You are no stranger to India.
I've been coming twice a year for about 20 years. When I was writing Tasting India, which took five years, I was here four times a year.
What brings you here this year?
Feast on Literature, an event that's part of Oz Fest, with author John Zubrzycki at the Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad, for which I created a five-course dinner.
What was the menu you created like?
Reflective of the food I cook at my restaurant, Universal, in Australia, which does inventive cuisine. The salad course, for example, has elements of curry in the vinaigrette dressing.
So Indian cuisines do inspire your cooking.
I take elements of Indian cooking and incorporate it, especially blending in the spices.
Tell us a bit about Tasting India.
It's an overview of what to expect, foodwise, in India. It's a reflection of India and how people cook. I haven't westernised it at all.
What do you love about being here?
The food, the colour, the craziness, and the great variety.
What's your perfect Indian meal?
It's biriyani in Hyderabad, and hot, spicy Andhra food; and pani puri while in Mumbai.
The craze over culinary reality shows?
If the viewers spent as much time cooking, we'd have a better food culture! But I guess the reality of the kitchen becomes too much.
Did you get a look at Masterchef India?
Not yet. I'm hoping to see it while I'm here.
Another India connection: spice tours.
Yes, I bring Australians on food trails. Next week, I'm taking 10 people to the backwaters in Kerala, then Goa and Hyderabad.
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