When you are born in country which has once been the cradle of civilization, it’s only natural that you inherit a deep rooted curiosity for food. After all, when nothing existed, hunger did. And it made you look for food & then cook that food! Cooking has been a ritual in Indian homes since time immemorial and we pile more food on your plate even if you say no, because there is no celebration without a full tummy!
So it wouldn’t exactly take a genius to decipher why a culinary show like Masterchef Australia would hold an immense appeal for a nation like us. Cooking shows have happened before,but since Masterchef happened, it has changed the definition of culinary shows.
Here is a game show where contestants gather to experiment with the art of cooking with an unbridled passion, in a high pressured environment, with their dreams dangling at the end of the tick- tock on the wall. Right from the first season, this format guaranteed a surge of adrenaline, both for the participants and the viewers. To add spice to the curry, pun intended, the judging panel comprised of 2 chefs and a food critic, who knew their business and delivered both challenges and judgments in a style that notched up the entertainment quotient. And that’s how, in no time, Masterchef Australia achieved a feat that no cooking show could have before: It turned itself into prime time material, hooking in viewers from almost every home, making the fine aspects of food & dining, a topic of leisure conversations at every other table.
It is no surprise that 7 years later, Masterchef remains one of the most anticipated shows on TV and Star World India has done wonders in bringing the eighth season to us right after the international telecast. Lucky to have been part of an event organised by Star World in partnership with Food Talk India last week at Olive’s Kitchen Bangalore, I got a first-hand experience of the silent but definite impact that the show has driven into the Indian food culture. Rightly themed as Speaking Gourmet, the evening centered around five gourmet techniques inspired by the show: Ceviche, Confit, Smoking, Molecular and Roulade. Five amuse bouche dishes based on these techniques were created by Olive Kitchen’s chef Manu Chandra to give the audience a live gourmet experience. I thought it was rather innovative how desi versions were infused with these techniques to bring an Indian twinge to most. Chef Manu Chandra took to the stage with Food Talk India’s Anjali Batra and ensured the evening was a true Gourmet Gala, by presenting one dish after another.
As the guests spread out after the stage event to continue with the dinner, excited conversations were overheard about the huge potential of food and the show’s universal appeal. People were definitely speaking gourmet, the theme had caught on successfully and a lot of satisfied people went home with cheese on their palette and smoke on their tongue.
The season 8 of Masterchef Australia promises to be even more exciting than previous ones because acclaimed chef Nigella Lawson has joined the regular panel of judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan & George Calombaris. Marco Pierre comes back to mentor cooks and this season, we get to watch it right after the original telecast. So, it’s definitely official: Indian TV just got a whole lot better!