Hey Folks! What’s up? If you are reading this, you are doing the best thing in 2020! Yes, I have Master Chef Australia’s Gary Mehigan with me on #BlabWithSandy. It has been my immense pleasure of interviewing this much talented, World renowned chef, and super energetic individual. Let’s wait no further and dive into the exciting blab I had with Gary:
Sandy: Garyyyyyyyy! What’s Up?
Gary: Hey Sandy! Everything is up. Thank you!
Sandy: Most of the people know almost everything about you. It’s been a great time knowing all about food and chefs via Master Chef with you.
I wanted to ask you, what drives you towards Indian food? Coming from the fact that you’ve toured India in Masters of Taste. And, which Indian dish would you prefer to have as a staple breakfast?
Gary: The first thing that I love to have is Dosa! I like it with dal and chutney. It is such a simple and light dish and the coconut chutney is amazing. During my first visit to India, I experienced the South Indian delicacies, be it Uppam, Idly, etc.
In opposition to Indian food, I enjoy the Great Britain and Australian dishes. I do love your Dal Makhani, but Idly is love too! I have been in Maharashtra and love their Chole Bhature, a Maharashtrian classic. I experienced the street style food, tamarind, onion, coriander.
Sandy: One of my close friends in the film industry and actress Neha Dinesh Anand has something to tell you. She says you look like Bollywood’s famous actor Rishi Kapoor and that you resemble her dad Dinesh Anand. And, she also asked me to convey that she loves you the most than anyone else. 🙂
Gary: Hahahahahaha! I will right away check Rishi Kapoor’s face Sandy! Its lovely to hear such things. Master Chef has been broadcasted in about 180 countries. Its lovely and thrilling to know about such adoring fans from India.
Sandy: You, Matt, and George aren’t part of the Master Chef show anymore. Can we expect to see you all as guest judges again or your collaboration can be termed as completely over?
Gary: Our collaboration is alive. We decided early last year about the separation from the show. We had been on an all-boys trip, around the World. We had dreamt of visiting 12 of our favorite restaurants around the World, and it was also our 10-year anniversary. We boys get on very well, much like the three musketeers, ha-ha-ha!
Sandy: One of our reader’s and a dear friend, Saman Abbas has a small question for you. She asks, “Why did you leave the show”? 🙂
Gary: Well, I did think about this very carefully and it was in important decision. It should never ever feel like a job. I owe everything to my fans. The time was right to move on as what I and others felt. It had been 11 years, and I felt its time to move on and hand over the baton to the young stars.
We should celebrate the fact that it has truly been a wonderful experience. We do miss out on doing things together on the show, but new things are waiting for us.
Sandy: When and how did it all start for you in the first place?
Gary: My grandfather was a chef. I was a 15-year old boy, trying to decide what to do in life. Dad was an engineer and wanted me to do engineering. But what I loved was being like my grandfather, being creative and happy. He was a happy individual, and we used to cook a few things together.
Whilst being in school, I did small jobs in hotels. I was part of a catering college for three years and was off to London to experience my journey at the restaurants. And, like you all know, Master Chef has been a great avenue and I cherish the experience.
Sandy: How has the cooking scene changed over the years? Your views on the Indian dishes in comparison to the dishes of other parts in the World.
Gary: Over the past 10 years, the cooking industry has boomed, especially in big cities like Mumbai, and other international hubs like Kolkata, Bengaluru, Delhi, etc. It is very diverse, and I love the Asian fusion.
The Italian food quality and cuisines have improved in India. I love the Bombay canteen and cherish re-discovering regionality with regards to food. Dal Makhani, crunchy and crisp toppings over it, I just love that!
Sarson Ka Saag served traditionally is superb. I like the corn bread with jaggery on top. Talking about Hyderabad, I love the Haleem. India is starting to explore its regional cuisines seriously, and there are aplenty of dishes to choose from. The ingredients have gotten better, new confidence has been found in the past 3-4 years. Whenever I come to Mumbai, I find anything that I want, and this was not the case around 8-10 years ago.
Sandy: Have you ever visited Hyderabad? Any sweet memories for you whilst in Hyderabad?
Gary: Yes! I did visit Hyderabad in 2018. I had both, cooked and uncooked biryani. I was there for Masters of Taste. I had around 18 traditional dishes, was at a Nizam family home, ate beautiful food, chicken with green chillies. The cooks showed us how to prepare raw chicken mixed with saffron rice.
I loved the Andhra Biryani, the white colored biryani. I was at Fusion 9, and I liked the way mutton was cooked in milk. I went to the Eat Street, Bawarchi, Paradise, Moazzam Jahi Market, Faluknama Palace, and Monda Market. My goodness, the ingredients available there are fantastic. It was a Nizami feast, ha-ha-ha!
Quick Shot Round:
- Love: My goodness, you are hard Sandy, hahaha! I am a chef, so love would be Food!
- Biggest regret in life: Hahahaha, maybe not to be travelling sooner
- What do you indulge in when Idle? Read about cooking
- If you had to eat only one food item for three days, what would it be? Cheese, I love French cheese. I love the fact that India is growing in its cheese makers
- Favorite recipe/dish: Making Indian chicken curry. The dry spices mixed into paste, with strong cinnamon, coriander, and black pepper
- A dish that you make well but you don’t like eating it: Hahaha, goodness, nice questions. I don’t cook anything that I don’t love. You need to love what you cook 🙂
- Master Chef Australia: It was a privilege for me
- Most used App on your phone: Googles Maps (helps me when I’m in Mumbai)
- You are superstitious about: I don’t think I am! Karma is what goes around comes around. Be kind and helpful and things shall be good
- If not a chef, you would have been? Haha, wow! Maybe, an Architect
- Favorite places in India: Mumbai, I love its craziness. It’s a city of many different people. I love visiting Delhi and Hyderabad too! When I visit Mumbai, I acknowledge the fact that it has something good and something bad. It has a massive humanity, wonderful people, amidst some amount of poor. I like the sea
- Your favorite Indian movies/ stars: I am terrible with Cinema, haha! I had watched the film Dangal, and the two girls in the film were fantastic. I had met the film’s executive producer when in Australia
- Given a chance to change something in your life, what would it be? I would love to have some control over my obsession for food. I am in a constant conflict with health and food
- Favorite drink: Beer
- One good and bad thing about the cooking industry: Its dynamic, interesting, and ever changing. The bad thing is, the industry is a tough one for people to work. Sometimes, you go into working long hours. The expectations are high out here
Sandy: Which is the recipe that is the easiest to make in a minute?
Gary: A Good omelet can be made in a minute. Eggs are the most diverse ingredients in the planet.
Sandy: Any advice for new chefs coming up the ranks?
Gary: You must love what you do, or else what’s the point of working in life? If you do not enjoy it, you wouldn’t come up in this field. Its like you need to cook every day for the rest of your lives. Love your work, and work will love you back many folds.
Sandy: Anything that you would like to convey to the readers and your fans?
Gary: Stay tuned as a lot many things are happening currently. It is going to be an exciting 2020-2021. The end of an era is here, and a new era is beginning. Continue throwing the same love!
Sandy: A few words about Hyderabad Local.
Gary: Thank you Sandy for having me on your show. It was fun blabbing with you. Love and Luck to you!
Editor’s note: It was my pleasure having Master Chef Gary Mehigan with me. Wishing the Master, a lot many sweet things on his platter this season.
Interview by Sandeep Rao
Follow Gary Mehigan @garymehigan
Follow Sandy @blabwithsandy