June 1, 2019 09:43 AM NPT
By: Zenith Shah
KATHMANDU, June 1: A confident Gyanendra KC, chef and owner of a Korean eatery at Thamel, jokingly gave himself a 10/10 for his efforts in a casual conversation with the event emcee, before officially being pronounced the winner of the “1st Korean Food Cooking Contest in Nepal” held Friday at Hotel Himalaya, Lalitpur.
Nine professionals vied for the position in the culinary clash jointly organized by the Korea Foundation and Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Nepal.
Park Yong-Sik, Korean Ambassador to Nepal, during his welcome speech acknowledged the essence of programs like these on improving cultural relations with Nepal, also mentioning the role of food as an identity to an individual and a country.
Shashikala Dahal, vice-chairperson of the National Assembly and chief guest at the contest, shared views similar to those of the ambassador. She also highlighted the government's Visit Nepal 2020 campaign. “We expect that this contest shall improve the decades-long healthy relationship we have with the Republic of Korea.” Dahal said. “I anticipate a healthy number of Korean visitors in the coming year, while similar figures of Nepali youth go to Korea.”
The participants were required to whip up a serving of Japchae, a traditional celebratory Korean cuisine that has evolved from being a royal delicacy to a recipe popular among commoners for festive moods and events, within an hour clock. The panel of judges comprised of Jeong Jeong Lim, chief chef at the ambassador's residence, Kwak Hye Sun, director of Korean Association in Nepal, and Krishna Kaji Shrestha, executive chef at Hotel Himalaya.
While each participant received a cash prize of Rs 3,000, the participants who secured the first, second and third position received Rs 50,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 25,000 respectively.
“This was the first time I participated in such competition.” Rajan Prasad Dhungana, a participant said. “I am looking forward to similar competitions in the near future.”
The three hours long program was complemented with K-pop performances, and was followed by a dinner for guests.