In India, the land governed by curries and cricket, MasterChef Australia (MCA) has carved a niche for itself in the hearts and minds of the urban Indian audience, through their stomachs. The reality TV show’s judges Chefs Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris along with food critic and journalist Matt Preston, have become beloved household names.
Why has MasterChef Australia left such a deep impressions on us, has become a burning pop culture question. We quizzed celebrity chefs in India, and here’s what they said:
Made Food More Approachable
Chef Saransh Goila, who was one of the guest judges on Masterchef Australia’s 10th season, feels the show has made food more approachable to the common man. He explains, “Food today is not confined to a certain group of people thanks to such shows. MCA has helped bridge the gap and break boundaries in the world of food. The show ensured that a community was built around food—people who understand food, those who want to know more as well as people who didn’t understand it.” Goila continues, “MCA gave aspiring chefs a platform to prove their mettle and enter the industry. They have positioned a career in the culinary world as an enticing prospect, rather than a castle in the air.”
A Taste of Food Trends and Newer Cooking Techniques
Contestants and viewers, alike, get a taste of latest food trends and new cooking techniques on MCA. Words such as tempering chocolate, deglazing, sous-vide, and quenelle are now part of the culinary repertoire of people who regularly follow the reality TV show. “What impresses me the most,” says Kunal Kapur, a Masterchef India Season 1 and 2 judge, “is the way these newer jargons and techniques are presented. They seem aspirational and desirable at the same time.”
Good and Quality Ingredients
What excites for Pankaj Bhadouria and Shipra Khanna, Masterchef India season 1 and 2 winners respectively, is the amazing local produce, straight from the source, used in the MCA kitchen. “It’s a celebration of the vast variety of indigenous produce Australia has to offer. The contestants learn to use fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits straight from the fields/MCA garden, as a base for recipes as well as to add more colour to them,” says Khanna. Bhadouria adds, “This (farm to table concept) isn’t just fun to watch, but it is also is a reminder to help us realise the importance of the local and seasonal produce."
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“When it comes to food, presentation matters as much as the ingredients and flavour. And creating a good-looking dish is an art – from selecting the perfect crockery to carefully placing food on the plate, and garnishing,” says Chef Ajay Chopra, celebrity chef and MasterChef India Season 1 and 2 judge. He refers to the art of plating as “impressive presentation”. This focus and attention to detail on presentation is one of the reasons the show works so well with the audiences, adds Chopra after all the first look impacts how we a perceive a dish’s taste.
Helping Home Cooks Break Free
“By nature, a home cook tends to be docile, who thinks cooking is just a part of their daily chores. But it is shows like MCA that help break that notion,” believes Chef Ranveer Brar, who has judged MasterChef India alongside Chopra. Brar also mentions that, apart from boosting the confidence of amateur cooks, MCA has made the audience appreciate home cooks a lot more. According to him, MasterChef as a brand is the right influence the food scene has been yearning for.
Amazing Guest Judges
Legendary chefs and specialists of international repute such as Nigella Lawson, Marco Pierre White and Heston Blumenthal, have now become household names, thanks to MCA, points out Kapur. He has observed, “The show has given chefs an opportunity to come together as a community, which is great in today’s day and time."
Now that you’re done reading this, watch these culinary experts come together for MasterChef Limelights:
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