Meet Kamal Jakkilinki, a fashion designer originating from Vizag, who is amongst the top 6 contestants on the Telugu culinary show – MasterChef Telugu Season 1. Adept with the sense of taste, choice of ingredients, as well as the flexibility to adapt and manage time and resources in preparing a dish, he is one of the top contenders for the MasterChef title this time around.
Kamal is an alumnus of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and graduated from the London School of Fashion, England. A peripatetic person that he is, he has visited prominent places in the world, got the flavour of international cuisines, and always sought to prepare for himself homegrown food in his leisure time. Kamal currently lives in Sydney, Australia, and was on his routine trip to India before the Covid-19 pandemic set in. With travel restrictions and the borders shutting down, he had to spend the two national lockdowns in Vizag. To make the best use of time at hand, Kamal and his cousin began in house baking with a small bakery set up at home. Baby steps led to giant strides, and the bakery set off to be a self-sufficient business employing two others.
In a chat with Yo! Vizag, Kamal Jakkilinki shares his journey from being the one who prepared homegrown food for himself as a world traveller, to being one of the top 6 contenders for a Telugu culinary show – MasterChef Telugu Season 1.
“I initially considered the invite from the MasterChef team to be a prank call. Since they were persistent, I gave it a shot because it was online and only required making a video and sending it. I was selected for the second round and asked to come to Bangalore. I knew amidst a pandemic no one would be kidding to this extent and then it kicked in for me that being a contestant on MasterChef Telugu platform could help take my aspirations forward,” says an enterprising Kamal Jakkilinki who is happy that he along with two others from Vizag made it on the show.
On the MasterChef Telugu show, it was a pleasant learning curve for Kamal Jakkilinki. “The show started with 14 participants. I got the opportunity to meet a lot of stalwarts from the culinary field and realised that there is a lot to learn. The other participants too were newbies so we consulted each other, did our research, read a lot and came prepared for the challenges. Every new episode gave us the inquisitiveness to learn more and we got better by every episode.”
MasterChef Telugu was not only a learning experience for this contestant from Vizag, but also a platform to analyse his strengths and weaknesses. “I discovered that my strengths are my sense of flavour and time management. My flavour sense comes with the world travel experience. I also understand every vegetable and my exposure helps me bring my niche to the table. Along with creating something new every time, I also ensure that I complete a challenge 15 minutes in advance to take care of the presentation and the aesthetics. To top it all, the ability to not be understandable to the contestants and judges helps me surprise them in every challenge,” recounts a witty Kamal.
Favourite Episode on MasterChef Telugu
“My favourite episode on MasterChef was when we were asked to make a drink that took us back to our childhood. I named it ‘Smick a Lick’. I used a few ingredients from my childhood like kala jamun, tamarind lollies and lollipops. I called it ‘Smick a Lick’ because every time you had to take a sip of the drink, you were invariably forced to lick your fingers because the kala jamun syrup was smeared on the glass. This was one episode that will remain etched in my memories. I was extremely happy because this idea of mine was well-received and got a good response from the people,” recalls Kamal.
Records of Kamal Jakkilinki on MasterChef Telugu Season 1
On the show, Kamal participates in the tasks in a cool and composed manner and plays it with his forte – time management. Setting the bar high for other contestants, he has received the maximum number of Butterfly hampers that are awarded for the best dish of the day.
Kamal is the only contestant to have won the invention test and to have received the Butterfly hamper three times in a row. Quick fact; Kamal is the only one to have received the award three times in a row on the MasterChef show.
To top it all, it has been over eight weeks of MasterChef Telugu Season 1, and Kamal Jakkilinki has never been to the nominations (contestants eventually are eliminated after this round).
Kamal Jakkilinki was born, and brought up, at Gajuwaka, Vizag. His love, and regard for home and Vizag food, is seen in the several dishes he makes on the MasterChef Telugu show. “My entire primary and secondary education was in Vizag. I studied at Timpany, played around in Gajuwaka and savoured the coastal food.”
To conclude this MasterChef contestant from Vizag says, “for me, while preparing a dish or participating in a challenge, I will put in my best efforts to meet the judges’ expectations, but I will take that extra mile to hit the right chords at every home watching the show and showering tons of love”.