Meeting Chef Saby at Olive is always a welcome pleasure. However, when Chef Saby invited us over to meet Chefs George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan today – two of the three judges of MasterChef Australia fame, we were sure that the pleasure will be quadrupled. The breakfast meet was attended by numerous Chefs from all over the country as well as Food Bloggers’ fraternity amongst other guests. While it was an absolute pleasure to hear and finally meet Master Chef George, the presence of Chef Gary who could not make it to the event was sorely missed by all.
The highlight of the event was the interactive session with Chef Calombaris where he answered the questions from the invitees very patiently and with a touch of humour that seemed to be his signature style. While at one time he was encouraging people to try their hand on home cooking or pursuing baking as a profession on the other he was quite candid about celebrity chefs donning hats for TV shows which he said was not him at all. Inspired by his mother’s cooking which was instrumental in shaping his career, he today runs 8 restaurants between Australia and Greece which in turn employ some 400 people. Chef George was all praises for the way international food was shaping up in India, and having been here since last 6 days he had some great things to say about restaurants in Delhi.
George was candid when he said that perfect cooking not only requires hard work, but the finest ingredients too. He acknowledges that he is still learning and was recently amazed to see the technique of making our humble ‘Jalebi’.
Being hands on Chef even after tasting much success in the restaurant business, Chef George is a true inspiration for budding Chefs. Discussions drifted towards other judges, Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston. One question that left all of us laughing aloud was if Matt has been changing colours. George acknowledged that though Matt is a food critic, he loves cooking and hence truly knows his food. Matt has been winning contests that are held every year amongst food writers.
Sacrificing sleep to get up early hours proved to be very enriching with further interactions with Chef Manish Mehrotra – the culinary magician behind food at Indian Accent, Chef Kunal Kapoor – Chef at The Leela Kempinski & Anchor of MasterChef India, and Senior Chefs from Indian Federation of Culinary Associations. Hope we get to taste their creations too. Soon.