transitions, I found my inner self and started to pave my career in a new direction. ”

MealTango: “And what was that new direction?”
Girija: “ I decided to move back to India. For a change, I wasn’t alone this time! I bought back two things that I love the most – My children and my love for cooking! This is how a new concept called ‘Kitchen Confidence Studio’ was born! ”

MealTango: “Tell us a little more about Kitchen Confidence Studio?”
Girija: “ Established in August 2014, Kitchen Confidence Studio (KC) offers cooking classes to children in a safe environment that encourages discovery and creativity. While learning food preparation skills is the main ingredient at KC, each class adds a heap of kitchen safety, a scoop of etiquette, a handful of table setting, a pinch of menu planning, and laughter to taste”

MealTango: “That’s quite interesting Girija! Any quotes that you strongly stand by?”
Girija: “ I strongly believe that food has the power to bring and bind people together.”

MealTango: “One moment that you would cherish for life?”
Girija: “There are two actually! One is the inauguration of Kitchen Confidence Studio and second being me awarded by MasterChef Australia Celebrity Chef, Christine Manfield at the place where I was first trained! I am super excited to go back to the place where it all began! Rush of sweet memories, aaaah!!”

MealTango: “Wonderful! We wish you all the best and great success ahead!”

Girija specializes in Thai, Maharashtrian, Goan, Sindhi, Parsi and Continental Cuisines and runs her Kitchen Confidence Studio in Aundh, Pune

Contact Girija on: Facebook: Girija Kirpekar-Naik

MealTango announces Pune’s Best Chef!

MealTango decided to revolutionize the word ‘Chef’ with its popular vote contest called, ‘Who will be Pune’s Best Chef?’ On 5th of February, 2017, MealTango opened its doors or perhaps a voting platform for everyone who is passionate about food across Pune.

The range of contestants taking part  included chefs of marquee restaurants- such as Malaka Spice, Tertulia and Irish Village; TV personalities and Michelin Star Restaurant Chefs such as Chef Parag Kanhere,  talent from some of the world’s top chef institutes like Le Cordon Bleu chef and passionate home chefs.

The contestants had to first pass through a popular vote. And the question lingered… who would Pune vote for as its best chef?

After an exhaustive 350+ shares and 35,000+ views, and numerous checks to ensure fair voting, the finalists were selected after combing through over 10,000 votes from Pune’s foodies.

Was voting the only stepping stone to decide who would the best chef be? NO!

Each of the finalists were subjected to a grueling cooking demonstration where they had to prepare a dish on the spot in front of a panel of judges.

Eventually, after a lot of efforts and days of voting, the WINNER has been finally revealed!!

Who is PUNE’s BEST CHEF?

MealTango awarded Girija Kirpekar Naik as Pune’s Best Chef!
First Runner up, was Shruti Satpute, talented Maharasthrian Homechef and chef on the MealTango platform.
Second Runner up was Vivek Kothakonda, specialising in Hyderabadi Biryanis.

pbc7.jpg(From l-r: First Runner Up – Shruti Kulkarni, Winner Girija, Celebrity Chef Christine Manfield and Second Runner Up – Vivek K )

The title was presented by Masterchef Australia Celebrity Chef and Author, Christine Manfield at the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Colaba, Mumbai. In addition to being titled as ‘Pune’s Best Chef’ the winners were presented with gifts and hampers worth ₹10,000 from sponsors like Stahl Kitchenware, Weikfield and FoodThink

The contest encouraged many homechefs to step beyond their kitchen and show Pune what their hearts are filled with! The event truly united Chefs from various walks of life to join hands and spread the joy of enjoying a meal made with love! Sona Bahadur, former editor of the BBC Good Food Magazine, India; Le Cordon Bleu, France also embraced the event with Team MealTango.

The celebrations aren’t over yet – All the participants will be soon receiving prizes from Weikfield along with certificates of participation!

pbc20.jpgM for MealTango
(Anti-clockwise from Top Left – Pune’s Best Chef, Girija Kirpekar-Naik, MealTango Co-Founder, Saket Khanna, Shruti, MealTango Chef Anju Bajaj, MealTangoCofounder Neeta Valecha, Christine Manfield, Former editor of BBC Good Food Sona Bahadur, Divija and Vivek Kothakonda)


Proud Sponsors

A proud and exciting moment!!!

Team MealTango is excited to share with all you readers that we got featured in the Australian Finance Review Newspaper!!!

Christine Manfield, Chef, traveller and guest judge of Masterchef Australia is famous for her restaurants like Universal and Paramount in Sydney, Australia. She is also an avid traveller, who has been visiting Mumbai since the late 90′s. She was hosted by a MealTango Home Chef Ms. Tejaswi, who prepared an authentic Maharashtrian Thali.

Christine has mentioned about MealTango in her article “Walking and eating guide to Mumbai”

Here is what she wrote:

HOME COOKING WITH MEAL TANGO

Meal Tango is a brilliant initiative started by Saket Khanna – you choose online from the various options and regional cuisines available, from Assam, Kerala, Rajasthan, Maharasthan and more, and experience excellent, authentic home cooking at a shared table in a private residence. I had lunch with a Maharasthan family who educated me into the subtleties of the various sub-genres and clans within the community. It’s clean with lighter flavours and lots of vegetables.

MealTango Meal in Mumbai

Christine Manfield and friends try out MealTango in Mumbai

MealTango Host Tejaswi with Christine Manfield

Christine Manfield with homechef Tejaswi, and family

We’re delighted to be recognized by Christine Manfield and by the group that joined us from Australia.

You can also choose to dine with a family when traveling in India and Internationally. Simply visit MealTango.com and click ‘Dine in a Home’.

Cheers,

Team MealTango