Ben Ungermann to bring European influence to Indian cuisine with gourmet experiences

Nivedita   |  New Delhi


Renowned "MasterChef Australia" 2017 Runner up Ben Ungermann, who is in India for the Johnnie Walker Gourmet Experiences that will start from Wednesday, says he is in love with the diverse Indian cuisine and with this association, he is trying to bring European influence to the spice palate of the Indian cuisine.

"I'm trying to bring a European influence to the spice palate of the Indian cuisine. The local chefs have really highlighted the best local produce with their Johnnie Walker inspired drinks and menu," Ungermann, who has created the menu for the event, told IANS in an e-mail interaction, when asked about what all Indian specialties he has put while creating the recipe.

He is bringing a multiple city tour in the country -- Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad -- starting from Wednesday till Decemeber 16. 

Ungermann will liaise with one partner outlet per city to inspire a drink-led menu paired with select appetizers.

"For this season of Johnnie Walker Gourmet Experiences, I have created a Toasted Coconut Ice Cream with Raisins to pair with Johnnie Walker Black Label. This has become my favourite ice cream to date. The pairing of an earthy toasted coconut with the depth of flavour in the Johnnie Walker Black Label with soaked raisins, has made a really indulgent ice cream and I can't wait to share it with everyone," he said.

Ungermann's style de cuisine derives inspiration from his Indonesian and Dutch lineage. He was the audience favourite to win "Masterchef..." starting out as an underdog. He went on to the finals of and was crowned the "Ice cream king" when he nailed Heston Bluementals challenge.

Talking about his fondness for Indian food, he said: "I have been to India once before and I love the cuisine and how diverse it is. There are changes to each of the local dishes every 100 kms. I really enjoy how the food has a real depth of spice and also heat."

He also said that while working with the chefs in each city "we made sure we kept the traditional aesthetic in mind while adding in influences from the different countries and making sure we found a balance between the dishes and the curated drinks."

So how is his food experimentation changed over the years while travelling to different countries?

"I began by cooking classical European dishes, and over my world tour, my style has evolved to a more edgy European cuisine fused with many Asian influences, ranging from Indonesia to India. 

"With my Dutch and Indonesian heritage it has definitely inspired quite a few of my menus and dishes along my travels and you might also be surprised to know the a lot of the Dutch came from India and the spice blends used originated here," said Ungermann.-IANS