Culinary prodigy, Logan Guleff on the gruelling life of being a part of the industry, learning from the best and more
The Young Chef Olympiad begins in the country very soon, taking place in the cities of Bengaluru, New Delhi, Pune and Kolkata. In keeping with the spirit of the competition, it brings to the city as its mascot, Logan Guleff, a 14-year-old culinary prodigy and the winner of Masterchef Junior 2014, among other accolades.
Is this your first visit to South India? What are you expecting from the Young Chef Olympiad?
Yes, this is my first trip to India. I expect to be amazed at the culture and cuisine of India. I have eaten Indian food for many years and I have had the chance to hear Madame Madhur Jaffrey speak about the rich history of Indian cuisine and tradition, so I am very interested to finally see India. I expect the Olympiad to be a
world class event.
Your rise to fame has been via reality TV. Do you also believe that platforms such as the Young Chef Olympiad prepare budding chefs for the rigueurs of the industry?
I started my real cooking career by entering a contest for a sandwich. It led me to more and bigger contests, and finally to Masterchef Junior. I believe that contests really foster talent. They give you deadlines and limits, and the Olympiad will be no different. All the Olympiads will be tested. I know that they will learn so much from the mentor chefs and from the experience. I think that we will all grow as chefs and as persons.
What lessons have you learnt about the culinary arts and its demands?
Well, Chef Nobu (the famous sushi chef) told me that while the President has a very important job, the chef has the chance to make people smile and happy with food. It is a real honour to share food with others. It is also hot, heavy and demanding work. Putting out one to 700 plates is not easy. The food must be safe, at the right temperature and prepared with care. ‘Cheffing’ is hard work and I respect that work.
For many youngsters, balancing passion and school becomes a tough game. How do you manage it?
I have been home-schooled. For all my primary years, I had one day a week I could cook. I watched videos and took a large number of online classes to learn as much as possible. I am still working hard on my studies and I hope to attend university soon.
What is your favourite food memory?
I am from Memphis, Tennessee, where we have a world class barbeque contest. The event gives away $100,000 in prize money. I decided I wanted to be a judge at the event. But I was not allowed to judge since I was too young. After I won Masterchef Junior, they called me back and I was the youngest judge. This is a huge deal for me and my city.
Who are your culinary heroes?
Chef Gordon Ramsay is of course one of my heroes. I am also grateful to chef Graham Elliot. I am often compared to Charlie Trotter in my cooking style, so I have researched him quite a bit. I recently learned about Indian cuisine in NYC from chef Jehangir Mehta of Graffitti Earth. I am always so lucky when a chef shares a story or tip.
— Ruth D’souza Prabhu