Dal and paneer in food and Sanjeev Kapoor among chefs, Scottish Masterchef winner Gary Maclean has a laundry list of favourites when it comes to Indian cuisine.
Maclean, who was here recently to hold an exclusive dinner pop-up at Roseate House New Delhi, said he grew up with Indian families living next door and his love affair with Indian food began in childhood.
"I grew up eating Indian food. Scotland has a thousand Indian restaurants which is more than any other. I love dal, paneer, mutton, and anything tandoor -- breads, meats, or vegetables. That said, the cuisine is so vast that every time I see someone doing it, I realise I know nothing about it," the Glasgow-born chef shared in an interview here.
His love for Indian food reflects in his restaurants menu as well, which are big on "Scottish-Indian foods", including the bestselling 'Glasgow Pakora' -- his version of the famous Indian snack.
"One of my restaurants has only nine things in it. It's all fish, and I have got an Indian fish curry, the 'Goan seafood curry', and I have made it for years. So, yes, I do have Indian dishes in my menu," said the 51-year-old chef, who owns a sustainable seafood restaurant called 'Creel Caught' and a Scottish Deli called 'Soup & Caboodle' in Edinburgh.
The chef, who has visited India half-a-dozen times, counts celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor as his favourite Indian chef.
"He is probably the most famous chef in the world. India's own population is 1.4 billion people and everyone knows him. He is a great example of how hard work can help you reach places," said the winner of BBC's 2016 reality cooking series "MasterChef: The Professionals".
Maclean, who knows Kapoor personally, also shared how a photo with the "mega famous" chef once resulted in him getting free food at a restaurant in Glasgow.
"I was in a restaurant back home doing take away on a Sunday night when I happened to show him my picture with Sanjeev. He said 'If your friend is Sanjeev, your dinner is free'. When I met Sanjeev recently, I told him that he got me free food," he added.
Also an author, Maclean is working on his new book "Scottish Kitchen Celebrations", scheduled for a release in October. His previous books include "Kitchen Essentials: The Joy of Home Cooking" and "Gary Maclean’s Scottish Kitchen".
"My first book was all about teaching people to cook, it was a manual. What oils to use, how to break an egg, beginners stuff. My last book was on Scottish food, my next book is also on Scottish food. In fact, I was writing my new book over here also, of which I have already missed the deadline," he added.