MasterChef India 6 winner Abinas Nayak: Plan to travel and document food stories

Sana Farzeen
Abinas Nayak

Abinas Nayak believes cooking is not a gender-specific job.

On Sunday, Abinas Nayak was announced as the winner of MasterChef India 6. The technical analyst from Orissa beat Oindrila Bala to take home the golden chef coat, trophy and prize money of Rs 25 lakh.

Post his big win, Nayak spoke exclusively to indianexpress.com about his MasterChef journey. He said, "I was not competing with anyone else. The journey was to better myself with each task and whip up a better dish compared to my last one. That's how I mentally prepared myself in the show."

Sharing more about his cooking journey, the MasterChef India 6 winner said, "I have always been a foodie and enjoyed watching shows on the same. I would also cook along with my mother and grandmother during special occasions but never cooked for myself. Only once I moved out of the house for work, I had to start preparing my daily food. That's how I started connecting with it and being a painter, I would use innovative methods for plating. Since I was quite busy, I never got an opportunity to train myself. However, I would keep watching shows and online videos to better my craft. Also, I always loved comfort food and realised I would have to use contemporary style to make it more appealing."

Cooking is usually considered a woman's job in India. We quizzed him whether a platform like MasterChef India can change this age-old idea. With a broad smile, he said, "I believe cooking is not a gender-specific job. I have seen my father cook at home on important days. I also feel that everyone should know cooking as it's a basic survival requirement. As for the MasterChef platform, I feel it opens door of the world for people who love cooking. I am an engineer and don't come from a culinary background. I would have never managed to showcase my talent on such a scale if it wasn't for the show."

Talking about judges Vikas Khanna, Ranveer Brar and Vineet Bhatia, the 27-year-old chef said, "They were the best thing that could happen to amateurs like us. Also, all three trained us in different aspects. Chef Ranveer is a storyteller and taught us to create magic with food. Chef Vineet is a techincal guy and also has ample tips if you want to start a business. As for Chef Vikas, he puts in a lot of thought into every dish. They all stood along with us through the journey. They scolded us whenever needed, but we really learnt a lot from all of them."

Abinas Nayak came across as a shy person on the show, and with girls going gaga over his cuteness now, we asked him how much is he enjoying the adulation coming his way. "I have always been a person of less words. Also, I can talk a lot about food, but when it comes to other things, I am a little shy. I feel honoured to get so much love and appreciation from so many people. I feel like talking to each one of them, but there is so many messages that I am not getting time."

Lastly, sharing his future plans, Nayak said, "I plan to travel to new places and document food stories in the form of a book and show. Let's see how it all pans out."