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The MasterChef Interview - Dhruv Baker (2010 Winner)

Dhruv Baker - meemalee's kitchen interview

"It is written that those who read or listen to the story of Dhruv will achieve devotion and their sorrows will be destroyed."

The Legend of Dhruv (no, seriously)

So - here's the one you've apparently all been waiting for, an interview with the winner of the 2010 series of MasterChef, Dhruv Baker.

The other day I had lunch with a friend of mine and his verdict on Dhruv was as follows:

"He's handsome and he can cook. Men want to be him. Women want to be with him. It's inspiring, but I think I kinda hate him".

Yes, yes, we all love (or in my friend's case, hate) Dhruv. But despite our love for this angelic creature, at the same time he's been directly responsible for some of the most unholy puns known to man eg "Dhruvy Kind of Love", "Dhruv is in the Heart" and even, slightly bizarrely, "Master Baker" (please don't go there).

Although I guess I have to give some kind of credit to the Torygraph for giving us the immortal phrase:

"Dhruv (it rhymes with groove)"

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Talking of which, his name has proved an alarmingly popular search term here on Meemalee's Kitchen, at one point coming in at a heady number 4 above "burmese egg curry".

Seriously people, I do write about things other than MasterChef. Occasionally.

My all-time favourite query however must be:
"How did Dhruv make his Indian duck balls?"

Dhruv's dessert in the Final (copyright BBC/SHINE LIMITED)

meemalee's kitchen - The MasterChef Interview


Former sales director Dhruv Baker won this year's series of MasterChef in a closely-fought battle. More familiar to us as "Dad of one Dhruv" or alternatively "New Dad Dhruv", he is currently based in south-west London with wife Aileen and wee son Arun, and has just completed stages at De Librije (in Zwolle, Holland where he cooked for Russell T Davies in the final) and Le Gavroche. He is allegedly in the process of setting up his own blog and is going to open a restaurant soon or someone's going to get a slap. Most importantly of all, he knows how to spell my name.

Has there ever been a kitchen mishap that's driven you to tears?

I left a lovely pork shoulder to braise in a beautiful mole (not the blind, burrowing creature but the Mexican chocolate and chilli-based dish) when I dropped my family off at Gatwick. I got stuck in traffic on the way back and when I turned into my road I could smell the smoke ...

I opened my front door and the hallway was so full of thick acrid smoke that I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. Pot has boiled dry, ruining it, and the house had to be aired for over a week. The stench was shocking and the gorgeous meat was wasted.

You're hosting your dream dinner party and you can invite 1 living person, 1 dead, and 1 fictional (no friends or family) - who would they be?

William Boyd, Keith Floyd, and (damn, James Bond was a cracker) Jessica Rabbit.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Chicken. No, egg. Wait, chicken. Um, dunno.

Describe yourself in three words

Determined. Food-lover. Optimist.

What’s the worst thing you have ever cooked?

I honestly cannot thing of anything for this other than that failed pork mole.

What was the final push that made you enter MasterChef?

A lot of grief from my wife and a good friend of ours combined with a very dull day at the office made me Google the application.

What would you want as your epitaph?

Wouldn't like to tempt fate by answering this!

What's your guilty food pleasure?

Ikea hot dogs, tortilla wraps with cheap breaded supermarket chicken, melted cheese and Encona sauce. The occasional trip to the Golden Arches.

[what is it with MasterChef finalists and hot dogs?]

Who would win in a fight between a baboon and a badger?

Clearly the baboon - badger has no fingers for eye gouging. Or as Harry Hill would say, "there's only one way to find out ..."

What would be your last meal on Earth?

Grilled lobster with garlic butter (bottle of Montrachet), steak, chips and bearnaise sauce (1982 Lafite) and a pear and almond tarte (bottle of d'Yquem). Mmmm.

Dhruv's main in the Final (copyright BBC/SHINE LIMITED)

If you were a superhero, what would you be called and what special powers would you have?

I would be called Kronos and I would be able to master time travel (forwards and backwards).

How many cardigans does John Torode own?

More than anyone will ever know.

Who do you most admire?

My wife for being the best mum, wife and friend in the world while being amazing at her job. And for her unquestioning faith in me which keeps me going.

What do you love cooking the most?

Meat. I love cooking meat - frying, braising, roasting.

Has Gregg Wallace ever actually put his face in a plate of food or swallowed the spoon by accident?

I have never witnessed it, but I have heard a rumour that he did one stick his face in a pudding. Probably a complete lie though.

[it's not a lie - we've had official confirmation from two separate sources]

What keeps you awake at night?

Worrying about what the future holds and foxes shagging loudly.

What's your favourite cuisine when eating out and what cuisine would you like to try that you haven't before?

Eating out would have to be Japanese and I can't think of one that I haven't tried (ooh, Burmese - hint hint).

[hmmmmm. I'll cook for him if he cooks for me first - that's fair, right?]

What's the stupidest/naughtiest thing you did as a child?

When I was about 10, I shot out a few of the streetlights in our road with an air rifle and a catapult. That was pretty stupid - there were lots of stupid things come to think of it ...

Do you have a nickname (childhood or current)?

I put on a hell of a lot of weight in my second year of uni and have been called "Pies" ever since.

What's your favourite TV programme (other than MasterChef) and favourite band?

University Challenge, Man vs Food, The Wire. I don't really have a single favourite band, but I do love Vampire Weekend (I'm a bit rubbish with music).

What's been your proudest moment so far?

Becoming a dad for the first time.

Who would you least like to be trapped in a lift with?

A fighting baboon and badger.

What's your favourite holiday destination and why?

Mexico - specifically Isla Mujeres. Relaxed, ramshackle buildings and lots of great seafood and margaritas. Amazing beaches too.

Tell us three more interesting things about yourself: two true, one a lie

  1. I am fluent in Spanish and Hindi
  2. I failed my first driving test for crashing
  3. I was in a boyband before university
When am I going to get to eat your food?

As soon as we get our pop-up going!

[yes folks, it seems the MasterChef Pop-up Restaurant may actually happen]

Dhruv Baker

Dhruv Baker - taken by Ali Moore for Shine TV

So there you have it - the last of the MasterChef 2010 Finalist interviews. It's been emotional for me - I hope you've enjoyed the show.

If you missed the others, here's Alex Rushmer and here's Tim Kinnaird.

You can also relive the MasterChef 2010 Final meemalee-style.

Special thanks to Dhruv Baker and Ali Moore for SHINE TV for the photos, and @FoodUrchin, @Suzler and Popb*tch for questions


Anonymous said…
You're never going to let that name spelling thing go, are you?

Great interview MiMi (see, two capitals).

meemalee said…
@roastpotato -

No, I'm not. Ever.

Thanks Gary :)
franmouse39 said…
Brilliant, all three of them, MiMi.
chumbles said…
Phenomenal! Do let us know what you cook for him! I've been checking regularly for the holy trinity and now I can actually concentrate on what I'm paid to do!
meemalee said…
@fran39 - Thank you Fran x

Lucky all three have a good sense of humour :)

@chumbles - Holy trinity - bwahahahaha :)

Get back to work!
Kavey said…
Excellent. Another fabulous interview, Meems!

Some great answers!
meemalee said…
@Kavey -

Thanks hun! Like I said, it's a good thing they all gave fun answers :)
Great interview Meemalee with a great guy...

And I fully agree with your friend's words about Dhruv!

meemalee said…
@Franca - Thank you very much :)
Food Urchin said…
Two things.

First, foxes shagging at night keep me awake too (oh and the neighbours).

Second, hang on who's cooking for who? Surely I should be first to sample Dhruv's cooking.

The Grubworm said…
Amen to the fox shagging - bane of my sleep. As someone who has never watched masterchef, it was an interesting (if occasionally mystifying) interview - good work MiMi.

Can I come sample your Burmese cooking too?
meemalee said…
@FoodUrchin - Yeah, I can't stand the sound of foxes at it either.

Also, you got pwned.

@The Grubworm - "Interesting if mystifying" - yeah, that'll do.

You can sample my Burmese cooking as soon as you've been on a major television programme. MIAOW!
Anonymous said…
Congratulation for this entertaining and vibrant interview!
meemalee said…
@mathildescuisine - Thank you Mathilde - what a lovely compliment x
green ink said…
Brilliant interview, I've enjoyed all of them very much!
Greedy Diva said…
Love it! Life has not been the same without MasterChef.
meemalee said…
@green ink - Aw thank you - and it's lovely to have you here :)

@GreedyDiva - Junior MasterChef just isn't the same for me.
The Ample Cook said…
Oooh he is handsome !!

Well done with all three MiMi. A real joy to read.

If any of them cook for you can I come? I'll bring dessert and promise not to touch them :)
meemalee said…
@The Ample Cook

Oh Jan, you do make me laugh.

If any of them cook for me, it'll be a bleeding miracle.

Thanks :) xx
PDH said…
just awesome, I love the guilty food pleasures.

Keep it up me dear... You should see if you can convince puddingface or john to give you an interview

meemalee said…

Thanks Paul! And why are all the MasterChef finalists obsessed with cheap sausages, eh? Eh?

If I was in the same room as John and Gregg, I dunno that I could be held responsible for my actions.
Unknown said…
Brilliant, loved em all MiMi. Thanks for sharing.
meemalee said…
@Kaz522 - Thank you and you're very welcome :)
Yay for you and new dad Dhrooooov! I would also like to invite myself along to the MC winners dinners and offer to bring some gulab jamum and sandesh. Maybe.
meemalee said…

"MC Winners Dinners" - hmmm, this is getting a bit out of hand.

As for New Dad Dhruv - he agreed to adopt me once. TRUFAX.
Judith said…
Brillian interviews, I enjoyed them all. Thank you! Now I can't wait for this series to be shown on TV here in NZ where Masterchef has a small (but devoted)! following.
meemalee said…

Thanks Judith! But, but - aren't you spoilt now? You know who the winner is!
Suz said…
I started writing a comment yesterday, but obviously got distracted ... oh well!

"How did Dhruv make his Indian duck balls?"

Haha! I've got to say, I've been wondering myself. The people need to know.

I love these interviews. I'm sad that they're over now. We'll have to find more people for you to interview.
meemalee said…

Thanks Suz!

Re duck balls - I think they're referring to the poori stuffed with duck that he made at Prism.

At least I hope they are.

As for the interviews - it's not over till the fat lady sings and she ain't sung just yet ...
BapSHOUT said…
MiMi - you're the greatest
Now - where's my T Shirt?!

Love bapSHOUT/ Crispin
meemalee said…

No t-shirt for you, young man.

Not till you retract your blasphemy re the legendary Dhruv.
Tina said…
Another excellent interview, MiMi. All three contestants were really funny.
meemalee said…

Thanks Tina :)

Like I said, it's lucky they took it in good humour - I was a bit worried they'd just say "These questions are stupid - I'm not answering them..."
lou said…
excellent trio of interviews, all of them made me chuckle.

I particularly love the badger and the baboon question, all chefs should be able to answer this one! ;-)

Do we have to wait till the next Masterchef for more MiMi interview delights? I hope not!
meemalee said…

Thank you - that's very kind! I can't claim to inventing the Baboon vs Badger question - that belongs to Popb*tch ;)

I'm working on getting some more interviews - watch this space ...
Naomi Knill said…
Why has it taken me until now to get around to reading your MC interviews??! Still, you have brightened up what was set to be a rather long and boring afternoon...
meemalee said…
@The Ginger Gourmand - Better late than never :)