Meet the contestants taking part in the first World Dumpling Championship
PUBLISHED: 15:12 30 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:16 31 March 2019
An inaugural festival celebrating the humble dumpling has brought together chefs and foodies from across Norfolk.
The World Dumpling Championships in Norwich, the first event of its kind, saw contestants whip up batches of the doughy treats for judges to sample.
The event at the Sanctuary Coffee Stop at St Alban’s Church in Grove Walk involved competitions for amateur cooks and professional chefs, with each involving a host of dumpling recipes from English to Nepalese varieties.
Organiser Eve Stebbings said: “I am a dumpling maker so I thought it would be lovely to get people together and make dumplings from all over the world. They are a taste of home wherever you come from.
“These contestants are the people who kept going through the process, cooking and telling stories about their dumplings.”
Ms Stebbings added that, based on the success of Saturday’s inaugural event, she would look to host a second competition next year.
Meet the contestants
Neelam Subba, 43 and from Norwich, was crowned the winner in the amateur contest for her traditional Nepalese filled dumplings, called momo.
For the competition Neelam, who works in children’s services, served a version stuffed with chicken, onion and ginger with spicy sauces – which she said she had to tone down for the judges.
She said: “We make momos for social gatherings, when we make them in Nepal it brings people together.
“My husband told me I should give it [the championship] a go, I was in two minds but I decided to give it a try.
“I love cooking, and momo is a popular dish back home. I have made them for loads of people and most of them have loved them.”
Elina Burkovska, originally from Latvia, made dumplings with pumpkin seeds, king oysters and lemon, a recipe she devised herself.
The 36-year-old, who works as a kitchen porter at a Norwich burger restaurant, said she had experimented with different fillings before she found the combination.
“I think it goes together and it is a little bit interesting,” she said.
“I absolutely love cooking. It is kind of a hobby.”
Joan Barnard, 70, from Shropham, stuck with a more traditional English dumpling recipe, using only seasoned flour, suet, fresh parsley and thyme and water.
“They can be made without the suet, that is a traditional Norfolk dumpling,” she said.
“They are very adaptable, I don’t think people realise. They are simple to make and they can be vegetarian or vegan.
“I don’t make them all the time but I have made them for a long time. I tend to make them in the winter with stews.”
Brothers Jesse and Seth Rahamim, eight and six, were last-minute entries to the competition.
The young chefs from Norwich made a casserole from vegetable leftovers to go with their dumplings, which were flavoured with homegrown herbs.
Their mother Bryony, 40, said: “We were going to come to the competition anyway, but Jesse didn’t clock that we were not competing, so I phoned Eve and she said we could as someone had dropped out. I told the boys we could but they would be doing the cooking.”
The professional round was won by Norwich chef Blake Bowden, whose wild garlic tortellini saw off competition from Roger Hickman, Norwich Japanese restaurant Shiki and Chinese restaurant and tea house Baby Buddha.