By Aryeman Raj
(On a personal note, Neha definitely has all the makings of a winner. So go ahead and vote for her).
From a research scientist to entering the MasterChef competition, tell us about your journey.
I have worked as a research scientist with Dabur and now as a flavourist with International flavours and fragrances. Being and winning Masterchef has been my biggest dream. I tried to come in season 2 and could make it to only top 24. I did not give up, tried to come back in season 3 as a more polished cook with the same passion but still could not make it.
When season 4 was announced, many people around motivated me to go again and things were just working in my favour when it was announced that this season is veg. I didn’t tell anyone and just came back in Masterchef season 4. When I made it to the auditions, I had to tell my family about it. They have been my biggest motivation and support system.
What does food mean to you?
Some people eat to live, some live to eat but I live to cook. Cooking is my passion. It is a form of meditation for me. It pacifies me and gives me a lot of strength. I love cooking all kinds of cuisines. From Indian, Thai, Japanese, Italian, Mexican, French…anything.
Who inspired you to cook?
My mom has been my biggest inspiration and she is the one who seeded this love in me. I grew up reading Tarla Dalal books and watching Khana Khazana. I was totally in love with food and cooking. I wanted to become a Chef but eventually became a food technologist but being a chef was always an incomplete dream.
My motto in life
Never give up, no matter what. Always dream, dream high and believe in yourself.
So have you achieved your dream?
It all started with a dream 4 years ago.. A dream to be THE MASTERCHEF.. Wear the pride and carry the title!
The bird always knows her potential to fly and all she needs is belief and confidence in her wings. Spread them long, look up high and just fly. Keep flying till she reaches her destination. So do I, I know I can do it, I know I have it in me to make it there. I have always learnt to chase my dreams and follow them.. Never look back. Nothing can ever stop it..
You didn’t make it in the first 2 seasons. How have you changed since then?
My attempts in Season 2 and Season 3 were not failures.. I have grown up, moulded and groomed myself to wait for this chance.. And here I am today in the top 12 cooks of the nation.