Andy Allen is the youngest winner of MasterChef Australia and describes what occupies some of the shelves in his home…
and a few of his favourite recipes from his cook book, ‘The Next Element’.
Pantry shelf: In my pantry you’ll find a massive selection of herbs and spices. These herbs and spices, which can be stored in your pantry for weeks, boost flavour to any humble dish. It’s all about pushing the boundaries for me. I’m not afraid to find flavours that I love and start to experiment and create new and interesting combinations. Remember, a recipe is only a guide!
Fridge shelf: In my fridge there is always fresh seafood. It’s not only because I love cooking with it but I love where it comes from. The ocean for me is the most beautiful place, a place for relaxation and fun. Nothing satisfies me more than going fishing with friends and family and coming home to cook our catch that afternoon.
Book shelf: From a young age I was never that fussed about cookbooks. However as I grew up and started to research more about food and cooking, I fell in love with them. While on the show, if I was ever unsure about a certain ingredient or technique, I would search the MasterChef house for a book which would teach me all about it. I was ridiculed for my plating early on in the competition so I bought books such as ‘Pier’ and ‘Quay’, which are also two of Australia’s best fine dining restaurants, to learn how it was done. Pier has turned into one of my favourite books!
Since winning Masterchef – what have been the highlights of your cooking career?
Having my own cookbook published has to be one of my biggest achievements. I was so overwhelmed with the process to begin with – I thought that it would be near impossible to write a book in such a short amount of time. I’m so happy with the final result and I’m sure everyone who buys a copy will feel the same.
Who has been the biggest influence on your cooking?
The obvious people are the three judges, Gary, George and Matt. Listening to their comments, whether it was positive or negative, taught me so much about food. My friends and family have also played a big role because really, those weeknight dinners and Sunday BBQs is where it all began. And, last but not least, Ben Milbourne. We would always be chatting about food whilst in the MasterChef house and we are still having those conversations almost everyday. I’ve learnt so much off Benny!
Now that you have moved from a physical trade (electrician) into a less physical profession how have you stayed fit and active?
Believe it or not I have actually lost weight since the show. We were surrounded by food and Ben and I would hit the gym as often as we could whilst on the show. I’m afraid to say that since the show has ended I haven’t once been to the gym and my eating patterns have been so out of whack that I’ve lost a few kilos. In saying that, once everything settles down a bit I can’t wait to get back into basketball.
What are your favourite recipes in your new book?
That’s such a tough question. I compare it to asking a parent who their favourite child is! If a had to choose a few, I’d say the smoked salmon rillettes, Ben’s lamb curry, the Asian style lamb ribs, the confit salmon, the modern seafood basket and Kylie’s parfait sandwiches… I could go on forever.