Young chef Saransh Goila, owner of the popular Goila Butter Chicken, has just added another feather to his cap. The 31-year-old chef who once dreamt of participating in the Star World show, MasterChef Australia, has earned a position as one of the guest chefs in the 10th season of show. Saransh Goila, who was born in Delhi, has been part of the food industry for over 10 years now and has also hosted a few culinary shows.
Speaking to thestatesman.com, Saransh Goila narrates his experience as a judge on MasterChef Australia, reveals his fitness regime and talks about the unexplored Indian cuisine.
Tell us about your experience as a guest judge on MasterChef Australia?
We have all seen the show across the last decade running and I think when you are there with the judges and in their world of MasterChef it comes alive in front of you. It is magical because you can see how much dedication and hard work go into making a show like that and also that food is the real hero on the show. I think it is a difficult subject especially when you are filming it. Unlike fiction or non-fiction shows, food is something that’s very tricky to film. The kind of hard work these people put in it makes this show, which for me as a chef was amazing to see. What we see on the screen, the love for food is exactly what translates from what they are doing in the show.
What do you think of Australia’s food culture?
One thing I learnt about the Australian food culture is that they are very welcoming of all cuisines from the across the globe. Australian food, when it comes to cuisine, is very new to the gastronomic map and it has become popular really fast. I cooked my butter chicken there with their ingredients, and it was almost 5% better than what I cook here and that is purely because of the kind of ingredients. Vegetables, the produces they have, are key to their cuisine. Also, let their ingredients shine through, they do not bombard it a lot with dairy or spices. It’s a fresh flavourful kind of cuisine.
What’s that one thing that you learnt from Australian food culture that you’d like to share with your contemporaries?
Sometimes, simplicity is the key to your cuisine, if you stick to clean flavours and keep the textures right, you do not have to do too much with a dish. Sometimes you overcomplicate a plate to make it look fancier or jazzy, whereas, what I learnt from Australia, is keep flavours clean and simple. Best kind of food comes from that philosophy.
What makes the Goila Butter Chicken stand out?
Butter chicken is not my invention. I have also learnt it from somebody else, but as a chef, I think it’s my responsibility to make sure that whatever we learn we make sure it evolves. If I talk about my generation or the millennials, I can say they believe in eating clean. So, the traditional butter chicken was heavy on dairy, sugar and colour. What we have done is (have) taken that out of the recipe and made it more robust. We have given butter chicken a chef’s touch, we have made it more refined. What we add to the gravy is that we infuse coal smoke into it.
Who inspires you the most in the industry?
Manish Mehrotra and Sanjeev Kapoor. Sanjeev Kapoor who I think put up chefs on the map. These are two people I look up to.
Which region in India do you think has the best food culture?
Northeast is still unexplored, they haven’t got their due as far as their cuisine goes. When we think about Indian cuisine, we think about North Indian food, or Awadhi cuisine or Mughlai cuisine but India is much more than that. Especially, Northeast has totally different techniques of cooking, they have a different route. They are not heavy on spices, they are exactly the opposite of what we think Indian cuisine is. Nagaland is a place that I would tell people to visit.
What is your go-to dish to make when in a hurry?
I would say it’s as humble and simple as the aarhar dal, chawal (Rice) and bhindi (Okra). At the end of it, food that comforts you is what you will always crave for.
Always being around such delicious food might make it difficult to follow a healthy regime? How do you manage to stay fit?
Well, it’s very difficult. To be very honest I don’t believe in diets. I am a firm believer of healthy eating habits and lifestyle. I do portion control. If I eat jalebis, I’ll not eat 10 of them. I’ll have 2. So, I’ll indulge but to a limit. And also I am a runner so I couple my eating habits with running. I am a full marathon runner, it’s something that I have been passionate about for a year now. I feel the balance is important. A lot of people say ghee is unhealthy.In fact, ghee is one of the healthiest cooking fats that are available to us if we use it in the right quantity.
If you weren’t a chef, which other profession would you have opted for?
If I wasn’t a chef I’d probably be an actor. I am very good with theatre and I have done a lot of plays, I love being on the stage. It’s something I am equally passionate about.
What’s that one ingredient you cannot do without?
I would say eggs, I am a big egg lover. I love cooking different dishes with eggs, so I think they are very versatile.
The first thing that comes to your mind when you hear:
Indian spices- Flavourful, robust
Food bloggers- Collaborations. We live in a world where it is easier to share.
Molecular gastronomy- Something I don’t believe in
Pineapple on pizza- I like it
Beef- If had an option I would serve it
Butter Chicken- Business opportunity
Gordon Ramsay- Legend. And he follows me on Instagram