The long-awaited culinary event of the month, the Masterchef competition of African cuisine organized by BASIS Africa and Culinary Committees, happened this Thursday!
Taking place at Beehive Student Center, the event reunited four teams fiercely competing in a lively environment to cook the best African dish of the lot, judged by two special guests.
The Masterchef cook-off, organized by Isabel and Katharina – respectively from the Culinary and Africa committee -was inspired by the famous homonymous cooking competition. While watching the show, Katharina believed that a similar format applied to a BASIS event would be a fun way for people to learn more about African cuisine and culture. With this idea in mind, a collaboration with the Culinary committee was therefore perfect.
During the event, the participants had to be cooking three African dishes, with the main dish being the only one evaluated. In order to represent a wide range of African culinary traditions, Isabel and Katharina selected three specific dishes: North African carrot salad as a starter, “Maafe”; a typical West African peanut and sweet potato stew, as the main course; and “Akwadu”, an Equatorial Guinean specialty consisting of caramelized baked bananas, as a dessert.
North African carrot salad (starter), Vegetarian Maafe (main dish), Akwadu (dessert)
As soon as the competition began, the participants hurried to the main table in order to pick up the ingredients necessary forthe three culinary specialties. While they had a recipe sheet to guide them in their cooking, they were free to add any extra ingredients (such as spices, ginger or fine herbs) to garnish their masterpieces. For one hour then ensued the chopping sound of knives, the hurried steps to the kitchen and the clanking clatter of pans! During this hour of intensive cooking, participants had the opportunity to get to know each other and interact in a marvelous atmosphere. This was for many the first time they got to cook or even try African cuisine, for which they all confirmed: it was a great new discovery.
Just as soon as the timer rang, the cooking session gave way to judging time. To assess all four dishes, the Culinary and Africa committees invited one teacher and one tutor from the Africa area specialization BAIS program: Walter Nikwi and Amza Adam. One dish following the other, special guests tried the maafe of all four teams -”Luana”, ”Idiot Sandwiches”, “Wapishi”, and “Fantastic Forks”. While judging took place, all participants also got the opportunity to sit down and taste the result of their hard labour, which – I must admit – was really delicious and impressive.
After a fun and warm-hearted meal, the awaited results of the cooking competition came. The two special judges firstly applauded the participants for achieving to cook high-quality maafes on their very first attempt. However, the “Fantastic Forks” team, who notably enhanced their dish with extra ginger, was declared as the best maafe chefs of the competition! History and Economy Africa teacher Walter Nikwi nonetheless highlighted the admirable element of the event besides competition: “the involvement and passion awakened by people cooking together”. With this insightful reflection wrapped up the event, which Katharina and Isabel assured was a success: “We were actually worried at first but it was amazing to see everyone cooking together, we are really happy”.
Following this successful – and delicious – cooking contest, both committees will organize more fun events that, I guarantee, you should look forward to.
Many thanks to the Culinary and Africa committees for their warm hospitality, and don’t forget to follow @basisthehague to stay tuned for their next events!
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