Putting the spread of food to good use

Known as food lover’s paradise for its generous use of spices and coconut, Kerala cuisine is also sought after for its diversity and cultural influences.

The uniqueness and popularity of the region’s platter is used by Kerala Tourism to increase tourist footfalls and to promote the destination.

Hence, the thumping response from travel fraternity and food enthusiasts worldwide to the unique campaign ‘Kerala Cuisine Contest 2020-21’, the online cooking contest that asks the traveller to embrace Kerala in their kitchen by exploring the authentic dishes and to get connected to the State, has not come much as a surprise.

All that the contest requires the participants to do is to cook any of the Kerala dishes and share the cooking video on the official webpage created for the contest. The winners will get an all-paid seven-night family trip to Kerala post-COVID-19. The travellers may select from the array of dishes shared on the website and cook the dish of their choice.

Kerala Tourism has shared more than 100 cooking videos on its website to help assist the newbies in cooking the dishes. The minimum duration of the video is three minutes and the maximum five minutes with the file size of one entry not exceeding 500 MB.

The unique campaign has struck the right chord with travellers for various reasons. Being stuck at home due to the COVID-19, many people have taken up cooking as a hobby.

Just a month after its launch, the campaign received 3,000-plus registrations from various countries, including South Africa, Sri Lanka, Germany, Ecuador, Canada, UK, Australia, Spain, Singapore, New Zealand, Russia, US, Algeria, Netherlands, Greece, Zimbabwe, Romania, France, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Aland Island, Bahrain, Bhutan, Bosnia, Ghana, Guyana, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Montenegro, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Taiwan, and Tajikistan. Within India, officials say around 2,000 travellers have registered so far and the contest is open till June.

The contest has received endorsements from a cross section of people including a group of children below 12 years from the SRM Welkin Higher Secondary School, Sopore, Kashmir, who shared a short video that they created to promote the contest. Some travel enthusiasts from Zimbabwe also shared a similar video. There are also people like Roxana Dana Saila from Romania who dressed up in Kerala attire and uploaded videos.

Kerala’s tourism industry, which is reeling under severe crisis due to the pandemic, is hopeful that such innovative campaigns will help to maintain ‘Brand Kerala Tourism’ a trending topic among holidayers.

Renowned chefs, academicians and social media influencers have volunteered to be the celebrity ambassadors of the contest. Prominent names among them are chef Manjeet Gill, chef Ricky Narayan, chef Ajay Sood, executive chef Giovanni Fortugno from Italy, and chef Nellu Kaura, Asian Book Record holder, known as the ‘Lady with a Chef Coat’.

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