Any longtime fan of MasterChef Australia will be able to identify Andy Allen in an instant. After all, his is possibly the most incredible journey of any contestant who has walked through those doors. In 2012, Andy went from being an electrician to becoming the winner of MasterChef Australia. That wasn't the end of his amazing journey but its beginning really. Andy has gone on to become a judge on MasterChef Australia, apart from featuring in other TV shows. Also being a chef and restauranter at Three Blue Ducks means he's one busy man. So when NDTV Swirlster got the chance to speak to MasterChef Australia's Andy Allen, we talked about his journey to the top and who inspires his cooking. Read all about here. You can catch more of Andy on MasterChef Australia, which is currently streaming on Disney+ Hotstar Premium.
NDTV Swirlster: How greatly has your journey changed ever since you have become a MasterChef judge?
Andy Allen: Becoming a judge on MasterChef has changed my life dramatically. Firstly I'm looking at moving down to Melbourne now, so that's probably the biggest day-to-day way that it's changed my life, but I think at heart I care so much about this role because I've seen what it can do for people. I've seen what it's done for me - going from being an electrician to going on the show as a contestant, winning the show, and going out into the industry and opening a bunch of restaurants with the Three Blue Ducks. So having a successful hospitality business and now coming full circle being a judge; it's like the ultimate hat tip for me, and I'm just really privileged to be able to do this role.
NDTV Swirlster: Who are your cooking inspirations and why?
Andy Allen: My cooking inspirations change all the time you know, I get inspiration everywhere I go, everywhere I eat, everywhere I shop. I'm constantly inspired by what's around me and I think it can be in the strangest places and you can be doing the weirdest things. It can be in the middle of the night when you're half asleep and you wake up and you've got a dish in your head. My inspiration changes on a daily basis, I don't have a certain chef that I follow. I follow all chefs and I think all chefs are amazing. There's no certain specific thing that I take inspiration from, I'm literally trying to learn 24x7.
NDTV Swirlster: What's your go-to comfort food dish that you enjoy making?
Andy Allen: My go-to comfort food for when I'm having a rough trot and things don't seem to be going my way is going to a be a litre of ice cream. I'm not ashamed to say I can put that away - it's definitely ice cream when I'm feeling gloomy. If it's a cold winter's night, my comfort dish is pasta, pasta just feels like it gives you the biggest warm hug. And then if it's like a comfort in terms of having your friends and your family around I think it'll be tacos, I think fish tacos always seems to put everyone in good mood.
NDTV Swirlster: What's the most memorable part of being on the judging panel?
Andy Allen: I think the development of contestants is always the most memorable part. Knowing what some of the contestants come in like - very raw, very willing to learn, and quite green - and then putting the time and effort into those contestants and seeing them grow over a period of time, I don't think anything can feel more special than that.You feel like you really played a role in the development of these amateur chefs and I think back to when I was on the show in 2012 and that was a big part. I came in really, really inexperienced and somehow, with all the tools that I gained along the way, ended up winning the show and I think there's nothing more special than being apart of that. That's probably the best thing about this role; bringing out the best in these cooks and making sure that they reach their potential on the show.
NDTV Swirlster: Three ingredients that are always part of your pantry?
Andy Allen: Anchovies! My love of anchovies is very real thing so there's always some anchovies around in the fridge or pantry. I would say number two would be salt. The best dish in the world will never be the best dish in the world if it's not seasoned correctly, so definitely salt. And last would be eggplant as one of my favourite veggies. It's super versatile and I always have an eggplant in the fridge or cupboard.
NDTV Swirlster: How do you believe the at-home cooking scene has changed during the pandemic?
Andy Allen: I think cooking at home has going through the roof since the pandemic. Time is such a massive thing with cooking. I think everyone who says they don't do a lot of cooking will use lack of time as an excuse. Well suddenly we did have time and I think that's why sourdough went off because making sourdough is a 2-3 day process. It's always been that we never had time and suddenly we've all got so much time on our hands that we actually can spend some solid time in the kitchen. I think once you do that you fall in love with it even more and more.
NDTV Swirlster: Following a recipe or winging it; which way do you like to cook best?
Andy Allen: Definitely winging it, I'm not a recipe guy, it's probably why I don't have a huge relationship with pastry as pastry is very much to the gram and I love to just cook with flow and really just continue to taste along the way until I get to the right spot. I like to add different ingredients along the way, so definitely one million per cent I am a winging it guy - I love to wing it in all things in life!Comments