Sashi Cheliah holds the record for the highest ever score in a Masterchef Australia finale.
Raised in Singapore, Cheliah has lived in Adelaide with wife Rabicca Vijayan and children since 2012. Cheliah applied for the 2018 season of the popular cooking show and went on to win with 93 points out of the maximum 100.
Throughout the season, he was vocal about his desire to open a fusion restaurant heralding Indian and South Asian flavours. Since its culmination, Cheliah has made that dream a reality, spearheading a series of pop up restaurants around Australia and overseas, including Gaja by Sashi in the Melbourne CBD.
Cheliah is now bringing Gaja to Adelaide, with tentative plans to open the restaurant in early November.
“All the dishes are exciting because they are curated specially for Gaja by Sashi with a little touch of Masterchef,” Cheliah tells us. “Guests can expect to find a mix of Asian inspired dishes, sharing plates, and Asian inspired cocktails.”
Adelaide’s Gaja will sit in the CBD, joining the bustling restaurant scene that is continuing to grow.
“I’d like Gaja to be a destination visited by everyone,” says Cheliah. “Adelaide’s food scene has grown so quickly over the past five years, and we have some amazing produce and chefs in the industry.”
Whilst the fit out of Gaja is currently under wraps, Cheliah tells us it is based on colonial Malaya, with a touch of modernity.
“I love the glass windows and the bright lights that come through the restaurant,” he says. Cheliah also hints that there may be a few surprises in store, to be announced at the launch of Gaja.
So, what’s behind the name?
“It comes from my love of elephants,” says Cheliah. “Gaja means Elephant in three languages – Sanskrit, Tamil and Malay. A Gaja personifies a number of positive attributes, including abundance, fertility and richness, boldness and strength, and wisdom and royalty.”
When Cheliah chats to us, he is in South Africa, soon to return to Sydney. He is also currently working on a cookbook.
It would seem that Masterchef was only the beginning.
Gaja will sit at 4/86 Pirie Street SA.
Stay tuned for updates.