Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

ou’d for­give Justine Schofield – and all the other grad­u­ates of MasterChef Aus­tralia – for fear­ing a new batch of con­tes­tants each and ev­ery sea­son.

But it says some­thing about the qui­etly con­fi­dent host of Ev­ery­day Gourmet, who made her last­ing mark on sea­son one of Chan­nel 10’ s cook­ing jug­ger­naut, that she’s more ex­cited to meet and learn from her would- be ri­vals than fear them.

“I’m in­trigued when I see such an amaz­ing cook on MasterChef,” she says, “I want them to come on my show and teach me how to cook a cer­tain dish.”

Eight years since fin­ish­ing be­hind in­au­gu­ral winner Julie Good­win and run­ner- up Poh Ling Yeow, with seven sea­sons of her own week­day cook­ing show un­der her belt, Schofield re­mains an avid fan of MasterChef, the show that made her a star.

Hav­ing just wrapped an­other 90 episodes of Ev­ery­day Gourmet, which de­mands she re­search and per­fect more than 250 recipes each sea­son, it’s lit­tle wonder she’s look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion ev­ery­where she can get it.

Not that she’s com­plain­ing, ad­mit­ting “I pinch my­self ev­ery day be­cause I’m so lucky to be do­ing it.”

“I’m just so grate­ful peo­ple are not sick of me and I’m happy they’re still learn­ing off me and for me, it’s a plea­sure to do it,” she says.

This year, she took the show on the road, film­ing episodes from Ja­pan and North Queens­land, and has also re­leased a se­cond cook­book, Sim­ple Ev­ery Day [$ 34.99, Pan Macmil­lan].

“When I came off MasterChef [ in 2009] ... I’ve never told any­body this ... but I al­ways felt I wasn’t good enough to be teach­ing peo­ple how to cook. I’m not the chef who has done the train­ing and has had the restau­rant and done the repet­i­tive work; the long hours on a Fri­day and Satur­day and Sun­day,” she says.

“Like ‘ I’m not wor­thy of this amaz­ing role.’ Then, as my di­rec­tor says, ‘ Jus, you’ve got to un­der­stand what your show is about ... it is re­al­is­tic be­cause your food is not in­tim­i­dat­ing and some­times peo­ple just need a lit­tle tip. It’s about not be­ing em­bar­rassed to show peo­ple the basics.”

At a time when home de­liv­ery has never been eas­ier, Schofield is a cheer­leader for the plea­sure food and cook­ing can bring.

“There’s noth­ing bet­ter than go­ing through the process of cook­ing for some­one you love; or putting it in the freezer and know­ing you can go home and eat that pea and ham soup on a cold night. You know it’s go­ing to be bloody de­li­cious and the ef­fort is worth it and doesn’t have to be that hard.”

While she ad­mits she’s “un­lucky in love” — con­firm­ing her recent split from Seven’s Sun­day Night re­porter Matt Do­ran — her pas­sion for food only deep­ens and is about to take her to Europe.

First stop is a cook­ing class in Paris, then side trips to San Se­bas­tian, Cor­sica and Sar­dinia, be­fore lead­ing a tour with fel­low food lovers to Morocco in Novem­ber.

“Food is my real love,” she says.

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