Celebrated Australian chef Gary Mehigan has begun incorporating Indian food elements,like curry leaves into his cuisine and is excited to cook south Indian food.
Mehigan,who just wrapped up a visit to India,the third in as many years,is fascinated by the diversity of food in the country and says he would like to introduce Australians to a whole new world of south Indian flavours.
“I think Indian food is delicious and food from South Indian food is quite new to me. I have tried to make appams and on my trip here picked up a few tips and tricks,” Mehigan said in an interview.
Invited as part of the ‘Oz Fest’ celebrations,the acclaimed chef shot pilot sequences for his upcoming TV show in Delhi,Mumbai,Rajasthan and Chennai.
“We have a lot of people from South Asia in Australia so it is perfectly normal to find our restaurant serving different food everyday. One day it is Thai,another it is Indian and yet another it is Malay etc,” says the chef who runs his own restaurants in Australia.
Mehigan says he asked for and received a lot of recipes for paneer masala,chaat on his twitter feed,but his current fascination is for appams,masala dosas and malpuas.
“Back home people are familiar with paneer masala and tikkas but they have heard less about appams,the rice puddings and well malpuas. They are absolutely delicious. I have also been incorporating more curry leaves into my salads and food for a different and unique flavour,” says the 46-year-old British born chef and restaurateur.
The chef who is a famous name with his reality TV show “MasterChef Australia”,says he plans to include a whole lot of Indian food in his new book scheduled to hit stands around May 2014.
When asked,the chef who actively scouts for new recipes and forms of cooking says,he does not subscribe to the notion of secret recipes.
“I have been a chef for a long time and if someone was to take my recipe and make it into something better,I would be more than happy. I don’t have a ‘Gary’ tag on my recipes. I think now food as a whole is constantly changing and evolving,” says Mehigan.
Food,says the global chef,is all about “embracing our localness and regionalness and championing the heritage.”
Mehigan also credits the Internet and Youtube to helping him keep track of global trends.
“If you ask me I am not a great predictor of trends. Even if I was I would rather keep it to myself. The Internet has thrown wide open to experience. I now know what is happening from Copenhagen to London to New York what top chefs like David Chang…. are upto. Food has opened up in a global way” says Mehigan.
While in Delhi,he visited the famous spice markets in Chandni Chowk and grabbed spices and condiments.
“I went to the spice market here,there is so much colour and variety,so many beautiful spices lots of chillies,cardamom,its all fascinating. I must say that while those with me had watery eyes,i just loved it,” says the chef who is always on the lookout for street food.
While in India,Mehigan,cooked with the dhabbhawallas in Mumbai,checked out a motorcycle factory in Chennai,hosted a barbecue at the Australian High Commission in Delhi and attended a music festival at Jodhpur among other things.