PEOPLE: Propelling South-East flavours and cooking into MasterChef

Can you tell our readers what a normal day looks like for Depinder Chhibber? 

A normal day for me would start off with a cup of Chai and catching up on what is going on around me. I love to cook so I try to have a combined breakfast with lunch or brunch which would typically be smashed avocado toast with eggs.

I spend a lot of my day reading, researching and experimenting with recipes or ideas which have been floating in my mind. My afternoon is generally catching up on emails, chores, and sometimes a sneaky baking session.
Evenings are reserved for family be it a cup of chai with everyone or cooking dinner for them.

How important is diversity to you and in the work that you do?

Being a pharmacist I have always preached for diversity and inclusion. It is something which always come naturally to me, which I am grateful for.
I belong to a heritage where inclusion through food is something we learn at a very young age.

Food for me is an expression of love and care, something we find common in all cultures and backgrounds. For me cooking the food I love to eat is my way of inviting people into my culture and my home.

Have you ever faced challenges in your professional career from others because of your identity and if so, how were you able to overcome that?

Moving to another country comes with its own challenges. We had no family in Australia and culturally it was so different to India so there was a lack of sense of belonging. I started working at a very young age and there were times where I had to prove myself more so than usual however, I have been quite blessed in terms of my work colleagues and employers who always accepted me for who I am.

ADVICE FOR THE YOUTH

The youth today is far more daring than I was growing up in Australia, so my message to them would be that following your dreams and passions has nothing to do with your background or coming from a minority so please follow your dreams. There will always be someone who might not accept you for who you are but there will be plenty of others who will love you for being yourself so focus on the positives. We only have one chance to live this life right so why not start now?

Want to follow and support Depinder Chhibber?

You can follow me on social media, @depinder_ (Instagram); Depinder Chhibber Masterchef Australia (Facebook).


About the diversity champion:

Born in New Delhi, Depinder Chhibber moved to Newcastle at the age of 11. Now based in Sydney, she still considers herself a Novocastrian, but her heart and soul remains in India. Highly influenced by the women in her family, Depinder grew up watching her grandmother, mum and aunties cook, fascinating and inspiring her to cook from a very young age. This involvement has nurtured her style of cooking, learning many traditional recipes from her mother and her passion to cook from her father. Having followed in her father’s footsteps to become a pharmacist and currently studying for her Masters, Depinder enjoys her career. However, cooking is a passion that she can’t ignore, with much of her free time spent reading recipes and daydreaming about cooking experiments. Depinder is inspired by Indian and South East Asian flavours. As a self-taught baker, she adores cooking pastry and desserts.

Image description: Depinder is wearing a MasterChef Australia apron whilst wearing a brown top