It's a matter of taste

It's a matter of taste

One of the popular TV faces in the country today, Australian chef Gary Mehigan is all set to explore India's bustling culinary scene in a new way. He has teamed up with Fox Life for a new show titled Masters of Taste with Gary Mehigan  to discover and unearth the new age and innovative cooking and food presentation techniques that are taking the Indian food industry by storm today.

Through a number of episodes, Gary will visit some upmarket restaurants of the country and experience first-hand the country's evolving culinary landscape. He will also meet some of the finest chefs of the country and work with them in kitchens trying to create some great dishes. Through this new show, he is also poised to learn how Indians are evolving socially and looking for fresh and out-of-the-box experiences. This self-confessed fan of Indian food will also demonstrate how viewers can recreate restaurant-style dishes in the comfort of one's home through this show, which is his first-ever Indian production.

Here are edited excerpts from an exclusive conversation:

Tell us about your new show on Fox Life.

The new show is called Masters of Taste, and I basically get to meet a whole lot of inspiring chefs and cooks, and some celebrities then join me in my studio, so I can show them a thing or two about what I have learned and been inspired by.

What can viewers expect from this show?

They can expect lots of culinary diversity, different styles of Indian cooking, as well as desserts, Asian food, and some of my favourite dishes. And of course, lots of great conversations about food, too.

Culinary shows on television are dime a dozen today. What differentiates this particular show from others?

I think there are a lot of shows out there because there is a lot to talk about and discover when it comes to food. This is my Indian food journey, wherein I dig my fingers into the local culinary scene and unearth the very best of Indian food, chefs and trends. We get to have a bit of fun with local foodies and some big celebrities in my kitchen, and watch them get their hands dirty too.

This is your first ever Indian production on TV. How was the experience?

It was a great experience. The production team became friends, they were a great crew who worked hard, were passionate about what we were doing, and made the experience fantastic for me.

Do you have any memorable episode or incident from the show that you would like to share with us?

I think cooking and eating with Chef Ranveer Brar at Mukesh Mills, Mumbai, was an incredible way to start the series. Located opposite Sassoon Docks, it's a special place, a little surreal and maybe a little eerie, but I felt very privileged to be there. Ranveer's cooking was generous and wonderful. He shared several traditional Lucknowi recipes that were close to his heart, which made the experience even more special.

You have always talked about how you love Indian cuisine and have many traditional utensils in your kitchen also. What about Indian cuisine excites you?

Most of all, I love the fact the food here is such a huge part of everyday life. It is so often at the centre of conversation or argued about endlessly. Each region is immensely proud of its traditional ingredients and recipes, so for a foodie like me, it's heaven. There is so much to discover and taste, and I want to be a part of that everyday conversation.

How different are the Indian restaurants in India and back home in Australia?

Most Indian restaurants in Australia are serving the same thing. If you understand that like many countries around the world our first taste of Indian food was born out of waves of immigration, and for Australia, it was about 30 years ago. It's mainly heavier northern Indian curries adapted to ingredients they found when they first came here. Not bad but stuck in a time warp and ready for an update. I think the time is right to export brilliant regional food from all over India and believe me, we would lap it up.

Do you make any New Year resolutions? If yes, what are they?

In my life, I make resolutions every day… Some I stick to, others I don't. And occasionally, I revisit and have another go. Life ain't over till it's over, and the basket is never empty!

What are your future projects? Do you have any aspirations to open a restaurant
in India?

I certainly like the idea and I also like the idea of opening a cool Indian restaurant in Australia. I plan to do a lot more in India over the coming years and I'd love to find something that would tie everything together. However, right now, I'm having way too much fun doing what I'm doing.

('Masters of Taste with Gary Mehigan' goes on air on February 26 on Fox Life at 9 pm)

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