Meet the Masterchefs

Bengalureans were treated to a flavourful treat whipped by the Masterchefs who taught them how to create these artistic and flavourful dishes

By Namita Gupta

It probably just doesn’t get better than this. The Black Box at VR Bengaluru turned one and to ring in their first anniversary they hosted the longest birthday party with month-long celebrations. The VR One Carnival was complete with entertaining jugglers, stilt walkers, puppet festival, along with pop-up restaurants, energetic and soulful musical performances and DJ nights at the Sky Deck and more. But the marquee gourmet event that left avid Bengalureans sated and in complete awe was World on a Plate with the MasterChefs – MasterChef Australia, author, restaurateur Chef Gary Mehigan, Australia’s leading pâtissier Chef Adriano Zumbo, Le Cordon Bleu Singaporean pastry chef of 2am:dessert bar, 2am:lab and Janice Wong Sweet Shop at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Chef Janice Wong, Winner of MasterChef 2016, Australian teacher and television cook Chef Elena Duggan and our very own restaurateur, TV show host, judge, author and food stylist Chef Ranveer Brar. The event in association with Gold Rush was packed with master classes and food tasting sessions. RITZ caught up with the MasterChefs in a candid tete-a-tete as they laid out a smorgasbord of unique flavours.

  1. What did you demonstrate at your masterclass in Bengaluru this time?

Gary: I’ve come specifically for World On A Plate, let’s be honest. It’s my second year here and we had a fabulous time last year. It’s very exciting to be involved because we have Janice Wong, Adriano Zumbo and other amazing chefs. This time I showed off my kind of sophisticated comfort food and there are no Indian touches. I demonstrated Roasted Salmon with new season farm fresh vegetables.

Elena: I brought in some of my favourite summer flavours, but also utilised local ingredients because I love to showcase things that people can do within the area that I’m cooking. I demonstrated how to make a Crispy skinned Snapper and Quinoa Salad, which is healthy as well as delicious.

Adriano: I wanted to ring in a great experience in the dessert world. My motive is to tell people that making exotic desserts isn’t hard. They can be made in a simple manner. It’s about organisation and putting the right ingredients together in the right proportions. I made my creation called Dirty Chai Spiced Honey Date Cake, which is masala chai with a shot of coffee ice cream served on the side of a tea cup made of chocolate stuffed with honey dates. It’s my first time in India and I’m very excited.

Ranveer: I brought in summer into Bengaluru this time through my dish. I whipped up Jaamun cured salmon with ice apple and chilli compressed melon.

  1. What’s new on the MasterChef series? Any other developments?

Gary: MasterChef this year has been amazing. People are tuning back and loving it again in Australia. We have again got a little bit of a sweet tooth this year. We have got probably the best line up of international chefs we’ve ever had. I’m also doing a series of podcasts which will be launching in September, so they are in-depth and very personal conversations about food.

Elena: Most of the time lately, I’m building content for my website, i.e video recipes, I have around 500 recipes ready to put down there and share with the public and am making sure that they are accessible to everyone as there is a huge following for it.  Building video content is very time consuming but also a very joyful process.

Adriano: My business is the main thing that is keeping me busy back in Australia. The constant push of developing and creating in such a fast flowing world in the food industry is incredible and I’m a person who loves recreating and making something new for people every time. That takes a lot of time.

Ranveer: There’s a show on air called Fem Foodies, Asia’s first food truck competition and the first food truck reality show. There’s another show called Northern flavours, a classic Indian dessert show, that’s also on air. We have one more show called Ranveer on the Road on Twitter and we are going to shoot in Turkey for the same again.

  1. How was your experience at World on a Plate in Bengaluru?

Gary: It was a crazy experience. Even the organisers, Gold Rush were surprised to have so much buzz and interest created last year. It was a rollercoaster. And this year it was even better and more interesting with lots of registrations for the masterclasses.

Ranveer: The experience of World On A Plate essentially revolves around bringing food forward; whether it is restaurants, office goers or corporate people. World on a Plate has become a platform to bring food forward and that is one of the reasons I like to associate with it.

  1. What are some of the latest food trends these days?

Gary: We’ve been through that whole provenance and sustainability which is really important. Celebrating local and natural and native ingredients is really important. A lot of countries are following that trend now.

Elena: A respect for using a whole ingredient, so no waste or minimal waste is trending. That way we are forcing ourselves to be creative. So that’s one of the trends I’m excited to see.

Adriano: I think the freakshakes, donuts and minis are quite popular in Australia. But for me it’s about the classic flavours, like apple pies, red velvet and others.

Ranveer: I think vegetarianism and veganisim are trending these days.

  1. When was your first tryst with food? When did you decide that this is what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?

Gary: I was about 15. My grandfather was a chef and he was the one that inspired me. I used to love talking to him and cooking with him. But food was really never the focus; it was the conversation, what we were cooking, what we were doing was really emotional and something that I really enjoy.

Elena: I’ve always loved both food and art. So I became an art teacher first then pursued my love for food. When I was about two, I liked contributing to family meals. I’ve learnt a lot from everybody in my life and I think all of their passion just multiplied in me.

Adriano: I was around 13 when I realised I wasn’t interested in school; I wasn’t very focused on academics. I was more interested in sports and doing things with my hands. At 14, I started making cakes from my parents’ supermarket and taking it to school. At 15, I moved to Sydney and started cooking. I studied at L’École, LeNôtre and Bellouet Conseil and opened my first pastry shop in 2007 in Balmain in Sydney, and since then it has grown to 10 locations.

Ranveer: I just didn’t want to do what my parents wanted me to, that essentially was the urge. I was a rebel kid. I found solace in food. I was a restless child. Food made me stable.

  1. Your success story in brief? Some of the celebrities who have dined with you? What are your future plans?

Elena: The most famous people have been eating my food throughout the show, there was a concentration of them because each week we would meet someone new.

Adriano: It’s been a good journey. I’ve met some great people. I’ve had my own TV show, have written many books, travelled the world and cooked for some of the most amazing Australian food icons. I would love to do more of teaching and educate people more about dessert and how simple they are.

Ranveer: My success story might traverse around the restaurants I’ve opened and the shows that I’ve done, but all that is secondary. I think the real success story is the legacy of people that I’ve trained.