Chef Depinder Chhibber had a memorable stint on MasterChef Australia Season 13. She didn’t win the trophy but surely won our hearts for taking simple everyday homemade Indian food to fine-dining levels. Who would have thought that gobi parathas, pakodas, or lassi would feature on the most celebrated culinary show? The Australia-based, Indian-origin home chef stunned the judges with her chicken biryani, tandoori chicken, South Indian curries, and an array of inviting Indian dishes.
Following her MasterChef journey, Chibber also worked with chef Andy Allen at his restaurant, Three Blue Ducks Rosebery. She recently embraced motherhood and is now venturing into the world of virtual food experience. She’s the first female chef to join the food metaverse and bring her unique flavours and recipes to global blockchain audiences across the world on OneRare.
Chhibber feels foodverse is a peek into the future of food and she is privileged and blessed to be a part of this along with some of her favourite chefs. In a recent tête-à-tête with us, Chibber shares how she intends to create an exciting metaverse experience for her fans and foodies like never before.
1. Describe foodverse as a concept. How different is it from the usual recipe-based food shows?
The concept of foodverse resonates with me as it is all about the future of food. It also offers audiences all over the world to be able to be a part of a food journey. It gives them an opportunity to explore and be a part of the recipes in an interactive setting as well as get a sneak peak into the world of their favourite chefs.
2. What are some of your signature dishes that will be a part of the foodverse?
I’m hoping to have my fried chicken with mango and chilli glaze, chicken 65, and many more secret recipes which I would’ve loved to feature on MasterChef.
3. Given that it's a metaverse and people can't really taste the food shown, what still makes the virtual food experience unique and one-of-its-kind?
OneRare offers a unique experience as it allows the audiences to be a part of their favourite chef’s food dream which could be their unique recipes or a virtual restaurant created using this space. The fans will be able to engage and connect with the chefs using the same portal and also be a part of building their signature recipes.
4. You worked with MasterChef judge Andy Allen at his restaurant, what has been your biggest learning?
After being on MasterChef I really wanted to be able to work in a commercial kitchen and understand what it’s like to be on the other side and that’s exactly what Three Blue Ducks did. I loved being a part of the team at the Ducks and met so many amazing chefs with skills like no other; not to forget, their food is absolutely delicious. Organisational skills are key to running any kitchen and the ability to stay calm during a busy service and that’s something I learnt at the ducks.
5. How do you plan to introduce modern Indian cooking to the newer audience?
Modern Indian cooking is open to interpretation and is often misunderstood. For me anything that isn’t cooked in its traditional form is modern and that could be as simple as using a commercial oven instead of open fire. Australia has a lot to offer and I want to be able to showcase the local produce in my progressive Indian cooking.
6. You had an incredible MasterChef journey. What's next? How do you intend to make Indian food more accessible to the global audience?
I have been compiling my homestyle recipes and am hoping to write a cookbook in order to make this more accessible. It is something high up on my list. I have started pulling together all of my traditional recipes as well as my desserts which I want to include in my cookbook.
7. Any plans of opening a restaurant in India for your Indian fans?
Absolutely! I have always dreamt of having a small restaurant, a dining experience for local audiences which offers traditional Indian cuisine especially dishes we don’t normally see or hear about. If I ever got an opportunity to do this in India, I wouldn’t think twice.
8. You embraced motherhood recently, how has life been treating you? Do you cook any special dishes for your baby?
When I finished up on MasterChef Australia last year I thought that was the best time of my life, I was clearly wrong! Motherhood has been the most rewarding of all experiences, and I am so lucky to be Meher’s mummy. I am yet to start cooking for her as she’s still very little and I must admit that will be more daunting than walking up to the judges with a dish in my hand.
9. In the ongoing MasterChef, who's your favourite contestant this season (apart from your friend Tommy)?
I’m loving this year’s contestants. Apart from Tommy whom I love on the show, my next favourites would include Sashi Cheliah, Billie McKay and Julie Goodwin. I was and always will be their fan when it comes to MasterChef, I mean they’re iconic and cooking styles are so true to who they are as individuals.