“I am always discovering one thing new, which is what cooking and travelling is all about; discovering an uncommon ingredient, a recipe, a brand new flavour, or approach is what makes Indian cuisines addictive. Sadly the remainder of the world is sluggish in taking over the concept of regional Indian meals”

Gary Mehigan was a decide on MasterChef Australia for 12 years. (Picture: PR handout)

He was one of many three judges, or the ‘Three Musketeers’ on MasterChef Australia for 11 seasons. However like all good issues, his stint on the present additionally got here to an finish. Gary Mehigan, nevertheless, continues to be remembered for his constructive suggestions, jovial nature and real recommendation to the house cooks on the cooking present. Although he shares he has not watched the present ever since he left it, he does agree he shall be “inextricably linked to the present perpetually”.

In an unique interplay with indianexpress.com, the well-known chef talks about his journey on the present, the pandemic, Indian meals and what lies forward.

Learn on.

Your title continues to be synonymous with MasterChef Australia — how has life been after you parted methods with the present?

Simply so everyone is aware of, it was time to vary, time for one thing totally different, for one thing new. Life is definitely being totally different, although 2020 was surprising and life-changing to a point. I’m certain many individuals would really feel the identical. I’ve been writing a e book that has saved me busy, getting caught into podcasting which I like and pitching quite a few concepts to varied manufacturing corporations. I’ve additionally spent way more time doing a number of the issues that I at all times have appeared to have missed out on, having been so busy previously.

How would you describe your 11 season-long affiliation with the cooking present?

I’m certain I communicate on behalf of Matt (Preston) and George (Calombaris), however all three of us have been extraordinarily fortunate and blessed to be a part of MasterChef Australia for such a very long time. We additionally know that we’re inextricably linked to the present perpetually, and other people will most likely at all times know us as The Three Musketeers or the three boys from MasterChef.

In what methods do you’re feeling it helped form your profession?

I feel what I’m most happy with in my time as a decide or MasterChef is how influential the present and we have now been all world wide. Bringing meals to life, encouraging novice cooks to make their meals goals come true and providing constructive suggestions and real recommendation that has pushed most of the contestants on to larger and higher issues.

Do you continue to watch the present and infrequently find yourself imagining your self to be on the set, giving suggestions to the house cooks?

Eleven years is a very long time to be doing something, and though I’m very happy with my time on MasterChef, it was time to maneuver on and do one thing totally different. I haven’t watched the present since leaving, which some individuals could discover arduous to imagine. To be sincere, for me, the joys of being concerned was at all times concerning the relationships we fashioned with the contestants. Being a part of their progress as cooks throughout filming was extraordinarily rewarding however extra importantly, changing into mates and colleagues as soon as they’d left to observe meals careers of their very own made the entire expertise very particular.

The pandemic, which confined individuals to their properties and witnessed a surge in home-cooked meals, additionally gave rise to varied developments like one-minute recipes, mug recipes, leftover recipes and many others. What do you consider such developments, and do you’re feeling they’ve a shelf-life?

I feel an important development in the course of the lockdown was a brand new appreciation of time spent with household, cooking at house and having fun with the easy issues in life. Plus, such digital occasions with Conosh allowed me to remain linked with my followers. I beloved seeing all of the great photographs and movies on Instagram of individuals reigniting or discovering their love of meals comprised of scratch at house. Baking sourdough, making cheese, pasta, fermenting and pickling greens or making jam appeared to wind again the clock 30 years, to a time when the world gave the impression to be much less frenetic and complex. That is my second workshop with Conosh, so I’m blissful to see individuals are getting concerned and making an attempt various things. I’ve beloved interacting with individuals on this platform, starting from skilled and novice cooks to meals lovers and residential cooks. It has been heartening to work with a neighborhood that thrives on the common love and appreciation of meals.

For those who needed to decide one MasterChef contestant and one dish you continue to keep in mind in any case these years — who/what would that be and why?

That’s a tough query to reply as a result of there have been so many scrumptious dishes on MasterChef over time, however I nonetheless love Alvin Quah’s ‘Drunken Rooster’. It was merely scrumptious, jammed packed filled with flavour and one thing I nonetheless make commonly at house, which absolutely is an indication of an important dish.

Indian cooking has at all times been an integral a part of the MasterChef journey. Are you able to title one Indian dish ready on the present that left behind a longing style in your mouth?

Sandeep Pandit cooked a Masala Lobster which we described as most likely among the best dishes we had in 11 seasons of MasterChef from an Indian contestant. It appeared splendidly easy, however the flavour of the mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves and trace of smoke made the wealthy masala sauce style completely great! We thought that possibly it was a bit extravagant utilizing lobster, but it surely was value each mouthful….!

What’s your tackle Indian delicacies — in Australia and world wide?

I’ve mentioned this many occasions earlier than, however I’m always thrilled with the meals I eat each time I go to India. The invention of regional Indian flavours and cuisines has been a mind-boggling expertise over my many visits. I’m always discovering one thing new, which is what cooking and travelling is all about, and discovering an uncommon ingredient, a recipe, a brand new flavour, or approach is what makes Indian cuisines addictive. Sadly the remainder of the world is sluggish in taking over the concept of regional Indian meals. Nonetheless, issues are altering with many nice Indian cooks spreading the phrase, opening eating places in a few of our largest and trendiest cities, and gaining worldwide reputations for stunning meals. I’ve been lucky sufficient to have the ability to talk with my Indian viewers by way of Conosh, which has, in some ways, made up for being unable to go to the nation and work together with such a various group of meals lovers.

What’s preserving you busy in the intervening time, and the way does 2021 search for you?

I hate to say it, however I’ve loved slowing down way over I anticipated — extra time to do the issues I would like at my very own tempo. I’m wanting ahead to my e book popping out later this yr, to proceed to podcast and concentrate on my espresso model. I’ve my fingers crossed that the world will start to open up subsequent yr, and we are able to resume our travels. We’ve a number of pitches within the works for meals tv of varied varieties, but it surely’s far too early to speak about it but. TV is a fickle beast, however I’m certain we shall be returning to your screens in a single kind or one other quickly. As of now, I’m wanting ahead to my collaboration with my good pal and colleague George Calombaris and the Conosh neighborhood.

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