How do you feel about participating in MasterChef for its 10th season, especially as either you or Heston have been on the show each year?
It’s an absolute privilege to be part of the show; Heston has been on the show every year since Australian Masterchef started. I on the other hand have taken part in the show for the last 3 seasons.
What is your most memorable moment from previous years?
Definitely my first experience of taking part in the show, it was the grand final of the 2016 season. What an incredible way to start: by walking a dish through those famous doors, into the MasterChef kitchen and then announcing the scores and crowning the winner of Masterchef 2016!
Any favourite moments, as your favourite and most memorable moments might be different?
The service challenge at Dinner by Heston in 2017, which I am told by the MasterChef team, turned out to be the hardest challenge to date. The four contestants each had to prepare and cook one of our dishes for forty guests who came to eat that night. It was great to see how an amateur cook can cope and even thrive within a professional kitchen.
What did you enjoy about your experience this year?
Setting the pressure test with our Sherried Marron dish. It consists of grilled marron, prawn tartare, grilled shiitake, pickled enoki mushrooms and a sherried mushroom broth. It is a dish where several classic techniques are combined and also where the building up of layers of flavour whilst maintaining the correct balance is key. A true all round test of skill.
Any challenges or surprises?
Perhaps the surprises were mainly for the contestants but cooking a Dinner dish from scratch with a cook time that a professional chef could accomplish is certainly somewhat of a challenge
Do you feel that shows like MasterChef impact the general public’s perception of the restaurant industry favourably?
I think the impact is massive, it gives a real look behind the scenes into what goes on in a vast range of professional kitchens.
What do you feel is the impact of shows like MasterChef on the hospitality industry and on restaurants?
They do give a real insight into what it is like to be in our profession, sometimes they show just how hard you have to work to reach the top but at the same time can also mislead people into thinking it’s a quick journey to get there. The reality is that it is a long hard road but I, for example, love what I do and wouldn’t change the last 25 years of my career for anything in the world.