It took just a few mouthfuls of Abhi’s Indian cuisine to convince a producer from the hit show MasterChef that the famous Indian cook should appear as a guest chef on the show.
Kumar Mahadevan's elevation to rock star status will come as no surprise to Strathfield locals, who have been enjoying Abhi’s food for two decades (he celebrates 20 years in July).
The “guru of Indian cuisine” told Strathfield Scene how the hit TV show has made a difference to his business.
Q Are the restaurant's patrons mostly local?
A We have a big local clientele from the inner west as well as diners who travel a fair distance for their Abhi's fix.
Q What’s the most popular dish of Abhi’s?
A The Palak Patta Chaat is an entrée that has many fans. We do sell a lot of butter chicken as well!
Q How were you approached to be on MasterChef?
A One of their producers dined at my restaurant and then approached us with the offer.
Q Can you tell us about the MasterChef experience?
A It was a good opportunity to show a different side of Indian cuisine. To break it from the butter chicken and vindaloo mould!
Q How did your patrons react?
A There was a buzz about the MasterChef appearance. A lot of our regulars saw it and commented favourably on it.
Q The Abhi's website says only local produce is used. Is any of this from Strathfield producers?
A My butcher, David's Quality Meats, is based at 161 Concord Road and our address is 163 Concord Road! Any more local and his shop would be inside our restaurant! I have been using his services for 20 years now. My linen guy is in Strathfield as well as one of my spice suppliers.
Q Any comments about the cuisine of India?
A It is a great cuisine that gets under-estimated!
Q What inspired you to become a chef?
A My mother’s cooking.
Q What is your training history?
A I trained at the Taj Intercontinental Hotel in Mumbai and worked in the Middle East before I was brought to Australia to launch the Mayur restaurant in 1995. I opened Abhi's in 1990 and will be celebrating 20 years this July. We have our anniversary dinners on the 13th,14th and 15th July.
Q You also have a restaurant at Woolloomooloo. How do the Strathfield clientele differ from the city clientele?
A I have known my local clientele for a long time. I have customers who have been coming to Abhi's since 1990! These people have become my friends! The city clientele is a little different. I am making some new friends there.
Q How did you become known as the guru of Indian cuisine?
A I have never claimed to be the guru! I am humbled that some people consider me so.