MasterChef India winner Nikita Gandhi, B.S. ’14, returned to campus in October for an intimate cooking demonstration and to tell us more about her journey to clinching the title for the show’s fourth season. Watch her work her magic in this video.
Want to wow your friends and family? Try your hand at whipping up these three honey-based dishes that Gandhi prepared during the demonstration.
Avocado Honey Milkshake
1.5 cups milk
1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons honey
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
Blend everything together till it’s smooth. Pour into glasses and serve chilled.
Goat Cheese Bruschetta With Honey Balsamic
2 colored bell peppers (red and yellow)
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
8-10 fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
5-ounce package of goat cheese
Slice the baguette and lightly toast it.
Simmer together balsamic and honey on very low heat till reduced.
Cut the peppers into strips, mix with minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Roast in an oven preheated to 450 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.
To assemble: Generously spread goat cheese on toasted baguette, top with roasted peppers, drizzle balsamic honey reduction and finish off with fresh basil leaves.
Cheese Wontons With Figs and Honey
15 wonton wrappers
2 dried figs
4 tablespoons cream cheese
oil for frying
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
fresh figs and vanilla ice cream to serve
Mix together chopped figs and cream cheese.
On a wonton wrapper, place a teaspoon of filling, brush egg around the edges, fold and shape into wontons.
Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry the wontons till crispy and golden brown. Remove and drain excess oil on a paper towel.
Heat sugar and water together. Add honey and sesame seeds. Cook for an extra minute.
Brush honey sauce on wontons; plate with fresh figs and vanilla ice cream. Drizzle more honey sauce on the figs and serve immediately.
Behind the Scenes: MasterChef Timeline
The path that Nikita Gandhi, B.S. ’14, took to the MasterChef India title was long and laden with delicious challenges. Gandhi sent us some notes about the road to the grand finale.
Nov. 14, 2014: Audition 1, Ahmedabad, India
Gandhi’s dish: Rose and Raspberry Éclair
- Auditions took place in 22 cities across the country, with 550 applicants in Ahmedabad alone—and that’s a relatively small city.
- Gandhi made the rose and raspberry éclair at home and brought it to the venue; she underwent interviews with a chef and with a producer.
Nov. 16, 2014: Audition 2, Mumbai
Gandhi’s dish: Indianized Eggplant Parmesan
- Auditions took place in three cities with “a couple of thousand or so” applicants.
- Gandhi made the Indianized eggplant parm at home and brought it to the venue; she underwent additional interviews with a chef and with a producer.
Nov. 17, 2014: Audition 3, Mumbai
Gandhi’s dish: Fried Raw Papaya-Stuffed Pastry With Mint Chutney
- Auditions took place in three cities, with about 50 applicants in each city.
- In a room with three other contestants, each at an individual cooking station, Gandhi was given papaya as a surprise ingredient and had 30 minutes to plan, execute and plate a dish that could be anything but a smoothie, soup or salad; she wasn’t allowed to use potato or cheese.
- In a different room, before a panel of 10 judges including directors, chefs and other representatives of the television station and production company, she responded to rapid-fire questions about food, her personal and educational background, and more.
Nov. 19, 2014: Audition 4, Mumbai
Gandhi’s dish: Pesto Paneer Rolls With Red Garlic Chutney
- This first televised audition tested 65 applicants.
- Gandhi made a dish on set tasted by three celebrity chef judges, who decided on the spot which applicants would continue on to the competition.
- She received her first MasterChef apron upon being selected.
Dec. 1-15, 2014: Training Sessions/Boot Camp
Gandhi’s dish: Wintery Tart
- The competition included 30 remaining contestants.
- This televised session comprised a few days of training followed by the first task in the MasterChef kitchen.
- Gandhi was 1 of 12 contestants selected to continue, and she received a MasterChef apron with her name on it.
Jan. 2-April 2015
- During the televised competition, Gandhi participated in four weekly tasks (individual and team) that ultimately led to the elimination of one contestant each week.
April 12, 2015
- During the grand finale with only three contestants, the judges named Gandhi MasterChef.