Even among the plethora of talent hunt-cum-reality shows that have sprung up in every corner of the world, the ones aimed at finding the best chefs or cooking talent have stood out among television audiences for their enduring appeal and consistently delivering quality entertainment, while producing a slew of real life success stories.

The shining example being Bangladeshi expatriate Kishwar Chowdhury, whose memorable run in MasterChef Australia - the granddaddy of the genre - in 2021 had us crying and laughing and drooling all at the same time.

The recently concluded seventh edition of 'Shera Radhuni' which has established itself as not just the most popular such show on the local airwaves but also the most prestigious title of its kind in search of the country's best cooking talent, has crowned its newest winner - Eyerish Atiar from Dhaka.

Becoming one of the youngest and brightest celebrity chefs in the country in recent times through the show, Eyerish topped the season not only with her supreme knowledge about a handful of mouth-watering recipes but also with all the experience she gathered through her long-rooted and eventful safari as a young learner, across many famous and top-class kitchens in the city.

Sharing her journey from being an English language and literature graduate from East West University to becoming the shining star as the best chef on television for the calendar year (1429 is the Bengali year), the champion, or Shera Radhuni, told Dhaka Courier in an interview that her story began in her own household kitchen, just like every other chefs and cooks - however, not as a luxury but a serious responsibility in dire straits.

"There goes the proverb 'Necessity is the mother of invention' - and that is exactly what happened when I had to learn how to cook at a very early age due to my mother's illness. Little did I know that my necessity would eventually lead me here," Eyerish told UNB.

After completing her post-graduation in English literature from East West University, Eyerish went on to pursue her dream of becoming a culinary artist. Being passionate about the food and beverage industry, as well as guests satisfaction, she got herself trained by NHTTI (National Hotel and Tourism Training Institute) on food and beverage production and completed her internship at Hotel Intercontinental Dhaka (Asian kitchen, Cold Kitchen and Hot kitchen) and from Hotel Renaissance Dhaka (Pastry kitchen).

While working as the Head of Bistro at a restaurant in the capital, Eyerish focused on participating at Shera Radhuni 1429. With her experience of participating in some other cooking competitions before, Eyerish marched forward to the audition - however, not without any problem.

"The culinary industry is amazing but requires constant attention if you are responsible for managing and oversee certain responsibilities. When I was scheduled to audition in Shera Radhuni, I could not manage my leave. As I am passionate about this industry, I did not want to quit the job but I did not get the required support from that workplace either; so I had to sacrifice the job to participate in Shera Radhuni," Eyerish said.

After leaving her job and auditioning for the show, Eyerish got selected for the main competition, impressing judges with her culinary skills and tasty dishes. "However, from the very beginning, I requested and insisted everyone - from our honourable judges Rahima Sultana Rita, chef Subhabrata Moitra and Dilara Hanif Purnima (and chef Nayeem Ashraf in the audition round) to all the participants - to consider me as a regular participant, and not to consider me exceptional due to my previous culinary experiences and professional training."

With a variety of talented participants and aspiring chefs across the country, the seventh season of Shera Radhuni by Square Food and Beverage began on September 20, 2022. After selecting 40 candidates from across the country through the divisional round of auditions, the grand audition began. The studio round started with the top 20 participants, and this was the first time in the competition that the top five contestants of the previous seasons acted as mentors for the participants.

The candidates had to participate in various cutting-edge cooking challenges in several episodes of this year's competition, including the Desi Taste, Pitha Parban, Global Tour of Taste, Festival Taste, Mother's Cooking Taste, and Salt Bake Challenge. Every episode was loaded with suspense and twists, amusing the viewers on television.

"For two and a half months, I had to stay away from my family to live in our shooting camp at a resort in Gazipur. This was tough for me as I was born and brought up in Dhaka, and never stayed away from my family. The teammates and other competitors made me feel at home, through their constant support and cooperation throughout the time," Eyerish relayed to Courier, about her experience in the cooking camp.

As a master of cooking along with her Master's in English literature, Eyerish Atiar aspires to uphold the glory of Bangladesh to the global foodies.

"Due to the language barrier, sometimes it gets difficult to communicate with our respected foreign customers in the hotels and restaurants. With my combined knowledge of food preparation, presentation, and my educational background along with the rewarding experiences gathered from Shera Radhuni - I became confident to serve the world, if or whenever I get the opportunities in the future," she said.

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