Sunday, February 28, 2016


This year the best home cooks in Canada will be serving up the most incredible food any MasterChef competition has ever seen. They’re regular people, but they cook extraordinary food. 
Regular people ...Extraordinary food!
Television show MasterChef is quite a rage among Indian viewers. And with Master Chef Canada Season 1 set to start premiere on 4th March on TLC, it promises to be the most challenging yet. TLC has been entertaining audiences for many years now and thus the anticipation around MasterChef Canada is very high. The winner has a tough time set out for him or her, but the rewards will be great: up for grabs are $100,000 and of course the title of Canada’s first MasterChef.

Left to right Chef Michael Bonacini,  Demon Chef Alvin Leung & Chef Claudia Aprile
‘Demon Chef’ Alvin leung with his trademark blue-streaked hair, cross earrings, and ground-breaking tactic to the gastronomic art, is the enfant terrible of Hong Kong’s dining scene. His creations at Bo Innovation featuring unique ‘X-treme Chinese’ cuisine elicit admiration from critics and the public alike and for good reason; they’re unique in concept and execution – quite simply, you won’t find anything else quite like it anywhere! The decor at his restaurant showcases Alvin’s philosophy about food; it should be fun, textural, appealing to the eye and above all else taste great. It isn’t a wonder it has retained its three Michelin stars for three straight years in 2015
One of the forerunners of fine dining in Canada Celebrity Chef Michael Bonacini is still going strong. His 11 unique and innovative restaurants which he co owns under the Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants umbrella  in Ontario offer an elegant neighbourhood feel that strikes the right balance between meticulous service and friendliness – the sort of restaurant that every foodie wishes they could have at the end of their road. Having sautéed, cooked and grilled out his route by doing what many of the ultimate chefs in the world have done in their early careers, knowledge by doing, and achieving an extent of familiarity in the process. Bonacini spent his adolescence assisting out with the family-run hotel business, where he well-educated the ins and outs of the hospitality industry. 
Passionate about cuisine from an early age, Uruguay born Chef Claudio Aprile who grew up in Toronto gained diverse experience throughout celebrated kitchens across the globe. Bali Sugar in London got him outstanding reviews as a young executive chef. His formative years, working under perhaps some of the world’s finest chefs helped groom his style and concepts of cuisine. 2001 saw Claudio returning to Toronto, where he joined Senses and again carved a niche for himself with his innovative use of experimental cooking techniques  which focuses on freshness, the use of local ingredients and most importantly feeds the customer and not only impresses them with theory. Today Claudio Aprile is the owner and creative force behind the growing Order fire Restaurant Group, which includes Toronto’s acclaimed Origin brand restaurants.

A combination of all three will offer the necessary drive to hopefully make it as a chef. From the sounds of it there are a few contestants who discover these qualities so it’ll be interesting to see who they’ll be throughout the competition through a gruelling series of mystery box, pressure test, and team challenges.

Challenges ...yet fun galore!

How does this sound…. a Stress Test, where contestants prepare a stunning chicken dish with only one pan and one burner? Or Sample this on one of the episodes …..The 11 finalists facing an emotional Mystery Box challenge that takes them back to their roots with the theme of nose to tail of Alberta beef? Will the home cooks who get assigned tongue and brain be fatally undermined? 
Will I be Canada's first Master Chef?
Expect much anticipation, joy, tension, and victory. The anxiety of pressure tests, the despair of eradication rounds, the hope of immunity, and the drill of a team challenge; these will make MasterChef one of Canada’s best television shows. 
Some win some lose
The show will launch many food careers and over the season we too will learn so much more about food, cooking and about reality television.  

Hard task master ...but hey that's how the learning happens!
Speaking of judgement, Alvin, Michael and Claudio will provide proficiency and compassion to challengers while smearing high industry standards when evaluating the work of the amateur cooks. Food, comes full circle, and MasterChef Canada aims to settle down to showcase exactly what makes people happy and full, and the endeavour is to keep a good part of the show dedicated to that. 

MASTERCHEF CANADA will premiere on 4th March and will air Friday to Sunday at 8 PM, on TLC.

Friday, February 19, 2016


The Piano Man Jazz Club has actually grown on the capital and has been quite the talk of the town, making most other clubs appear very mundane. So when I got an invite to check out the team’s food endeavour, ‘Dirty Apron’, I just had to go check it out! Dirty Apron’s creative interiors, chic and friendly atmosphere, strike the right balance between camaraderie and intimacy. You could opt to melt into a chair and soak in the atmosphere, hang out at the terrace with your favourite cocktail, or then settle down to a languid meal with soft music playing in the background.
Coming to the food, to start with I was happy that the menu wasn’t too big as you would see in most establishments, thus making it easier to decide. My daughter and I are big oriental fans so immediately opted for the Vietnamese Chicken Pho to start with. When done right (unfortunately not in this case) chicken pho in a place like Delhi can sometime outsell the epitome of pho’s the beef pho. This is why I fail to understand why restaurants don’t make an effort to serve this humble dish the way it is meant to be! The pho broth is the soul of the dish and the chef here had got that really wrong. You can be pardoned for serving underdone or chewy banh pho (the pho noodle). You can be excused for not having the right meat or toppings. But jumble up the pho broth and your pho is ruined. Anyways next came in the Jerk chicken and the Shish Taouk….both average and not even near authenticity. Flawlessly made jerk chicken can be addictive: It’s misty and moist, sweet-smelling and spicy. The extensive marination and cooking time leaves it nice and tender and the hot chilli sauce classically aided on the side cuts through the lushness of the meat.
Appearances can be deceptive ( Chicken Laksa Risotto)
Now we were hoping that our mains better be good, so came in the chicken Laksa Risotto. I am the person, who doesn’t really like sweet in my savoury, but of course there are some beautiful dishes that demand a hint of sweetness and I do enjoy those. The Risotto was absolutely disappointing and had too much happening …nothing was right…texture...nor the flavour or the taste! By now I was eagerly waiting for my Crunchy mushroom pappardelle with broccoli and panko crumbs to arrive (I was drooling thinking of the one I had tried at Jamie’s restaurant in Vasant Kunj that I had tried), alas…. they had killed it….too saucy …just did not work for me! The Lamb Moussaka which the chef sent was slightly better and palatable (though again could be much better). Among the desserts Lemon grass and Kafir lime scented crème brulee was not so bad and a pleasant sweet ending but again the Orange and chilli chocolate mousse just ruined it for me!
That said Dirty Apron and Arjun Sagar Gupta are earnest and passionate about the food and surely can try and work towards it! I am more than eager to give it time to soar to its full prospective as being from the trade I know there can be a lot of teething issues...but the point to be noted is that the competition is tough !
B6-7/22, 2nd Floor, Opposite Deer Park, SafdarjungEnclave Market,
Safdarjung, New Delhi.
Tel: 011 4131 5181
India’s first Jazz Bar on the ground level ‘The Piano Man’ is a must go to. The stage is well-appointed to congregate a diversity of performers, the bar is well planned and the star of the show is the chandelier that suspends over the stage. Erected­ using 58 trumpets, theorised by Arjun himself and designed by Amith Chhabra; it lends an additional dash of allure to the space.