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The Top Chef

For those hooked on to Masterchef Australia on Star World,it’s easy to be in awe of Matt Preston.

Written by PriyankaPereira |
August 15, 2011 3:42:50 am

For those hooked on to Masterchef Australia on Star World,it’s easy to be in awe of Matt Preston. In India for the promotion of the show’s third season,the award-winning restaurant critic is surprised at the way the show has picked up in this country. Taking time off a live cooking demonstration,Preston tells Priyanka Pereira about the challenges of being a judge,his choice of food and how he would cook kangaroo meat Indian style

You have been a judge for three seasons now. What have you learnt from the show?

Always criticise the dish not the person. Remember they are amateurs; always try and find something positive to move the dish or the cook’s performance forward. Always be honest and let the food decide the winner.

Is it a conscious effort on your part to be stern with the contestants?

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Chefs can be nice people and don’t shout all the time (laughs). Respect and love should always drive what we do and we have re-committed to this in season three as well,and put a renewed focus on developing the cooking skills of our contestants. The drama for the series has to come from the cooking and how much these contestants want to stay,more than milking their back stories.

What is a staple in your daily diet?

My mother and grandmother were both quite well-travelled so I ate well—risotto,roast dinners,pasta,tomato or cucumber sandwiches with vegetables plucked from our garden,slow-cooked casseroles. My father seldom cooked,but loved making curries and malted Horlicks drinks loaded with ice cream. As a kid,I loved bananas and cream with brown sugar. All these continue to be a part of my diet.

What is the most important ingredient you always have with you while cooking?

I believe that salt is the caviar of the poor. So it becomes an essential ingredient for us all. Besides that,I think lime or lemon is a must. It just accentuates a dish and takes it to another level. It can be added to just about anything to take the taste one level up.

If you were a vegetarian what is the one meat you would miss the most?

Definitely bacon. It can be used in so many different ways. That explains why it is so difficult to give up meat.

What Indian food do you love the most?

I like the vindaloos,and I also enjoy street food—the pani puris and the bhel puris. The last time I was in Mumbai,I freaked out on the street food at Chowpatty.

If you had to cook kangaroo meat Indian style,how would you do it?

Kangaroo is very similar to beef. The texture is more or less the same. I think it would work wonderfully well in a vindaloo style.

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