Reality show for a cause

The Smart Food Culinary Challenge

the first-ever ‘reality show for a cause’ with young chefs pan India

“It has been my goal to promote our traditional foods among the youth and help them better understand nutrition. Millets deserve a lot more attention as they are Smart Food—good for you, the planet and the farmer,” said Chef Anahita Dhondy.


“This year, the competition has reached a whole new level. The students outdid themselves in using these traditional grains in both fine dining and traditional dishes,” Chef Ramaswamy Selvaraju, Executive Chef, Vivanta by Taj.


“The innovative ways these students have used millets in desserts, salads and in main course is commendable. They have replaced rice completely with millets,” said Chef Vinod K Bhatti, Range and Commercial Manager, IKEA Food, India
This drama-documentary captures the journey of 56 student chefs (28 teams) from 16 culinary institutes across India in their attempts to bring innovative millet cuisines to the table.
In the finale round, each team cooked up one traditional and a one contemporary dish including recipes such as Biryani, Dal Bati Churma, Pooris, Noodles and Srilankan Hoppers made with millets. The judges scored the preparations on the usage of millets, taste, portion size, platting and time management and selected the top two teams to compete in the finale round. This live show of the Smart Food Culinary Challenge was organized through a partnership among Government of Karnataka, ICRISAT and MS Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences. Overseeing the live show were Dr Shivashankara Reddy, Minister of Agriculture, Government of Karnataka, Ms Joanna Kane-Potaka, Assistant Director General, Strategic Marketing and Communication, ICRISAT, Dr Vilas Tonapi, Director, IIMR and Dr K G Jagadeesha, Commissioner for Agriculture, GoK. The judging panel held a debriefing session at the end of the live show and encouraged the budding chefs to continue experimenting with millets.

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Watch the 5 episodes here:

This challenge was documented as Smart Food Culinary Challenge video series, the first ever ‘reality show for a cause’ , was launched on Dec 2019 at Tasting India Symposium in New Delhi through the SmartFood Global YouTube channel. The reality series captures the preliminary round at MSRUAS as well as the live challenge held during the Organics & Millets 2019 – International Trade Fair at Bengaluru 2019. The students took on a variety of dishes, from traditional to fine dining platters, desserts and beverages, using at least 50% millets, while proving that these ancient grains are versatile as well as nutritious.

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Watch the Student Chef Interviews