Friday, June 14, 2024

There’s tangible excitement when people in India identify me as MasterChef Australia’

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Pastry chef Anna Polyviou, who was recently in the city in association with Conosh for a masterclass, The Pioneer
connects with the punk princess of pastry for an exclusive chat, as she discusses her unique desserts, being the Masterchef Australia, and more.

Subodhini Purohit
Pastry chef Anna Polyviou works her culinary magic in the kitchen, turning everyday treats into imaginative works of art. Diners were mesmerised by her dishes, which resembled a symphony of flavours with each note harmonising with the next, when in Hyderabad in association with Conosh for a masterclass.
Anna started her career as a chef at The Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne. There, she won the Les Toques Blanc competition for “Best Apprentice in Victoria” and was given a scholarship that allowed her to work anywhere in the world.
For her, the dessert dances on the brink of anarchy, beckoning one to accept life’s delicious disarray. “I consider things that people know and then I recreate,” she explains. Imagine a dessert that rebels against the norm! The quickest approach to making ‘Anna’s mess’ is to combine cream, raspberry, and meringue kisses to produce a delightful collision of flavours and textures.
According to her, “The way to create it is to create a mess; the dessert that everyone is familiar with is about you picking it up and throwing it!” Desserts like ‘Firecracker’ require attentiveness. It’s all about taste, she explains, leading up to that last burst of joy. And as soon as you take that first bite, you’re sent to a place where desserts are gravity-defying and the possibilities are endless. She discovered her calling in creating desserts, drawn to the degree of playfulness it permits along the way.
In order for competitors to qualify for the Top 24 of MasterChef Australia season 9, Anna purchased a pressure cooker in 2021. “MasterChef Australia represents the apex of my career, an accomplishment I am incredibly proud of,” she states. “Every time someone asks me about it, I feel quite honoured. The encounter is always enjoyable and stimulating. Individuals of various ages, from young children to senior citizens, understand its worldwide importance. There’s tangible excitement when people in India identify me as MasterChef Australia. I continue to be modest in my attitude and am very particular about the dishes I use. It’s really amazing.”
She then discusses the difficulties she encountered while performing on the show. “To create a work of art never seen before, concentrate on unusual flavours and alluring textures. The visual display needs to be captivating and thrilling. Even with limited time, keep the audience’s attention by highlighting methods and components. Encourage competitors to replicate something genuinely original as a teacher. I enjoy inspiring them to recreate and teaching them something new. But these were some of the difficulties.”
While she encourages her followers to duplicate the desserts, she also makes sure that her recipes are doable, striking a balance between inventiveness and usability. She tells, “On my Instagram, I encourage creating dishes using pantry and fridge ingredients. I’m all about accessibility and simplicity, so no three-hour kitchen marathons here! Instead, in a matter of minutes, let’s prepare something delicious. The key is to maximise the resources you already have at home. Try it out. I was thrilled when people began tagging me in their dishes that they made utilising the three items that you have on hand. I love to get my cookbook dirty with splattering ingredients and wiping off the dust.” “I also make content with my mother, and she is the star of the show. She always wanted people to recreate what she had created, so she wrote cookbooks, one of which, Street Sweet, sold out within a few weeks of its release. Thankfully, my cookbooks are selling like crazy, and I hope that my next book will be a fantastic cookbook. I want readers to be motivated to cook, and I think it’s important for anyone to try their hand at cooking—they don’t have to be the best chef—because for me, food is my passion.”
She also says, “I am learning and exploring food in Hyderabad, and next time I come here, I want to write a cook book on it, which would include an Indian twist to desserts with spices and to educate myself about different flavours as I am having a great time exploring Indian cuisine.” Making a cookbook featuring desserts with an Indian influence is a fun way to honour the blending of flavours!
Anna offers some guidance for aspiring young pastry cooks too. “Acknowledge the kitchen, we receptive to new ideas, and absorb information like a well-seasoned sponge, just like a modest cook. Seek advice from seasoned chefs and people who support your culinary education, rather than relying only on TV broadcasts or social media snippets to prove your expertise in cooking. I’ve been cooking for seven years, and now I find myself in the colourful kitchen of Hyderabad, known for its diverse cuisine. Discover a wide variety of foods, appreciate each spice, and let your palate move to the beat of local specialties! Additionally, educate yourself by reading cookbooks, enrolling in classes, and following Instagram profiles. And get comfortable using scales to measure components.” Upon her return to Australia, Anna spearheaded the patisserie revolution in hotels throughout the nation while serving as the Creative Director of Pastry at Shangri-La Hotel.

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