Stressed out? Here's how you can chill out on the weekend, Health News – AsiaOne

Stressed out? Here’s how you can chill out on the weekend, Health News – AsiaOne

Stressed out? Here’s how you can chill out on the weekend PHOTO: HerWorld Online Her World Online Mar 31, 2019
After a hectic work week, we all really look forward to the weekend. But have you ever found that your precious weekend passes by all too quickly and you feel like you didn’t get much out of it? One way to get out of that situation is to plan something substantial.
Whether you want a lazy Sunday brunch with the family, a fancy dinner with a special someone, a spa date for some Me time, drinks at a cool lounge, or a fun family staycation, you can find all these at the Pan Pacific Singapore, which offers a variety of great options.
1. SUNDAY BRUNCH WITH THE FAMILY Photo: HerWorld Online
Check out the Sunday brunch at Pan Pacific Hotel’s Edge restaurant with unlimited Veuve Clicquot Champagne (for the adults) to accompany a buffet feast of roasted meats, fresh seafood on ice, local delights, pastas, a Swiss Cheese Fondue Station, a whole selection of delectable desserts and much more. For the entertainment, a live band is on in sessions throughout the brunch and there’s also some entertainment for the kids with a roving balloon artist and a cotton candy machine for a sugar high. $74 per child from six to 12 years old, $148 per adult including soft drinks, and $208 per adult including unlimited Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label pours.
2. A FANCY DINNER Photo: HerWorld Online
The dining options at Pan Pacific are stellar. A go-to location for good food from different culinary cuisines. Sitting amidst a sprawling Japanese roof garden, Keyaki is a favourite for its on point, perfectly presented Japanese fare. The Tepanyaki and sashimi here is to die for, by the way. There’s also Hai Tien Lo for award-winning Cantonese food and Rang Mahal that serves fine Northern Indian cuisine.
3. SPA DATE WITH YOURSELF Photo: HerWorld Online
There’s nothing quite like the tranquillity of a spa and an invigorating treatment to set you right and St. Gregory spa is a go-to. You can go for the beautifying facials or stimulating body treatments ala carte – from a milk bath to a tui na massage, a mud wrap to a foot reflexology massage, an oxygen facial to a detox scrub. From $70 for a 30 min foot massage to $400 for the Perfect For Two package of a full body massage and milk bath for two.
4. DRINKS AT A COOL LOUNGE Photo: HerWorld Online
You cannot miss the hotel bar, Atrium. It is situated on the ground floor in the middle of the hotel and features seating pods floating over a reflection pool. The 44-meter long bar is also the longest bar in Asia, and it serves up premium beers, wines, cocktails and spirits. A great lounge to kick back and relax over drinks and also the perfect place for its Instagrammable backdrop.
5. A FUN STAYCATION Photo: HerWorld Online
If you have young kids, check out the hotel’s Great Fun-mily Escapade Package. More than just an extra cot bed for the kids and some token amenities, the themed rooms are complete with fun, colourful bedding, a teepee tent, bath toys, colouring pencils and books, bathrobes and bedroom for the kids, and activities too. Stay over a weekend on this package and children can go on a treasure hunt on the lifestyle floor on level four where they can redeem a surprise treat upon completion too. Package price starts from SGD510++ per night for two adults and two children under 12 years old.
This article was first published in HerWorld Online .

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June Sarpong returns to her roots in the world’s most welcoming country

June Sarpong returns to her roots in the world’s most welcoming country June Sarpong As the daughter of Ghanaian immigrants, June Sarpong decided she must return to her roots – Francis Kokoroko More For me, Ghana is and has always been the country of dreams. Ever since independence from Britain in 1957, it has been a country of aspiration, with a population that would travel across Africa and the wider world, packing their hopes along with anything else they could carry. During a period of prosperity in Nigeria in the Seventies, Ghanaian migrants were attracted there to seek work; then in 1983 they were given a deadline to leave their host country and had to pack everything they owned into oversized checkered bags. Border crossings were restricted and they ended up being stranded for weeks, while the bags they carried became synonymous with the phrase: “Ghana must go!” Strangely, those bags have since become a symbol of style, coveted by the international fashion community. Louis Vuitton has even released a “GMG”-inspired luxury range. And today the words “Ghana Must Go” are the slogan designed to encourage visitors to the country. As the daughter of Ghanaian immigrants, I long ago decided that I too “must go” to Ghana to live my own Ghanaian dream and share in the vision articulated by the first Ghanaian president of turning a colony into a country of wonder that the world would flock to see. In 1957 Dr Kwame Nkrumah was part of a “big six” of Ghanaians whose relentless pursuit of freedom would help make Ghana the first sub-Saharan African nation to gain independence from a European power. In his maiden speech, Nkrumah made an impassioned plea to the people of this new nation: “I am depending on the millions of the country, and the chiefs and the people, to help me to reshape the destiny of this country. We are prepared to pick it up and make it a nation that will be respected by every nation in the world.” The Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra Credit: iStock More Second-generation Ghanaian immigrants, who like me share a Ghanaian and British identity, personify the continuing connection the two countries have enjoyed since independence. In Ghana, the idea of welcome is everything. The word for it in Twi (the main language other than English) is akwaaba. (Don’t worry if you don’t remember it: you’ll see it everywhere.) On my most recent visit, the spirit of welcome started the moment my flight touched down in Accra, as the Ghanaian passengers began a rapturous round of applause for the captain – not because the journey had been turbulent, but simply as a way of saying thank you. I was staying at the Kempinski Accra, the main luxury hotel in the capital. The sprawling atrium is adorned in exquisite African art, the staff are incredibly friendly, and rooms on the upper level have views overlooking central Accra. (Try the main restaurant’s spicy Ghanaian fish stew and Fante Kenkey, a tart cornmeal fermented dough with tomato sauce. It is simply wonderful.) On this visit, I decided to enlist the help of some of the country’s most in-the-know influencers and get their take on the must-sees, from art and culture to fashion and food, entertainment and nightlife. Most of the clans of Ghana are matriarchal, and this female influence feeds through to the world of business and commerce. According to the Mastercard Index of Women’s Entrepreneurs (MIWE), Ghana has the highest percentage of female business owners in the world. First to take me under her wing was beauty entrepreneur and founder of the Shea Butter brand R&R Luxury, Valerie Obaze. Like me, Obaze is a product of both Britain and Ghana and is part of a new wave of entrepreneurs re-establishing the cultural and commercial ties between the two nations. Valerie took me to Viva Boutique (the Harvey Nichols of Ghana), which is owned by beauty guru Sacha Okoh. A fashion hub for the Ghanaian elite, it’s the perfect place to find original pieces by African luxury designers such as Christy Brown and Maki Oh (a favourite of Michelle Obama, Lupita Nyong’o and Beyoncé to name but a few). Story continues Accra: Ghana’s bustling capital Credit: iStock More From there, I hooked up with actress Marie Humbert, star of An African City (Ghana’s answer to Sex and the City), who took me to Studio One Eighty Nine, the fashion brand by Hollywood actress Rosario Dawson and designer Abrima Erwiah. All of Studio One Eighty Nine’s pieces are conceived in Ghana and ethically produced there using sustainable fabrics and dyes. We then popped to Elle Lokko, the coolest fashion concept store in Accra, where I was able to pick up a few pieces. By that point we were in the mood for a night on the town, so we caught up with afrobeat star Manifest for guidance. Our first stop was Front/Back, one of the city’s most popular spots. The queues can sometimes stretch around the block, but it’s well worth the wait if you are lucky enough to get in. The decor is outstanding and all sourced from African artisans: the furniture is upholstered with vintage Ewe Kente, the walls adorned with art by artists including Hassan Hajjaj and Florine Demosthene. One of the best things about Ghanaian culture is its cuisine, a rich blend of spicy tomato-based dishes fused with exotic flavours which allow for a wide variety of tastes and textures. Each region is known for a dish, and with over 50 dialects in the country, cuisine is something that unites the various different regions and clans. The staple dish, however, is jollof rice, a one-pot rice dish which is the subject of a long-standing West African rivalry (Nigerians, Ivorians and Ghanaians all proclaim theirs is the best. Obviously, I’m biased.) Azmera Restaurant is one of the most popular lunch spots. Ghanaians love a buffet and Azmera has one of the biggest selections in the city, with at least 40 local dishes on offer. Founded by another female entrepreneur, Afua Krobea Asante, who is often on hand to greet guests, Azmera has a family feel and the staff talk you through each item, explaining the ingredients and preparation. Jollof rice is a Ghanaian staple Credit: iStock More Alternatively, try Midunu, where chef Selassie Atadika delivers a unique dining experience that takes place in a spectacular villa situated in residential Tesano, on the outskirts of Accra. Using local and seasonal ingredients, along with some of the more traditional grains, part of Selassie’s mission is to reintroduce and bring new value to overlooked and forgotten ingredients. Her handmade artisanal chocolates are made with the finest locally sourced cocoa and bring a unique African twist to luxury chocolate. At the other end of the scale are the “chop bars” where local workers eat. These are all very informal, but what they lack in decor they make up for in food portions. Perhaps the most popular is Asanka, which has been a fixture of the Osu area (Accra’s commercial district) for over 20 years. If you want a real local experience this is the place: try the red-red (beans stew) and plantains. Founded by local Lebanese entrepreneur Marwan Zakhem, Gallery 1957 is the country’s most talked about high-end gallery. Located at Accra’s Kempinski Hotel and working internationally, it is dedicated to contemporary art. With a curatorial focus on West Africa, the gallery presents a programme of exhibitions, installations and performances by the region’s most significant artists. I was treated to a private tour by legendary artist Godfried Donkor and Gyankroma Akufo-Addo, director of the Creative Arts Council of Ghana. It was a privilege to be able explore this part of Ghana’s art scene with a trailblazer such as Donkor, whose new solo exhibition Battle Royale: Last Man Standing opens on Aug 29 2019. Donkor, along with the pioneers such as Paa Joe and Prof Ablade Glover have paved the way for emerging artistic talent such as Elisabeth Efua Sutherland, whose bold exploration of contemporary issues has made her one to watch on the international scene. June Sarpong Credit: Francis Kokoroko More My final stop in Accra was the Makola Market. Market places are the engine room of Ghanaian female entrepreneurship. Known as “market queens” these wisecracking women contribute to the bulk of income from the country’s service sector. Makola is a hive of activity where women, old and young, balance all manner of goods on their heads – often with a baby strapped to their backs (no working mum’s guilt here). This is where all the action takes place – and it’s also where you can buy your own “Ghana Must Go” bag. And then: explore. Anyone visiting Ghana should also take time to visit other parts of the country. For me, some of the best options are Kumasi in the Ashanti region, which is where my parents are originally from. The region is perhaps the heart and soul of the nation. Known for its magnificent gold, there is no better place to see the precious metal on display than Manhyia Palace, home of the Asantehene (Ashanti king) and the Ashanti royal family. There are two palaces: the first is now a museum and also houses a rich archive of the history of the Ashanti people, though I must say one of my favourite features of the palace are the beautiful roaming peacocks (a gift from the Malaysian royal family) that greet you upon arrival. Ghana’s Volta region, famous for its large dams and lush greenery, is also worth a visit. The landscape has a different feel to the rest of the country which tends to be either coastal or dry plains. For a more contemplative experience visit Elmina Slave Castle in Cape Coast, a stark reminder of Ghana and Britain’s intertwined, painful past. This is a part of history we must never forget, in order to ensure we progress with respect and humanity. For a more contemplative experience visit Elmina Slave Castle Credit: istock More On this trip I also took a short flight north to Tamale and Bolgatanga. Northern Ghana feels similar to bustling Indian cities such as Mumbai, Delhi or Chennai. You see motorbikes and bicycles everywhere, men, women, grannies all on two wheels, and bright yellow tuk tuks, known locally as mahama camboo, named after former President John Mahama who introduced these taxis as part of an employment drive for the North: the Boris Bikes of Ghana. The first part of my visit was on behalf of the education charity AfriKids, an organisation founded by British philanthropist Georgie Fienberg. While on her gap year Georgie ended up here, in the poorest part of the country, where she encountered families trying to get by on less than £2 a day. She decided she had to do something, and 15 years later AfriKids has grown into one of the leading independent NGOs in West Africa. It’s “Time2Shine” campaign was recently selected by the UK Government for match funding. Securing this partnership with DFID has enhanced AfriKids’s ability to change lives, a point expressed by CEO Charlie Hay whose goal is “Blazing a brighter trail for Ghana’s next generation and helping to build a better and fairer world.” Hay does not overstate the truly life-changing work of AfriKids. Over five days I met the women from the Sirigu Co-operative, former street children who are now back in school, and visited impoverished communities who have been supported with micro finance loans. Once a year the team at AfriKids offers the Zaare (Family) Challenge holiday, where Western families get stuck in with the local AfriKids team, as well as enjoying the cultural delights of the North, from Sirigu mud paintings and natural clay pottery to traditional basket weaving. I opted to stay at Mama’s Place in Bolgatanga. Established by local nun Mama Laadi, this trailblazer takes in orphaned street children and provides care and shelter. Her guesthouse is very basic but excellent value. More importantly all of the proceeds from the guesthouse fund Mama’s foster home. From Bolgatanga, I headed off to Tamale to explore Zaina Lodge located in Mole National Park. Zaina is the only game lodge in West Africa and its architecture and interiors utilise the local styles and craftsmanship. A beautiful infinity pool overlooks the lush plains of the northern region and the lodge offers two safari trips a day (although the park’s 100 or so elephants often enjoy a morning sip and can be seen just underneath the dining area). The rooms are safari-style tented chalets, each with spectacular views of the savannahs. Then it was back to Accra, where I checked into La Villa Boutique. It is set in the heart of Osu and is characterised by its brightly decorated individually themed suites. Lush tropical plants and trees surround a private freshwater pool providing an oasis of calm just minutes from the thriving urban streets of city centre. Bolgatanga in Northern Ghana Credit: istock More Instead of being a country people leave in order to become successful, Ghana is now a creative destination in its own right. At last the words of Dr Kwame Nkrumah are being realised. Ghana must go! And so must you. Essentials Getting there British Airways ( ba.com ) operates daily flights from Heathrow to Accra. A visa is required and can be purchased in advance via the Ghana Embassy in London or on arrival. Africa World Airways ( flyawa.com.gh ) operates domestic flights all over Ghana. Staying there Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, Accra ( kempinski.com ) has doubles from £274 per night La Villa Boutique, Accra ( LaVillaGhana.com ) has doubles from £125 per night Mama’s Place, Bolgatanga (00 233 24 623 0874) has doubles from £35 per night Zaina Lodge, Mole ( zainalodge-ghana.com ) has doubles from £307 per night Visiting there

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UAE-India food security alliance planned – gulfnews.com

Mariam Saeed Hareb Al Mehairi, the UAE Minister of State for Food Security Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News A food security alliance between the UAE and India is envisaged soon, Mariam Saeed Hareb Al Mehairi, the UAE Minister of State for Food Security, said here on Thursday.
Winding up her two-day visit to New Delhi, Al Mehairi said such an alliance would have strategic importance and UAE’s proximity to India made it feasible. She described it as “work in progress” following her visit which generated wide interest in India in view of the critical importance of food security for the second most populous country in the world.
The UAE Ambassador to India, Dr Ahmed Al Banna, who along with the Minister, addressed the crème de la crème of the India’s agro and food processing industries and said the possibilities for productive engagement between the two countries in this sector were immense.
The private sectors of both the UAE and India were looking at these opportunities and Dr Al Banna envisaged joint ventures in the food sector soon. He put the UAE Minister’s pioneering visit to India in this context.
The interactive session was hosted by India’s premier industry organization, the Confederation of Indian Industry, CII, which has leading companies from the agro and food processing sectors among its members.
Al Mehairi said her concept of a bilateral food security alliance was similar to strategic cooperation between the UAE and India in energy security, which was conceptualized following recent high level exchanges by leaders of both countries. This arrangement is working well and Abu Dhabi’s oil is now being stored in India’s strategic oil reserves in Karnataka state.
Priyanka Mittal, who briefed Al Mehairi and Dr Al Banna on behalf of CII, said 85 per cent of India’s basmati rice exports go to the Middle East. The UAE is the number one destination for the famed agricultural produce, which is integral to any Arab cuisine that includes rice.
Mittal called for harmonization of safety and other standards between the UAE and India in the area of food and agriculture business for augmenting cooperation. She also called for engaging each other on mutual protection of trademarks.
Al Mehairi unveiled the idea of setting up an “Indian food city” in the UAE. It could be set up in a free zone in the UAE and would work well for value addition in the zone and exports to third countries. Such a facility would allow India to bring its advanced food and agricultural technology which can be harnessed in the UAE for mutual benefit.
Several UAE companies in the food sector which are looking to promote business with India in this new area of bilateral cooperation attended the interactive session hosted by CII. They included ADVOC, which specializes in vegetable oil exports and Lulu, which sources food from India for its retail chains on a large scale. The UAE-India Business Council was also represented. Haridas Pantheeradi, Director of CII’s Gulf, Middle East and North Africa department explained the rationale for the interaction.
More From Government UAE consumers will have 5G by June Social media influencers justify their claim to fame Arab Media Forum: Podcasts and the future of radio Does television have a future in the Arab world? Traditional television is now facing stiff competition from digital platforms

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Every country has different culture, cuisine , you may like one or you don’t. And about unhealthy foods, all of the Indian dishes are healthy??

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How does it matter anyway ? If it aint that popular like that of Chinese and Mexican food . As far as i know , Indian food is quite popular in UK and to a lesser extent in US . Obviously Chinese and Japanese people won’t have the taste for our food as their cuisine is radically different to ours .

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A Tropical Vacation at Peppa Pot in Downtown Rochester, NY

It’s finally spring – which doesn’t mean much in Rochester, NY where it could snow well into April and sometimes May, as well. Colleges are back from their spring breaks and many people are planning their summer vacation ideas. Every single year I see dozens of people run away to the Caribbean, especially if they want that island getaway feel. I’m here to tell you that, if you aren’t planning a Caribbean vacation this spring, you do not have to fear. The Peppa Pot Restaurant in the city of Rochester, NY is the perfect escape if you want to try some exotic food and feel drifted away to Margaritaville .
I am a huge fan of rum drinks, and I miss the Havana Cabana every day that it’s been gone – although Lanai is still fantastic , as well. So I knew that if I went to the Caribbean I would 100% go straight to Jamaica. I’ve always been fascinated with Jamaican drinks, food, and the Patois language – but I’ve only ever explored two of the three. I had yet to try Jamaican food and initially had no clue where to find it authentically here in Rochester – or anywhere, in fact. Peppa Pot has actually been in Rochester for a number of years now in the South Wedge on Gregory Street, but just recently at the end of 2018 opened a location in the Center City on East Main Street. After hearing excited talk about its expansion, that I knew I had to check out.
Compared to the South Wedge’s tinier storefront, the East Main Street location has plenty of places to sit and stretch your legs. While the Gregory Street location feels small and cozy, the downtown location feels more like a traditional night-out dining experience. Tropical, Jamaican-themed decor lines the walls and a cool, black-and-brick interior theme makes you feel like you’re in a beach-side cabana instantly. As the story goes of Peppa Pot’s opening, according to their website , the owner, Marlene Henry, began her love of cuisine from cooking for her family. Once her children grew up, she started the restaurant which, to her, never felt like a struggle. Her love of food truly shows in her recipes.
I was initially nervous about what I would choose as my entree as I had never tried any sort of Caribbean food in the past. I did some light research before coming, even once consulting a Jamaican Lyft driver what his favorite dishes were. His response – Curry Goat . I thought I would do him a disservice if I didn’t give it a shot, so that is what I ordered. The waitress was the absolute sweetest thing and gave the Curry Goat a great recommendation herself, which only solidified my decision. The two friends I went with each ordered the Jerk Chicken as well as the Pepper Steak dish. I had water to drink this time, as they do not have any alcohol there – but you may bring your own beer or wine if you wish. They do, however, have an array of Jamaican imported soft drinks and fresh juices available such as D&G Kola , Ting , and “Irie” Iced Tea. I definitely want to try one next time I come!
Our food arrived in a very short time and everything looked drool-worthy. Each of our dishes came with sides such as cabbage, rice & beans, and fried plantains. Additionally, all of our dishes came with a Southern-style corn biscuit. I went with the plantains and rice & beans to go with my Curry Goat, which I would highly recommend. The plantains were so sweet they satisfied any need for a dessert, and the texture of them melted in your mouth. The rice and beans were outstanding – I love the way the fresh black bean flavor sinks into any dish you make with it. My friend really loved the fresh cabbage slaw with his sauce-slathered Jerk Chicken dish. However, hands-down the biscuit was the best stinkin’ thing on everyone’s plate. Absolutely no words – the biscuit stole the show. High remarks from both of my friends about their dishes. I was simply stunned at how much meat they gave each of us for the price, it was definitely worth it. We also really loved the hot sauce they had, Grace Foods’ Hot Pepper Sauce ; so much so that my friend and I actually bought some at the store to use at home!
And finally – my review of the Curry Goat dish: Outstanding. The hint of curry flavor was just right, not overpowering nor tasting like an Asian or Indian curry dish. I love the way curry is used in so many cultures’ cuisines and that all of them taste so unique. This one was no different. Additionally, the meat was served on the bone in the curry broth. Everything was super tender and juicy. The meat almost fell off the bone. The flavor was a bit similar to lamb, in fact. It had a bit of game taste to it, but in a very fresh way. And because it was eaten off the bone, it gave me a satisfyingly carnal feeling – the same feeling you get when you’re eating a giant turkey leg at the Renaissance Fair. They had given us so much food that I ended up taking half of mine home – which I actually love doing. And, unsurprisingly, my dish warmed up beautifully the next day.
Overall, I would definitely suggest this restaurant, especially to those like me who had never tried Jamaican food before. Everyone there was so welcoming and made it easy to pick out something new to try. All three of our dishes were delicious, so I can only assume the entire menu is flawless. There is just something about food that you know had a lot of love put into making it. The Peppa Pot Restaurant is located at both 522 East Main Street in the Center City, and at 133 Gregory Street in the South Wedge. They are closed Mondays, but are open Tuesday through Saturday until 7:30pm and on Sunday until 6pm for lunch and dinner. Thank you for reading my restaurant review, keep an eye out for more articles like this by following my Twitter , Facebook , or Instagram for post updates!
All opinions and pictures are my own.

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The MICE Evolution – by Imelda Ndomo

EAST AFRICA TOURISM – THE MICE EVOLUTION
By Guest Writer Imelda Ndomo
(Posted 29th March 2019)
(Kigali Convention Centre)
It is often said, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) Nairobi is East and central Africa region’s gateway and hub. But to the man on the street, this statement may be more meaningful broken down to say, for instance, JKIA has direct flight connections with 4 continents – Africa, Asia, Europe, North America; and the Middle East and Indian subcontinents. This means that travelers from many locations around the world enjoy direct flight connections with Nairobi – many more than those that require a connecting flight. For the majority, access to East Africa in regard to the travel experience is quite easy – with tens of scheduled daily flights out of JKIA to the rest of the region, and access facilitation through the East Africa (EA) single visa. The EA visa is multiple entry, and allows seamless travel between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. Owing to this, the EA profile as a Meetings, Incentive, Conference and Events (MICE) destination continues to grow remarkably.
Whereas leisure travel was the mainstay of local tourism in previous years, emerging opportunities across various economic sectors in the EA region at large has given rise to a vast number of corporates and travelers visiting for business.
Further, travel is today an integral part of the day to day life of many professionals across East Africa, locals and residents alike; a stark departure from the past when this was a preserve of the elite and management. This is a pointer to the non-seasonal nature of MICE tourism, which is a welcome reprieve considering the region has for a long time grappled with the challenges of seasonality of leisure tourism. In Kenya, MICE is arguably the fastest growing segment of tourism and travel, and accounts for the overwhelming majority of new tourism investments in the country.
A spot check across the region confirms the ongoing MICE investments trend; with infrastructural expansions and personnel investment geared towards the MICE product. As the industry seeks to prime itself for this growing segment, here is a brief look at the top, defining considerations for the MICE market:
1. Capacity:-
Let’s face it – one of the foremost considerations when hosting an event is for participants to fit comfortably in the venue space. Event formats and even client preferences for instance, seating style, come as varied as the number of events taking place at any given time; and directly impact on the venue capacity requirement. Breakout rooms and podiums translate to a larger capacity venue space required. It follows thus that the larger the venue capacity, the more its appeal for a diverse mix of events.
Further, non-traditional spaces are increasingly sought after. Outdoor spaces are gaining in popularity, considering their potential for much larger capacity and outstanding, unique aesthetic. Venues that offer a combination of new and conventional spaces enjoy a competitive edge in the market.
2. Location
Consumer habits and preferences are continuously evolving. Today, there is a growing market specifically for non-traditional conference destinations; e.g. skipping the conventional board room for a tented set up in the remote bush for corporate meetings is not uncommon. By the same token, there remains a market for the tested and tried city locales.
(Kampala Serena Conference Centre)
Regardless of their destination preference, ease of accessibility is paramount. Not only is a reliable transportation network, be it good roads, rail, air or waterways necessary, good access also encompasses the elimination of barriers for persons with reduced levels of ability. Whether that is reduced mobility, sight, hearing or cognitive ability, designing locations and venues so as to provide these persons with easy and independent access is a great business opportunity, especially considering that 1 billion people across the world live with different types of disability (WTO) and projected to grow, in part due to aging populations and the reduced capacities that accompany aging.
(New Entebbe to Kampala Highway)
3. Security
Personal safety is one of the foremost considerations for anyone when making the decision to travel. The perceived safety of a destination is important not least because it directly corresponds to the guests’ expectation of their personal well being whilst on their travels. There is nothing like losing personal items and or work equipment such as laptops and cameras to disrupt one’s holiday, muddle a work assignment and colour a trip if not the entire destination negatively.
(KICC Nairobi)
Whilst security management continues to evolve, some of the key goals remain – efficient screening, surveillance and access control. These are key ingredients for the success of any event, and event organizers place a high premium on an effective security mechanism. For instance, proper access control is not only a matter of security, it also enables the organizer to enforce participation procedures such us participants’ registration and identification.
4. Suitability/Ambience
Is the venue complementary to the event’s theme? For instance, an accessible hotel where the design – structural as well as administrative culture – facilitates access for persons with disability is complementary to an event on Universal Access or otherwise empowerment of persons with disability; an academic institution is a complementary venue for a scientific conference and a beach front property perfectly complementary for a beach wedding.
5. Service levels
Guest tastes and preferences are as diverse as the individuals involved, making it imperative for innovation in guest services to satisfy expectations. Understanding and catering to guests’ individualized needs is the hallmark of customer service excellence and undoubtedly high on the agenda for MICE buyers.
Providing a designated, professional event coordinator to work with clients to achieve their vision for their event and assist in resolving any issues arising along the way should apply across the board. In addition, providing the right equipment and a well-trained, efficient team prepared to go the extra mile to ensure successful events is a hallmark of success in the trade.
6. Food & Beverage
Creating a memorable culinary experience for your guests encompasses more than just a variety of cuisines – it needs to be the highest standards of specialty. Adding a house touch to make the establishment’s mark on the familiar is a great idea, whether through a signature flavor twist or signature dish.
Proper food handling cannot be overlooked. Any lapse in this will have costly ramifications; extending beyond the financial to possible health crises. Food storage, preparation and presentation must satisfy proscribed health standards and as well go a step further to create an ambient and enjoyable dining experience. This goes a long way to boost guest experience, which is proven to attract return customers as well as inspire positive word of mouth referrals.
7. Sustainability
One of the leading trends in the global travel market today is a preference for travel that leaves a positive footprint in destinations and the host communities, whilst giving the traveler an enjoyable, memorable experience.
Establishments that demonstrate commitment to sustainability through implementation of sound policies for environmental and heritage conservation have a distinct market advantage. In Kenya, the eco rating scheme by Ecotourism Kenya is the pioneer, widely acclaimed recognition scheme for hospitality providers that demonstrate sustainability excellence by going over and above regulatory requirements. Considering that the region’s traditional tourism offering is nature based – Safari and beach, sound environmental management is a matter of duty.
(Seeking alternative ways to provide water)
Today, it is widely agreed that sustainability excellence is as much a tool for business competitiveness and survival as it is about the environment and ethics.
8. Brand recognition
Positive perceptions of a particular brand in the market place them top of mind and ahead of the competition in the minds of prospective clients. Built over time through consistency and trusted quality, event organizers often are guided by brand recognition when mulling over venue options.
Whatever the brand association – whether it is excellent food and beverage, guest relations or support to local communities, it is an important component of customer loyalty and great for market development.
Brand recognition is built over time but a worthwhile investment for every establishment – consider the priceless value of the unpaid advertisement that is word of mouth referrals and recommendations.
Price Competitiveness
MICE travelers arguably spend more than the average leisure traveler, attributed to having more disposable income. But when it comes to MICE expenditure, corporates’ competing budget lines and constraints lead to steep variations; from very low to large and unrestricted budgets. As is the case, the latter is usually the exception and not the norm.
It follows thus that providing a range of differently priced packages suitable for a broad spectrum of the market is advisable. Regardless of their budget, clients are looking for value for their spend; and working together with them within reasonable budget lines to create a successful event goes a long way. Not only does the client get a rewarding experience, the establishment’s profile and reputation also grows.
9. Ethical and Regulatory compliance
As a service industry, self-regulation and ethics is very important to safeguard clients’ interests as well as build the establishment’s and in turn the destination’s reputation. In Kenya, hospitality providers have organized themselves into trade associations where they voluntarily comply with set codes of ethical conduct and standards.
Beyond this, there are government enforced regulations in regard to standards and development covering licensing, health, data capture and taxation amongst others. To be sustainable and to thrive, any business must meet its ethical, regulatory obligations. The good news is this builds the organization’s profile not only with the regulators but also with the consumers. Share this:

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ARN cooks up a storm for Oz Harvest

ARN cooks up a storm for Oz Harvest Friday 29 March, 2019 Yumi Stynes
ARN’s Executive Team turned sous chefs for the night as they joined more than 200 of Australia’s industry leaders and corporate teams who created and served a gourmet dinner made with love, hope and generosity as part of Oz Harvest’s annual CEO Cookoff Event . HT&E CEO and Managing Director Ciaran Davis , ARN Chief Operating Officer and CFO Michael Harvey , National People and Culture Director Marissa Daras , Chief Operating Officer – iHeartRadio Australia & Asia Geraint Davies and Chief Marketing Officer Anthony Xydis joined forces for the annual event to assist the guru of Indian cuisine Kumar Mahadevan to make delicious meals that were served to more than 1,400 special guests from charity agencies. The event was hosted by Larry Emdur with support by The Edge 96.ONE’s Mike E & Emma and KIIS National Network 3PM Pick Up’s Yumi Stynes .
ARN raised over $21,500 and helped Oz Harvest to get closer to their target fundraising goal of $3 million. ARN’s involvement in Monday night’s event is part of an ongoing series of events organised by their Corporate Social Responsibility program, The Goodness Project, which sees employees from across the company team up to use their expertise and creativity to help charities make a difference in the community. The Exec team also fired up their cooking skills ahead of Monday’s event and got behind the grill to serve up ARN’s Sydney office with a barbecue breakfast as part of a fund raiser for Oz Harvest. Guest speakers from Oz Harvest were also hosted at each of the company’s offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth to share their message of sustainability and how to reduce food waste.
Back: L-R: Michael Harvey, Marissa Daras, Geraint Davies, Anthony Xydis, Kumar Mahadevan and Ciaran Davis. Front: Emma Chow and Mike E

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Things to do at Mahabalipuram – a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tamil Nadu

Approximately three centuries before Christ was born at Bethlehem, during the Sangam Age, the Tamil country in south of India was already flourishing. However, the story of Mahabalipuram as we know it today starts during the 7th century during the reign of mighty Pallavas, who ruled from Kanchi near present day Chennai. It was a time of rivalry between three key south India dynasties – Vatapi (Karnataka), Pallavas and Pandyas (south Tamil country). However, this rivalry wasn’t just limited to the battelefield, but also extended to the area of art, architecture and literature. It was during these restive, yet exciting times, that Mahabalipuram flourished.
So what exactly is Mahabalipuram? Mahabalipuram was already a well-known sea-port and was even written about even in the Greek empire. The present day name itself is derived from Mamallapuram, of the city of Mamalla, the title of Narasimhavarnam I. He lived during the seventh century and is credited with commissioning most of the temple work done here.
Travel guide to Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu
If you find names of all these kings and dynasties confusing, don’t worry about it. Its a daunting task for me also to research and write about them, and trust me this is the simplest possible version of Mahabalipuram’s history.
But why do I write so much about history? Does anyone even care? Well, I do because I care about history a lot. It fascinates me, and reading about history actually takes me back in time and allow me to relive some of those moments in my own dreams. Also, I do genuinely feel that there would be others like me who love history as much as I do.
Plus, history allows us to take pride in the achievements of our forefathers. This is absolutely important and I hope I can inspire the present generation to read and learn more about our glorious past.
Architecture at Mahabalipuram When I visited Mahabalipuram, I already had some notions about the temples and the architecture style here. Unfortunately, I didn’t know it all and appreciate the variety of styles of the temples here.
I am not an architect, but let me share a simple version. The one common element binding the temples here is the fact that they are all made of stone, the other being that they were all built by Pallava kings.
The Panch Ratha (five chariots) is actually a monolithic temple all the five rathas are carved out of a single stone. The shore temple, on the other hand, is a masonry temple from the time of Rajasimha. The temples might look similar, but the construction methods are completely different. The masonry/ structural temples started during the time of Pallava kings and co-existed with the rock-cut temples, but by the time the dynasty ended, rock/temples were already a thing of the past.
My impressions of Mahabalipuram My visit to Mahabalipuram was as unplanned as it could be. I was actually on my way to Pondicherry for the weekend when something came over me and I changed my plans and got down on the highway. I booked my cab online and called it for directions. The guy at the reception was kind and actually sent his man in a motorcycle to pick me up.
As soon as I entered the town, my first reaction was that of surprise. I’m had somehow assumed Mahabalipuram to be a quaint religious town, and the lanes lined with cafes and Goa-like flea markets changed my perception. There were mostly international guests strolling and chit-chatting. Many Indians visit the town as well, but most do a one day trip and don’t stay for the night. Foreigners often stay for days, some doing Ayurvedic therapies like Panchkarma while others just want to relax.
There were a few shops selling Kashmiri goods and I had a good chat with a couple of young chaps from Srinagar. They were here for only two months and were so happy to hear someone talk to them in their language – Urdu for them, Hindi for me. It seems I was the first guy they could speak to properly in days.
On my first time I didn’t see any signs of temples or any religious activity. I did see a lot of alcohol (I also guzzled down big bottle of Kingfisher Premier), and people generally having a good time.
Things to do at Mahabalipuram Anyway, now that we know a little about the history of Pallavas and a architectural styles of the temples, let’s explore things to do at Mahabalipuram!
1. Shore Temple Built in the 8the century, the temple is one of the finest examples of early stone structural temples. Due to it proximity to the sea, the temple has seen extensive decay over the years, though conservation work has slowed down the process.
The temple opens to visitors at 6am and I would recommend starting your Mahabalipuram right at this temple. The resplendent morning glow of the temple will surely blow you away.
Entry fee: Rs 30
Read more: Shore Temple of Mahabalipuram
2. Panch Ratha Though it has no connection to the epic Mahabharata, these five beautiful temples carved from a monolith is named after the five Pandavas and their wife Draupadi.
Even though the Shore Temple is the most famous landmark of Mahabalipuram, I think I am split between the shore temple and the Panch Ratha when it comes to picking my personal favourite.
It’s located about 1.8km from the Shore Temple and you can easily walk the distance on a cool winter morning. I would suggest visiting this landmark right after you are done with your morning tea after exploring the Shore Temple.
There is parking outside the complex.
Entry fee: Rs 30
Read more: Panch Ratha at Mahabalipuram
3. Arjuna penance or descent of Ganga This massive 30m wide and 15m high relief is possibly the most famous relief from the entire Mahabalipuram area. The carving tells the story of Arjuna penance as well as the story of Ganga’s descent from heavens to earth.
Arjuna’s penance
It was built by Narasimhavarman 1 to celebrate their victory in the battleground and is a unique example of open relief work found nowhere else in India.
Entry fee: free
4. Butter ball The butter ball is really just a large stone which is interestingly placed on the incline of the hill. It’s a very popular place for pictures for all tourists.
Butter ball at Mahabalipuram
Entry fee: free
5. Mahishamardini cave Built by the Pallava Dynasty, the Mahishamardini cave is located near the lighthouse and certainly a must-visit. It’s also one of those places which are easy to miss because you won’t know about it unless you are already there.
Mahishamardini cave
The temple is full of many beautiful sculptures, but the one that stands out the most is the one of reclining Shiva (image below).
Reclining Vishnu
Entry fee: free
6. Go up the Light house The lighthouse is located on the same hill which has many of the protected Pallava era sites, but it’s newly built. It’s the best way to see the town from top and get an idea of what the place looks like from top.
Light house at Mahabalipuram
The Shore Temple looks beautiful, but tiny in front of the huge coastline.
Entry fee: Rs 20
7. Exploring the hill area
This is actually the one part of Mahabalipuram which gets the least importance and visitors often making a passing visit here. However, in my opinion it’s a must visit part and one can easily spend hours walking across the hill and stumbling upon numerous historical remains.
Remains of a massive complex on top of the hill
View from top
Mahishamardini cave and butter ball are part of this, and some of the other key interesting places include as mentioned above.
Entry fee: Free
8. Sculpture museum If you are interested in sculptures, a Mahabalipuram is one of the best places to explore store sculptures in there making. There are numerous shops selling marvelous sculptures mages by local artists.
Sculpture museum at Mahabalipuram
If you want up know even more about these local style, I recommend visiting the Sculpture Museum located on the way from the Shore Temple to the Pancha Ratha, close to the Bus Stand.
9. Swim in the sea How can you visit a beach and not jump into the sea right away! The beach isn’t very clean, but it’s a good enough for a cool dip on a hot day.
Beach at Mahabalipuram
There are no lifeguards around and the sea can be a little rough at times, do do use caution if you do decide to swim. While I was there, I did see many jumping into the sea, but most often they were foreigners.
10. Sea surfing
Right on the East Coast Road which connects Chennai to Pondicherry, there’s is a Surf Club and you can certainly try out surfing there.
If you don’t know how you Surf, you can also learn it from the experts. It would certainly help if you have your own car because then you can go at your own convenience.
Read more: Kallialay Surf School
11. Ayurvedic Message Ever since I spent a healthy weekend at Atmantan near Pune, I’ve become a big fan of Ayurvedic therapies. When I saw a few Ayurveda centres here, I decided to give it a try.
My experience was actually quite decent and I would be happy to recommend it to fellow travellers as well. Small word of caution though – though my masseur was a through professional, I had to insist that I wanted at least a towel to cover my modesty. He told me that most of his international clients didn’t care at all and not wearing anything actually helps him in full body strokes. Anyway, the choice is pretty much your own – either way I don’t think it matters. Even in my case, I had to eventually let go of the towel because he complained so much about it.
Fee for massage: ₹1000 (negotiable), duration: 60 minutes
Read more: My experiences with Ayurvedic massage
12. Explore French cuisine One of the things that surprised me a lot during my visit was the number of French cafes and restaurants in Mahabalipuram. Do check them out if you end up going there, they also serve some good French wine.
Waiting for my lunch at a French restaurant
Food at Mahabalipuram I already mentioned about the French cuisine above, but that’s not the only food you get there. There is Italian, Punjabi, Chinese and South Indian as well.
There are numerous local food shops especially in the area near the bus stand and they are extremely affordable.
Stay in Mahabalipuram Wow, this is a tough question to answer. Mahabalipuram is one of those places where you have options to stay in all possible budgets. I actually stayed in a fairly affordable guest house, Sathish, and there are actually many more like that.
Here are some well rated options on Booking, which is where I booked my room as well.
Sathish Guest House
Temple tree
Blue Moon
There’s no derth of resorts as well and some of the best ones include:
Chariot Beach Resort
Grand Bay
Radisson Blue
Welcome Hotel by ITC
How to reach Mahabalipuram It’s located about 58 km from Chennai and easily reachable by road. I traveled by bus (ticket coat ₹80), but there are many taxis also. It’s easy to drive down as well in your own car – this will allow you to stopover all along the way too.
You can also take Zoomcar, and it’s especially good if you are travelling in a group. Ola Outstation is also another idea, and you can stay overnight even with this option.

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MasterChef 2019 contestants: Who are the MasterChef contestants?

BBC One tonight (Thursday, March 7) will see the final three MasterChef 2019 contestants enter the kitchen. Delia, Irini and Jilly are the final three MasterChef contestants, one of which will be crowned winner by Gregg Wallace and John Torode . Geoff left MasterChef last night in the BBC show’s semi-final.
Related articles Lisa Faulkner announces engagement to Masterchef judge John Torode MasterChef’s Gregg Wallace and John Torode’s feud Who are the 2019 MasterChef contestants? So far, the BBC has only announced the names of the first 28 contestants of MasterChef 2019.
We will update this article as more contestant names are revealed and more information is given about the MasterChef 2019 chefs.
For the first four weeks of Masterchef 2019, BBC One will broadcast two heats of seven contestants a week plus a quarter-final.
Tonight on MasterChef, the fourth set of seven contestants will enter the MasterChef kitchen. Their names will be revealed on tonight’s show.
MasterChef 2019 week 11 contestants (Image: BBC) Episode 11: Thursday, March 7
The final seven MasterChef 2019 contestants are:
Peter Tony Natalie Jilly Maria V Zaq, 30, is a circus director born in the United States but now living in Birmingham who appeared earlier in the series but eliminated himself after managed to cut himself badly in the first challenge Jasmin We will update this article as the BBC reveals more about the contestants
Related articles Gregg Wallace net worth: MasterChef presenter’s WHOPPING fortune Lisa Faulkner thought she’d be booted off MasterChef in 2 DAYS
Jay, Simon, Lewis, Judy, Geoff, Alec and Amal (Image: BBC) Episode 10: Wednesday, March 7
Jay, 28, is a management consultant from London with an interest in molecular gastronomy Simon, 50, is from Coventry and has a collection of over 250 cookbooks Lewis, 35, is construction site manager who was taught to cook by his Caribbean father and who who decided to apply after a poker game with his wife where the winner got to apply Judy, 61, is a retired HR manager from Seaford who cooks food inspired by her travels in Spain Geoff, 56, is a London psychologist who dreams of becoming a food and travel writer Alex, 43, is a charity director from Wiltshire who loves to combine classic British cooking with her Mediterranean heritage Amal, 37, is a private bank executive born in Somalia and living in Manchester who was taught to cook by her grandmother when she was eight
Thomas, Sonia, Ajay, Samantha, Michael, Jelena and Marcus are February 28’s MasterChef contestants (Image: BBC) Episode 8: Thursday, February 28
Thomas, 25, is from Devon and starting cooking when he was still living at home as one of nine children Sonia, 54, is a fitness fanatic from Bedford who works in occupational health Ajay, 41, is an IT account manager who started cooking when he found himself homesick in San Francisco Samantha, 42, is a writer living in Norwich who has five cats and seven horses – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Michael, 30, is a neuroscientist from London who got his start in cooking helping in his parents’ Chinese restaurant – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Jelena, 30, is a lifestyle blogger originally from Latvia but now living in Manchester – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Marcus, 26, is a management consultant who collects cookery books – ELIMINATED IN HEAT
MasterChef 2019 episode 7 contestants (Image: BBC) Episode 7: Wednesday, February 27
Rebecca, 38, is a marketing manager from Yorkshire who dreams of opening a cookery school Paul, 61, was born in Rochdale, lives in Kingston upon Thames and the South of France, which inspires his cooking. Samira, 53, lives in London, is originally from Venezuela and worked in the charity industry until recently when she quit her job to pursue a career in food. – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Elliot, 32, is an estate agent who loves to cook for his two young children Sarah, 42, is a psychiatrist from Edinburgh who catered her own wedding – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Olivia, 26, started cooking at 10 and is now a sales manager – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Tom, 36, is a flight attendant from Coventry and is a vegetarian cook – ELIMINATED IN HEAT
MasterChef 2019 contestants from episode 5 (Image: BBC) Episode 5: Thursday, February 21
Panisha, 28, is a paediatric nurse from Manchester who loves to combine British cuisine with her Indian heritage Zaq, 30, is a circus director born in the United States but now living in Birmingham who eliminated himself after managed to cut himself badly in the first challenge (he will be back in two weeks’ time according to the MasterChef Twitter account) Delia, 27, is a police officer from Ashford who loves to cook for her colleagues Mark, 57, is a retired engineer and foster carer from Oxfordshire inspired by his extensive travels – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Sarah, 55, is an estate agent from Gloucestershire who loves to cook for her family Mike, 38, is an insurance consultant from Birmingham who learned to cook after leaving the family home – although his mum still used to post him bacon sandwiches – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Raf, 36, is a plumbing company director originally from Albania who loves cooking with his three sons – ELIMINATED IN HEAT
MasterChef 2019 contestants: heat three (Image: BBC) Episode 4: Wednesday, February 20
Paula, 32, is a financial planner who loves to combine the foods of her Italian husband and Greek heritage – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Harry, 24, is a student of infectious diseases from London who dreams of a career in food – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Jim, 54, is a company director who cooks for a local homeless charity Nuha, 57, is from Lebanon but lives in London who likes to cook updated versions of classic historical recipes from her motherland – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Stephen, 49, is a business analyst from Caerphilly who has been inspired to become a food writer after the death of his father Gordon, 50, is a soft drinks wholesaler who has been cooking since leaving home at 16 – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Carise, 24, is a full-time mum from London who loves to cook authentic Carribean food – ELIMINATED IN QUARTER FINAL
Ottille, Justin, Phil, Irini, Ashleigh, Yui and Josh are the second heat of MasterChef 2019 chefs (Image: BBC) Episode 2: Wednesday, February 13
On Wednesday, February 13, the second set of seven chefs will cooked in the second heat of MasterChef 2019:
Ottille, 27, is a marketing manager who dreams of opening a deli in the Yorkshire Dales – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Justin, 47, is a submarine safety engineer from Bristol with seven children – ELIMINATED IN QUARTER FINAL Phil, 36, is a digger driver from Wakefield who had never cooked fish before the first MasterChef challenge – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Irini, 60, is a retired banker who splits her time between Cumbria and Crete Ashleigh, 29, is an estate agent and home baker from Leeds – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Yui, 41, is a teaching assistant originally from Bangkok whose earliest memories involve cooking for monks – ELIMINATED IN QUARTER FINAL Josh, 28, is an advertising salesman from London who taught himself to cook from YouTube – ELIMINATED IN HEAT
Maria S, Tim, Lisa, Frank, Devina, Gary and Annabel are the first MasterChef 2019 contestants (Image: BBC) Episode 1: Monday, February 11
The first heat of MasterChef 2019 contestants included:
Maria S, 33, is a mum of two who works in banking relations and lives in North Lanarkshire – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Tim, 26, is a curator from London who has never eaten a ready meal Lisa, 46, is a lawyer from Guernsey who has become a MasterChef contestant for the challenge- ELIMINATED IN QUARTER FINAL Frank, 34, is a Nigerian-born company director who now lives in London – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Devina, 51, is a nurse and family cook born in Mauritius who now lives in Leatherhead – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Gary, 57, is a sales engineer and travel fanatic who is inspired by world foods – ELIMINATED IN HEAT Annabel, 22, is from Middlesbrough and starting cooking dinner for her parents when she was a teenager Related articles John Torode weight loss: Masterchef star lost THREE stone doing this Masterchef Gary Maclean shares top tips on turkey In the heats of MasterChef, the seven contestants must first tackle The Market Challenge, where they enter a room full of food and are tasked with making one dish.
Three of the chefs will be eliminated in each heat after this challenge.
The four remaining chefs then have to cook a signature two-course menu, after which another is eliminated, leaving three to go through to the quarter-finals.
The first quarter-final will be this Friday, where the three chefs from tonight’s heat are joined with the three from Wednesday.
MasterChef continues tonight at 8pm on BBC One

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