Some of us eat to live, while the rest live to eat. Despite this difference, what remains constant is our lifelong connection with the marvel that food is.
What better way to honor this connection than through an entertaining competition between talented people with a love for cooking from all around the country?
Starting in the year 2010, MasterChef India has become one of the most popular shows to watch on television with people tuning in from all around the country.
It is the perfect blend of delicious food, recipe, and a competition that keeps your heart racing, and also a bit of classic reality tv drama.
Winners have gone on to climb their preferred ladders of success post the show and are now some of the most well-known chefs in the country.
Let us take a look at all the MasterChef India winners to date and everything they’ve achieved post the show.
1. Pankaj Bhadouria - MasterChef India Season 1 Winner
Hailing from the city of Lucknow, Pankaj Bhadouria became the first-ever MasterChef India winner.
She left her teaching job of 16 years, to be on the show and ended up becoming an inspiration for everyone out there to believe in themselves and give their dreams a chance.
Hosted by renowned actor Akshay Kumar, chef Kunal Kapur, and Ajay Chopra, the finale of the show gave the viewers the joy of seeing talented contestants Radhika Agarwal, Pankaj Bhadouria, and Jayanandan Bhaskar battling it out in the kitchen for the ultimate title of India’s first-ever MasterChef.
In the end, Pankaj Bhadouria came out victorious and took home a total of Rs.1 crore along with the opportunity of publishing her cookbook and starring in a cookery show of her own.
Post winning the show, Pankaj Bhadouria has gone on to become one of the most well-known chefs in the country.
She has appeared in multiple television shows, including Chef Pankaj Ka Zayka, Rick Stein’s India, Sales Ka Bazigar, and many more.
She has also endorsed multiple brands and has had the opportunity to be a speaker on prestigious platforms like Tedx.
Through her website, she is now blessing all the foodies out there with her delicious recipes.
Pankaj Bhadouria opened a small restaurant and cooking teaching place in her hometown after winning the show. After a few years, she shut down the place and opened a grand cafe/restaurant in the heart of her hometown, Hazratganj, Lucknow, serving all the delicious and classic dishes.
The name of the cafe/restaurant named Cafe By Default. I suggest all the food lovers reading this, to drop by and try some dishes from the cafe whenever they visit the city of Nawabs.
2. Shipra Khanna - MasterChef India Season 2 Winner
After a banging first season, the show came out with its second season in the year 2011 with two returning hosts from the previous season, chef Kunal Kapur and Ajay Chopra, and a new host, the world-renowned chef Vikas Khanna.
After 22 episodes of delicious and talented cooking, Shipra Khanna battled it out with fellow contestants Joseph Rozario and Salma Shazia Khan and came out victorious as the second MasterChef India winner.
Similar to the previous season’s winner, she took home a cash prize of Rs.1 crore and went to star as a celebrity Chef in the show ‘Food Food’ along with many more cooking shows.
With her cookbooks and restaurants, Shipra has also managed to gain worldwide recognition, starting with the opportunity to be a part of Le Cordon Bleu, Paris.
The season’s runner-up, Salma Shazia Khan, also went to excel in her culinary career, post the show with her cooking shows all around the world and opportunities to be the host of multiple cooking shows.
3. Ripudaman Handa - MasterChef India Season 3 Winner
Finally, after two seasons, India got a male MasterChef, Ripudaman Handa.
After winning the third season of the show, this MasterChef India Winner went on to excel in fields beyond his culinary career. Not only that, but he also ended up being the host of MasterChef India Junior, popular as Junior MasterChef Swaad Ke Ustaad.
After battling it out in the finale with Doel Sarangi and Navneet Rastogi, Ripudaman took home the prize money of Rs.1 crore and went on to open restaurants all around the country along with returning to the succeeding seasons of the show as a host.
Ripudaman also has a flair for dancing. He also appeared in the sixth season of the celebrity couple dance reality show Nach Baliye with his partner Shivangi Verma and went on to become one of the finalists of the season.
He is the perfect representation of the versatility of MasterChef India winners.
This season of MasterChef India was again blessed with a new judge along with the two from the preceding seasons. Sanjiv Kapoor.
The world-renowned chef blessed everyone with his presence and extraordinary skills as the third judge of the season.
4. Nikita Gandhi - MasterChef India Season 4 Winner
A resident of Abu Dhabi, Nikita Gandhi went on to become the youngest ever MasterChef India winner.
After winning everyone’s hearts with her signature dishes ‘White Chocolate Pistachio Ghari’ and ‘Passionfruit Amrakhand’, she battled it out with fellow contestants Bhakti Arora and Neha Deepak Shah in the finale of the season and took home the prize money of Rs.1 crore.
She is now an enthusiastic food blogger and the host of Nix Kitchen on the television channel Foodxp UK.
This season of MasterChef India observed another replacement in the judges with Ranveer Brar replacing Kunal Kapur from the first 3 seasons.
The 1st runner-up of the season Neha Deepak Shah also went on to excel in her culinary career with her restaurants as well as culinary workshops all around the country.
Neha Deepak Shah also has a YouTube channel where she shares her delicious recipes with everyone.
5. Kirti Bhoutika - MasterChef India Season 5 Winner
20-year-old nutrition graduate Kirti Bhoutika went to become the 5th MasterChef India winner.
Founder of Sugarplum Cakery, Kirti had been demonstrating her love for cooking even before she appeared on the show.
Intending to make the best cakes in the city of Kolkata, she started Sugarplum cakery, a cloud kitchen service located in Salt Lake, Sector 1, Kolkata, that delivers cakes and other baked goods based on people’s preferences all around the city.
In the finale of the season, hosted by Kunal Kapur, Vikas Khanna, and Zorawar Kalra, Kirti went head to head with fellow contestant Ashima Arora and came out victorious with the opportunity to take home the Rs.1 crore prize money.
She has now worked at multiple renowned restaurants and has also had the opportunity to display her culinary skills abroad as well as in workshops all around the country.
The runner-up of the show, Ashima Arora, has also managed to create quite the stir in the culinary world through her bakery venture ‘Sugar Sugar Patisserie’.
Ashima Arora is now the host of the food show Ek Star Ingredient on the channel Foodxp.
6. Abinas Nayak - MasterChef India Season 6 Winner
Originally an IT analyst from the state of Odisha, Abinas Nayak decided to follow his passion for cooking, and look where that landed him! This makes him another perfect representation of the versatility of MasterChef India winners.
In the final season of the MasterChef India series to date, Abinas Nayak surpassed all of his fellow contestants in a span of 25 episodes and battled it out one in the finale with Oindrila Bala.
Like all the winners of the previous seasons, this MasterChef India winner too took home the prize money of Rs.1 crore. One look at his Instagram handle and you can tell how passionate he is about food.
On top of it all, Abinas is also the winner of MasterChef Lokicooks Fellowship 2019.
The sixth season of the series witnessed the return of Vikas Khanna as one of the judges, with Ranveer Brar and Vineet Bhatia replacing Kunal Kapur and Zorawar Kalra from the previous season.
The runner-up of the show, Oindrila Bala from Kolkata, West Bengal, also happened to gain quite the reputation from the show and is now the owner of a bakery venture ‘The Sweet Shop’.
Whether one wins the show or not, MasterChef India has managed to become the perfect platform for passionate cooks to showcase their talent and fulfill their dream of a culinary career.
You don’t need to be a chef yourself to enjoy all that the show has to offer. Even a lazy person like me who can barely cook Maggi, let alone think of cooking any of the dishes shown on the show, enjoys MasterChef India from time to time.
Tune in to the show and fulfill your exquisite culinary desires (visually of course). Who knows maybe it’ll finally get people like me to get up and try her hand in the kitchen!
We hope these MasterChef India winners inspired you to follow your passion, cuisine and also left you hungry for some amazing food.
Do like and share with your food partners.