Bengaluru: English-Australian chef, restaurateur and judge of the “MasterChef Australia” Gary Mehigan, who loves using some Indian spices to cook delectable treats back home in Australia, says social media has played a huge role in giving a fusion touch to the food sector globally, including in India.
Mehigan was in India to be part of a Knorr masterclass session where IANS spoke to him about his observation of the Indian food sector and global culinary trends.
“I think people are experimenting,” Mehigan said.
“I feel the good stuff stays and the bad stuff goes away. What changed the industry around the world is social media, for example, Instagram and Facebook. We can see constantly that what restaurants in Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong or Delhi are serving.”
“That fusion of ideas and sharing of ideas is really important to how the professional world develops their own sense of self. In India, people are increasingly interested in food and that interest draws change,” elucidated the 49-year-old, who held ‘The KNORR Masterclass’ along with Masterchef India 2010 winner Pankaj Bhadouria before a live audience here.
This was not Mehigan’s first visit to India.
He featured the country along with other places like Vietnam, Laos, Hong Kong and South Korea in his TV series called “Far Flung with Gary Mehigan”. In the show, the Australian gastronomy king was seen learning local cooking techniques and recipes, which he used as inspiration for a recipe he demonstrated at the end of each episode.
Mehigan says he was completely fascinated with the Indian spice market in old Delhi during his last visit to the country. And he made use of them to prepare food for his wife and daughter back home.
“It was a thrilling thing for a food tourist (like me) to go to a spice market in Delhi. I have never seen anything like that in my life, so that was a unique experience. You have to see the way vendors with big trolleys roam here and there.”
“I have never seen such a quality of home spices and nuts like in Delhi. In fact, I took some home and luckily, the Australian government has let me through with pretty much 95 per cent of it which is amazing. I used that for three to four months and it was amazing,” he said, and added that while he doesn’t “push too many boundaries” at his restaurant, he is “quite adventurous” at home.
And his adventure also sometimes includes south Indian dishes.
“I play with spices. My spice boxes are massive at home. My daughter and wife love spices. I make south Indian dishes at home that I learnt from my trip to Chennai,” said Mehigan, who even gorged on sambar, vada, coconut chutney and dosa on this trip.
Mehigan, trained at The Connaught and Le Souffle in London before moving to Melbourne in 1991, has headed the kitchen in some of Melbourne’s most prominent restaurants, including Browns, Burnham Beeches Country House and Hotel Sofitel, before opening the award-winning Italian restaurant Fenix in 2000.
He was selected as one of the entrants to the Who’s Who in Australia 2012 edition.
With over 15 years’ experience in the culinary field, he has some pearls of wisdom for aspiring chefs.
“There is going to be lot of hard work. My whole life is about food until I die, and it’s a pleasure for me. I love it. If you feel that way, you are going to be a successful chef and if you don’t feel like that, then you have to see.”