August 08, 2020
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Gary Mehigan

The chef and host speaks on his Indian food adventures

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Gary Mehigan
Gary Mehigan

A new TV show, an Australian BBQ, tracking dabbawallas: lots on your plate on this trip.

It’s for the pilot episode of my show Far Flung. We visited the Maharaja’s kitchen in Jodhpur, the Old Delhi spice market, the Chennai fish market, and sent out special tiffin boxes across Mumbai.

What made you pick these places?

It’s about the characters you meet, their anecdotes, and the stories you can tell through them.

What continues to make Masterchef Australia popular?

George (Calombaris), Matt (Preston) and I seem to get the best out of contestants. I’m not sure other versions of Masterchef have vested interests in contestants as we do and therefore don’t seem to have hit the spot.

There are more Indian contestants on the show of late.

It’s a snapshot of what Australia is all about. People who accuse us of ‘constructing’ are stereotyping themselves.

Are home-cooks finally getting their due?

I think so. Good food comes from the heart; the simplest recipes are the most wonderful.

Do you find Indian cooking tough?

I can’t reproduce some classics. I've perfected appams, jalebis. I need to get my malpua right.

Silent dinners, food trucks, pop-ups...the food scene is going pop!

I think that’s the way to go. Like a lot of chefs are turning fast food into innovative stuff. See how George has made Greek food funky.

What’s going to be big in food next year?

It’s going global—everything is instantaneous, especially with food blogging. And there is a democratisation of food.

A trend that went awry...

Molecular gastronomy, mostly because of its weird name, which people never understood. But a lot of positive things came out of it.

Do you take a break from food?

No! If we are going out for the day, it has to be a food destination.

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