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New Delhi, September 8, 2010
Bollywood action hero Akshay Kumar, who worked as a chef in Bangkok at the start of his career, will host and judge Masterchef India, a culinary competition show that is slated to start on Star Plus television channel next month.
Apart from the actor, the show will have two other judges - chefs Kunal Kapoor and Ajay Chopra, sources said.
A total of 12 contestants will compete for the title of Masterchef India in the show that will be aired twice a week from October 16.
Masterchef is based on the famous culinary competition UK and Australian format of the same name.
"On this show, people who passionately cook as a hobby and have absolutely no experience in the food industry, fight for the title of ‘best cook of the country’," Star Plus said on its website.
"Master Chef is not just a TV show, it’s a cultural phenomena. The show converts the most mundane daily chore of cooking into a life changing experience. The show is an emotion packed cut throat competition, which is easy to connect with and will keep the viewers at the edge of their seats," it said.
According to the channel, international versions of the show have broken ratings records in in the UK, where it has been running since 1990, and Australia, where it is the third most watched television programme since 2001. An American version is under production with Fox and will be launching this spring, the channel said.
"In a country where people are defined by what they eat, they are sure to take this show as seriously as the food on their plate. In India this is going to be one of its kind nationwide search for the best cook in the country. It's about people who are executives, construction workers, house wives, maid servants and students… anyone and everyone can be on the show, all you need is undying passion to make great food," it said.
According to the channel, contestants will be put through the paces with various challenges as they compete head-to-head to create delicious dishes. These everyday at-home cooks will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show their passion and excitement for food as they are put to the trial and judged by India’s best.
About Akshay Kumar, the channel said he was the only Bollywood star who had a connect with food.
"The India version won’t just end with finding the best cook of the nation, it goes a step further. The show will offer to set the winner for life. The grand prize will be a restaurant in winner’s name. Which the winner will run and make an occupation out of his talent and thus change his/her life forever," the channel said.
Akshay Kumar says it was a wonderful experience working in Bangkok. "It was a wonderful experience working in Bangkok. I was a free man that time, who was struggling and working hard for his career. I was learning martial arts that time when I used to work in a restaurant as a chef and that was the best experience of my life," he said.
He said he had always looked cooking. "Being a Punjabi, food was a priority in my life and I am a good cook, believe me. And since I had that talent, I used it in my needy days because I couldn’t have worked on anything else. So, I used my cooking talent and worked as a chef in Bangkok," he said.
He said he still cooks for his family when he is at home or they are out on a picnic. "My wife says I cook sushi the best and my mother finds my biriyani best," he added.