CHENNAI: It’s been only four days since MasterChef US season 10 contestants Noah Sims and Subha Ramiah landed in Chennai. Noah has already savoured 57 regional delicacies. “I gobbled up 10 Mysore bondas, a few plates of idlis soaked in sambar and chutney, and medhu vadais. My metabolism is quite commendable. We already visited a few biryani places too. I’ve come prepared to explore the local cuisines,” said Noah, excitedly.
The duo, who was among the top five in the international culinary reality show’s semifinals, was in Chennai to attend Subha’s friend’s wedding. Subha was born and raised in Chennai. He moved to Louisiana for work in 1986, after his education at Anna University. He quit his cushy job at a healthcare company and decided to explore his culinary skills in his 50s. This visit is not only purposeful but also nostalgic for him. In a free-wheeling chat at Gossip Bistro & Dessert Bar, Subha and Noah talk about their life-changing experience at the MasterChef show and love for India.
During their stay, the two chefs organised a two-day event in the city. On February 4, they hosted a special three-course lunch for kids at Relief Foundation in Gummidipoondi. Topics such as nutrition and healthy eating habits were discussed.
“This is our first-time hands-on experience with kids. We prepared a hearty meal for 150 kids and their families living there. The menu served a salad made using locally sourced ingredients, Gumbo — a Louisiana-based delicacy — with red rice, and a halwa made of apple, banana and carrot. Our goal was to offer them familiar items but with a fusion of cuisines. We educated them on the eco-friendly lifestyle by serving food on plates made out of betelnut by one of the families,” said Subha.
Served with love
The duo met during the show, travelled together through ups and downs, and celebrated a year of friendship this February. Subha’s sense of cross-cultural nutritious fusion and Noah’s experience in multiple cuisines is magical, we are told. Today they will be doling out a five-course dinner meal at Gossip Bistro & Dessert Bar. Ranging from Subha’s speciality — chicken and sausage jambalaya to Noah’s buttermilk tart with honey and berries, a lot is in store.
“We wanted to offer a mix of Cajun and Louisiana’s cuisine to people here since it has influenced our style of cooking deeply. The platter will be a mix of veg and non-veg alternatives,” shared Subha, whose forte is Indo-Cajun and South Indian cuisine. He has reversed his type 2 diabetes by following a balanced diet and is also inspiring others.
Foodies for life
It’s a delight to watch the duo engage in humorous banter and constantly pull each other’s leg. But the respect they have for each other’s cultural influence and traditions is refreshing. “Our friendship blossomed in stressful situations. We bonded after rigorous shoot schedules. Despite the age gap, family background and cultural differences, our families too connected well. The show has been a legitimate platform for a great learning experience.
I learned to cook as per the likings of the guests from Subha. I also believe that cooking is not just for money but for the benefit of others,” opened up Noah, who attended North Georgia Technical College for Culinary Arts. He specialises in South American grilling. This is Noah’s first time in India. During his week-long stay here, he plans to go on a food trail with Subha to Kodaikanal, Madurai and Karaikudi. He’s busy chalking out the list of items he wants to try at each of these places. “Oh, this is amazing. I’ve never tasted something like this before,” has been his spontaneous response to anything he tastes.
“Travelling is crucial because, as chefs, we need to stay updated and have a global understanding of how cuisines work. I’d been planning for a trip to India for many years and it worked out this time. I hope to take away as many recipes as possible. Speed, techniques, presentation and understanding food — a lot has changed for us after the show. We also share recipes on social media so our fans can try them out at home,” said Noah. Subha wants to bring technology and food together for a holistic culinary experience. Noah wants to do community service and also open a food truck for children.
For dinner reservations at Gossip Bistro & Dessert bar, call: 9940244569