Fo­cus on core in­gre­di­ents

Poh Ling Yeow goes back to ba­sics in her lat­est show, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TUESDAY EXTRA -

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

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