By Bhavana Akella
To woo all those food lovers who have taken inspiration to step into kitchens from one of India’s most loved culinary shows, “MasterChef Australia”, the national capital recently witnessed a tasting session with some gastronomical recipes inspired from the show. Techniques like sous-vide, croquembouche, consomme and sorbets are today household names for many middle-class Indians, to which this educative show has a large contribution.
Hosted by Star World, this ‘Tasting Lab’ presented foodies with a nine-course gastronomical treat, drawing inspiration from some dishes from MasterChef Australia Season 7, which is airing on Star World from Monday to Friday at 9 pm. Set at the city’s Olive Bar and Kitchen and curated by Chef Sujan Sarkar, the menu was a ‘No Rule Menu’, where science, nature and gastronomy came together – a movement encouraging the advent of ‘slow food’, where one experiments with world cusine and culinary trends are based on known and unknown ingredients from all over the country.
“The idea behind this dinner is to produce a world class cuisine, with ingredients very local. We have taken some of the best and versatile dishes from this season of MasterChef and added our own little twist to it,” Chef Sujan told IANS at the event. The amuse bouche – bite sized treats to titillate palates – was a fermented carrot which was a crisp sour tasting carrot garnished with micro greens, a cheese gouger – lovely and light, a crunchy balsamic coated cheese mousse and a cracker topped with cherry tomatoes coated with parmesan.
Then to follow was a warm mushroom consommé, inspired by a Grant King’s dish, poured on the table by the chef himself – adding some theatre. The black bowl was already plated with a slow-cooked egg yolk, which was cooked for an hour and a half at very low temperature but still soft in the centre, along with liquid spheres of mushroom juice which busted in mouth with the slightest pressure – one of the techniques of molecular gastronomy. To enhance the flavour, the dish had dehydrated mushrooms as garnish.
The soup was served with warm bread, also stuffed with mushroom duxelle and the most flavourful butter with truffle oil and truffle powder. The courses displayed some of the most sophisticated techniques that a molecular gastronomical recipe would require – butter poaching lobsters, home made miso, green peas and young tomato sorbet, beetroot gel, cured meats and pickled vegetables.
One of the highlights of the evening were oysters which were crumb fried, topped with sharp pickled cucumber and a chili mayonnaise at the bottom of the oyster shells in which it was presented. The deep dish was covered with dry ice hidden under sea beans and weed which fumed up into vapours on pouring water making a snowy smoky effect on the table.
I could have had a double portion of this, just for how lively it made the table! One of the courses presented the Australian lamb, which had five different elements on the plate. The wilted lettuce hearts which were still crisp, a celeriac mash piped – creamy and warm -, a sous vide lamb loin wellington – nice and pink throughout but not bloody. The ingredients were a perfect marriage. The pre-dessert and the dessert topped it all, with a fossil pear on caramel sauce – looked very dry like a fossil, yet packed a soft yet powerful bite, and chocolate mousse and chestnut ice cream. It was a velvety buttery chocolate mousse with paper thin crisp white and dark chocolate tuille. For the grand finish like a James Bond movie, Chef Sujan appeared with his assistant chefs to quickly top the dessert with chocolate snow which sublimed into vapour instantly – a pure visual treat!