Mastering the menu
Mastering the menu
Join Julie, Poh and Justine for an Impress menu that captures the diverse talents of these three ‘Masterchefs’.
Published Selector Autumn 2010
The Masterchef phenomenon catapulted the Central Coast’s Julie Goodwin from IT worker to cook extraordinaire.
As she was flung out of her comfort zone, not only was her cooking ability put to the test, but the strength of her resolve was given a thorough beating.
Overcoming terrible nerves, Julie took out the title, landing herself a cookbook deal and a regular column with Australian Women’s Weekly. Although still some time away, it’s also brought the dream of opening her own restaurant on the Central Coast that bit closer. But despite all this change, she explains, the foundations of her life have remained solid.
“I had no idea how big the show was going to get and I had no idea what the outcome was going to be. My life’s completely done an about face. But all the things that underpin it are still there, my family, my home, my kids.”
Her three boys have taken their Mum’s new career in their stride and Julie stresses that their home life has remained mostly unchanged.
“It’s the same old thing, we still tussle about homework and household chores and we still laugh and have a lot of fun.”
This sense of a warm family home was front of mind when we asked Julie to choose some recipes for Selector readers.
“The dishes I’ve decided on came from thinking about autumn and the chill that starts to hit the air. Everything gets more indoors as things get cooler and I love my house to be filled with beautiful smells of things roasting. Roast chicken is one of the nicest smells because you’ve got beautiful aromatic herbs and I find it very comforting. When it cools down, that’s what I want from my food.”
The incredible diversity that makes the culinary world so fascinating was highlighted by the contrast in styles, tastes and approaches between Julie Goodwin and runner up, Poh Ling Yeow.
Drawing on her Malaysian background and artistic flair, Poh became famous for her dicey experiments. The risks she took meant her journey became a series of great successes and unfortunate failures – or as Matt Preston put it, a ‘Poh-la-coaster’.
However, with the launch of her own TV show, Poh’s Kitchen, a two-cookbook deal and a trip to the US to work with Curtis Stone, it’s certainly all paid off.
In keeping with her self-described determination to “introduce exotic ingredients to the Australian public”, Poh’s recipes featured here are full of exciting flavour combinations and will definitely pique the interests of your more adventurous dinner guests!
“The five spice yam cake is a Hakka dish from Mum’s side of the family (Chinese) and they use a lot of yams. When I’ve had yams in other cuisines it’s been a little bit bland. It’s hard to get right because it’s a starch and it’s quite earthy. I thought this dish would be nice to do because it’s very tasty and one my Mum cooks, so it takes me back to my childhood.
“The dessert is an invention of mine but not too far from a Malaysian dessert. A lot of Malaysian desserts revolve around palm sugar, coconut milk, pandan leaf and often glutinous rice or glutinous rice flour. So I’ve done a crepe made with coconut milk and pandan which is what makes it green. Green is a bit of a weird colour for a dessert but the visuals and the flavours are quite surprising.
“I wanted to use durian because it’s seasonal but it’s also one of those fruits that has a bit of a bad reputation because it’s got quite a pungent aroma. It has got a really beautiful flavour, but the problem is all psychological, as people just can’t get past the smell.”
Justine Schofield describes her time on Masterchef as “a cooking class on steroids”. But thanks to this high intensity experience she was able to build her confidence and repertoire and today says, “thank goodness I went through it because now I know what I want to do.”
Long term, Justine would like her own restaurant and doing work experience at ARIA is helping to show her what it takes. Meanwhile, having done several food demonstrations around the country and cooked for private functions, she’s developed a taste for catering, hoping to start a web-based business this year.”
For her recipes featured here, Justine took inspiration from her talented Mum as well as childhood memories of France.
“My main dish, the baked John Dory, has been in my family for a while. My Mum, who’s a great cook, would make it on Fridays; I just tweaked it a bit to make it mine. John Dory is really delicate and light so I just pumped it up with complementary flavours such as capers, eschalots, chervil and parsley. It’s really easy because it’s a one-pan dish – you put all the flavours on top of the fish, cook it, take the fish out then make the sauce from all the leftovers. It’s so easy but so elegant at the same time.
“Then because it’s autumn I chose little baby mushrooms. I remember as a child in France running through the fields in autumn picking mushrooms.”
Reproduced with the kind permission of Wine Selectors.