Chef and restaurateur Gary Mehigan became a household name in 2009 with his appearance on the first season of Masterchef Australia. Having hosted numerous television shows since, he visited India to be filmed for a Fox Life show. He walks us through the culinary landscape of Melbourne and his discoveries in India.
Mehigan began his culinary journey at two of UK’s most influential kitchens at the time: The Connaught Hotel under Chef Michel Bourdan and Le Souffle at The Hyde Park Intercontinental under Chef Peter Kromberg. Subsequently, he moved to Australia and opened his first restaurant, Fenix Restaurant & Events, at 31. Nineteen years down, he calls Melbourne home and owns the fabulous Boathouse diner by the Maribyrnong River.
T+L: How was it travelling with Fox Life
Chef Gary: The Indian dining scene is in the middle of a major revolution, which is very exciting. Through this show, I got to visit some of the finest restaurants across Delhi and Mumbai, and was amazed to see how these places are making use of modern techniques to plate the best gourmet food. I sneaked into their kitchens and learnt the secrets behind their signature styles and then reconstructed the recipes my way.
T+L: What are your most cherished moments from gourmet travel?
Chef Gary: The spice markets in old Delhi; cooking for the monks in Luang Prabang in Laos; taking a kung fu lesson with Sifu Jerry Yeung and then eating roast goose and noodles in Hong Kong; pho and fresh banh cuon in Hanoi.
T+L: Tell us something about the food back home in Melbourne
Chef Gary: Melbourne is one of the world’s great food cities, the coffee and bar scene is second to none, and I have no doubt that ‘breakfast out’ has been taken to another level by the Aussies! Melbourne food, in particular, is bold, inventive, innovative, diverse, and fun. Our Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, is one of its kind in the world.
T+L: What do you typically do on a day off?
Chef Gary: I love my motorcycles, so an early rise and an early ride up to the mountains outside Melbourne is the perfect start to a lazy day. I’d stop along the way for a coffee or two, or just soak up the countryside. I’d grab a quick bite at the Healesville Hotel Café on the way back into town and pull in at the Yarra Valley Dairy for a little cheese to take home. I love the Prahran Market, so hour in the afternoon would be enough to pick up dinner and stop for a chat or two with the stall holders. At home, I’d walk our dogs in the park, have a drink or three, and cook dinner for my gorgeous wife and daughter.
T+L: Your Fave Markets For Gourmet Shopping?
Chef Gary: Prahran Market is my favourite place to shop for food. There are regular vendors I visit; Gary’s Quality Meats for their succulent lamb or pork; Maker and Monger for way too much cheese; Damian Pike, the mushroom man; Whisked for eggs; and Market Lane Coffee for my caffeine fix.
T+L: One thing people don’t know about you?
Chef Gary: I’ve been boxing for a few years now and I took the plunge for flying lessons recently.