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Food, fusion and flavours

When fusion works, it’s delicious. But when fusion fails, it’s like a failed Dr Frankenstein experiment! Matt Preston, MasterChef Australia judge

india Updated: Sep 04, 2011 01:18 IST
Shara Ashraf

Food to him is pleasure, understanding and expression. And when it comes to Indian cuisine, there are few things that set his imagination on fire like it.

British Australian food critic and TV presenter Matt Preston, says, “I have always found Indian food fascinating. I’ve been playing with various Indian flavours for long and I’ve been eating it for even longer.”

Preston, who was in India recently to promote the third season of MasterChef Australia with a live cook-off, says, “I love the sumptuous richness of Mughal dishes, and the sharpness of coastal cuisine from Goa and Kerala. I have become quite fond of Coorg style cooking too, ” says the MasterChef Australia judge, whose fascination with food began when he was hardly four.

Preston whipped up a watermelon, cucumber, mint and feta salad dressed with limejuice and raw nuts, perfectly poached egg on a toasted English muffin, served with roasted corn, avocado and smoked NY style mayo.

“I wanted to do brunch dishes that reflect Australian flavours without relying on meat. The mayo was something that I learned on our trip to film MasterChef Australia in New York, where I also purchased the smoking gun that I used to infuse the mayo with a hickory smoke flavour,” he adds.

Talking about emerging food trends, he says, “Street food is going to be a hit. One would also see increased use of unique local, heritage or foraged ingredients.” And what makes a great dish?

“It’s always the three Ts — texture, taste, technique, topped up with lots of creativity,” he says. However, poor seasoning, cooking
without keeping the customer in mind, and chefs not tasting their own food enough are spoilers, he says. “Indian food scores full marks for fusion, whether it’s the Goan vindaloo or the presence of originally Persian ingredients like apricots or almonds or Latin American ingredients like chilli and capsicum. When fusion works it is delicious. But when fusion fails, it’s like a failed Dr Frankenstein experiment! I’m not a fan of galangal in a Mexican salsa,” says Preston.