Sashi Cheliah On Life After MasterChef And Getting Kids To Try New Food

Alice Duthie

Lifestyle Writer

May 29, 2022

MasterChef favourite and previous winner, Sashi Cheliah, left fellow contestants and viewers reeling recently when he unexpectedly messed up a fish curry on the current season of the show which saw him eliminated. However, the always upbeat entrepreneur from Adelaide wasn’t sad for too long. Here he lets us in on all his exciting plans, as well as his tips to get kids to expand their tastebuds.

What have you been up to since leaving MasterChef Australia Fans & Faves?

So, I’ve been busy spreading the word about my own meal kit brand Sashi’s Secrets which is going well. After I won MasterChef in 2018 everyone wanted to try my food so I created these meal kits including all the spices for traditional Singaporean and Malay dishes like beef rendang and curry laksa for time-poor people. They’re currently available in Woolworths, but I’ll be appearing at the 2022 Naturally Good Expo in Sydney from June 6-7 hoping to introduce the range to other distributors.

MasterChef’s Sashi Cheliah

We hear you’re also about to open a new restaurant in India and have your first cookbook coming out?

Yes, it’s very exciting! I’m opening a restaurant in Chennai in July called The Pandan Club, a fine dining restaurant featuring Peranakan traditional Malay food. It’s a cuisine that’s not that well known there so I think it will generate interest. In India casual eating and street food is so accessible, so presenting refined food is something different. My book coming out in August is all about Singaporean street food. I grew up in Singapore and really miss the authentic flavours so I’m excited to share my recipes of food I love.

You got eliminated recently from MasterChef Australia Fans & Faves for a mishap with your dosas and fish curry – what happened?

Honestly, I have no idea! I make dosas every day. I think perhaps it was the pan. Perhaps the base was too thick, so the mix wasn’t spreading right. When I make dosas at home I use a flat, thin pan. With the fish I didn’t monitor the temperature as there was too much going on – I know it wasn’t a good cook! Having said that it was so amazing to be back in the MasterChef kitchen. Pushing myself creatively was the highlight for me.

For 12 years you worked for the Special Tactics and Rescue (STAR) unit of the Singapore Police Force – it sounds like a world away from your life now?

Yes, it was. I trained in tactics, counter-terrorism and kidnapping plots. Singapore is very safe compared to Australia, but we did get dangerous cases. One time we had to try to apprehend a gunman who we knew was a trained sniper, other times I might be handling explosives.

MasterChef’s Sashi Cheliah

So, what was more stressful – foiling criminals or rectifying a curry on TV in 10 minutes?

Ha! The previous job is much more stressful overall, but handling the acute stress was actually easier as we were trained and prepared for the outcomes. In the MasterChef kitchen you can’t prepare for anything you don’t know what’s coming up. It’s very hard to prepare mentally!

You have two sons Ryan, 14 and Marcus 16, what’s your trick for getting kids to try new foods?

I think visual presentation crucial. Preparing a plate with care with everything set out nicely, really can encourage kids to eat. I also think when you eat out, choose places where they put effort into presentation. We always introduced our kids to a lot of cuisines and different cuts of meat from a very early age. As far as spicy food goes, don’t try to overwhelm them with too much flavour. You can always add more coconut cream to take the heat down in a curry.

masterchef curry

Your son Ryan was on MasterChef Junior when he was 11 – does he want to follow in your cooking footsteps? 

I’m not sure. He does enjoy cooking and making cakes, but now he’s talking about a career in real estate! My other son loves eating but he’s looking at maybe doing law.

What recipes did you learn from your parents?

My family’s heritage is Indian but as we grew up in Singapore, not only did we have Indian flavours, but a lot of Malay and Chinese influence as well. Every Malay household would have their own recipe for Malaysian Chicken Curry – it’s one of their most famous dishes – so that’s been passed down to me as well. Check out my recipe below.

Malaysian Chicken Curry

Serves 2-3

MasterChef malaysian curry


500g diced chicken thighs

200g diced potato

2 tbspn cooking oil

125ml water

Sashi’s Secret Malaysian Chicken Curry pack

Chopped chilli – optional

Finely chopped carrots

Chopped coriander leaves

Dash of lime juice

Roti or rice to serve


Heat oil over a medium heat. Add the special chicken curry paste from the meal kit and cook for 1 min until fragrant. Add the chicken and potato and stir to mix well with the curry paste and then cook for three minutes. Add the sachet of coconut milk from the kit with 125ml of water. Raise the cooking heat to bring the curry to a gentle simmer.

Cook the curry for 10-12 minutes or until potato is cooked – test with a fork. Add the secret spices pack and stir to mix well into the curry. Add a bit of chopped chilli if you like an extra burst of heat in your food. Add finely chopped carrots and simmer for three minutes. Serve with rice or roti bread and garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves, fresh chili and a squeeze of lime juice.


By Alice Duthie

Lifestyle Writer

Alice Duthie is a beauty and lifestyle writer for The Carousel. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce at The University of Sydney, majoring in Marketing and Business Information Systems.



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