What went down at the finale of restaurant week

L-R: Innovation Award Thai Massaman Curry from Izumi Restaurant, Top Signature Dinning Restaurant from La Cabana Restaurant and Top Casual Restaurant from Olives Restaurant with their awards during the Kampala Restaurant Week 2019 at Skyz Hotel, Naguru. Photo by Ismail Kezaala.

Kampala Restaurant Week has become an annual feature on the dining out scene in Uganda. This year has been no exception. The fifth edition of this event started from August 1 to August 10. Needless to say Tusker Lite in conjunction with Pearl Guide organised the grand finale at Marriott Skyz Hotel in Naguru for a successful event.
For the first time this year, Kampala Restaurant Week featured a cook-off which is a cooking competition where the contestants each prepare dishes for judging either by a select group of judges or the general public. These were held at various restaurants such as La Cabana, Brisk, Prunes, Karveli, and Olives. Unfortunately, owing to other commitments, I was only able to attend one of the cook-offs at Tamarai Restaurant.

The format
While the idea of a cook-off has merit, we were disappointed with the general format and set up of the event. There were only two contestants in each competition and the total time allowed per person was 10 minutes with a burger being the item to be cooked.
Given the time constraint there was not much that could be achieved within such a short time frame. Hopefully, next year there will be more brainstorming resulting in a more creative and interesting competition.
As a suggestion there should be an elimination process that would take place at various restaurants and eventually leading up to the climax where the winners would compete.
Last but not least, to give the cook-off more interest and merit, at the very least there ought to be a minimum of three courses and the maximum time allowed would be 30 minutes.

For the second year in a row La Cabana restaurant won the overall Top Signature Dish award as voted by the public and a body of judges. The criteria used was the attraction of the biggest volume of customers amongst the competing restaurants.
For the record, La Cabana offered two main entrees being the Taste of China which had a medley of Chinese teasers comprising beef, chicken, lamb, fish and pork served with fried rice and vegetables. The other choice was Brazilian roasted chicken served with potatoes and fried plantain.
Summing up the event, Cathy Twesigye, Tusker Lite brand manager said: “This has been a truly unforgettable fun dining experience for all of us, one that we have valued throughout. Thank you all.”

• Izumi Restaurant took Innovation award which was in the form of the Thai Massaman curry. This item is fried with coconut cream and then the meat is added along with potatoes, onions, fish sauce and tamarind paste and finally coconut milk and peanuts are added.
• Cantina Divino Restaurant and Bar bagged the Outstanding Service Award
•Olives Restaurant took the Top Casual Dining Restaurant Award.