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MasterChef Australia – Tidbits About The Contestants

Poh Ling Yeow from Adelaide South Australia:

The 35 year old artist put herself through a culinary boot camp before the competition. “One of the reasons I wanted to enter  is to finally learn these old recipes that I keep saying I’m going to learn off my mother and Auntie but I just don’t do it. Entering this competition has forced me to learn all these things. I had a cooking food camp before I came!”

If you are a vegetarian beware she slips in a few meat stocks in her vego dishes.

Andre Usini  from Adelaide, South Australia:

The 28 year old has been criticised by the judges for being too arrogant however he says he wants to prove to Australia his is not. However I feel he may get into trouble at some stage in the competition as he says he only cooks italian food.

He is currently in the project management business, but previously had tried to open a cafe. “I had a concept for a cafe that did not work. I lost money and friendships but learned heaps and am still young enough to recover.”

Chris Badenoch from Melbourne Victoria:

The 41 year old says his cooking style is cooking with beer. “I develop recipes that specifically use beer as an ingredient – a few weeks ago I did a beeramisu using a chocolate stout.”

Previously he was in advertising but now he is a beer merchant. “We put together a mixed case of beer every three months, and we send with tasting note and recipe suggestions, we invite them to tastings and dinners. I write all the recipes and I’m the face of the company. I’d really like to show more people that they can really cook with beer.”

Website address please Chris – this could be a great gift for the guy who has everything.

Pasquale ‘Nic’ Ciampa from Melbourne Victoria:

Nic’s wife Tamara started to apply for MasterChef but she did not finish the application form. The 38 year old owns a wine shop with his wife “…My goal from MasterChef is to try and open up a food and wine bar to join the wine store”

Nic would also like to cook for Kevin Rudd one day.

Sam Ciaravolo from Melbourne, Victoria.

The 24 year old got married a day before entering the MasterChef Australia house. He had to skip the honeymoon in Thailand. Sam currently manages call centres and he loves it. So is quite happy to go back to that line of work if cooking does not work out.

Julia Jenkins from Melbourne Victoria

The 23 year old works in marketing, however wants to work in food but still has a lot to learn. “I’m quite quiet compared to the other contestants and I’d just like to show that I know what I’m doing and I want to learn more. I have skills and I have some talent but I need more. There are a lot of things I don’t know how to do.”

Brent Parker Jones from Kingville, Victoria:

The 39 year-old is a food photographer who snaps over thirty cookbooks a year, but he wants to move to the other side of the camera. “I’m loud and boisterous and I cook the same way. I’d describe my cooking as comfort entertaining. I’ve always used food to get closer to people and to share. I get a reward from food and that makes me feel good as a person. My favourite meal of chicken and chips evokes comfort in me of Friday nights with my family.”

Linda Kowalski is from Melbourne Victoria:

The 21 year old has done a lot in her young life, she has won Miss Poland 2008, and she has started her own business called Beep to Run.It is a business to encourage women to exercise. However she loves food. “I applied for Masterchef as I’d love to take over Matt Preston’s job as a food critic. I’ve been cooking ever since I was a teeny weeny tot. I used to help my Greek neighbours who were like second grandparents to me to make food.”

Aaron Thomas from Melbourne Victoria:

The 21 year old is into molecular gastronomy, but he does not say whether he will incorporate this style into his longed for three chef hat restaurant. He said a lot of people don’t get that style of cooking. “It’s basically a very precise way of cooking that involves taking an ingredient and than presenting it in a dish in an entirely different way and in a different form and texture. So basically I took peas, and then using spherification techniques reformed them to a different shape.”

His father was against him doing MasterChef as he wants him to take over the family business.

Josh Catalano from Perth, Western Australia:

The 25 year old is fishmonger who is cricised for being to laidback. “From the first audition my attitude has completely changed. I wasn’t taking it all too seriously. I would always do something to the best of my ability but thought if I didn’t make it I had the family business to fall back on. But now it matters. I want to have a real crack at this.”

Trevor Forster from Perth Western Australia:

The 37 year old is a navy submariner is finding it hard being away from his wife. They both love to cook but she couldn’t apply as she had worked in a professional kitchen in the past. “Together we’d love to open a restaurant and we’re going to do it anyway but this will really fast-track our plans.”

Kate Rodrigues from Perth Western Australia:

The 20 year old law student wants to become a pastry chef. But first she tried to get her mum to apply for the show. “I heard an ad on the radio and originally encouraged my Mum to apply. She didn’t want to as she has her own dental practice and didn’t want to give that up. She loves cooking like me but for her it’s more of a hobby so I did the application.”

Michelle Darlington from Berry New South Wales:

The 45 year old currently owns a book shop, but has previously been a teacher and a professional photographer.  She really likes Jamie Oliver’s style of cooking. “I grow my own veggies and have fruit trees as well. I don’t eat a huge amount of meat but I love to eat organic if I do. I want the animals to be well loved. I want to have some sort of karma about what I’m eating.”

Julie Goodwin from Gosford, New South Wales:

The 38 year old mother of three who runs her own IT business is a fan of Nigella Lawson. “I cook things tht you won’t find in the Weight Watchers cookbook,”. She would like “a warm little restaurant overlooking the ocean where people could unwind over great food.”

Lucas Parsons from Sydney New South Wales:

The 39 year old former professional golfer now owns a coffee shop in Randwick.  However he would like something more. He said “It will probably get me closer to opening my own place quicker so that’s my ideal. For me, this experience is like a five-year apprenticeship in three months.

Justine Schofield from Sydney New South Wales:

The 23 year old former sales executive loves innards. “I love offal, tripe and tongue. I could even cook brain if you asked me…”

Apparently she ruffled the judges feathers during the auditions. “In the auditions the judges liked my food but criticised my attitude. Matt said that I was too much of a smart-arse and a bit cocky. George told me that I talk too highly of myself. I tried to fire back and they couldn’t believe it.”

Melissa Lutton from Brisbane, Queensland:

The 39 year old newspaper publisher applied for Masterchef with her brother. She got through but her brother Zack didn’t. However she has plans for a business for both of them. “I’ve actually been saying to Zack for a while that we should open a Tapas place together. I’m looking for a new challenge and I have to have challenges in life to be the best person I can and the happiest I can.

Sandra Morena from Brisbane, Queensland:

The 36 year old mother and former hostie was pushed into going on Masterchef by her husband. “He told me he believed in me and that I am going to win. This has sparked my independence.”

Tom Mosby from Brisbane, Queensland:

The 39 year old lawyer said he would not have applied for MasterChef if he had not been made redundant. “I started looking at other options. One was the hospitality industry. The thing holding me back though was the complete lack of business experience and I didn’t want to be one of those people that fails’ after a year.”

Geni Papacostas from Brisbane Queensland:

The 54 year old teaching assistant who has three grown children would love to write a cookbook.  “I write down all my recipes and want them to be a legacy for my children. I’d love to write a cookery book to reflect the changing tastes that develop from the different generations – from my family in Greece to my children in Australia.”

Which contestants are favourites? Which ones are not so enthusiastic about?


1 bella vita { 05.05.09 at 2:03 am }

finally enjoying the show…no need for Sarah Wilson as host..what exactly is she getting paid for?
LOVE George..think he is fantastic..someone give the guy his own show

My fav is Sam..interesting to see he isnt wearing the hat anymore…and I like Josh too and Julie Goodwin.
Least fav is Aaron, Linda and Poh. Aaron and Linda both act they like so much better than the rest, and Poh just annoys me.

2 Injera { 05.05.09 at 8:48 am }

It’s so good to see that somebody on a reality show actually likes their job. That pretty much sealed it for Sam as a favourite! I always wonder about how those contestants who talk so negatively about their current jobs fit in when they are booted straight back to them. Strange start to married life, though…

I think Justine’s the “who’s she?” contestant – I’m sure she wasn’t shown during the early rounds and then suddenly she was in. Judges really must have disliked her attitude!

I hope Nic cooks what Kevin Rudd wants. Otherwise, there’ll be tears.

3 KC { 05.06.09 at 12:01 am }

Does anyone else think that Josh (the fishmonger) is really hot? Cause I think he’s really hot 😀 HAHAHAHA :D:D:D But yea he and Sam are my fave. Least fave so far has to be Aaron cause he is way too up himself (well appears to be) and Linda for the same reason. OMG SAME AS BELLA VITA!!! :D:D Almost

4 Laura { 05.06.09 at 12:33 pm }

Apparently there is a romance between two of the contestants, I am trying to figure out who…

5 onadrought { 05.06.09 at 6:47 pm }

I think I may have gone on a Dinner for 6 date with that golfer about 10 years ago.

6 Reality Raver { 05.06.09 at 11:54 pm }

Laura – I wonder who the romance is between. Melissa and Andre. Or maybe it is between Linda and herself. Did you notice she was picked last in the challenge tonight. So they either think she is a weak cook or they don’t like her.

She is perfect reality TV fodder. At this stage I am not sure if I like or don’t like her.

Onadrought – what was he like you could have lucked out there. He may think he lucked out if he read your blog…
By the way but I thought he looked way older than 39 I thought he was at least mid forties. I knew TV puts 4 kilo’s on but I did not know it aged you.

KC – Personally I don’t find Josh hot. In fact I don’t find any of them hot.

7 onadrought { 05.07.09 at 8:19 pm }

RR, I guess the golfer is around my age as that’s how they work it for Dinner for 6. But I agree, he does look older than me.

8 Thurman { 06.10.14 at 1:53 pm }

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