"No, never" - Gary, Matt & George on if they will ever do 'MasterChef Australia' again
They sat exclusively with us and apart from having the earlier conversation, we also had a fun quick rapid fire that also turned out to have several revelations.
Published: Sunday,Dec 03, 2023 12:45 PM GMT-07:00
After having an extremely successful visit to India about two weeks ago, the trio of chefs, Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris, are still reeling in the love and amazing food they ate during the said visit.
It was during the same visit that they sat exclusively with us, and apart from having the earlier conversation, which you can read here, we also had a fun, quick rapid fire that also turned out to have several revelations.
Q. Three essential ingredients in your kitchen
Gary - salt, extra virgin olive oil, feta cheese, tomatoes
George - onion, vinegar, lemon
Matt - tomato and cucumber combination, parmesan, cheese, tomatoes
Q. Indian dish, which is your favorite
George - I'm looking forward to eating pain puri. All right. At home, I cook. Only because he's got pani puri on the menu at the moment, but it's full of different things.
Matt - At home, I like cooking. I love cooking korma. Lots of cardamom and lots of soaked and then ground cashew nuts and their dairy, but that wonderful richness. Yeah, very wholesome. And then putting grilled meat in there or roasted carrots in there or really anything, one thing, the deliciousness. I'm trying to lift my rice and dal game.
Gary - Like, even on my last visit, I just got into, we covered Navaratri and I'm just like totally into just dal chowder. I remember. Do you know what I mean? I remember. It's crazy. And then I took a wet grinder back to Australia, 10 kilos of excess. So now I can really get into my dosa, my curry paste. How much did that wet grinder cost you to take back? No, it came with my 40 kilos of lunch. Oh, really? You were under. Oh my God. The rhino butterfly. We should find you one because I think you can use it to con chocolate, make the curry paste, and make dosa.
Q. An Indian chef you admire or love their food the most
Gary and George - Hussain Shahzad. Then, Thomas Zacharias, who was at Bombay Canteen before, or Avinash Martins, or, you know, Varun Totlani of Mask. You know, I know we're being a bit Bombay-centric. I love Manish. Okay. I think I've got so much time. He's a gentleman. He's a beautiful man. Yeah. He's cooking. All these guys. And, of course, we're missing out this time. Like, I went to Ekadani. Hmm. Amazing.
Matt - I think Manu Chandra was, after his trip to Noma, doing stuff that no one else was doing. And that was the first time I saw someone express a classic Indian dish in a very different way that was very modern.
And then, obviously, most of the other people we love are Indian Bollywood stars. Yeah. There are also some elder statesmen of the cooking world that have... What about Sanjeev Kapoor? Yeah. I mean, he's got it. He gave me a recipe. We met in a restaurant in Australia, and I asked him. He gave me a recipe for one of my cookbooks. And it's just delicious. It's delicious. Like mackerel with vinegar. And it's just... People cook and they go, this isn't Indian food.
And that's what... He's so amazing. Right. Is that he is about Indian food, and he shows the breadth of Indian food that's so far away from that common misconception of curry curry curry. I've got his kind of compendium. No pictures, no nothing, just recipes.
Q. Hypothetically, if ever MasterChef Australia is offered to you again, what would be your primary condition?
Collectively - No, never. Moved on. You ought to move on in life. The chapter closed, and a new chapter opened.
Matt - However, if Gary said to us, do you want to come to Nagaland and eat or do a cooking school? We'd go. You know, it's for us. We've had this amazing experience. Now, it's about chasing the buds of joy. Correct. And finding new, exciting places to go. Chasing the buds of joy. You know what it is because you've got to be able to paraphrase this in a way. It was an incredible moment in time, and we were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time what that did for cooking worldwide, what it did for us, what it did for the contestants, I think, is unrepeatable. And the joy of doing that, the pleasure of doing that, the privilege of doing that is it can't be repeated, and it can only sour from there. So we've all moved on and done other things.
Q. If you had to eat one dish or one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Matt - one dish, pizza, one cuisine, Japanese.
Gary - I was actually going to say Indo-Chinese because we get two cuisines. Oh! And actually, you could say Indian and then get 32 cuisines.
George - And I'll go scallops. And you go, yeah, but what about, you know? Yeah. What about Western Australian marinated? Oh, yeah, I like those.