I want to try street food from North India: Justin Narayan
Be it major sporting events like the Tokyo Olympics or culinary competitions like MasterChef Australia, Indians are making the country proud in every field. Such was a feat achieved by Justin Narayan, an Indian-origin chef from Perth who won the 13th season of the popular cooking show, with his modern renditions of a number of traditional Indian delicacies.
“Indian food has a lot of layers and complexity of spices. Its understanding helped me drive flavour in a short span of time,” says the chef, whose roots go back to Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He also reveals that he enjoys experimenting with Indian flavours. “I like my take on a few dishes, it was my play on Indian flavours. I made a version of my mum’s chicken curry, I did a version of dal bhaath, I even did a chicken taco dish with Indian curry spices in it. I also prepared a lamb curry sauce for the semi-final cook. It was like my modern take on a lot of different Indian food,” he says.
Narayan, who was up against Pete Campbell and Kishwar Chowdhury, is the second Indian-origin winner of the competition — Sashi Cheliah was the first, having won the tenth season. But, the 27-year-old’s triumph was celebrated across the country.
“It was very overwhelming. A lot of people have been so kind to write incredible comments and messages, and it’s a huge honour to be able to represent my culture. It feels great to have won that competition and to represent Indian culture on a stage like MasterChef,” says Narayan, who wishes to dedicate his prize money ($250,000) for the welfare of underprivileged children in India.
“I’m definitely going to try and work towards using the money to start a restaurant that would help contribute towards (welfare of) kids in slums. When I was in India on my last trip, it was impactful to see those children. I’m passionate about doing this, and if I can participate with an organisation that’s doing that already in an incredible way, why not?” he says.
When it comes to Indian food, what would he say is his all-time favourite? “Masala dosa with all the chutneys on the side,” he says, but is quick to add, “There’s just so much to choose from, so it’s quite hard to narrow it down. I have visited Delhi and Agra as well. However, I need to visit more places, discover and try more food. I can’t wait to try street food from north India on my next trip.” Viewers can watch the show on Disney+ Hotstar Premium and Disney+ Hotstar VIP.
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