Bengali food is one of the most underrated palettes that remains undiscovered by billions in this world. It has everything from carbs, to proteins, to fats, to vitamins and minerals in the best possible balance with a burst of flavors that can amaze any foodie. One woman took charge of making sure that the world finally gets to know the far eastern delicacies.
Although Justin Narayan has bagged the MasterChef Australia Season 13 title, it is Bangladeshi chef Kishwar Chowdhury who has won millions of hearts with her indigenous food. Kishwar came a long way from being a home chef to a Masterchef finalist wowing the judges with her Bengali dishes.
Let us know a bit more about the amazing person and the chef.
The 38-year-old has quite a contrasting background to the culinary industry. Kishwar was born and brought up in Melbourne, Australia. As per her education, she completed her graduation in Australia, and after that, she pursued her post-graduation degree in Graphic Design from the University of the Arts in London. Then she took up a stint in Germany followed by which she spent six years in Bangladesh establishing her printing business there. She finally came back to Melbourne in 2015. In her personal life, Chowdhury is married to her high-school sweetheart, Ehtesham, she has an 11-year-old son, Mikayle, and a 4-year-old daughter, Seraphina.
“I had never done anything like this before. I’ve only cooked for my family at home and my family really loved my food. So, for me it’s a very very personal thing. Coming here and cooking Bangladeshi food on this platform is very daunting and really hope that I can do my family proud,” said Kishwar in her very first episode on Masterchef Australia.
And she did make them proud.
She had cooked a wide range of Bengali dishes like Hariyali chicken with an Australian twist, Bengali Khichuri with Begun Bharta, and Bengali Patties, and pinning up the recipes on the world map by impressing world-class judges. In her finale, Kishwar presented Panta Bhaat and Aloo Bharta which is basically a poor man’s food made of leftover rice and never found in any restaurant. This very choice has made every Bengali across the borders emotional.
“I have loved Kishwar from day one because she wears her heart on her sleeves and she’s here for something much bigger than herself. She is here to honour Bengali cuisine, bring light to it in the Australian audience and also around the world,” said Judge Melissa Leong praising Kishwar.
Kishwar dreams to write a cookbook on Bengali cuisine which we hope to be manifesting. She hopes to pass down Bengali food to the coming generations through this. Her journey in Masterchef is a homage to Bangladesh, and Australia at the same time, she says.
“My ultimate food dream is to write a cook book on Bangladeshi food and Bangladeshi flavors. If I don’t do that for Mika and Seraphina, it’s gonna end with me and I really want to pass that down. I learnt to cook from my mum, my grandmother, literally watching over my shoulder and correcting everything and the food that I put up from years from way my ancestors have eaten before me. What I present is the cuisine of my parents who came here from Bangladesh but also for me to incorporate what is Australian and to pass that down,” said Kishwar over the course of her journey in the reality cooking show.
You have won over us Kishwar! Lots of love.
This was story was first published on Life Beyond Numbers.