Society

Employees of UST Global raise funds for a cause via food festival, ‘Yummy Aid’

‘Mathanum Koottarum’ stall at UST Global’s ‘Yummy Aid’ food festival

‘Mathanum Koottarum’ stall at UST Global’s ‘Yummy Aid’ food festival   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Culinary skills of employees were put to test at the annual festival

Piston Pazhampori, Kargil Kappa, Bofors Beef Vindalu, Raazi Rice, IOC Lassi, Sarfarosh Murgi... That’s what West Battalion 08 took to the ‘battle field’ at Yummy Aid. They were among 27 teams in the fray at UST Global’s in-house annual culinary-cum-fund-raising festival held on its sprawling campus at Kazhakoottam on Monday (November 4).

A stall at UST Global’s ‘Yummy Aid’ food festival

A stall at UST Global’s ‘Yummy Aid’ food festival   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

“We have expressed solidarity with the Armed Forces food by naming the dishes after something related to the armed forces or movies on the theme,” says Karthika Mohan of West Battalion 08, named so because “they work on the west side of the eighth floor” of the company. The team, with members sporting army-green jackets, also showcased articles related to the armed forces, such as water bottle, lunch box, durrie, blanket and mosquito net. They walked away with ‘special mention’ recognition.

Homemade flavours

The employees showcased homemade delicacies and experimented with flavours and their creativity by adapting different themes. With Koodathai and Jolly Shaju being newsmakers, one of them named their stall, Koodathayees, but in good faith, they say. “One of our employees is from this village in Kozhikode and he is getting ridiculed ever since the news broke out. We wanted to change the perception about the place,” says Varnachithra A, a member of the team. They won the award for the stall with the most variety of dishes.

A view of the crowd at UST Global’s Yummy Aid food festival

A view of the crowd at UST Global’s Yummy Aid food festival   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

It was ‘Mathanum Koottarum’ that doubled their fortunes at the fete, as they won the award for the best stall and the best dish. “Halloween was our theme and we had dishes made from pumpkin,” says Shruti Gaba, a team member. While ‘spiders’ and ‘bats’ hung inside the stall and carved pumpkins completed the spooky ambience, the all-pumpkin menu had cookies, cake, payasam, cheeseballs, curries and cutlets. It was their pumpkin platter that was chosen the best dish.

‘Idukki Gold’ served tubers such as kappa, chembu, chena and kaachil, with spicy vegetarian and non-vegetarian chutneys as their accompaniments and ‘Unni Madhuram’ had 20 payasams for sale. “Most of our team members belong to Idukki district and so we decided to have only tubers in our spread,” says Swapna Nirmala Ambika, a team member of ‘Idukki Gold’. Mullappoo payasam at ‘Unni Madhuram’ was a big hit and Lakshmi Rajan, who cooked the dessert, was busy how to make it.

Chef Suresh Pillai and Deepika NK judging the dishes at a stall at UST Global’s Yummy Aid food festival

Chef Suresh Pillai and Deepika NK judging the dishes at a stall at UST Global’s Yummy Aid food festival  

There were stalls exclusively for chicken-based dishes, pickled vegetables, different varieties of puttu, desserts and juices. With green protocol being in place, teams used only eco-friendly products to present the dishes and decorate the stalls.

Judges were Chef Suresh Pillai, corporate head chef, Raviz Group of Hotels, and Deepika NK, proprietor of Leela’s Kitchen. “The enthusiasm of the employees is unbelievable. It’s all about teamwork. They have taken a lot of pain to plan and execute different themes. Even though they are no professionals, we were impressed by their presentation skills and some dishes tasted better than what we chefs prepare,” says Suresh.

A stall at UST Global’s ‘Yummy Aid’ food festival

A stall at UST Global’s ‘Yummy Aid’ food festival   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Shilpa Menon, centre head of the company, points out that all employees come forward to be part of the event. “They take turns to run the stalls so that the work isn’t affected. This is a kind of employee engagement initiative for us,” she says.

The event, now in its ninth edition, was organised by Network of Women Ussociates (NOWU), that works for the “development and mentoring” of the women employees in the company. The proceeds from the fete will be given away as scholarship to 24 children associated with Rajeswary Foundation, a palliative care unit in the city. “It is a day dedicated to a cause and the 7,000 plus employees on the campus contribute in one way or the other,” says Priya Sankar, a core member of NOWU.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 10:29:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/employees-of-ust-global-raise-money-for-a-cause-through-the-food-festival-yummy-aid/article29909092.ece

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