Sashi Cheliah was raised with a strong sense of family and duty. Born in Singapore as the eldest of seven children, he was introduced to food at a young age through his mother’s café. His fondest memories are of his aunties and mother cooking meals for the growing family. Sashi’s commitment to food has grown since moving to Australia in 2011 as he began replicating the Indian, Malaysian and Chinese cooking of his youth.
Based in the Star Unit of the Singapore Police Force for nearly a decade, Sashi is highly trained in special tactics and rescue operations. Working in counter-terrorism, kidnappings and high-profile protection in the riot police, he became a model of physical and mental strength.
Sashi took this stamina into the MasterChef Australia competition in 2018, where he became known as “The King of Flavour.” He made history by becoming the first contestant in 10 seasons to win two immunity pins, and was ultimately crowned the winner after securing the biggest margin and highest score in the show’s history.
The MasterChef Australia win helped kickstart Sashi’s food dream, opening an Asian inspired restaurant, GajaBySashi, in his Aussie home town of Adelaide in 2019. Sashi has also run pop-up restaurants around Australia and overseas, including Singapore, India and South Africa. Recently, Sashi launched his own chef meal kits, Sashi’s Secrets, available across Australia.
Before he shot to international food fame, Sashi worked in the Justice Department in Melbourne and as a prison officer in a women’s prison in South Australia. He wants to continue this important work by providing assistance, rehabilitation and opportunities to ex-prisoners to obtain employment in the food industry.
Outside of the kitchen Sashi loves to keep fit – a legacy of his special forces training. A proficient endurance athlete, he participates in Tough Mudder and Spartan adventure races and enjoys competing in marathons.
His unique background and life experiences make him a popular motivational speaker beyond the culinary scene.