with Poh Ling Yeow
MASTERCHEF season one runner- up Poh Ling Yeow has been one of the more conspicuous successes to graduate from the reality series and is now a celebrity cook in her own right. In September she’ll launch the third season of ABC TV cooking program Poh’s Kitchen and this week she heads back to MasterChef All Stars to settle a few old scores. Q: How has it felt to return to the
MasterChef kitchen? A: I’ve loved that adrenalin rush. And it’s really lovely becoming instant friends with people who’ve all gone through the same experience . . . we’ll keep in touch for life. Everyone has commented they’ve really enjoyed being in the house [ now that] we’re not in lockdown this time around. Q: It’s surprising the ABC let you appear. Is that because it’s for charity? A: Yeah, I think so. I don’t know how it happened! Because I really would have thought it would be impossible. Q: How have your skills improved as a result of working on Poh’s Kitchen? A: Having worked with some really amazing chefs and having travelled the country finding some amazing produce, my skill levels have definitely gone up. Recipe writing and all that kind of stuff improves you as a cook. Q: George Calombaris said recently he expected the contestants who’d gone on to work in commercial kitchens to have an advantage. What do you think? A: Everyone has a really different skill set to offer and everyone has such different branding. Like Julie [ Goodwin] is all about home- cooked food. Chris Badenoch, he has a restaurant but is mainly front of house. Justine [ Schofield] and Julie and I have done a lot of presenting and recipe writing. I don’t think one [ skill set] is better than the other. Q: What are the challenges like on
All Stars, especially the dreaded croquembouche? A: We do revisit a lot of old foes in terms of challenges, so that’s been pretty fun, and not so fun. The croquembouche one was really difficult, it was a relay this year. Dealing with hot sugar and baking is always difficult because there are so many factors that can go wrong and in a team challenge even more so. Q: Did you see this competition as a chance to re- fight the season one finale? A: Oh, yeah, a little bit. I didn’t dare to go there too much because I think you have to go into this with a spirit of fun. Competitiveness definitely comes into play but I think so much of it is just wanting to raise the bar for yourself, being among such good cooks. It’s been really tough because it’s such a narrow distance between everyone’s dishes. Q: What can we expect from season three of Poh’s Kitchen? A: We’re steering right away from high- end food and celebrity chefs and taking it right back to the basics, taking it back to how food does amazing things tying community groups together. I’m really excited about it.