Chef Anna Polyviou© Chef Anna Polyviou

Chef Anna Polyviou On ‘Anna’s Mess’, Indian Desserts And More

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

Anyone even remotely interested in the art of creating desserts (or eating them, to be fair), would know who Chef Anna Polyviou is. The celebrated Sydney-based pastry chef became a household name from Melbourne to Mumbai with her stint as a guest judge on MasterChef Australia where she introduced the world to ‘Anna’s Mess’.

The chef sauntered into the famed kitchen with her signature mohawk and a cloche-covered plate that was removed to reveal a stunning white chocolate globe with circular cut-outs giving a glimpse of fresh berries, meringue kisses and other intricate elements inside. Chef Anna then proceeded to lift the white chocolate globe and throw it at the plate, eliciting gasps from the contestants gathered around the table, and the hundreds and thousands MasterChef Australia fans glued to their screens.

“My grandfather is the inspiration behind this one,” says Chef Anna, as we caught up with her in Delhi recently for a Conosh Masterclass where she taught dessert enthusiasts how to make the famous dish, “He would take me to the milk bar and I remember always getting popcorn, popping candy, chips and chocolate and my mind got going so I could work all of these flavours packed into one dessert. It’s all my favourite childhood memories and flavours in one.”

The awe-inspiring dessert (which was one of the food highlights during Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant’s pre-wedding festivities in Jamnagar recently) perfectly encapsulates the award-winning chef’s food philosophy, which is all about blending indulgence and innovation, and ties back to why she started down the path of becoming one of the world’s most renowned pastry chefs. “How can you not love sweets?!” she exclaims, “For me, it’s always the lasting impression a dessert leaves which is what I always try to achieve in my creations.”

This is why it doesn’t come as a surprise when the chef, like most of us, confesses to be a huge fan of the cookie dough trend, including being a fan of the recently viral ‘crookie’ (a portmanteau of croissant and cookie). “I loved it so much that I produced my cookie dough range for sale in Australia. It can be eaten raw or baked, or even incorporated into other desserts like croissants.”

The Greek chef credits her heritage for igniting her passion for cooking, claiming that Greek Easter is still a standout memory for her. This is why she feels at home with Indian desserts and ingredients as she claims there are many similarities between both cuisines, including halvas and nuvvulla chikkis!

Chef Anna leaves us by sharing that Chef Pooja Dhingra’s Le15 Patisserie is among the top food spots she’s looking forward to visiting in the country, and just like that, we have a rapidly-increasing craving for the closest dessert we can find. BRB!