"MasterChef Australia" judge George Calombaris says the long-running reality competitive cooking game show has changed the way people look at food, and that it unites families.
The show is back with its ninth season where contestants have to win the judges' heart and appetite by whipping up lip-smacking dishes. Doesn't he ever get tired of co-judging multiple contestants, who go through different types of pressure tests?
"I love filming 'MasterChef'. I love (co-judges) Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston. We are the three amigos. I'm so lucky to be part of this little show called 'MasterChef'. It resonates with people all over the world and has changed the way people look at food. It brings families together," Calombaris told IANS in an email interaction from Melbourne.
He promises to be back for another season.
"There will definitely be another season, and I can't wait! This season there are so many terrific cooks, they just get better and better each year," he said.
They took the competition to Japan's Tokyo this year. Why did they leave out India?
"We've filmed in many places all over the world. India is somewhere we haven't got to yet. This all depends on the producers and the sponsors at the end of the day."
"But I know we've got a great audience in India, and I absolutely love visiting the fans there. I usually get there every year," said Calombaris.
Since he is a frequent flyer to India, did it ever strike to him to get his cuisine -- inspired by his Greek and Cypriot heritage -- to India?
"I get many offers to open restaurants all over the world, India especially is one I'm asked about all the time. We've got some big growth plans here in Australia for the next three years."
"Once we achieve the goals we have here, our team will certainly look to expand, but it has to be right, the right people, the right relationship, the right partnership. Maybe one day," said the owner of 10 restaurants in Australia.
The celebrity chef surely knows how to connect with people from different countries through food. But when he jets off to an unknown land, what does he expect from there?
"To taste local, 100 per cent. I love exploring local delicious cuisine, to meet the people and enjoy the culture. I want the locals to tell me about their favourite places and often through social media, they do. So, on my way over I do a bit of research before I land about the places I'm going to visit," he said.
His latest stop was at Sri Lanka, where he was hosted by Cinnamon Life, an upcoming premier lifestyle property in Colombo.
(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at email@example.com)
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