The title winner of ‘MasterChef India — Tamil’, Devaki Vijayaraman, talks about how the cooking actuality present helped her discover her ft within the culinary world
On this distant bylane of Thillai Nagar in Tiruchi, a banner congratulating Devaki Vijayaraman for profitable the title within the first season of MasterChef India — Tamil works higher than Google Maps in serving to us find the low-profile victor’s residence.
However Devaki blushes after we point out it to her. “My husband and school friends put it up, even though I was not for it. Participating in MasterChef Tamil and winning the inaugural season feels like a dream to me; I haven’t woken up yet!” laughs Devaki.
Prepping, as each chef is fond of claiming, is every little thing in terms of the culinary world. However for Devaki, preparation has been typically overtaken by her ardour to attempt new issues.
Regardless of being serious about cookery from an early age, Devaki was not inspired to make it a career by her household. “So I graduated in Commerce, and then did my MBA, and worked in an IT company for a few years. After marriage, my husband and I were based in Chennai, but we decided to return to Tiruchi when we were expecting our first child,” says the 28-year-old.
A number of months after her son Dhruv was born, Devaki attended a baking course, and began posting footage of her truffles on her WhatsApp and Instagram accounts. “I went a bit cake crazy after the course,” she admits, with a shy smile“I set up a baking and icing station in my drawing room just so that I could get the perfect product.”
What began out as a interest turned a enterprise thought throughout lockdown. With industrial bakeries downing shutters final yr, Devaki discovered herself flooded with orders from pals and neighbours. As her enterprise took off, so did her goals.
“I am an ardent fan of cookery shows on TV; when I watched [Singaporean] Sasi Cheliah win the MasterChef Australia title in 2018, I became passionate about contesting in the show,” says Devaki.
“But it wasn’t about winning anything, I would have been happy just to qualify or get an apron at the most,” she says.
Filmed in Bengaluru and telecast by Solar TV, MasterChef India – Tamil was hosted by actor Vijay Sethupathi. Skilled cooks Harish Rao, Aarthi Sampath and Koushik S have been the judges. There is no such thing as a doubt Devaki has achieved excess of what she had initially hoped for: apart from profitable the title and trophy, she has additionally received the coveted MasterChef gold-trimmed coat, and a money prize of ₹25 lakh.
Additionally Learn | ‘MasterChef Tamil’ will make you suppose, says host and actor Vijay Sethupathi
After clearing two audition rounds in Madurai, Devaki was among the many 12 shortlisted contestants who headed to Bengaluru, the place an extra 12 folks joined the competitors.
She was one among the many 14 finalists who ultimately progressed to the superior levels of the present.
“After the initial shyness and despite the difference in our ages and experience, we all became good friends, and would spend our free time discussing food and cookery techniques. Everyone had a unique perspective, and we also researched ideas for every episode, in our free time. “I learned a lot about food and cooking in the six months of filming the show,” says Devaki.
Interacting with the charismatic host was a serious spotlight. “Vijay Sethupathi is so down-to-earth; when we were waiting for the chefs to evaluate our work with knots in our stomachs, he would ease the tension with light-hearted banter,” she recollects. In contrast, she says, the judges have been strict. “We could talk only about the food we had cooked, and listen to their technical assessment of our skills.”
Twist of style
Although she discovered cooking on digital camera to be nerve-wracking, Devaki began warming as much as the vibe because the present progressed. “I focussed on that day’s challenge. If I could make it through, I was happy.”
Devaki introduced recipes that capitalised on a continental flavour with a southern Indian twist.
Whether or not arancini (fried Italian rice balls full of cheese) made with karuvepillai sadam (curry leaf rice), or dianthus poothrekelu, a floral tackle the papery Andhra rice batter dessert served up with white chocolate, her yen for fusion delicacies stood out. “I felt that I had finally reached some level of expertise when judge Harish Rao took a selfie with me after I presented the dianthus poothrekelu, because I had tried a complicated technique with the available materials in the studio, replacing an earthen pot with a dosa tawa,” she says.
Within the finale, Mayajalam, an iced lemon cream quennelle with a paruthi paal (cottonseed extract) mousse filling received over the judges, with its candy and tart flavours. “Though it was a Tamil programme, MasterChef is also about food from other cultures. I tried to do my best with what we have here in South India, mixed with international tastes,” she says.
Devaki hopes to safe a portion of her prize cash for her son’s future, and in addition broaden her bakery enterprise. “Winning the MasterChef India — Tamil title has given me a new identity and self-confidence. My customers in Tiruchi have been very supportive and proud to have bought a cake from the season’s winner,” she laughs. “Their trust and love are the best prize.”