They came to India as ambassadors of the Oz Fest, a three-month Australian cultural festival being held in India, but will leave as fans of Indian food. Gary Mehigan and George Calombari, anchors of hit show MasterChef Australia, promise that they are going to make concerted efforts to bring chefs from India on the show in the coming seasons.
George acknowledges that Indian food has always been a hit on the show, but rues that very few Indian chefs are stars on the global scene. The only Indian chef to have made it to the show so far has been Kumar Mahadevan, Australia's best known Indian chef, as George puts it, but no one from India.
But that could change soon. Because, if Gary and George are to be believed, all it took was one outing in Delhi to convince them about Indian chefs potential. Having dined at fine dining restaurants in the capital, Gary says he would love to have the chefs on the show. The food was great and we thought these guys would be fabulous on the show, he adds.
Coming to the consummate ease with which the duo has taken to the camera, as if they were born TV stars, George laughs away the compliment, saying they behave with the contestants just as they deal with people in their own restaurants guiding them, mentoring them and giving them a pat and a nudge when they need it. We are not that different on TV as we are in real life, he adds.
However, he admits it was not easy initially. When you have cameras from all sides focused on you, it is overwhelming. But now we have a ball in front of the camera. He adds that what makes it easy is that they are well versed with what they have to talk about on screen, to which Gary quips, which is food and not, say, growing grass!
Right now, they are excited about touring Indian cities as part of the Fest, which also promises to be a culinary adventure for them.