Masterchef Australia has played a major role in opening up the common man’s eyes to gourmet food and fine-dining. Now into its sixth season, it has given so many home cooks a chance to become professional chefs, and we have all seen many such individuals metamorphose into professionals. One such contestant I keenly remember and watched out for in the sixth season was model turned chef, Sarah Todd.
Apart from being the prettiest and most soft spoken contestant, I looked out for her because of her Indian connect. This is because Sarah’s long time partner is of Indian Punjabi origin. Sarah was on a recent visit to India; touring Delhi, Goa and Mumbai, exploring the food scene in each city. I was recently invited along with other bloggers to not only meet her but also get to try out some of her signature appetizers paired with cocktails at the happening China House Lounge, Grand Hyatt, Mumbai.
Sarah demonstrated three appetizers, and chatted with us throughout the cooking session. It is her first trip to the country, but she has been oriented to Indian food by her partner’s family. She also spoke about her visit to Delhi and how she had meals at the iconic Kareem’s and the posh Indian Accent, both on the same day, both very different, but equally good. Sarah was shocked at the popularity of MasterChef in India, and how she’s been asked to click selfies by fans of the show everywhere she goes, even at the airport.
Sarah showed her love for Indian cooking by starting off with a Zucchini and Pea Pakora with a corn relish and pickled radish – a twist on the conventional pakoras, a dish she first cooked with her mother-in-law. My favourite was the Salmon ceviche, crispy poppadum and mint chutney. The dish was easy to make and is a desi twist to a classic ceviche. The Slow Roast lamb shoulder, beetroot chutney on crisp bread was well flavoured and delicious – everything good lamb should be.
The cocktail specials paired with the appetizers include a gin-apple-pomegranate based ‘Pink Lady’ which I enjoyed. The ‘Bellamy Scotch Sour’ was an unusual scotch based cocktail comprising of scotch, honey, orange and ginger. The vodka-rosemary-lime-mango based ‘Martini Cooler’ was another innovative drink, but a tad bit too strong on the alcohol for me.
Sarah is currently working on a cookbook that will showcase signature Australian and French cooking, that she’s known for. She would also love to open up her own restaurant in the long run. But her immediate future plans definitely include a trip back to India, this time with her family. We cannot wait to welcome her back – this rare combination of charm, good looks, and an all-round awesome chef!
(The Sarah Todd for China House Lounge menu will be served from from 15th October -31st October,2014.)