Up, Close and Personal: Masterchef Style!
They visit your living room on weeknights for 3 months a year. They, along with their mentees, lure you with some of the most amazing plates of food you've ever seen. They have introduced you to culinary words like confit, sous vide, crispy crackling, croquembouche. They have, for the last 8 years, given reality television that makeover where talent wins hands down over drama. Most of our food experiments have been inspired by these men, and whenever we try a new dish the first thought that crosses our minds is, "How would Matt, Gary and George react to this?" So when these 3 musketeers sat barely 20 metres away from you, engaged in one of the most hilarious chat sessions in recent times, you had no reason to believe that you weren't the luckiest person on earth, or at least in Bangalore.The tête-à-tête session at UB City, sponsored by Britannia Good Day Chunkies, began with the customary "I love you, India", but soon enough, they settled themselves in front of the arclights, talking nineteen to a dozen, as we watched raptured. Gary Mehigan seemed to be in his elements: laughing and joking and leaving no stone unturned to take friendly potshots at his Masterchef Australia co-judges Matt Preston and George Calombaris. He told us about the 30-odd pairs of sports shoes that George owns and shared the secret of Matt's 40-year-old red speedo that he loves as if it were his second skin! Matt, on the other hand, got back by making Gary wear his jacket, which, not surprisingly fell till his knees, along with his blue silk cravat which was just one of his massive collection of 400!! Did you know that Matt initially started naming his cravats after women he...well...liked! But now, he complains, his cravats have far outnumbered the women he ever knew!
We also 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!
Listening to these three stalwarts rattle away with the gorgeous host of the evening, Maria Goretti, I couldn't help but feel dwarfed (and as Gary confirmed later in the evening that George and he too feel dwarfed in presence of Matt, completely figuratively though!) Asked on what Gary would do if he woke up as Matt one day, he said, he'll "SEE things, this time from a whole new perspective!" George was the quietest of the lot but that didn't stop him from going "Boom Boom, Shake the Room"!! He also said that he doesn't HATE chillies, they just make him sweat.
Maria reminded that between the 3 of them they had 16 cookbooks, but even then these Masterchefs believe that their wives are bigger fans of their co-judges. Gary laments that his wife calls him up and says, "Matt's tart is in the oven but it's not setting" and Matt scorns that his wife always prefers to follow George's flatbread recipe over his. "It's insane, because mine has just two ingredients while George's has..what... 700?!"
Well, we can't help but agree with them. True that not all of us who watch their show have ended up in professional kitchens, true that not all of us have the tenacity of making a 3-course meal in 60 minutes akin the Masterchef contestants, true that not all of us have mastered the art of tempering chocolate or making the perfect risotto, but each one of us, somewhere or the other, have been inspired by these 3 men. Many of our dishes are inspired by theirs, many flavour balances prompted by their suggestions and many of us, I'm sure, at times pretend they're cooking for them. And I think there in lies the stupendous success of Matt, Gary and George and their battalion of soldiers.
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