Devaki Vijayaraman on big life changes after winning MasterChef Tamil
The Trichy-based home baker tells us that although she took home 25 lakh in prize money, her biggest win was growing a sense of self-confidence through the show
MasterChef Tamil winner Devaki Vijayaraman appeared calm and poised during every round. But she told us over an interview, post her epic win last week, that she was a bundle of nerves through the show. “I have never been in front of a camera in my life, let alone cook for judges before,” shares the 28-year-old home baker, over a call from her residence in Trichy. So literally, every time, she was on set, she shares with us, “I felt like it might be the last time in the kitchen. And so, I really gave it my all.”
Her Mayajaalam — an illusion concept plate using cotton seed milk won her the finale of the show, produced by Innovative Film Academy and Endemol Shine India. And Devaki — who previously worked in finance and only began using an OTG when the pandemic hit, early last year — got to take home INR 25 lakh, apart from a trophy and a prized MasterChef apron.
We imagine life has changed considerably over the past week, but after a surreal few days of being back home with her family and three-year-old son, Devaki responds to our question, minus the usual route of book deal or business plan. The biggest change after her win, she tells us is, “being taken more seriously,” when she speaks up.
Six months ago, stepping into a room full of contestant hopefuls, she recalls, “I was scared of everything — the judges, the competition, and then you add being around a star like Vijay Sethupathi (the show host) on top of that...” So, the biggest lesson — this home chef tells us — she has taken away from the show, is the one ingredient that you won’t find stocked in a kitchen pantry — “self-confidence.”
As for her highlight reel of innovative dishes, Devaki takes us back to an inspired ‘Flower Challenge’ where contestants were given edible flowers to work with. “I remember making a Telugu-style Putharekulu (rice paper rolls) which was a big risk because it had flopped at home when I had tried making it last,” she recalls. This was stuffed with a gorgeous purple filling of flecks of Dianthus petals blitzed with sugar and barley. Even more close to her heart was the mystery box with crayfish, gouda and curry leaves. She concocted an inspired marriage of risotto meets kichidi. Comfort and creativity, swathed in oodles of gouda...