Sarah Todd became a popular name in Indian households as the contestant on Masterchef Australia who knew how to make rotis. She did not go on to win the series but in the last year she has authored a cookbook and opened a restaurant ‘Antares’ in Goa.


 

Antares, Sarah Todd's restaurant in Goa.
Antares, Sarah Todd’s restaurant in Goa.

After my stint in Masterchef Australia, I wanted to open a restaurant but I never really thought that my first would be in Goa. When Ashish Kapoor called me with this opportunity, I flew down to Goa to see the property—it looked amazing with the sun setting in front of the restaurant and a direct beach access, I couldn’t say no. I was born and raised in Queensland near the Great Barrier Reef, all the time relishing tropical ingredients and seafood. So the location, as well as the produce in Goa seemed all quite similar to my hometown. The elements kind of fit in nicely.

Around the world, you wouldn’t find many Australian restaurants and that is because we never really had a distinct cuisine and the little we had, not many people knew about. There are some techniques and dishes such as Surf n Turf and pavlova that are core to our dining. These are on the menu at Antares but not in their traditional form, I have changed them around a little to look and taste more modern. Back home, I eat a lot of barbecued meats and vegetables, which forms the base of the menu in Goa as well. During my modelling days, I travelled around a lot and got to taste a lot of different cuisines. All that shaped my passion towards cooking. Then, at Masterchef, I was able to develop my own style of cooking and a food identity. In Antares, while the cuisine is Australian, you will be able to see all of that along with a few influences from India and other Asian countries too.  I am a proponent of healthy cooking—I like to keep the integrity of the vegetables intact. Many people think that healthy is flavourless but that’s not all true. Another idea I think strongly about is the use of native ingredients. While the techniques used in cooking are largely Australian at the restaurant, I am sourcing kokum and amaranth from the farms nearby. Gulab jamun is also on the menu because they are my favourite and can eat them till I pass out. However, at the restaurant you will find the gulab jamun is served with a sorbet and crumb—basically it will have all the different textures you want in a complete dessert. The restaurant is open till March allowing me barely any time to travel around but in the off -season I will take off to explore different areas of India and first on this list is the Golden Temple.