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Cooking it up

tv Updated: Nov 28, 2010 13:41 IST
Serena Menon
Serena Menon
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

After much anticipation, a professional chef has finally been brought on board for an episode of Masterchef India, as a special judge. And this person happens to be the head chef from a city restaurant.

Even though Manu Chandra, the executive chef at Olive Bar and Kitchen is a bigger fan of Top Chef, he says it was the Australian version of the format that really got him hooked on to the show. “I don’t get time to watch television often. But when I saw Masterchef Australia, I ended up watching the entire season of the show. The way the show has been developed is simply great. It’s a very new concept and something similar would work in the Indian headspace,” says Chandra, who is hoping his friends, who’re usually tuned into Bigg Boss on a Sunday evening, will catch him playing judge on TV.

According to him, even though he evaluated the contestants on almost all aspects of working in the kitchen and cooking, it was simple things that he would expect them to know. “Like don’t keep a side towel next to a burning stove, you stand a high chance of starting a fire,” he says, adding that the long list of other criterions include, “How keen they were on working, how they followed my instructions, whether their cooking station was clean, if the knife was being held wrong, the consistency of the taste of what they prepared and finally on the plating of their dish, that they presented.”

Chef Manu usually works for over 16 hours a day, seven days a week. He also shuttles between Bengaluru and Mumbai, managing three restaurants including Olive. He might be the best at what he does, but when asked what his favourite food is, he surprises us with the answer: “Rajma chawal!” He adds laughing, “You didn’t expect that, did you? I am around food seven days a week, so I like to settle for something basic and simple sometimes. It cleanses the pallet.”