Luxebook July 2023

When people hear the name, Gary Mehigan, they almost always think of the popular cooking show, MasterChef Australia. And while MasterChef did help promote his charming persona, Gary Mehigan is so much more than that. Post his exit from MasterChef Australia, Chef Gary has spent his time travelling – exploring new cuisines and ingredients, and of course new destinations. But if there’s one place Gary Mehigan loves more than any other holiday destination, it is India! Did you know Chef Gary has been to India almost fourteen times? That’s right, the Australian chef loves India and Indian cuisine, so much so that he makes it a point to visit India at least once a year; for both leisure and exciting food collaborations. During the Covid lockdown, the internet saw a host of passionate home bakers, cooks and chefs share their love for food on social media, while providing the world with some delicious, easy home-cooked meals. This encouraged Gary to conduct online masterclasses to share his knowledge of cooking with aspiring chefs, home chefs and anyone with a passion for food. Soon this led to creative collaboration with Conosh, a common platform that allows home chefs to showcase their food, and partake in exciting masterclass sessions, many of which have been conducted by Chef Gary Mehigan himself. In June this year, Chef Gary visited India once again for a masterclass in collaboration with Conosh, where participants got a chance to learn and prepare three of his popular desserts. During his visit, LuxeBook caught a few minutes with Chef Gary, where he spilled the beans on his journey post MasterChef, his love for Indian street food, his opinions on cooking shows and more. What was the reason behind parting ways with MasterChef? I think I was getting old. Negotiations break down principally over the time we were required to spend on MasterChef, which is 7 months in a year. I wanted to do something else. We stood on the hallowed boards at the front of the studio for eleven years. We did sixteen seasons including Junior and All Stars. I remember asking the head of Channel 10, “How long do you think the show’s going to go on for?” And he said, “I reckon another ten years,” and I looked him in the eye and said, “But surely not with us!” I think he was quite shocked to find that (I think) all of us had an end time, a stagnation point. And honestly, I promised my family I would only do it if I loved it. And my wife said to me, “Don’t do it because you think that we want you to do it. It’s you. So don’t come home complaining that it’s boring.” So, I promised myself very early on, that once I felt that it wasn’t my thing, I would move on. What is the difference between home chefs and professional chefs? (Laughs) I’m just going to upset a huge amount of people, aren’t I? I think, for me, when I started MasterChef, George (Calombaris) and I were very critical of what BY SCHENELLE DSOUZA UP CLOSE WITH Chef Gary Mehigan The MasterChef Australia judge talks about his love for India, Indian food, and his journey post the show 20|LUXEBOOK|JULY 2023 FOOD TALK JULY 2023 |LUXEBOOK|21