Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FOOD & DRINK -

and shout MasterChef win­ners Ping Coombes and She­lina Per­mal­loo tell how to put a spin on clas­sic dishes that uses ac­ti­vated char­coal: “The pas­try turns jet black, it still tastes the same, but it looks com­pletely dif­fer­ent.”

It’s about be­ing clever, not com­pletely over­haul­ing an en­tire iconic dish, she ex­plains: “Don’t go overboard. Keep the core flavours, but then maybe add one or two in­gre­di­ents that you love, or are a bit un­usual, or make it look dif­fer­ent.”

“The whole point is: How can we el­e­vate a nor­mal home­cooked meal into some­thing a bit more MasterCh­effy?” adds She­lina. “Some­times it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily need to be about the tech­ni­cal skills in­volved, for me, it’s about a true bal­ance of flavour that can take some­thing from be­ing or­di­nary, to be­ing sub­lime.” She­lina Per­mal­loo, above, and Ping Coombes, right be­ing a MasterChef cham­pion, hav­ing been a home cook, and then sud­denly peo­ple ex­pect­ing you to be this pro­fes­sional cook within 24 hours of win­ning.”

“It’s the chal­lenge to be taken se­ri­ously,” she ex­plains. “You’re kind of in be­tween a home cook and a pro­fes­sional cook, and you have to get through that.”

Since win­ning the show, She­lina has writ­ten two cook­books and worked in Miche­lin star restau­rants, and has opened her own joint, Lakaz Ma­man. “It’s a real whirl­wind as soon as you leave the show and start ex­pe­ri­enc­ing what it’s like to work in a pro­fes­sional kitchen,” she re­calls. “You sink or swim re­ally, re­ally quickly.”

MasterChef: The Clas­sics With A Twist (left) is pub­lished by DK, priced £25. Pho­tos by David Lof­tus.

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