What are two Masterchef candidates doing in a small school, hidden in the winding side streets of Gummidipoondi?
Subha Ramiah is no stranger to these forests. The Chennai-born Anna University alumnus, who now lives in New York City, will not let his fame get in the way when a community dinner is held at the Cascade Montessori rural resource center, which is run by the Relief Foundation. "I went to college with Vidya Shankar, who founded the Relief Foundation, to give something back to the local community through holistic education," he says.
The foundation was founded in 1998 and offers primary school children in deserved communities child-friendly training. It also trains parents and treats them as key players in raising children.
"This is very important to me, and I enjoy coming down and helping as best I can on every trip," he says.
On this trip, he brought Noah Sims, his co-conspirator from Masterchef (USA, season 10).
He adds: “I also met chef Anand, who works in the Gossip Fusion Bistro in Kanathur. Together with the Gossip staff, Sims and I will do a love service to the Cascade students and their parents. "
The menu is simple yet healthy, with a little Indian-Cajunian flair-vegetarian gumbo, fresh salad and rice.
Noah Sims with children from the community
The Gossip kitchen team provided all the products, prepared some of them, and two chefs accompanied Subha and Sims to the lush school grounds.
The Indian experience
Noah Sims rises 6 feet 7 inches above the kitchen staff on the premises. He angrily chops over 90 apples that fit into a rainbow salad with local fruits and vegetables, finely dressed with school tamarind and lemons. In a tie vest and overalls, Sims alternates between checking the salad and fooling around with the sous-chefs.
"It has been a dream to visit India since I did a class I project in this country. I tried over 64 dishes in just six days and boy, did I fall in love with the culture and the kitchen! I can now eat tamarind straight from the pod and danced at a Sangeet on the weekend in front of 800 people. It is great! Exclaims the Georgian resident, who impressed Gordon Ramsay and his crew with their base grilling skills.
"It's funny. I'm known for my steaks, but I became vegan in November. Cutting out all animal fat made all the difference. I even eat my 2-pound salads with chopsticks to really slow down my meal time," he says.
The dish is prepared in the Louisiana style
Healthy, local food is the unique selling point of Subha and Sims. “In 2013 I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and I immediately got a medication cocktail. But of course I wanted to control my sugar. I did a lot of research and everything depended on portion control and glucose monitoring. I make sure that a third of my plate is always filled with fruit and vegetables, ”says Subha as she empties a cup of Cajun spice and Kashmiri Mirch (Chilli) in the vat with the simmering gumbo.
As the fragrance blows across the terrain, it will Mirch makes a good first impression, while the other spices play the second violin after the mixture of women's fingers, peppers and tomatoes.
The Indian engineer, who became the chef, explains: “The holy trinity for me when cooking in Louisiana style is the combination of celery, spring onions and parsley, a nice mix of spices and of course the roux (a creamy mixture of fat and flour) Basis for gravy. When I was studying at Louisiana State University, I was actually cooking for international student delegations, but my first cooking class was at home, where I made tasty snacks and coffee when the visitors came by. "
Subha quickly tries the gumbo that Sims stirs and adds honey to keep it in balance. "The way I cook hasn't changed since the competition, but I've learned the importance of over-coating, respecting unknown ingredients, and knowing the nuances of baking," says Subha.
Sims feels different: “I've been cooking since I was 20 and the competition has taught me a lot about my limits. The drama of everything is enhanced by the drama that they evoke. So I had to step back and let my kitchen do the talking! “Dhruva, a 10-year-old student, comes to break up Gulkand Sandwich with ledges, which he inhales wonderfully.
"It's such a coincidence that we met Subha and Sims," said Ramya Venkatraman, who runs the Gossip Fusion Bistro, and a food court in Mahindra World City with her husband Hari Ganesan.
“We like to prepay by cooking for children in different houses and schools every month. Since Subha cooks here, Gossip got the supplies, took care of the logistics, and made a layer of pumpkin, carrot and beetroot halwato top off this very special meal. "
The restaurant in Kanathur offers a five-course menu, which was curated by the master chefs on February 6 and in which southern home-style cooking crosses with cajun chutzpah.
Sims explains: “I make burgers without rolls, with a little onion chutney, Subha makes gumbo, jambalaya, cajun fish and together we will prepare some nice, old-fashioned desserts with bourbon thrown in. It's a good mix of our styles and stories. "
To meet the master chefs or try their food, call the Gossip Fusion Bistro & Dessert Bar at 9940244569.