Imagine Gary Mehigan, MasterChef judge extraordinaire haggling at a fish market near the Marina Beach. This may sound a little far-fetched even for fans of the show, but guess what – it happened! On Tuesday morning, despite cloudy skies, the chef of the hit Australian TV show headed out to the beach with a small crew to shoot a pilot for what is hoped to be a new TV show in the making. “We haven’t pitched it yet,” revealed Gary on Monday night, during an OZ fest event organised by the Australian Trade Commission.He added, “So we’re still on a working title, it’s called Far Flung.”
Intended to be a ‘snapshot’ of his travels across the world, Gary lets on that his desi chapter has packed in plenty of punch! “We’ve filmed for about about five days and I don’t know how we’re going to fit it all into one episode!” the British-born chef admitted. He went non at top speed, “We went to Rajasthan, the Mehrangarh fort at Jodhpur, the spice markets in Old Delhi and now the fish markets in Chennai...” It would be stinky, this reporter warned him. “That’s alright, I’m used to stinky,” he said with a laugh.
Add to the catch, his readied ingredients of turmeric, mango, coconut and a slosh of wine – and you can just picture Gary cooking on the beach with a gas stove, perhaps sipping a little sugarcane juice every now and then. “I’m cooking Indian, but it’s ‘Gary Indian,’” he stressed. “Hey I’ve only been in Chennai for a day!”
Between shooting on set for more than one TV show, managing his two restaurants in Victoria and mapping the globe on a plate (by jumping several flights a month) – one had to wonder how he did it all. “I don’t know. You know I never have a spare moment, but I love it!” Gary responded with enthusiasm but added, “The hordes of people in the market here – going from one festival to another – Bakrid to Diwali, we’ve never seen anything like it in Australia.”
So what was the next stop on his video travelogue? Gary responded instantly with, “Oh, Mumbai – I’m going to do a tiffin run, minus the bicycle!”