Boardroom men battle it out in the kitchen


Smile Foundation and acclaimed Indian Chef Vikas Khanna joined hands to create a unique charity cookout- ‘Cook for a Smile’, held on 18th May at Grand Hyatt Hotel Mumbai.

12 corporate leaders of the country took a day off from their busy lives and donned Chef’s toques to battle it out at a fund raiser to support health and nutrition for underprivileged children. The head honchos were judged at this event, not for their business acumen, but for their culinary skills.  While the children judged their culinary chops, the challenge was no child’s play.

Each corporate leader was joined by a junior master-chef from Smile Foundation who acted as sous-chefs. Brands like PepsiCo, Kitchen Aid and CNBC also came on board and encouraged the initiative as partners. But that's not it; finalists of round also faced a food quiz devised by the chef.

The funds raised from this initiative, which is a part of Smile Foundation’s ‘Nutrition for Better Literacy’ campaign, will be used to provide education and literacy for 5,000 underprivileged children for one year.

Expressing his thoughts about the initiative, Chef Vikas Khanna, Goodwill Ambassador-Nutrition for Better Literacy, Smile Foundation shares, ‘I am very proud to join hands with Smile Foundation and help make difference in the lives of children by providing them nutrition for better literacy. While Indian cuisine is going global, malnutrition is on the rise in India. Three out ten children in India have stunted growth. Therefore, as the ambassador, I am working towards providing nutrition to 5000 children this year. It’s a small step, a small beginning for a cause that is close to my heart. I thank all the responsible corporate and the leaders to come forward and support this initiative.’

The 3-time Michelin starred Chef prepared different recipes for each of the contestants which included CEOs, MDs and Directors from Pepsi Co, BNY Mellon, BAE Systems, Hyatt, Harley Davidson and Air France KLM among others.

On this unique initiative, Manisha Singh, Manager Communications and Resources, Smile Foundation, had this to say, ‘Each CEO is preparing a signature dish with a set of ingredients that will be given to them. They'll also have kids from the Smile Foundation assist them. These kids along with Chef Vikas Khanna will later also taste the food to judge who is the best along with chef.’

Chef Hermann, Executive Chef of Grand Hyatt Mumbai and his team also created a signature mango dessert especially for the children of Smile Foundation at the event.

‘Making a difference in our communities is a natural extension of our mission to provide authentic hospitality. Together with the Smile Foundation and committed individuals such as Chef Vikas Khanna, we are proud to have been able to raise funds and awareness for 'Nutrition for Better Literacy'. Through our company-wide philanthropic and environmental platform - Hyatt Thrive - we hope to continue to undertake various fund-raising and volunteer activities through the year that emphasize our belief in Human Care and the Human Spirit,’ shared Yasmin D. Poonegar, Director of Corporate Communications, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts - Southwest Asia Ltd.

This is the first initiative by Vikas since he became the goodwill ambassador. He intends to help raise funds to benefit 5,000 kids within one year. And with these company heads taking the initiative to be part of this event, funds to feed around 1,500 children have been raised.

‘As a chef, I have been focusing my energies on taking Indian cuisine global, however, when I come back to India I see children suffering from malnutrition and that to me was a dichotomy. I am hoping with Cook for A Smile, we can start a new chapter in helping children. It's small beginning and I am hoping that in one year, we can at least support 5000 children across India,’ finishes off Vikas.

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cnbc csr harley davidson hyatt Pepsi Co

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