Making it to the top five contestants on what is the world’s shortest, and America’s first version of MasterChef, was a dream come true for this Indian teacher and singer-composer. Chicago-based Sheetal Bhagat may have missed the bus towards the end, but while she was on the show, she made the most of it. Her Chicken Tikka Masala recipe had anchor-judge, and one of the world’s finest chef’s, Gordon Ramsay, asking for a lot more.
“As the show is a few days away from its finale, I can only tell you that there are a few challenges that I do well in,” says Bhagat. “Gordon loves Indian curries. But he’s a tough guy to please. Thankfully, I had Indian recipes on my side; they helped me impress him.”
Her mother and sister, who according to Bhagat are the world’s best chefs, inspire the 37-year-old’s cooking. “My family is so supportive. This is the most exciting time of my life! Needless to say, they’re excited,” she says, adding that she would have loved to globetrot and learn various cuisines had she won.
All winners of the show get to launch a cookbook in their name. So what cuisine would Bhagat have picked, had she won? “I would have compiled a kinky cookbook with all my culinary learning experiences from the world over,” she says. “Maybe some day I will pen one with some traditional Indian recipes and some from Thailand, France and across the world. It would be a cookbook with one-of-its-kind fusion of recipes.”