Masterchef Australia – Interview With Deepali Behar
Deepali Behar made the top 24 of Masterchef with a great looking Thali however after that she struggled. She was in two out of two elimination challenges and was saved the first time because of Brendan’s undercooked pork.
The challenge that saw her eliminated was Shannon Bennett’s upmarket version of Steak and Chips. Due to her religious and cultural beliefs she has not cooked much with that protein.
I speak with Deepli discussing whether she should have been the one to be eliminated, why she went on Masterchef and why an hour is not really an hour in the Masterchef kitchen.
Reality Ravings: You were the second person eliminated from Masterchef Australia. Did you think you should have been the one that was gone last night?
Deepali Behar: Pretty much so, it was all about the Pommes Souflee’s last night and my souflee’s did not souflee and combination with unevenly cooked beef it was pretty obvious but it was a bit of a close one with Nick with that blue beef and he was really worried about it, but those Pomme Soufflés were beautiful and then Jamie. We never thought Jamie would be feeling like that. It was just a mental issue with him, he just over complicated it and really reduced the sauce. Again he was just listening to the people on the balcony as I did the week before. Sometimes you just have to stick to what you know.
RR: I think one of the things that Australian’s, non-hindu people, was that you had never cooked with beef before. Are you meant to even touch beef?
DB: It depends. Last year Samira was muslim and she does not eat pork but if you are going to compete in this sort of competition you have to be able to cook with anything and any protein that is available. For me I have cooked with beef before and even eaten it. Even though I am Hindu my parents always let me choose my own decisions in life. Then in the UK with had the whole CJD issue and we just stopped eating beef even my Hindu friends and never took it back up again. I am a Hindu and I don’t eat beef but that is just the one protein that I don’t eat. I had practised cooking with it but just never cooked with that size of meat. It was 300 grams and I trussed it and prepared it really well but when it came down to the cooking in that limited time I seared it one side more then the other, and that is why it was unevenly cooked.
RR: The way they edited the show last night they made it seem like it was the first time you had cooked beef. Which brings me to my next question. Every year we inevitably see contestants land on the show with some huge knowledge gap and for Brendan it was the Chinese cuisine. What did you do to prepare when you decided to apply for Masterchef and then when you realised you were in the top 50 and then the top 24?
DB: Pretty much everything. I had a whole list of things I just had chase through. I am very confident with my Indian cuisine, I am pretty good at my Italian cuisine. I love making different pastas and breads and that is why even with the dumplings I made I had never made them before. But I thought “you know what I reckon I can make this pastry”. If I had just believed in myself and made them bigger and put them in a bigger pan. I knew I had to practice my pastry. I was thinking what will I be faced with to cook within an hour. We won’t be doing slow roasted challenges it will be what kind of quick things we can do that taste delicious.
RR: How did you feel when your first elimination challenge was Chinese were you like OMG?
DB: It was bit OMG Chinese. I was screaming at myself on TV. I was like why didn’t I chuck out the onions, it is just fried rice for gods sake. All it was, for me, was mental. I thought I was not good enough for the competition which was completely stupid as I made it top 24 and it was so hard to get into the top 24. They did not really show much on TV but that top 50 they turned away some amazing cooks and you are competing against the best in the country. All it takes is one little doubtful moment and that can just set you on to a chain reaction.
RR: You said earlier you liked doing bread and pastries. Is that why you decided to cook crumpets for the breakfast egg challenge?
DB: Yes, basically I had spoken to the judges about it and they really liked the idea in mind. I had a Paul Hollywood recipe in mind and it is a brilliant recipe but again it is time. You think you have an hour in the kitchen but you don’t. By the time you have been to the pantry, got your equipment and come back again and got everything to temperature there is not enough time. It has got to prove and I thought with the bicarb in it I would be able to get those bubbles going. They looked amazing but obviously they lacked in the taste. That disappointed me as everything looked pretty awesome. It was funny because Tracey did not do very well at all but they did not show that. It is just what gets shown I suppose.
RR: That is true. You have had a fair bit of screen time whereas Brendan barely had any. Why did you decide to go on Masterchef?
DB: It was actually my husband’s idea. All our family are in the UK and we live out here together with our two dogs and he was like “your cooking is just amazing you need to show the world”. I was like “get out”. I love food I talk about food all the time. In the morning I am saying what do you want for dinner. He says “can we have breakfast first”. I filled in the application and did not think anything of it and went through all these rounds and I thought “I can do this”. I was only at the last moment that I realised I was good enough for the competition. I can take that away and say I got there for a reason.
RR: Was there anything that surprised you about being on a reality show?
DB: It was really cool to get into the kitchen as the kitchen is exactly what you think it is. The way in it is filmed you have a lot of breaks in between. The time you cook is exactly how it is however in between are the tastings and obviously they write everything down and that was a bit different. The gardens and the buildings is exactly like you see on TV. You kind of forget you are on TV and that is what you want as it is a competition at the end of the day. After seeing myself on TV it freaked me out a bit as I thought “I’m there” and I’m crying. You are in that moment and in that emotion.
RR: What is next for you? I understand you are selling your home made chutneys at markets.
DB: At the moment I am just selling the jam and chutney’s at our local markets in WA. They are going down really well, so I am really pleased with that. Who knows what is around the corner. I have had a few people ask me about having a food van in the local area. I will see how it goes as I have more time set aside for cooking now which is just amazing. I feel like the luckiest person in the world as I get to do my dentistry and my cooking and that is what it is all about, pursuing your dreams.
RR: Have you got a website that people can go and look at and order chutneys?
DB: Not at the moment. I’ve got a little instagram account Deepalidelights. With the website I have to clear it with the Producers first as I just have to be a bit careful with contract obligations.
RR: Would you go on any other reality TV show and if show which one?
DB: Oh God no. It is purely about the cooking and I really enjoyed it. As far as reality TV goes I am more for watching it then participating in it.
Masterchef Australia on TEN.