Sandeep's curries that have impressed the MasterChef Australia judges, has divided the audience. Which side are you on?
A section of MasterChef viewers are complaining the Indian-origin MasterChef Australia contestant Sandeep Pandit is cooking too many curries on the show.
The controversy kicked off online on the night MasterChef aired the episode where the Indian IT Project Manager turned MasterChef contestant scored a perfect 30/30 and won the coveted Immunity Pin for cooking typical desi khana (Indian food).
Sandeep had the judges in raptures with his platter of lemon pepper chicken with lemon rice and raita.
For Sandeep’s other dish on the show, the masala lobster, which was presented in a lobster shell, MasterChef Judge Gary Mehigan remarked, ‘There are angels singing somewhere’.
The dish revealed the traditional Indian smoking style where Sandeep smoked the dish with fenugreek and ghee.
The other Judge, George Calombaris yelled, ‘You the man! You the man!”
In his challenge against the Mystery Chef, Sandeep whipped up a platter of lemon pepper chicken with lemon rice and raita.
Sandeep couldn’t contain his joy when all the three Judges gave him the perfect score of 10/10 and the Immunity Pin.
But not everyone was thrilled with Sandeep’s culinary offerings.
Some viewers were quick to point out the fact, how Sandeep always cooked Indian food.
But then, many stood up for him online and hit back at his detractors.
Sandeep, a Kashmiri Pandit, an IT Project Manager and a relatively new migrant
Sandeep Pandit came to Australia in late 2016 as an IT project manager with a multinational company and is based in Melbourne.
“In 1989, I was eight years old when our big family had to flee overnight in a truck with whatever little we had from our home in Srinagar when militants hit Jammu and Kashmir. We didn’t have cooking equipment at home, not even a fridge and much of the food items.
"The first time I tried my hand in the kitchen, I made a cup of tea for my tired mother one day when she came back home from her full-time job, which she had to do to help our family make both ends meet. She had tears in her eyes and hugged me. This is when I thought, I have to cook. When you are able to serve food to someone, the look of satisfaction on their face gives you divine happiness,” says Mr Pandit whose family finally settled in Bengaluru, the IT hub of India.
Work brought him to Australia and his love for cooking made him apply for MasterChef.
Mr Pandit says his cooking is inspired by the idea of India and he often shares his recipes and cooking style on his Facebook, Instagram and blog.