I have six kids and at this stage … get­ting them to eat is a chal­lenge’

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - THE LAST WORD - With Tif­fany Dunk

“MY in­ter­est in food started af­ter I stayed with my un­cle Tom in Lon­don when I was 12 years old. He was a for­mer chef and so pas­sion­ate about food. We had a meal at the Ritz Ho­tel and I went, ‘I want to be a part of that’. Then when I was 13, me and an­other guy you may have heard of, Curtis Stone, were the dunces in our Man­darin Chi­nese class. We were just no good at it. So we were given the op­tion of do­ing ei­ther wood­work or home eco­nomics in­stead. Home eco­nomics in­volved us go­ing to a girls’ school. We looked at each other and went, ‘We know what we’re do­ing!’ And that was it. I’ve loved food ever since.

I love work­ing in an in­dus­try where you touch al­most ev­ery­one. You touch all of th­ese peo­ple who are ba­si­cally com­ing in to see you over a meal. I get such a buzz out that, be­ing able to feed some­one. It makes us re­alise what’s re­ally im­por­tant in life. Life should be fam­ily – and part of fam­ily is food and great meals which de­velop into mem­o­ries.

I have six kids and at this stage none of them are in­ter­ested in be­ing in the kitchen. In fact, get­ting them to eat is a chal­lenge – cooking a meal at home some­times in­volves cooking about four or five meals!

But my el­dest, my nine-year-old daugh­ter, has been trav­el­ling with me a bit and has started to de­velop a re­ally great palate. She came to Hong Kong with me re­cently and she ab­so­lutely loved try­ing new things. When you get to the age of nine or 10 … your palate starts to recog­nise what amaz­ing things you can dis­cover. I’ll let you know how the other five go in a cou­ple of years!

Madeleine [West], my part­ner and I love cooking – it’s one of our pas­sions. We en­joy healthy things, food that has come straight off the farm. For us sal­ads are im­por­tant. We try to do roast meats and keep things sep­a­rate [for the kids].

And we love bak­ing, par­tic­u­larly on the week­end. Madeleine has been in­cred­i­ble in her evo­lu­tion of bak­ing and mak­ing desserts. Prob­a­bly my favourite would be ap­ple tarte tatin – great caramelised puff pas­try with beau­ti­ful caramelised fruit.

Marco Pierre White has been a men­tor to me in the kitchen over the years. He’s al­ways been the un­der­dog – he was some­one who wasn’t meant to suc­ceed and then food found him and made him into who he is. I took a lot of in­spi­ra­tion from that – the con­cept that if you’re pas­sion­ate, be­lieve in what you do and put in the hard work then it will hap­pen.”

MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA

STARTS THIS WEEK ON TEN

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