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Masterchef Australia – Exclusive Interview With Brendan Langfield

Masterchef Contestants Portraits in Melbourne

Normally interviewing the first person eliminated from a reality show can be a bit of a struggle as we have barely got to know them, but have to say Brendan  Langfield was a surprise packet. He was articulate and interesting. Brendan was eliminated in a Chinese theme challenge when he undercooked his pork.

Below we discuss what prep he had done for the show, what surprised him about being on reality TV and what he thinks of those reality singing shows.

Reality Ravings: You were the first to be eliminated unfortunately for you. Did you realise at the time when you cut your pork that it was undercooked?

Brendan Langfield: No I had absolutely no idea as the jury is out on how you can cook pork. There is old scares about a disease called Trichinosis but it has been completely irradicated from pork in this country now so it depends who you ask. A lot of consumers are scared of doing it but if you talk to the Australian Pork Council they say it is best cooked medium rare. I thought I had done something perfect but it obviously wasn’t for the judges and that was the downfall.

RR: Did the judges actually taste the pork? The editing showed Kylie Kwong saying “I am not going to eat it”. 

BL: I have no idea whether they tasted it or not as we were not in the room during the tasting process. Whether they ate anything else on the plate or the more cooked pork on the plate I have no idea. It sounds like they did not taste it at all which is very disappointing for me.

RR: Now Brendan we hardly got to know you, you got very little screen time in the top fifty and we saw you in the elimination episode. What was the dish you cooked to get in the top 24?

BL: I did a Creole style Butterfly Prawns, because I am in love with southern style comfort food from America. So it was Creole Prawns with a Maple Bacon Poutine Stack, which is a fried potato.

RR: I remember it now.

BL: Yeah you got a tiny snippet and I would have liked more as they absolutely raved about it. That is what got me into the top 24 and thank God as I would have hated to have been cooking that Lemon and Lime dessert.

RR:  I’ve watched every season and written on just about every episode and one of the things one of my readers and I get narky about is that some people come in seemingly under-prepped for the show. What type of prep did you do when you thought about going on Masterchef and then when you found out you go into the top 50?

BL: The process is quite a long one. You audition just over six months ago and you do your absolute best to prepare, but the reality is most of us had to work and you are trying to prepare a skill set that is so incredibly broad that there is no way you could cover everything. Then what the Producers do is they obviously want to pick out they want to pick out people’s weaknesses and they find that every single year. I think you will find every year there are people under prepared but they are under prepared in very specific areas. For me that was obviously Chinese cooking that was something I did not touch up on at all as I put my efforts into other areas of cooking. So that will happen to the best cooks in there and every single year and that is because we don’t have a lot of time when you take into account we are still working and trying to make a living.

RR: What did you focus on?

BL: I focussed on mainly getting my strengths right. I was all about re-inventing Southern American food and trying to be really inventive with my cooking. I think that kind of showed in the dish that I plated up which unfortunately was not eaten. It as a little bit more inventive and had a lot of elements going on which is the style of cooking I like to do. Being a poor muso for the last ten years I have not bought that many pork loins in my time unfortunately.

RR: Why did you apply to go on the show? What was your aim?

BL: I wanted to use it as a catalyst to make me change. Not that I was unhappy with my previous life but just because I need something to do that I was passionate about. I have been doing music for a very long time and I have been kicking around retail for a very long time which is wonderful and fun but not a career path for me. This was all about finding my creativity and my passion for and make it a career.

RR: Apparently you have a food truck now going around the markets?

BL: I do indeed. It is technically not a truck as beautiful as that would be but it is a fully mobile restaurant that packs out of a trailer and it is called Riverland Market. I have been cruising around Brisbane ever since I got out of the house, selling american style beef ribs and hand made coleslaws. It has been going well.

RR: There is anything about going on a reality show like Masterchef that shocked and surprised you?

BL: Absolutely. It is one thing to watch it but being a part of it was a completely new and different experience. The main thing was I could not believe how long, intense and stressful and emotional the days were. I have watched it as a 25 year old man and watched over the past couple of year and thought what are you so emotional about and why are you crying for – it is just pork. Then here I am crying over undercooked pork because it is such incredibly intense days. You are doing 14 hour filming days and you are getting very little sleep and you are on an emotional rollercoaster the whole time. I was also very happy to find out it was very real. The vast majority of everything that happens is exactly how it happens. You walk in there and you get 60 minutes for a challenge and that is what you get. There is no forewarning about what you are doing at all.

RR: That is good to know. You’ve got the food truck what other plans have you got or are you just focussed on bedding down the business?

BL: I am really focused on bedding it down and making that my career. We are looking to expanding that and going to Melbourne with one very soon. Hopefully that will come to fruition. I have always wanted to do food writing and anything that is to do with food I will jump on board. I am loving the media attention at the moment and lapping it up and seeing where it takes me.

RR: Would you go on another reality TV show, and if so which one?

BL: I don’t know that I would as it was such a strain on home and life but if I had to pick one I would give Survivor a whirl as I like the idea of pushing oneself to the limit.

RR: As a muso what are your thoughts on the talent reality TV shows like The Voice and The X Factor? Do you think they have any credibility?

BL: A lot of the artists on them have credibility but the shows themselves are pretty much exploiting artists and that is pretty much what major labels are about these days. It is not something I would go on. In fact we got offered to go on a few of them when we were in our prime in the band but turned them all down as it was not for us. But it is not something that is solely going on in those TV shows as it is being completely re-written by the internet and everyone is struggling from major labels to independent bands. The artists have a lot o credibility but the fact they are forced to go on shows like that is a sad time for the music industry.

RR: Good luck with your food vans. If fans want to connect with you do you have a Twitter account?

BL: No we are not allowed to have that stuff up and running unfortunately.

RR: Even after you are eliminated?

BL: We are not allowed to have anything up and running until the end of the finale. My business and my business partner who is best friend he runs our Riverland Instagram and Facebook. I see everything but I am just not able to take part in it. But people do want to connect with me the Riverland Market Instagram and Facebook is the way to do it.

 

5 comments

1 Joseph Skyrim { 05.12.14 at 1:10 pm }

Good interview RR and Brendan does sound like a cool dude. Pity we didn’t get to see his forte (much). Still think the dentist should have gone instead of him!

2 cam2 { 05.12.14 at 1:28 pm }

Thanks for the interview RR! Really interesting, i think it was your best one yet! Good luck to Brendan!

3 Culinary Boner { 05.12.14 at 1:32 pm }

In this guy’s defence check out Food Myth #4 in this list – http://www.cracked.com/article_19628_9-ridiculous-cooking-myths-you-probably-believe.html

If rare to medium-rare pigeon, duck, quail and venison are de rigueur for the MasterChef Triumvirate, then perhaps they should walk on the culinary wildside when it comes to pork?

4 Zen { 05.12.14 at 4:14 pm }

Too bad he wasn’t on MKR, raw chicken rules the day.

5 Sandii { 05.12.14 at 5:13 pm }

Good interview RR. I think it is a case of “you can’t judge a book by its cover”. He does need to do his regrowth though :)