Fellowship over a bowl of soup

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Rtn Vinod Haritwal and PDG Anil Agarwal.

When I announced a cooking competition for the men in the club three months ago, it sounded like a joke,” says RC Jaipur Midtown president Kiran Poddar. This January she hosted the Rotary Midtown Master Chef Competition at her residence. PDG Anil Agarwal’s wife Seema laughs as she recalls, “For five days, before the event, we had to drink the soup Anil made and I had to work overtime in the kitchen.” But his efforts paid off and he won two awards for his ‘Spirit of Rotary Soup’ and best work station and creative name. Quizzed about his clean work station and taste of the soup, he smiles and says “Seema taught me, I was her photocopy out there.”

D-day was “Serious fun,” for Rtn Vinod Haritwal, whose dum aloo preparation emerged as the runner-up for the best taste. “We had practically never entered the kitchen earlier, not allowed to get help from our spouse during the competition and the time limit, added to our anxiety,” he says. But the wives managed to help and “ankhon hi ankhon mein ishara hogaya (eyes did the talking) and the Rotarian behind the chula-chakki knew when he added extra mirchi or namak,” laughs Agarwal.

Judges from the International Institute of Hotel Management chose Rtn K P Bajaj’s dish — Pune special vada pav as the winner and gave out tips on cooking. This was not only a fellowship event for club members but also “a time to bond with our better halves and I am sure most of the participants will go back and continue to help them in the kitchen,” says Haritwal. His encounter with cooking made him realise that he was “not a bad cook after all.”

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