On MasterChef, the contestants are always talking about how it changed their life. And it’s TV, so of course you expect to hear that kind of thing. And then it happens to you. A week ago, this reporter received a text that read, ‘Would you be interested in going to interview Gary?’ And just like that, my world was booted up to a three-course real time masterclass in Mumbai.
Here’s the kicker. Sitting up front and centre — way better than Star World HD. And for the potential Indian tourist in the room, the kitchen at the Grand Hyatt Mumbai has been recreated with Australian landmarks like the limestone rock stacks of the 12 Apostles and the famous Yarra Valley wine region in Victoria. Brought down by Tourism Victoria for the event, Gary Mehigan, co-host and judge of MasterChef Australia first paints us a picture of what he calls, “my Melbourne.” Between images of autumn leaves and strawberry fields, there’s also plenty of food references — from Vietnamese soup to a local Istanbul butcher to all of a sudden: “If you know a good Indian chef, he’d make a killing in Melbourne!”
We get bang into culinary mode next. Salmon canapes, roast chicken with fondant potato and boudin blanc (white sausage) with mushrooms…honestly, the man makes it all look so easy.
And ever so often, he cracks us up with a joke. While rolling out the sausage and posing for a photo, he warns, “I’ve got to be really careful with this stuff. Or tomorrow there’ll be a caption in the paper that reads: ‘Gary holding his sausage’.” Thankfully food and puns go together just as well as ham and cheese. No appetites were ruined after this wise crack. But this reporter did gear up for lunch thinking, ‘Wish I’d be this much fun in the kitchen!’