Focus on core ingredients
Poh Ling Yeow goes back to basics in her latest show, writes
AS MUCH as cooking identity Poh Ling Yeow is grateful for MasterChef propelling her into the culinary world, she’s also aware of the trappings associated with high-end television shows.
It’s why she stripped back her latest series of Poh’s Kitchen to better reflect the wider community and the struggles they face in placing a decent meal on the table.
In the first episode of the four-parter of Poh’s Kitchen Lends A Hand, Yeow visits Streat, a Melbourne community-based program for homeless youth.
There she assists a couple of aspiring, and in many ways inspiring, chefs to create meals, helping these youths find dignity in their life.
‘‘There’s too much high-end food and celebrity cheffing going on,’’ says Yeow.
‘‘As much as I have come from that kind of culture with MasterChef, I just really wanted to take it back a step because I think people are starting to forget what food means to most people in the world.
‘‘It’s about taking food back to being an essential element of life and what it means to all these marginalised people in the communities.’’
Yeow shows the youth, as well as the viewers, how to serve up a healthy and hearty meal for 10 people on just $20.
In the second episode, Yeow and a group of cooks with intellectual disabilities set out to plan, cook and serve a wedding banquet.
Yeow says she loves the simplicity of this new series, but she’s also grateful to the spin-offs afforded as a contestant of MasterChef.
‘‘I never expected it (my cooking) to explode in such a spectacular way. I thought I would just go back to being a painter and starting a cottage industry,’’ she says.
‘‘Post- MasterChef has been amazing given the amount of people that have been able to have spin-off careers.’’
Before she placed as runner-up to Julie Goodwin on the first season of MasterChef, Yeow had established herself as a painter. She prizes the craft as much as her cooking career and still holds exhibitions and her next show is at the Arthouse Gallery in Sydney in November.
‘‘I still have an exhibition every year,’’ Yeow says.
‘‘It took me so long to establish that (my art career) I would give it up very reluctantly.
‘‘I’ll never give up the luxury of having complete autonomy over what I do.
‘‘Certainly when I am painting I think about recipes and when I’m cooking I think about painting.’’
Tuesdays, 8pm, ABC1.
Poh Ling Yeow