Gary Mehigan, celebrity chef and judge ofMasterchef Australia was recently at the Ritz-Carlton Bengaluru, to host the first of a series of dinners for A-listers in the city. He brought on his characteristic charm through our tête-á-tête
What has been your latest culinary adventure?
Just before I started my whirlwind tour of India, I got back from a fabulous trip to South Africa, a large portion of which was spent exploring through food. We have eaten so much of food there! It’s been hectic, but I am loving it all the way.
What do you see as the most sought after culinary experience these days?
People are looking to experience a culture through its food and often go looking for local eating experiences. Thanks to social media, finding such places is not difficult. I believe though, that you should not over-research a place, else you will not have any room to be surprised. Give yourself enough leeway to be surprised on every trip you make. For example, on my last visit to Bengaluru, we visited Russell Market and I was amazed by the produce I saw.
What do you think our chefs need to do in order to facilitate the export of Indian food to the world?
I believe they need to get out there and set up restaurants and bring their experience in their cuisine to the international spectrum. It is being done right now, but not as much as it should be. Chefs need to take all their cumulative experiences and push boundaries internationally with it. I loved what we had at The Permit Room the last time we were here, and also what Manu Chandra has done with his menu at Toast and Tonic.
Your thoughts on crowd-sourced review sites and their impact on restaurants.
No doubt there are a lot of review sites and blogs, and a lot of people sharing their opinions online. What is important is that as a reader, you understand that these are personal experiences and are dependent on a lot of factors – from the writer’s own mood and situation, to the day in the kitchen, or whether it was a full house. It can simply be just being at the wrong place at the wrong time. You have to be open to making your own opinions.
What is the personal touch you brought to the menu you just did?
I think what I primarily brought to the table with this meal was the fact that I come with the MasterChef series background. This menu was a personal take on the Seven Wonders of the World through food, based on my experiences and my interpretations of dishes as I have had them.
—Ruth Dsouza Prabhu