Sunday, 20 September 2015

Nandini Diwakar, Sanjeev Gakhar win Lufthansa #cookandfly contest

Nandini Diwakar & Sanjeev Gakhar win India’s largest online culinary talent hunt - Lufthansa #cookandfly contest

Held in partnership with The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, Lufthansa #cookandfly contest is Season 2 of Star Chef Contest and India’s largest online culinary talent hunt

Winning recipe to be featured in Lufthansa’s inflight menu: winners win a Lufthansa Business Class ticket to Europe; a 6 weeks internship with celebrity chefs at The Leela and complimentary overnight stay at The Leela Ambience Gurgaon

New Delhi, September, 2015: In a gripping finale, Nandini Diwakar and Sanjeev Gakhar beat six other finalists in a live-cook out session to win India’s largest online culinary talent hunt, Lufthansa #cookandfly contest held in partnership with The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts. Nandini and Sanjeev were announced winner at a glittering grand finale ceremony at The Leela Ambience Gurgaon. Rajni Kaura (Paneer-e-husn) and Simmi Sareen (Upma Polenta cakes with mushroom coconut sauce) won the first and second runner up titles respectively. The winning recipes – Nandini (Murgh Noore Bahara with Mawa Pulao) and Sanjeev (Masala Aloo aur khatte pyaaz) will be featured in Lufthansa’s inflight menu.

Lufthansa #cookandfly contest is Season 2 of Star Chef Contest where the nationwide hunt for India’s largest online culinary talent is conducted by MasterChefs Kunal Kapur and Vinod Saini of The Leela and Lufthansa’s culinary expert for the Asian region, Chef Thomas Brockenauer. 
Conceived under Lufthansa’s “Non Stop You” positioning and “More Indian Than You Think” philosophy, the Lufthansa #cookandfly contest celebrates India’s cultural and cuisine diversity and aims to engage with target audiences on a topic close to their heart – their food preferences. Hosted on Facebook, the contest also harnessed the power and reach of social media and received overwhelming response with entry submissions pouring even after the submission timeline was over.

Mr. Wolfgang Will, Director, South Asia, Lufthansa Passenger Airlines, said, “Lufthansa’s presence in India of 60 years gives it an unparalleled understanding of the needs of its Indian customers. The brand has made huge progress towards embracing Indian culture and its needs and the contest provides the right opportunity to not only help us understand India’s food preferences but also help our Indian customers see the brand’s “Indian” side and connect with the brand even more. We are also happy that our decision to host the contest on a social media platform helped us reach out to a wider target audience especially the younger audiences and connect with a new target group. Our brand philosophy of “Nonstop You” gets very well integrated with the contest as the winning recipe becomes a part of our inflight menu. This definitely goes on to reflect a more Indianized version of the brand…

….We are also very pleased to partner with The Leela for the second season of the contest and are thankful to our esteemed jury members, MasterChef Kunal Kapur, MasterChef Vinod Saini, and Lufthansa’s culinary expert for the Asian region, Chef Thomas Brockenauer, for their invaluable expertise and advice in planning and putting together this contest.”

Commenting on the contest, Mr. Rajiv Kaul, President, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts said, “We are delighted to expand our partnership with Lufthansa to showcase the hidden culinary talent of India and help them spread their wings. The Leela reflects the essence of India and our Master chefs Kunal Kapur and Vinod Saini take pride in bringing the finest Indian culinary experiences from our signature Kitchen – Jamavar - to the skies.  We have brought this ethos to the campaign to help celebrate the diverse culinary heritage of India.”

Kunal Kapur, Executive Sous Chef at The Leela Ambience Gurgaon, added, “I am really happy to be associated and judge the Lufthansa CookandFly contest, as I believe it's a great platform to bring in the hidden talent and gems from all over India. As I believe cooking is the only art which evolves all five senses and a great meal needs to impress them all.”

The winner wins a Lufthansa Business Class ticket to Europe and a 6 weeks internship with celebrity chefs at The Leela. The winners also gets exciting prizes from The Leela including 1 voucher for 1 night stay for 2 in executive suite with regular inclusions. Other prizes for contestant and runners-up include 1 voucher for Lungo pranzo (long Sunday lunch) at Zanotta for 2 with sparkling wine (for 2nd runners up); 3 vouchers for spectra weekend dinner for (2 non-alcoholic for contestants) and 2 vouchers for Diya weekend lunch for 2 (non-alcoholic for contestants.)

Other contest prizes include a premium quality Morphy Richards blender which was given to the “Chef’s pick of the week” recipe (best recipe of the week award was given to contest with the best dish for the respective week) –

Chef’s pick of the week” winners:
Week 1 – Deepshikha Porwal, Bangalore (Paneer pasanda with veg rice)
Week 2 -  Dhruba Mukheree, Kolkata (Oatmeal spinach pancakes)
Week 3 – Ritu Lodha, Tuticorn (Kabuli rice with stuffed cheese bottle gourd)
Week 4 – Sumitra Chowdhury (Vegetarian egg Nargisi Kofta Curry with veg palau rice)
Week 5 – Ella Grover (Stuffed lotus stem raw mint mango gravy)
Week 6 – Kalpana Talpade, Mumbai (Papetama Kid)
Week 7 – Sanjeev Gakhar, New Delhi (Zaaffaraani Murg)
Week 8 – Sujaya Mahesh, Bangalore (Masala Methi rice with chow chow salad)
Week 9 – Simmi Sareen, Mumbai (Upma Polenta cakes with mushroom coconut sauce)

About Lufthansa in India
Deutsche Lufthansa AG is a global aviation group with its headquarters based in Germany, employing more than 118,000 staff worldwide. Lufthansa is an international group of European airlines. The airlines engaged in the passenger transportation business are Lufthansa Passenger Airlines (including Lufthansa Regional), Austrian Airlines, SWISS and Germanwings as well as stakeholdings in Brussels Airlines, JetBlue and SunExpress, operating through the Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, Brussels and Zurich hubs. In summer 2014 the Lufthansa Group served 321 destinations in 103 countries on four continents and in 2014 Lufthansa Group welcomed around 105 million air passengers on board. With 25 gateways in Asia/Pacific Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines is the leading European airline group in the region.

About The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts
The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, headquartered in Mumbai, India, is owned by Hotel Leelaventure Ltd. The luxury hotel group owns and manages eight award-winning properties in prime urban locations and magical holiday destinations across India including Mumbai, New Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Chennai, Goa, Udaipur and Kovalam. New properties under development include Bangalore, Jaipur, Agra, Lucknow and Kathmandu. The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts is committed to providing warm, gracious and anticipatory service in settings that capture the essence of India. The group has a marketing alliance with US-based Preferred Hotels & Resorts and is a member of the Global Hotel Alliance based in Geneva, Switzerland. For further information, please contact your travel counsellor or visit our website at To view or download high resolution images, please visit our image gallery at

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