Sampling secrets of Mumbai’s famed tiffin-box service, tasting snake soup in Hong Kong or jamming with an old rock star in Rajasthan — for MasterChef Australia judge Gary Mehigan, a trip to Asia turns into a series of wild food adventures.
"I came across all sorts of weird and wonderful things in my Asian food adventure series. Food brings people together in every country, you can have nothing in common, and then start talking about someone’s favourite food or places to eat and you have a conversation starter," says Gary.
The chef explores his twin passions for fine food and fast bikes on a six-part culinary road trip through Asia captured through — "Far Flung with Gary Mehigan", set to premiere on August 15 on FOX Life.
From the spice markets of Delhi to the street stalls of Vietnam, Gary acts as an enthusiastic guide to viewers explaining each area’s produce and cooking methods, championing food artisans, producers and stall holders in markets around the world.
"The planning, all the places I want to go, and the things I want to see and do. In India, it was hard to narrow it down to a few places, but it has given me a reason to go back and see Munnar in Kerala, Jaipur in Rajasthan and maybe North Sikkim in the Himalayas," says the chef.
The first pit stop in this food adventure series is Mumbai where Gary discovers the secret of the ‘Dabbawala’ where he attempts to make a Tiffin in time and deliver to the owner’s wife.
Gary then heads to Delhi where he tastes street food and immerses himself in the cacophony of the Spice market in Old Delhi. The chef heads home to rustle up his first Indian inspired dish, the Masala Dosa.
"In India the freshness and variety of the spices, salts, fruits and nuts in the Old Delhi Spice markets were incredible. You can get all the recipes for what I cook on the road and at home at the end of each episode at www.farflung.tv," says Gary.
To celebrate music and food in the beautiful desert of Rajasthan, the adventurous chef heads to the Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF). He meets the chef behind the huge catering operation for the festival and chats up with Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Jodhpur.
"You need to watch out for a cameo appearance by an old rocker named Mick, in the background, at the Full Moon dinner at the Mehrangarh Fort. If you see it and know who it is, post it on Facebook, and tag me in post @garymehiganaustralia!!!" says the celebrity chef. .
Next stop, Chennai, the fish markets, and Gary’s dream of visiting the Royal Enfield factory is realised.
"The delicate flavours of the south have enticed me. I made a stunning fish curry in Chennai, which was so fresh.
Learning the art of the Dosa and appam was a long-winded, but fun experience. Now I have nailed the technique and love cooking them both at home," says Gary.
The chef also travels to destination like Vietnam, Laos, South Korea and Hong Kong. The show is a fascinating journey through the far flung markets of the world.
"I did a beautiful Duck Larb in Luang Prabang. I learned to make Kim Chi in Jeonju, and of course those pesky rice paper tacos in Ho Chi Minh.
"The snake soup in Hong Kong was pretty crazy, and I came across all sorts of weird and wonderful things in Laos in particular. Wasp lavea, fried insects of various kinds and lots of wild weeds and river plants a lot I had never seen before," says the celebrity chef.
Taking back with him a lot of stories from his adventure as well as Asian recipes, the chef says he hopes to give an Asian twist to the upcoming series of the popular TV show MasterChef Australia.
"It was incredible. Too much fun, I can’t believe I get paid to travel, eat and ride bikes. Crazy stuff!" says the chef.