The Goenchem Fest!!

It Is Time For A Fete!

20 Jun, 2017 by Nolan Mascarenhas

The Goan Culinary Club, a non-profit organisation upholding the legacy of Goan cuisine, from losing its cultural identity in the fast modernising state of sunny Goa. It has 50 strong members at present and works as a platform for learning, where recipes are shared, home styled preparations are invited to be shared and serves as a platform for networking and establishing professional trust. The ethos of fun and learning prevailing as part of the charter, this year The Park on Holiday Street, decided to celebrate it in pomp and aplomb with a sundowner and it was decided to celebrate the event like the days of fun, food and music. With this in mind member chefs researched local flavours with no ‘common’ preparation being one of the parameters set. Another being, whether from the Saraswat Kitchens, Hindu-centric (Spice Goa), Inspired Goan (Moki, The Park, Cidade), The Portuguese outside India (Cerveja) and the Portuguese Inspired Goan/Christian Goan, each chef researched and took their pick. Much like a pound party, each chef brought in two preparations for the 200 invitees who turned up to celebrate the event. 

What is Life without a challenge as many say? Well, these ‘challenges’ were interesting and fun too. Take for example the two-member chefs who were paired and challenged in a cook-off, blindfolded and given to taste the preparations. With their senses, they had to identify the spices and flavours. Do take note - The Park on Holiday Street had a small edge of visually creating and replicating the final product in all fairness. The two preparations – Sungta Tonak and Fish Calderieda were unanimous winners.

With laughter and zest, the spirits were high and to set the mood, Kingfisher and Myra created the festive avatar. The two proprietors Shefali Gandhi and Aziz Lalani (KOI) and Anisha Hassan (Saligao Stories) backed by Kokni Kanteen, Spice Goa set the event, the beautiful ambience of The Park on Holiday Street had little competition. GM Saurabh Khanna made it a memorable evening with the Poder’s cycle (with fresh bread) brought in by Michael Mascarenhas of Flying Dolphin with his mother’s famous chicken soup broth which hit the spot on a windy evening. The Feni Cocktail Challenge had participants create their own mix to the Recipe Bazaar challenge where one could shop for the member's recipes and then make your own, had the makings of a great fete.

The menu for a lavish feast powered by all members of the club spread across the beach front area. To name a few, The Park served the Kokum Chili Glaze Yam Pops and Pane Cracker Cafreal Hint Chicken – inspired as its best. Cidade de Goa brought across their Crisp Fried Cheese Pockets with Balchao Mayonnaise & Cafreal Dip, The Fern Kadamba Galinha De Caju and Mushroom Xacutti and Hotel Fidalgo the Chicken Chilli Fry and Sukha Batata. There was more food than one could consume as Voltaire showcased their Prawn Lonchem and Toranche Udhamethi with Undo – family recipe style and the Saraswat quotient was completed with Kokni Kanteen serving the Bangda Hooman and Chavli Batata Tonak.

Music was soulful with local Konkani hits in the background powered live by musicians Lavina and Sancho was ‘catchy’. The ‘Highlight’ of the show was the fashion show of a local Goan designer Philu Martins - inspired by local cuisine with the models being members of the club walking the ramp - chef’s, proprietor's, GM's, home kitchen enthusiasts, in creations inspired by the Poder, local chillies, the bhendo, the Mango etc. The showstopper for the evening was the Sorpotel and Sanna with a headgear of chillies worn by the club's co-founder Odette Mascarenhas with singing sensation Varun Carvalho, who sang live ‘paka paka’ at the model’s curtain call, besides a few of his popular numbers.

All in all, it was an evening to remember. 

Written By



An award winning photojournalist, Nolan is torn between food & travel. Having held multiple exhibitions across- he loves to capture the essence of a meal or moment through his lens. Known for his love of food he believes in making viewers salivate over drool worthy pictures, titilating their palates over social media. His photography added vivid dimensions through his contribution to the book The Culinary Heritage of Goa which won the Gourmand Best in the World for Historical recepies in 2015. Author of the ever popular food/travel blog www.nolansatwit.com, many have commonly referred to his wit or 'twit'iness. A recepient of the prestigious REX Karmaveer Chakra award by UNESCO he spends most of his time divided between sampling the various offerings of the gastronomic world and his unending quest for new and far flung places.

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