Cooking up a storm

CE speaks to Mahboob Vin Basha, the winner of 'MasterChef India Telugu 2024' about his experience on the show, love for desserts and road ahead
Mahboob Vin Basha’s parents along with the judges of MasterChef India Telugu
Mahboob Vin Basha’s parents along with the judges of MasterChef India Telugu

HYDERABAD: In a thrilling culmination of talent, innovation, and culinary mastery, Mahboob Vin Basha has emerged victorious at the 'MasterChef India Telugu 2024 streaming on SonyLiv.

This culinary competition brought together home chefs from around the Telugu states to compete in a series of rigorous challenges designed to test their skills, creativity, and composure under pressure. Mahboob Vin Basha’s win not only highlights his exceptional culinary prowess but also marks a significant milestone in his budding career.

Journey of passion and dedication

Mahboob Vin Basha, a native of Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh has always had a profound connection with food. Growing up in a family where cooking was an integral part of daily life, he developed a deep appreciation for all things culinary.

Driven by his passion for pastry and dedication to transforming his father’s kebab cart into something bigger, Mahboob won over the judges and captured the hearts of the audience with his innovative approach to cooking. Throughout the season, Mahboob Vin Basha faced stiff competition from other talented home cooks including Jasween Kaur, Shyam Gopisetti, and Ravi Prakash Chandran, who made it to the Top Four.

Mahboob Vin Basha’s path to victory is deeply rooted in his family’s heritage. A dedicated pastry chef, Mahboob was inspired by his father’s kebab business and his dream of turning it into a fine dining experience. This dream has been the driving force behind his participation in MasterChef India Telugu 2024.

Mahboob Vin Basha
Mahboob Vin Basha

Despite the challenges, Mahboob honed his skills and pursued his culinary dreams, with a particular focus on blending local flavours with modern techniques. His commitment to preserving and elevating his father’s culinary legacy truly set him apart in the MasterChef India Telugu 2024 kitchen.

From intense cook-offs to heartwarming moments, the show celebrates the richness of Telugu cuisine and the passion of those who create it, all under the mentorship of celebrity chefs Sanjay Thumma, Nikitha Umesh, and Chalapathi Rao. The trio helped shape raw talent into culinary stars, setting the stage for an unforgettable season of MasterChef India Telugu 2024.

Testing the taste

Elaborating about his time in the competition, Basha says, “Throughout competition we had to finish one challenge after another. And with each challenge, we were tested for different skill sets, moving beyond our comfort zone and performing our best. I really enjoyed it. I wish I would have faced more challenges (laughs).

Out of all the challenges my favourite were the ones which tested our senses like the smell test, blindfold test, all black mystery box. In that I had only worked with mulberries before and all the other ingredients were new to me. When I performed well at that challenge, I was really overwhelmed.” According to him, all the mentors played a crucial role in honing the contestants.

“When it comes to desserts, Chef Nikitha is very good at giving the proper feedback including minute details. Chef Chalapathi Rao is very good at expressing in a few words, whereas for Chef Sanjay Thumma I waited to hear him say ‘bumma bumma’. My mom used to cook his recipes, so when he said ‘bumma bumma’ to my dish, she was very happy,” he says, adding, “No competition is complete without the co-contestants.

I connected the most with Ravi Prakash Chandran as we share the same sort of journey. I have shifted my profession from being a software professional to being in the culinary industry. While I was working with Wipro, I felt something was missing. Initially, my parents didn’t approve of my decision of the shift in 2017, but later they accepted it and now after the win, they are very happy.”

Overcoming challenges

His journey into the culinary world was not a bed of roses. “Wherever I went asking for work, I was asked for certification, which I didn’t have. I nearly approached 40 to 45 restaurants in Bengaluru. There is a chef who initially gave me the chance after tasting Egg Biryani and Rasam that I cooked. He hired me without any certificates.

After working with him for a year, I told him that my interests lie in pastry. He then referred me to a small hotel where I used to be in the bakery section, doing 16-hours shifts. Finally I moved to Chennai where I met pastry chef Karthika Sravanthi, who helped me hone my skills. I learned a lot from her,” he shares.

Interestingly Basha never celebrated his birthday with cakes when he was in school and that motivated him to prepare cakes to mark special occasions now. “My favourite dessert is Tiramisu and my idol in the food industry is Brent Owens. He is the winner of MasterChef Australia season 6. He was eliminated during the season but he got back to win the coveted title,” quips Basha.

He believes that it is important to move ahead with one’s dreams and believe in yourself. “Have a clear mind and don’t go only for results. Just go for it! Whatever the struggle comes, face it, learn from it and definitely it will show you a correct path,” concludes Basha on what makes him move forward.

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