Am I dreaming or is it real? I pinched myself to make sure that those golden lines that I was reading on Twitter a few days back, were actually true. I could not believe my eyes (and luck!) when I read the tweet that I was among the eight FBAI Mumbai foodies chosen by Grand Hyatt Mumbai to dine with none other than the MasterChef Australia Season 6 winner Brent Owens! Brent was recently in Mumbai to promote the upcoming MasterChef Australia Season 7 reality show.
Well, dreams do come true. Whenever I watched Brent Owens on MasterChef India Season 6, I had an intuition that one day I will meet this talented man. So when I read that I was one of the lucky winners of the #MeetBrentAtGHM Twitter contest, I was so thrilled to find out that I would be dining with celebrity Brent Owens, and that too, right here in Aamchi Mumbai. Soon came the day. There I was, chatting with Brent while sipping a fine Prosecco in the Italian fine-dine restaurant Celini at Grand Hyatt Mumbai.
I had been watching Brent Owens since the very first episode of MasterChef Australia Season 6. I agree with Brent on the fact that you don’t have to be a trained chef to get awesome results in the kitchen. The whole world watched the journey of the 24-year-old former Bobcat driver becoming a celebrity chef. Brent loves bold flavours and loves to give his spin on recipes he comes across. Being the winner of MasterChef Australia is a huge achievement. But what is even bigger is that the moment you meet this celebrity chef, you know how grounded he is, and the aura of positivity and simplicity in him is overwhelming! He told us about how he felt on winning the title and how much the experience gathered from the reality show, helped him to be what he is now. He also told us he loves Indian food and that he had been to Juhu beach, where he loved the Indian street food dishes Sevpuri, Panipuri, Vada Pav, Dosa and Idli. We all spent hours eating, drinking, giggling and talking to each other. It was an evening that I would always remember.
The dinner menu was curated by Brent Owens himself. The Appetizer was a beautifully presented Lobster and Asparagus Garden with Parsley Pesto Potato. A plump lobster was resting on a potato disc that was topped with a delicious Parsley Pesto. Perfectly cooked Asparagus spears were tastefully stacked, while the microgreens did make the dish complete. The combination of potato, pesto, lobster, asparagus and the microgreens on the plate was perfect and light. Like Brent’s personality itself, the dish reflected comfort, simplicity and sophistication.
This was followed by a soup. The Cold Saur Topinambur, Leek Cream with Smoked Salmon and Caviar was simply out-of-the-world. I always love seafood soup, and this soup was something so interestingly colour-coordinated and textured that as I sipped the first spoonful, I was so engrossed with the gentle, umami burst of flavours in my mouth that I could hardly concentrate on what Brent was speaking. At that very moment, rather, Brent’s dish was speaking for itself. This soup was flawless.
In the Main Course, I was served the Bread Crust Lamb Rack with Ginger Balsamic Reduction and Berries Relish. The Lamb Rack was perfectly done and the pink blush from the meat was beaming with flavour. The reduction and the relish were well-coordinated with the lamb.
In MasterChef Australia Season 6, the Pressure test by Heston made Brent learn the nuances of a perfect Beetroot Risotto (Episode 50) with that oomph factor. In my wildest of dreams, I never thought that one day, Brent would be actually cooking a Beetroot Risotto for me. On my plate was a perfectly creamy Beetroot and Port Wine Risotto. Every spoonful delivered excellent mouthfeel. I found myself enjoying a vegetarian risotto for the first time!
The Trilogy of Desserts served at the end was a great way to end this dining experience. The Chocolate Cake was on the drier side, though the chocolate ganache that accompanied it, compensated for the dryness to a certain extent. A gold-dust-sprinkled almond looked lovely, sitting pretty over the cake. The Milk Chocolate Mousse was good. But the best thing that I tasted was the light-bodied and fruity Olive Oil Ice Cream, which was finished off with crumbs of pink macarons and black olives. The ice cream was just mind-blowing.
The food and wine pairing at Celini were great and lived upto my expectations. Frankly, food or no food, wine or no wine, getting to meet a person like Chef Brent Owens right here in Mumbai, is enough to make you content! Sometimes food is just an excuse.
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