You might remember Rishi Desai from MasterChef Australia, Season 5. Especially if you’re one of the (many) people addicted to food porn as a result of the show. He’s in Mumbai at the mo. Hosting a one-day pop up at Delhi Art Gallery. And it kick-starts a series of events planned by Trekurious.com, a company that lets you “buy experiences” – they’ll be looking to cover a gamut of unique travel and dining events and experiences.
We caught up Desai mid-prep, to chat about his dinner plans for the evening. “I’ll be making a saffron infused paneer with spinach sauce, pickled vegetables and bacon crisps,” he shares. “It’s a modern take on palak paneer. On MasterChef, when I made that dish, it marked my transition from traditional Indian cooking to modern Indian cooking.” Also expect a tandoori chicken loin with corn puree, topped with sunflower seeds and pickled vegetables. And another one of his signature dishes: Kolhapuri goat with cauliflower purée and papad. “It’s dear to my heart – I’m from Kolhapur, and I’ve been eating it [all my life] so I always wanted to modernise that dish.” For dessert he’s plating an assortment wonderful things: chocolate tart served with raspberries, orange jelly and vanilla ice cream. “It sounds like a lot, but all combined, it works. The ice cream and jelly cut through the sweetness of chocolate. And for texture I’ve added some soft crispy meringue.”
Desai only cooks part time, though. He still holds down a day job in Australia, working in the public service. But he’s “nailed the art of pop ups” having done plenty in Canberra, Melbourne, and even one in Mumbai last year. He also has a cookbook under his belt (Modern Indian) and if all pans out, he’ll finish the year with a TV show in hand. He’s in talks with “a couple of people” for a show to be shot and aired in India.
8:00pm to 11:30pm, at Delhi Art Gallery, Mumbai. Trekurious.com