Celebrated Australian chef Gary Mehigan has more than one feather in his cap. Although he is best known for his stint as a judge on a popular cooking reality show, he is also a cookbook author and runs his own successful chain of restaurants in Australia. He is currently in India for a series of masterclasses and NDTV Food caught up with him for a candid conversation. While interacting with the chef, we realised that he is surely passionate about all things India - in terms of food, travel, culture and more. He also admitted he had a soft spot for Indian chaat, particularly the 'Raj Kachori'. Here are some excerpts from the fun chat!
Talking about why he has come to India this time, chef Gary Mehigan revealed, "I'm filming for a new series and I'm also taking some masterclasses." He further explained that he had travelled to Kerala and Nagaland this time - visiting popular destinations Munnar, Thekkady, Kumarakom and trying out all sorts of strange food in Nagaland. "I visited their market not 5-6 days ago, eating locusts and buying carpenter worms, silkworms, red worms and then, just, you know, cooking and eating," said chef Gary Mehigan.
Apart from this, chef Gary Mehigan also visited Jaipur where kachori was on his must-try list for sure. But the chef admitted that he enjoyed the delicious street-style Raj Kachori the most. "That Raj Kachori, I saw the guy making, I asked if could I get involved, and made a few clumsy kachoris. But once they're kind of in the fryer, you're sort of okay. But then smashing that and covering it in curd, some coriander and tamarind. It's just a really lovely experience of everything as a person that loves food," he said.
He further added that eating Raj Kachori was no less than an experience in molecular gastronomy. "People talk about it, or did talk about it, you know, 'molecular gastronomy' became the thing twenty years ago. They were talking about texture, and temperature and you know, crunch and I was like hang on a minute - they've got raj kachori. Has anybody ever tasted that? Because that, in a nutshell, is like a little world of molecular gastronomy just on its own," laughed the chef.
We also posed some interesting questions in the rapid-fire round. On being asked about his childhood favourite comfort food, Gary Mehigan was quick to respond, "Ice cream." As for three Bollywood celebrities he would host a table for, chef said, "Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra." And when chef Gary Mehigan was asked, "If not a chef, what would you be?" - his simple, heartfelt answer was, "If not a chef, I would be very sad!"
Watch the full interview video with chef Gary Mehigan in the header section, or else click here.
About Aditi AhujaAditi loves talking to and meeting like-minded foodies (especially the kind who like veg momos). Plus points if you get her bad jokes and sitcom references, or if you recommend a new place to eat at.