Sandeep Pandit turned into just eight years vintage whilst his own family packed their luggage and fled from Kashmir inside the dead of the night in 1989. From Srinagar to Jammu to Bangalore, the Pandit own family straddled states to discover peace and relax after migrating. Though his upbringing and schooling turned into in posh Bangalore, Sandeep stayed near his roots and explored the wealthy culinary history of Kashmir.
Thirty years later, Sandeep has not handiest made Jammu and Kashmir however all of India proud with the aid of being decided on to compete within the prestigious MasterChef Australia. From Rogan Josh (mutton dish with red gravy) to Yakhni (mutton dish organized in yoghurt), Hakh (collard inexperienced; the staple weight loss program of Kashmir), Muji Chetin (reddish chutney) and Tehr (yellow rice), Sandeep expressed his feelings through Kashmiri cuisine and in the end impressed the judges.
“Cooking has a special area in most Indian households, it’s unique to us, and it’s nonsecular. My ardor for cooking began early, as I needed to help Mom within the kitchen in Bangalore. When we moved to Bangalore, we had no cash for the most fundamental facilities of existence. As there has been no fridge to save the food, Mom taught me the way to heat food to preserve it going for longer. I later fell in love with cooking, because it changed into my happy vicinity in those turbulent times.”
Sandeep Pandit to The Quint
Born in Azad Basti Budshah Nagar in upmarket Srinagar in 1981, Sandeep finished a degree in Chemical Engineering from Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) in 2003. Later, he completed an MBA from Bangalore University and joined the IT industry in 2005. Given his professional acumen and body of work, he was sent to Australia in 2016 by using his corporation, Cognizant, to head one in all their tasks.
Cooking, but, remained his old flame and for that reason, when programs for MasterChef Australia had been invited, he changed into some of the first to use. As luck had it, he turned into selected among the first 50 and later given the apron, that is one-of-a-kind to the 24 contestants who are selected.
“I were a large fan of MasterChef Australia even if I changed into in India. MasterChef Australia invitations packages from throughout Australia. After the initial screening, 50 get invited to cook for the judges and 24 win the apron to prepare dinner for the identify. These are called the Top 24 of the season.”
Sandeep has been cooking due to the fact he was 9. From supporting his mom within the kitchen to making tea and trying his hand at some vintage recipes, he has dabbled in all types of cooking to pursue his passion.
“My grandmothers usually motivated my Kashmiri cooking. My mother, in addition, held my hand and taught me many Kashmiri delicacies. I am very proficient in making Dum Aloo, Rogan Josh, Nadru Yakhini… The usage of Kashmiri techniques. Over the years, I even have were given higher at cooking those traditional dishes, with inputs from many elders.”
Sandeep Pandit to The Quint
In any other venture, he made Yakhni (lamb) and the judges had been surprised by the simplicity of a complex dish as complex as that. “I am just fortunate so as to show off Indian cuisine at this stage”, he said.
The show is presently on the air in Australia and our prayers are already with the son of our soil. For the 38-yr-vintage techie, the MasterChef Australia adventure is a stepping stone in realizing his dream of putting in his own eating place.
“If I win, I would love to pursue my meals dream of starting an eating place known as `BBQ and Biryani’. I additionally want to record the recipes from Kashmir as I assume we’re losing a number of them with time. I would really like to cook dinner Kashmiri Dum Aloo for PM Narendra Modi because it is a unique dish from the valley. Very few dishes champion potato, the way our precise vintage Dum Olav does.”
And it changed into his love for Kashmiri delicacies which stole the display and led judges to comprehend Sandeep for his deep insight into the culinary history of his motherland.
“Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston ( of the judges) are thoroughly aware of Indian cuisine and they had been splendidly inspired with me for cooking traditional Kashmiri dishes. Rogan Josh, Hakh, Muji Chetin, and Tehr made their debut in my audition dish and the judges were very inspired with my cooking. I didn’t have lots of time to tenderize the mutton so I turned into invited to prepare dinner once more, and I received the coveted apron day after today.”