Already popular for its annual carnival parade, Panaji is looking to get into the prestigious UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) by organising its first-ever beach carnaval, scheduled for later this month.
Panaji Corporation Commissioner, Agnelo Fernandes said, “The Beach Carnaval” will focus on a bouquet of culinary experiences and help put local ‘foodpreneurs’ on the map. The Corporation of the City of Panaji has partnered with FIERCE Kitchens, India’s First Culinary Incubator based in Goa, to create ‘The Beach Carnaval’ – a dedicated zone for local culinary entrepreneurs or ‘foodpreneurs’ at the newly renovated walkway along the Miramar beach. The carnival will feature a host of local entrepreneurs who can put up their culinary creations at the venue.”
One of the focus areas of ‘The Beach Carnaval’ will also put the spotlight on individuals who turned into food-entrepreneurs opening up small-scale food and beverage businesses during the economic dip witnessed during the pandemic.
“The pandemic has been tough on many. During the pandemic many people have turned into foodpreneurs, opening small-scale, aat-home’ businesses offering a variety of food. These ventures are largely driven by passion. We have decided to put the spotlight on foodpreneurs this year in an effort by the city to encourage them and offer the foodpreneurs a platform to showcase their creations,” Fernandes added.
Goa’s colourful carnival processions, which are normally held in February before the holy season of Lent, which sees the devout fast or abstain from some food, are symbolic of the state’s colonial Portuguese legacy.
For the week prior to the beginning of Lent, Goa celebrates ‘one last shot at having fun’ before meat and liquor is shunned as part of a 40-day period of religious penitence. Lent concludes with the celebration of Easter.
The event will offer foodpreneurs and aspiring chef entrepreneurs a platform to exhibit and promote their ideas, products, and talent to a diverse audience that visits the Panaji carnival festivities each year, Fernandes said.
“The event will also portray the culture, heritage, and welcoming spirit of Goa. The event will feature foodpreneurs ranging from home cooks, women micro entrepreneurs, pastry and bakery enthusiasts and other hobbyists in the culinary ecosystem. We aim to provide a platform to showcase the local and regional cooking talent to the audiences of the carnival,” he added.
Carnival parades are normally hosted in the major cities in Goa, but this is the first time in recent history that the state capital is readying for a beach carnival event, apart from the traditional float parade which is cheered by thousands of onlookers every year.
The beach carnival this year is also being organised in association with the Atal Incubation Centre at Goa Institute of Management.
“On behalf of the city of Panaji and with the support and expertise of FIERCE Kitchens and us at AICGIM, we are keen to nominate the city of Panaji as one of the creative cities in the gastronomy sector of ‘UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN)’. The Beach Carnaval is the first step in that direction,” said Rajesh Joshi, CEO of AICGIM.“The city of Panaji is a leading tourist destination and a melting pot for global cuisine. From fine dining restaurants to culinary trails which offer unique experiences in the intimate setting of residents’ homes, Panaji has much to offer. The Beach Carnaval event with the foodpreneur community at its core will add to the culinary experiences which Panaji has to offer,” said Parixit Pai Fondekar, founder of FIERCE Kitchens.