Australian Chef, Gary Mehigan, who is known for his stint in Masterchef Australia, has made plenty of visits to India, however, this one is rather special. The celebrity chef has collaborated with Conosh for a three city culinary tour in India, where the selected theme for the Mumbai masterclass was ‘Summer Eggless Dessert’. In a candid chat with me, Gary Mehigan, dove into the details about what he is expecting out of this to tour, the evolution in the Indian food space and more!

We know for a fact that your love for India keeps bringing you back to the country, what are you expecting from your visit this time?
“Well, I have been here about 10 days now and have just had the most incredible experience filming in Leh Ladakh for the Hemis festival. I was so looking forward to it, and it exceeded all my expectations. And now, I am onto my work with Conosh, an experience dining and culinary learning platform, with a hands-on masterclass in Mumbai, and then we travel to Kolkata and do a hands-on masterclass and a curated dinner.”

In the last few years, do you see an evolution in the culinary space or food industry in India? 
“Absolutely, what Chefs like Thomas Zachariah, Pooja Dhingra, Prateek Sadhu, Varun Totlani and legends like Manish Mehrotra and Ranveer Brar are continuing to do by sharing and creating great food experiences, has really put India in the spotlight as a Culinary destination.”

From your previous visits, can you share a culinary experience or moment that had an impact on you?
“Every time I come to India, I learn something new about your cuisine. I always take back at least one new recipe from Chefs or friends along the way. Also, meeting people who love food at events like the dinner pop-ups I do with Conosh is a very enriching experience.”

Is there a wish list of things to do during your India visit this time?
“Well, I have just ticked off a big one by filming in Leh Ladakh, which was just jaw-dropping. Way beyond my expectations. Next time I get a chance for some leisure here, I want to go back to Goa, see more of the Himalayas, and perhaps do a motorbike ride from Manali to Leh. It sounds quite challenging, and definitely on a Royal Enfield.”

Do you remember the first time you tried out an Indian dish, which one was it and what was the experience like?
“I have been cooking curries for years, but I had to cook a Dosa for a TV show, and it took me some time to perfect, but I had quite a few contacts from my visits to India on speed dial helping me.”

If you could pick one Bollywood celebrity to cook for and dine with, who would it be and why?
“Amitabh Bachchan. I think he would have some great stories to tell.”

Well, being an epicurean, this meet and greet and chat sesh with Gary for me was definitely a wholesome experience and one where I have taken back learnings and memories to cherish. All I can say is that I cannot wait to meet this Masterchef soon and hopefully, there’ll be more anecdotes to spill and meal to discuss and share.