NetApp India, in partnership with the Bengaluru-based non-profit organization, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, hosted a cook-a-thon at its Bangalore campus today. In the first-of-its-kind cooking competition, NetApp saw over 30 teams of employees competing to make it to the finale chaired by none other than the celebrity chef and television personality Sanjeev Kapoor. The objective behind the cooking event was to showcase the use of frugal yet nutritious ingredients and spread awareness about hunger and its connection to school attendance among children. Since 2015, NetApp has sponsored over 23,50,000 meals i.e. about 3380 mid-day meals a day, in association with Akshaya Patra.

Akshaya Patra, known for serving mid-day meals to under privileged children across schools, partnered with NetApp to plan the contest with an interesting twist. Each team was required to cook up Indian recipes with frugal ingredients –and yet appealing to a child. As a part of the event, an exclusive demo cooking session for the participants; was conducted by guest master chef Mir Zafar Ali prior to the main cook-a-thon. Chef Sanjeev Kapoor judged the finale and gave a hands-on session to the employees and answered their food related questions.

The winning recipe was evaluated based on the parameters like taste, ingredients used, preparation time, and child-friendliness.

Speaking at the event, Deepak Visweswaraiah, senior vice president and managing director, NetApp India said, “At NetApp, we infuse creativity and responsibility into everything we do. Hunger is a critical concern in our country and has a huge impact on growing children, including their ability to study and attend school. We conceptualized this event to not only bring out the culinary skills of our employees but also create a participatory platform to collectively contribute towards the cause.” 

Speaking about the experience, chef Sanjeev Kapoor said, “When it comes to cooking, the more knowledge you share, the more you learn. To be a good cook, always see and appreciate the good in what you eat. It was an honor to be a part of the first ever cook-a-thon at NetApp and see the participants come up with some very innovative recipes. I have been associated with Akshaya Patra for many years and I hold this cause very dear to my heart”.

Following the cook-a-thon was the ‘Executive Chef Lunch’ hosted by and for NetApp employees.  NetApp leaders donned aprons for a fundraiser and appealed to employees to eat at the company cafeteria for a cause. Employees were encouraged to buy special lunch for the day and help generate a fund for flood relief efforts. The proceeds from the day will be donated towards Karnataka and Kerela flood relief as a part of NetApp’s continued commitment to giving back to the community. NetAppers are donating in kind as well as cash through NGO partners Habitat for Humanity and Goonj. In addition, NetApp is matching the amount raised through employee donations in cash, towards the flood relief efforts.