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Logan Guleff Master Chef Junior, US, 2014

Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 17:15 Hrs  [IST]

Logan Guleff, an unassuming young lad of just 14 from Memphis, Tennessee, US, was in India recently as a guest of honour at the Young Chef Olympiad (YCO) International organised by International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM). A Chef prodigy, he has created records of sorts in culinary art competitions in the US. In 2014, he became the Master Chef Junior Champion. He was also named one of the 30 Most Influential Teens by the Times Magazine, and also the youngest certified judge for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. Hospitality Biz met with this celebrity Chef in Delhi for a brief chat.

How you developed the passion for food and cooking?
I started meddling with cooking at a very small age of 2. It just came around to me and stuck with me. The journey so far has been incredible for me. I won couple of cookery contests at a very early age and that snowballed into participating in the Master Chef Junior contest and winning it. It then got skyrocketed when I was recognised as the Premier Kid Chef of the world.

One of the things we have in the US is James Beard House. James Beard was a Chef who authored many famous cook books. Modern world has almost forgotten about him and his legacy. I happened to win a ‘Blended Burger’ Award by James Beard Foundation. I prepared a burger with beef and mushroom for the award. I consider James Beard award as a big achievement personally.

What was your understanding about Indian food before coming here?
Here, they use tons of spices and food is so colourful. Back in the US, even the Indian food is so bland. I find it so much rich and authentic here.
Yes, I tried to prepare some Indian dishes at home before coming here, but not very successful. One needs to learn how to use different spices while preparing Indian dishes. We don’t find many people who can teach Indian cooking in the US.

You have participated in many cookery contests. Hence, what is your piece of advice to young chefs who are looking for place and positions in culinary contests?
One should try to showcase his/her skill and creativity in the best possible way at competitive events. When they use their skills to fill their thoughts, the ideas really come to life. It is important for contestants to try and set their standards really high and be the best.

If you look the culinary field in the last two decades, it is really interesting to see a lot of young people are looking to enter the field with lot of passion. It is no more a boring profession where you need to slog for long hours on the shop floor. One can work on holidays, weekends, etc. and pursue the passion.

When do you think your first cook book will be out?
Yes, I hope to launch it before summer. It will be a graphic cook book adventure, which will help cook food in easy steps. The whole idea is to make cooking food a fun activity for the people. I tried to present it in the same way I learnt cooking.

How do you plan to take this passion forward?
I really don’t know. If I get some good opportunity to work with a hotel or a good restaurant, I will certainly look at it. But as of now nothing has been decided.

Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from experts like Gordon Ramsay. He is really a mentor for me. I really looked up to him way before he started Master Chef Junior. He really makes you set high standards as he himself has done. He makes you reach there.

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