Battle of the Buffet: Best food forward

The seventh edition of Battle of the Buffet managed to rake in nearly Rs. 4.3 crore for charities in the city

October 02, 2015 04:33 pm | Updated 07:20 pm IST

A file photo of Battle of the Buffet. Photo: K. Pichumani

A file photo of Battle of the Buffet. Photo: K. Pichumani

South Indian, North Indian, Andhra, Thai, Mediterranean, fusion, Awadhi... There was so much to choose from at the seventh edition of Battle of the Buffet, the annual fundraiser for Daan Utsav (formerly known as the Joy of Giving week). 

Chefs from hotels and restaurants across the city put their best food on the table for a cause — to help NGOs raise funds for their work. GRT Grand, Taj Hotels, The Park, Le Royal Meridian, The Savera, Shyam Group, Courtyard by Marriott, Radisson GRT, Copper Chimney, China Town and Oriental Cuisines battled it out to present their signature dishes to over 3,000 guests at the Chennai Trade Centre on Thursday evening.

This year, 64 NGOs were part of the evening. Restaurateur M. Mahadevan, founder of Chennai Mission, which organises the event, said, “The NGOs have sold about 2,700 passes and that brought in about Rs. 2.2 crore, which goes directly to them. Apart from that, we had Rs. 50 lakh each from two individual donors, and Rs. 1 crore from a corporate. In all, we have managed to raise Rs. 4.3 crore.” This is quite an achievement; from the Rs. 85 lakh that was raised in their first edition to the Rs. 2.8 crore last year.

The TANKER Foundation, ANEW and Dean Foundation together sold 900 passes among them. “Although the passes were priced at Rs. 7,500, it is not the cost of the evening; it is a donation that is being made. One person paid Rs. 15,000 for a single pass,” said Mahadevan, explaining how the evening bridges the gap between contributors and charities. “The Madras Dyslexia Foundation is trying to put together a tool kit in Tamil for dyslexic children in Government schools. The initial cost is Rs. 10 lakh, which is what they are trying to raise. Then there is Manikandan from Salem, who works in a burial ground, and ensures that those without families are given proper burials. We gave him Rs. 1 lakh last year, and this year, he told us that it helped him for an entire year. These are the hidden stars, who are not on any networking platform, but are working hard,” he said. The funds that are received are also audited, to ensure that they go towards helping those it is meant for. 

The evening also had a musical side, with Hariharan and other popular singers belting out new and old numbers to entertain the crowd.    

When it came to the buffet itself, the most popular counters seemed to be the Indian ones, especially the biryani counter, but quite a few people were willing to experiment with Thai and Mediterranean cuisines as well. Keeping with the spirit of the “battle”, there was some pushing and shoving to get to the food; overall, however, volunteers did an admirable job of handling the crowd and maintaining the dining area throughout.

Also a part of the Daan Utsav celebrations, on Friday, October 2, The French Loaf unveiled their longest photo cake at the Forum Vijaya Mall in Vadapalani. The 100-metre-long eggless cake, weighing 1000 kilos, was covered with photos of National Award-winning Tamil movies.

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