MasterChef Australia finalist Loki Madireddi rolls out a gastronomic tour from Egmore to Kanyakumari over an eight-course dinner

Look out for novel renditions of childhood favourites like a Bun Parotta cruffin and Jigarthanda panna cotta
Chef Loki Madireddi
Chef Loki Madireddi

Egmore to Kanyakumari on a plate. This is what Loki Madireddi has in store for guests with an eight-course degustation designed as a train journey, at the Park Hyatt Chennai tonight. The event Edesia has been organised by Madras Mylapore Round Table 3 and Madras Mylapore Ladies Circle 4. MasterChef Australia enthusiasts will remember Loki as one of the top 24 contestants on the show back in 2018, who guest judge Nigella Lawson rated even higher than a professional head chef of a restaurant — for a delectable king fish with a spicy shellfish lemon broth and fish curry, which she said “just makes your tastebuds dance.” 

<em>Spiced mushroom dumplings</em>
Spiced mushroom dumplings
<em>Jigarthanda panna cotta</em>
Jigarthanda panna cotta

Mentorship code
Loki, 38, has come a long way since then, giving residents of Victoria (where he is based)  and Melbourne a taste of what he grew up with via food pop-ups and even creating a fellowship for aspiring chefs. Chef Abinas Nayak, who was awarded the fellowship in 2019, even went on to win MasterChef India. Abinas and Mohena Ahulwalia, another recipient of the fellowship, will be joining chef Loki as judges for a novel ‘mystery box’ experience for kids on Saturday morning. “It’s important to activate a taste for curiosity from an early age,” he tells us.

Growing up in a residential colony in Egmore, there was little Loki wouldn’t do to appease his tastebuds, even as a child. “I’ve gotten into all sorts of mischief,” he shares, piquing our curiosity. Like what? We ask. “One day, when I was eight, I had this craving for parotta and salna,” he recalls. But there wasn’t any at home. A young Loki proceeded to wait till everyone was asleep, took some money out of his dad’s wallet, slipped out of home and then crossed a bridge over to where the truck drivers ate dinner — to get his fill! It’s no surprise that a parotta is on the menu tonight. 

<em>Bun parotta cruffin</em>
Bun parotta cruffin

Buns and roses
Although, he shares, it will be a little different from what one might expect. “It’s a Bun Parotta on the outside. But on the inside, the texture is like a mashup between a croissant and muffin,” he elaborates, making us lean forward in our seat. Paired with an exquisite selection of wines and a dash of storytelling, each course promises, “a coming together of food memories from childhood and lessons from a more evolved global palate.” Like his ‘Radiant Rose’ which was inspired by his nostalgia for rose cookies from neighborhood bakeries. Expect rose cookies paired with pulled jackfruit treated with a spice rub. This is then topped with caramelised onions in red wine, mascarpone cheese and tamarind — a voyage of sweet, sour, spicy — all in the space of a bite. 

Eight-course dinner at Flying Elephant, Park Hyatt Chennai. Tonight at 7.30 pm. INR 6,999. Mystery Box challenge and cook along for kids (aged 9 to 18) at The Apartment. November 27 at 11 am. INR 1,999. Funds raised go toward supporting women and children with HIV.

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