Imagine cooking a lamb Mughlai curry with saffron rice, cucumber raita, coriander chutney, and smoked chicken kebab in 3 hours. Now imagine cooking it all in just 75 minutes. Exhausting? Possibly. But Dev Mishra, a 13-year-old contestant of Junior MasterChef Australia, recently accomplished exactly that – and became the apple of every Indian mother’s eye in the process.
Melbourne’s Dev calls cooking his “favourite thing to do, by far”, crediting his Indian parents with teaching him all there is to know about flavours and techniques.
Judge Andy Allen was so pleased with the ambitious endeavour that he even asked the talented chef to go back to his bench and bring back his family photo, because “they’re going to need to be here for this.”
It came as no surprise at the end of the episode that Dev and his fellow contestant Laura won this signature dish challenge, showing off their skills in the kitchen.
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Both online and offline, Dev has become the hot topic of conversation. Indian Link’s social media has been flooded with comments praising the rising star’s talent. They’ve also credited his parents, who moved to Australia from Patna in 2001, for keeping their family rooted with their heritage.
In his introduction, Dev explained that the motivation to begin his MasterChef journey was quite simply “showing the judges in this competition my heritage, where I come from, the types of food I can make.”
The judges devoured his food gleefully, as did his fellow contestants who couldn’t wait to try a bite of authentic Indian food!
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Having been cooking for four years now, Dev also said he also enjoyed cooking Italian cuisine and Heston Blumenthal-inspired desserts. That claim was put to the test with Junior MasterChef’s honey-themed challenge, and Dev rose to the occasion with his honey and vanilla ice cream with spiced strawberries and a spiced strawberry sauce. (Reminder – he’s just 13 years old!)
MasterChef Australia has seen its fair share of desi contestants, and Junior MasterChef this season has two this year.
Another talented lad who has left the show since, Ryan from South Australia, is the son of none other than Sashi Cheliah, winner of season 10 of MasterChef in 2018. Of course, the 11-year-old holds his ground with his cooking!
Ryan called Indian his favourite cuisine to cook and said cooking is an exciting “spark in my heart and my mind”.
In his introduction, he said that his food draws on Indian, Chinese, and Malaysian influences. (His father Sashi was born and brought up in Singapore to Indian migrant parents, cooking food with Malaysian and Singaporean influences.)
One of his dishes presented to the judges included a spicy mushroom stir fry topped with grilled chicken and crispy chicken skin. Yummy!
Fingers crossed that we see Dev take it all the way to the finals.