Calling all amateur cooks! How many times have you thought “I can make this dish better”  or “I can easily run this restaurant” ? The owners of Kilo Kitchen+Bar, at the Ture Building, were ready for you to put your sweat where your mouth is. For one night only, the kitchen was to be yours to conquer or destroy! Those meek of heart needed not apply.

The first of a series of events, rightly named ‘Under Pressure’, was born from the tireless notions of those delusional to what a restaurateur or chef goes through daily. Owners of Kilo, Sharon and Javier came up with this concept hoping not for failure but the success of each participant. They wanted to give everyone a taste of what it would be like in an actual restaurant.

Both restaurateurs not only wanted to provide great food in a casual setting for their restaurant but also provide a space to promote upcoming artists waiting to be discovered. Events held at Kilo range from culinary, music to arts.

Less than two months after putting the word out, Sharon and Javier, found themselves looking at a slew of interesting applicants. From a yoga instructor to a media director, they searched for the perfect candidate. The criterion for this person was someone determined and vocal with an interesting menu; preferably a quirky attribute here and there. The lucky first was Nithiya Laila, a copywriter, yoga instructor and also an intrepid traveler who created a menu inspired by her many journeys.

Nithiya had two days to confirm her menu, list of ingredients and get a feel for the kitchen before the event. After a mad dash till the night of the event, all that was left for Nithiya to do was “kick ass” , in the words of Sharon.

Roasted Baby rainbow peppers stuffed with homemade saffron paneer, sprinkled with honey roasted crushed cashews. Green tomato chutney:

Smoked venison carpaccio with pea shoots and sliced roasted chestnuts drizzled with apple rosemary oil:

As with all events, drama is inevitable and necessary. From fish bones in the croquettes to key lime pie melt down, we can say the first Under Pressure event was successful in providing an entertaining evening for the guests. But what was more impressive was Nithiya’s composure through it all.

Bacalao Croquettes:

Shortbread-crust capirinha key lime pie:

At the end of service, Nithiya stepped out to applause of admiration for surviving the first Under Pressure event, which hosted double the number of anticipated patrons. Nithiya’s take away from this experience was one of new found respect for chefs and a sense of accomplishment for getting through the night. Think she might stick to hosting small gatherings at home for a while.