Right from the first episode, the food creations have been on point, be it the nuanced preparation of the traditional bisi bele bhaath from Karnataka or an Indo-Mexican creation of Nagpuri saoji chicken in bhakri tacos.

Contestants are experimenting more with fusion, but without forgetting their Indian roots. For various challenges, the cooks are required to incorporate ingredients, such as karipatta (curry leaves), val (butter beans), saffron and kokum, and use appliances such as the appam chatty to ensure that they do not stray too far from Indian cooking.

The latest season also has a new judge in the house along with the Indian food scene’s golden boy, celebrity chef Vikas Khanna, and Kunal Kapur – Zorawar Kalra.

Kalra brings to the show his experience as a successful restaurateur and his flair for the dramatic. Kalra is responsible for the long-drawn pregnant pauses before giving judgment on a plate of food and declaring anything he likes as “Michelin star quality”. He is the one who gets emotional and hugs contestants when they make a plate of meethe chaawal that reminds him of his grandfather.

‘MasterChef India’.

The emphasis on human emotions remains the focus of MasterChef India. For those who watch MasterChef (India, Australia or any other edition), food is the most crucial element. The chopping, sautéeing, piping and throwing in sauces and herbs to create something that you can almost taste through your screen combine to sate food fanatics.

In MasterChef India, there are no loving shots of food except when it is brought to the judges’ table. The breakdown of the tasting experience (flavours, textures, visual appeal, smell) is kept to a minimum, which makes it an unsatisfying experience. It is almost like going to a restaurant and coming home not quite full. Yet, MasterChef India season 5 is shaping up to be a promising one.