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Wed 9 Apr 2008 03:21 PM

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Cooking up competition

Chefs of the UAE got a chance to show off their skills outside the kitchen in the first event of its kind in the region, a football tournament specifically for the food and beverage industry.

Chefs of the UAE got a chance to show off their skills outside the kitchen in the first event of its kind in the region, a football tournament specifically for the food and beverage industry.

Unilever Foodsolutions, the foodservice division of global consumer goods company Unilever, teamed up with the Emirates Culinary Guild to organise the Unilever Football Challenge 2008.

The tournament took place on Friday March 28 at Jebel Ali International Centre of Excellence and was open to all food service establishments.

"The first 12 teams to register to the tournament were accepted and squads consisted of 8 players with a minimum of 4 chefs," explained Uniliver Foodsolutions marketing team member and tournament organiser Necip Camcigil.

"Matches were six-aside with roll-on roll-off substitution. All team players were from the same establishment so that each team could contribute to their own business by building team spirit," Camcigil added.

The tournament generated huge interest in the industry with four teams confirmed in the first week of registration.

"Registration was on a first come first served basis and we had teams from the Capital Club, Metropolitan Hotel, Al Hamra Hotel & Beach Resort, Nad Al Sheba Club and three others who committed verbally, so spaces were very limited," Camcigil said.

The tournament was open to men and women in the industry and gave chefs the opportunity to compete outside the kitchen Camcigil explained.

"I think the level of competition between chefs is a healthy one, and one that many others can learn from. The tournament was held in the same spirit and everyone got the chance to socialise and make friends with chefs of rival teams."

"We had a strong flavour of both Italian and French soccer and teams put on a display, which was nearly as good as the last European cup finals," Camcigil joked.

Southern Sun Hotel won the event beating Nad al Sheba Private Club 2-0 in the final.

"Southern Sun came together very well as a team and put in a disciplined performance.

"We will definitely be organising more events like this to keep giving back to the culinary community and I encourage more teams to sign up for this event next time around," Camcigil said.

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