Nikita Gandhi became the youngest winner of MasterChef India in 2015. Four years later, and the Abu Dhabi-raised chef has been selected to create the first Champion menu for MasterChef, the TV Restaurant, which opened its doors in Dubai Marina in April. Foodies can enjoy the limited-edition five-course dinner on June 6 and 7 at the eatery located in Millennium Marina Place, starting from Dh260 per person.
On the menu
The meal showcases Gandhi's take on popular Indian vegetarian dishes, and starts with a welcome drink of spicy kiwi mimosas, made with kiwi, green chilli and mint popsicle, and elderflower tonic water.
The amuse bouche is the so-called BlackOut pani puri, where the crispy puri is given a charcoal twist, while the "water" is a blend of passion fruit foam, and mango and pineapple salsa. This is followed by a paneer tikka and mozzarella empanada. So far, so twisted.
Mains include a choice between Gandhi's signature crispy eggplant layered with ricotta and makhani sauce, and wild mushroom kofta with warm pumpkin sauce and truffle butter naan.
A palate cleanser comes in the form of kokum granita – a mint tea sphere with roasted black grapes – and dessert is a stuffed kulfi bar, with pistachio barfi, ice cream and dark chocolate.
The meal concludes with a digestive tea blended with fennel, star anise and fresh herbs.
“In a city that welcomes cuisines from the world over and where diners have an appetite for creative cuisine, I’m hoping the spin I’ve added to traditional Indian dishes [demonstrate] the possibilities of reinterpreting classics," says Gandhi, adding: "“Having grown up in the UAE, I feel proud that Dubai is home to the first MasterChef, the TV Experience restaurant."
MasterChef, the TV Experience Restaurant
The screen-to-plate restaurant has been three years in the making, and will be the first in the world based on the reality cooking show, which, notes head chef Margarita Vaamonde-Beggs, “everybody you talk to knows at least something about".
With more than 300 million viewers in 200 countries around the world, MasterChef is one of the most successful cooking series on television. And it's chef Vaamonde-Beggs's job to take that popular concept and turn it into a real restaurant.
“We are bringing food from actual people who went on the show and won. With the restaurant, you get a little bit of the show because you get to see us cook the dishes, and then you can be the judge.”