MasterChefs greenlight veg MasterChef India
India has an extraordinary diverse vegetarian food culture. For the viewers it will be a pleasant surprise to see how vegetarians can create gourmet dishes.
Chef Kunal Kapur, Sous Chef, Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon (was a judge on Seasons 1, 2 & 3 of the TV show)
Going vegetarian this season will bring out the best in the contestants as this will push their creativity to a whole new level. It's a great move by MasterChef and this will bring vegetarianism back in style. For the viewers it will be a pleasant surprise to see how vegetarians can create gourmet dishes. I feel cooking meat is the easy part. It's making great vegetarian dishes that is the real challenge.
Adam Szczechura, Executive Chef, Hyatt Regency, Gurgaon
It will actually help find the real talent. India has an extraordinary diverse vegetarian food culture. So, in my opinion, it just got hotter! But there might be a dip in terms of popularity. As far as the winner goes, a brilliant chef is someone who can create magic even if he/she is given the most unfavourable ingredients on the planet!
Chef Vikas Khanna
I just love it! It is an opportunity for a majority of India to be a part of this cooking revolution. I would often meet people who told me that their auntuncle-mother is a great cook, but they are vegetarian. Here is the time for them to shine. In India, vegetarian food is a mainstream cuisine and not just a side dish. In French cuisine the Masters have always said that it's harder to cook vegetarian food.
Chef Michael Swamy; food stylist, chef & author (He was the head of the food team for seasons 1 & 2)
I think it is a great move as vegetarian food offers a bigger cooking challenge. While we all think that vegetarian food has limited options, India has a rich heritage of vegetarian delicacies and this will open all of us to a world of great dishes and possibilities which will be enjoyed by viewers across the globe. I am actually looking forward to vegetarian food being presented in a new avatar. However, by simply sticking to just one niche area, the show won't be showcasing a true winner. Even if it is pure vegetarian, the person should have a fl air for non-vegetarian cooking in order to excel in the true arena of cooking.
Chef Paul Kinny, Group Director, Culinary Services, Palladium Hotel
I fi nd the idea strange and limiting. At a time when the Indian food and dining scenes are getting more interesting, one of the largest global food shows is going vegetarian is an absolute contradiction to reality. This news is defi nitely a shocker.If we want the show to be at a level of global standards, the restriction on food is not valid. I have no issues against vegetarian food — on the other hand I love it, but I fi nd this shift to be a poor decision from both the conceptual and TRP ratings angle.
Farrokh Khambata, Chef/Proprietor, Umame, Amadeus, Cafe at the NCPA & Joss
I think the show going vegetarian is a populist move as TV shows are about viewer ratings. As a chef I feel sad that they will only do vegetarian cuisine even though personally I am 80 per cent vegetarian. It's going to be less fun for viewers. I also don't think it will be possible to award a true winner, solely on vegetarian food. However, it will decide a chef who specialises in vegan cuisine.