While we have all, at some point after watching various cookery shows, wanted to put on the chef whites, only a few have had that extra zing to pursue their dreams. And there are even fewer who have set off to become professional chefs after leaving their white-collar jobs. A former accountant by profession, winner of the ninth season of MasterChef Australia in 2017 Diana Chan was destined to realise her dreams of becoming a chef. We caught up with the celebrity chef when she was in the city.
Chef Diana Chan talks to about her Indian tour before confessing her love for Indian food and the ingredients that go into it. “I am on a four-city India tour starting with Mumbai and heading to Hyderabad, Delhi and Bengaluru. Through the tour, I’ll be doing some of my favourite dishes such as pumpkin ravioli, sweet potato churros and curry leaf dish. Using robust ingredients like sweet potatoes and pumpkin, I want to showcase that there is much more to them rather than using it in curries and making something world-class from them,” says Chef Diana. But the Malaysian-born accountant-turn Aussie chef, who’s been to India before, makes a point to taste the sweets here like khowa, laddoo and kheer. In fact, Rawa dosa and vada are her all-time South-Indian food favourites. “They are so flavoursome yet simple,” says Diana. What can one expect to find the most of in her kitchen? “Herbs and lemons — I always have a box of herbs in my fridge including thyme, basil, coriander and rosemary,” pat comes her reply.
Riding the victory wave
The two years since she won the ninth season of MasterChef Australia title have been a high-thrill ride for Diana. To begin with, the chef found immense success in the culinary world and worked with numerous brands, designing menus, hosting events, inventing products, writing columns, etc. Her pop-up restaurant ‘Chanteen by Diana Chan’ in Melbourne also received an overwhelming response for her range of dumplings. We’re told that a cook book is also on the way. But what was her journey through the MasterChef Australia challenge like, we ask. “MasterChef Australia is a tough competition, but going through the whole process was special. Travelling with the team was amazing and I am still in touch with few of them, especially the girls with whom I shared my room. I had always loved food and it was my stint with MasterChef which opened up lots of avenues. Of course, there were nerve-wrecking aspects to it as well. The part where we didn’t know what will come next was the most challenging thing I faced during the competition,” recollects Chef Diana.
Today, Diana’s main aim is to explore more into the Malaysian cuisine and expand the reach of it, starting from street food to fine dining.