Did you know Matt Preston has more than 400 cravats?
Did you know George Calombaris has 30 pairs of different shoes?
Did you know Gary Mehigan has only 3 Blue jackets which he keeps on wearing alternately?
We were at the Tete-a-Tete with Masterchef Australia judges organised by Britannia as the official bloggers.
Bangalore traffic is always tricky, which we keep on reading from time to time in various forums and we got a taste of it by reaching the venue at 7 PM, the scheduled time for the event to start. Nothing to regret as we got the best seat in the house and like many in the huge amphitheatre of UB City, it was like a dream come true for us. Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris need no introduction. For the last 8 years, they have been an integral part of the biggest franchise of cooking competition in world – Masterchef Australia. Hold on, that’s incorrect; they have been much more than only judges. They have been mentor, critic, and shoulder to cry on, hands to hold for many dreams, many dreams of innumerable home chefs in Australia and across the globe. Hosted by the beautiful Maria Goretti, we knew we had an evening on the cards which was going to be truly memorable for our life time.
The event was fun filled and the roars in the crowd was only a testimony to the crazy fan following these iconic men have globally and especially in India. While there were many moments which revealed an aspect of these men which had never come out before; in the light hearted discussion there were also moments which had to be the best takeaways for any budding chef or anyone in the food industry. When asked what it takes to make a great chef, some interesting answers came out from the stalwarts. Matt said that it’s a tough industry and one should ideally keep in mind that to be a great chef, it takes a lot of hard work. One should be the first person to enter and the last to leave the workplace and the chef’s job is to cook and keep the guest happy; hence everything else – the fan following, media, glamour etc comes second. And the most important thing to be a great chef is to have humility.
We got a chance to hear a MasterChef recipe when Matt divulged his favourite peanut butter recipe with just 3 ingredients! (yes,three!) and Gary showed his love for the chocolate chip cookies Chunkies by throwing the packs into the audience!
We wanted to know how and what the judges do on their ‘off’ days, which is not very often. And yes, Maria did ask the question. While George has a huge family and an extended one too, he confessed he has got 21 first cousins. So all his off days are spent on some ceremony or gathering with his extended family. It’s no more a hidden fact that Gary is a biker and for him, off days means biking and he loves the Royal Enfield too. Matt, on the other hand almost put up his two sons, who are into cricket for auction with Royal Challengers Bangalore! Matt is a cricket fan and on off days, he is always into cricket.
It has been a long journey for them for last 8 years since the show started. A team of 120 people working together for the last 8 years only means that there is a great sense of camaraderie. It’s now a club that only the elite can get a membership but everyone (all home cooks) can apply. Interestingly, when asked about their alternate profession had they not been in the food industry had pretty unusual replies. Gary said he would have been a fighter pilot, Matt would have been a musician and George would have been a footballer. Thank God that did not happen; otherwise the world would have missed out on an institution called ‘Masterchef Australia’.
Today, Masterchef Australia is no longer a mere television show but it’s more than that. As they shared the story of Kylie who was a Physiotherapist and now works in worlds 6th best restaurant in Mugaritz, Spain. Many past contestants and winners are doing extremely well, like Poh, with her own TV show, Reynold with his popular dessert bar, Callum with his culinary school, Julie Goodwin with her own TV show and many more.
Thanks to Britannia Good Day chunkies that we could enjoy this personal interaction with these stalwart chefs and Bengaluru foodies could enjoy an evening long to remember.