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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » November 19, 2008
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Borderland Palate Pleasures
November 19, 2008   
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The scenic 真br闚ka Best Western Hotel in the eastern Polish city of Bia這wie瘸, more than 200 kilometers east of Warsaw, was the venue for a cross-cultural culinary festival billed as the 1st Meeting of Polish and Belarusian Cultures on the weekend of Nov. 7-9.

The idea of the event was to promote the Polish-Belarusian border region with its primeval Bia這wie瘸/Belovezha Forest and cuisine. The festival was held under the auspices of Podlasie Province Chairman Jaros豉w Dworza雟ki and the Klub Szef闚 Kuchni (Head Chefs' Club) foundation, which brings together chefs from Poland's leading restaurants and hotels.

Twelve teams from Poland and Belarus took part in a culinary competition. The Polish competitors included teams from the Mazurkas Hotel restaurant in O瘸r闚 Mazowiecki near Warsaw; the Verde Montana restaurant in Kudowa Zdr鎩 in southwestern Poland; the Jan III Sobieski Hotel, moonsfera, Club Fair Play and Likus restaurants in Warsaw; the Parkowa restaurant in Bia這wie瘸; the Cristal Hotel restaurant in Bia造stok in eastern Poland; and the Sodexho restaurant in the western city of Pozna. The Belarusian competitors were from the beloveskaya Pushcha restaurant in Kamenyuki; the Minsk Hotel restaurant in Minsk; and the Grodno Hotel restaurant in the city of Hrodna.

Dishes prepared by the teams were assessed by an international panel of judges comprised of Teofilos Vafidis from Greece, Kurt Scheller from Switzerland, and Giancarlo Russo from Italy. Polish and Belarusian regional folk ensembles performed, including Poland's Narewczanki and Rybcie znad Biebrzy, and Belarus' Nerush from Minsk. Another attraction was Cooking with Stars, a culinary show featuring popular chefs and celebrities divided into two teams. The first team was led by Robert Sowa, head chef of Warsaw's Jan III Sobieski Hotel, and included Pawe Ma豉szy雟ki, Jakub Przebindowski, Martyna Przebindowska, Joanna Jab販zy雟ka, Sambor Czarnota, and Agnieszka Sici雟ka from the Eurodental firm. The second team was led by Edward Puchalski, head chef of the 真br闚ka Hotel, and included Gra篡na Wolszczak, Katarzyna 畝k, Andrzej Zaborski, Tomasz Sapryk, and Monika Jarosi雟ka. The competition was keen until the last moment and ended in a draw.

The results of the main culinary competition were announced at a final gala on Nov. 8. Belarus' Minsk Hotel restaurant won; the Mazurkas Hotel team from O瘸r闚 Mazowiecki was the runner-up; and the Jan III Sobieski Hotel restaurant from Warsaw was third. The event closed with a recital by Polish singer Katarzyna Cerekwicka.

Ewa Hancock
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