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Masterchef Australia – Andy and Ben Cooking Up Some Projects

Masterchef winner Andy Allen and his best buddy Ben Milbourne are cooking up some project ideas together.

They talked to TV WEEK and they said they had a couple of ideas.

They told the magazine:

“We’re pitching one to the LifeStyle Channel, which would be us [travelling to] my hometown in Tassie, then going around the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, where Andy grew up, to see what got us to where we are. Then, we’d finish it off with a trip to Mexico.”

The second idea the duo have on the boil involves Masterchef judge and food critic Matt Preston.

“It would be a Charlie’s Angel – type situation, where we’d go out to do challenges he’s set for us,” Ben says.

“We’ve kept in pretty good contact with him,” Andy adds. “He’s always there for advice.”

Andy also talks about how he wrote his cookbook and does say he did write the recipes. Something I was a tad suss about due to how fast the book was released combined with his lack of food experience.

TV Week writes:

Not only did Andy take out season four’s title, he also secured a lucrative book deal and the chance for the world to check out his favourite recipes. Problem was: he didn’t have many to offer.

“I had to provide the publishers with 80 to 100 recipes and have them tested in three weeks,” he says.

“I was so inexperienced going into the show – I didn’t have 80 recipes!”

Panic set in, and there was only one person who could calm him down.

“I called Ben and started freaking out,” Andy recalls.

“If you look at previous winners – Julie Goodwin is a mum ad cooks every night, same with Kate Bracks, and Adam Liaw is one smart dude – then there’s me who’s 24 years old and a sparky.”

Alone with a laptop and a million thoughts running through his head, Andy began jotting down all the food that inspires him. It’s this list that forms the basis of his first book The Next Element.

“I had most of the recipes by the time I went down to Tasmania to see Ben. Then, we tested them all and we surprisingly didn’t have many stuff-ups,” says Andy.

Would you watch a cooking show with Ben and Andy? Would you like to see them on TV again? Has anyone actually bought Ben’s cookbook?

January 9, 2013   38 Comments

Masterchef’s Marion Grasby’s Thai Range To Go International

Marion Grasby from Masterchef All Stars, Thai cooking range continues to go from strength to strength and she plans to take it international. With the success of the Masterchef Australia brand overseas this is a smart idea.

Her first step is to move to Bangkok ostensibly to ensure the quality of the produce for her products but also it means she is closer to the European markets.

Marion Kitchen products are currently moving 150,00 units a month. She has successfully promoted these products and get her profile high by appearing on  Celebrity Apprentice and Masterchef Australia.

She told Daily Telegraph:

“We’re now doing about 150,000 packs every month, which is pretty phenomenal considering we’re not a big company and don’t have advertising and marketing budgets – we just wanted to make good-tasting stuff and it has really paid off.”

Ms Grasby said she based herself in Bangkok to be closer to producers and suppliers to ensure consistent quality. She plans to expand the six-item range and take it international.

“What can happen when you have a big company making products is there’s not one person responsible for the flavour, but I put my head on the box,” she said.

“It’s very hard to be someone who wants a product to taste great when some producers and suppliers are used to making cheap products, so it’s taken a lot of effort to make those products taste good.”

However just because Marion will be based in Bangkok does not mean we won’t see her on our screens this year. She will have a cooking show on Lifestyle Food this year called Marion’s Thailand.

January 6, 2013   7 Comments

Marco Pierre White Defends Masterchef Buddy Curtis Stone

Marco Pierre White came out to defend his former protege Curtis Stone however at the same time revealed what a women’s role is.

In an interview in the Daily Telegraph he said that it was fine that reality TV chef Curtis had not worked in a kitchen since 2002 is no sell out and in fact has more influence then a chef working behind a stove.

The Telegraph writes:

MASTERCHEF Professionals mentor Marco Pierre White has turned the blowtorch back on critics who have accused his protege Curtis Stone and other celebrity chefs of “selling out.”

The tempestuous chef turned restaurateur defended food TV personalities who promote products, arguing their public platforms were more powerful “than an individual who has three hats, serving 40 covers.”

White said Stone, a brand ambassador for Coles supermarkets and host of US TV series’ likeTop Chef Masters, should not be criticised for “making a living and securing his family’s future.”

Stone’s international career and lucrative endorsements have irritated food snobs here, chipping him about his small screen presence despite not manning the pans or owning his own restaurant.

White, who trained and made Stone head chef of his London restaurant, Quo Vadis, said the Aussie’s accessibility made him more influential than a burners-bound chef.

However in his defence of Stone he revealed who he thought did the cooking in home with this cracker quote:

“Look at how many lives he’s touched, look at how many people he’s inspired to come into the industry, how many mothers he’s inspired to go shopping for better produce to feed their family. It enriches their lives, so how can you criticise a man for doing it? You can’t.

He might be overstating Curtis’s influence but why shouldn’t Curtis and his celebrity chef cronies spruik products,  actresses like Nicole Kidman flog vitamins and no one calls her a sell out.
 Curtis Stone is more comfortable in front of the cameras hosting food reality TV shows. He is the current host of Top Chef Masters, and he does a good job at it. His other role as host of Around The World In 80 Plates was not so well received but this could have been more about the concept than his role in it.
Masterchef Professionals starring Marco Pierre White and Matt Preston starts on TEN on 20 January 2013.

December 29, 2012   5 Comments

Lorraine Pascale – Baking Made Easy Now On TEN

Masterchef Australia fans were introduced to Lorraine Pascale on the show this year. She is a spunky English chef and if you like baking she is someone you may want to check her out.

Her show, Baking Made Easy, is screening on TEN on Friday’s at 10.30am.

I have a confession I was sent a cookbook of hers by publisher’s Harper Collins and was going to make it a give away for readers on this blog. However after a quick flick through I decided to keep it. In fact I got so enthusiastic I even went out and brought yeast to make the brioche. For the record I have yet to make the brioche.

However the recipes do look easy and delicious.

Baking Made Easy on TEN on Friday’s at 10.30am

December 25, 2012   8 Comments

Masterchef Australia – Andy Allen Has A Cookbook Out. Who Knew?

In the that was quick and under publicised basket, this year’s winner of Masterchef Andy Allen has released a cookbook.

This is very quick compared to the other Masterchef winners who have not released their tombs until the following year.

The Get Price site describes the book as:

The Next Element from Andy Allen, winner of MasterChef 2012, features over 80 of Andys favourite recipes.There are creative yet easy-to-prepare recipes for home-style family dinners and meals using local produce, recipes with an Asian twist, seafood, Mexican and tapas recipes – all tested by industry expert Janelle Bloom. Andy also talks about his experiences during the show.

Is there a reason they put that the recipes had been tested? It appears to imply the cookbook has been ghost written.

The problem for Andy that he was pleasing on the eye but he had no authority over one particular cuisine. He and his buddy Ben who also was a contestant on the series appear to be working together. You can check out their website Ben and Andy.

Quick release cookbooks appear to be the trend these days with reality food shows, with the new The Great Australian Bake Off will also have a cookbook tied to the series. (Source: Daily Telegraph)


December 14, 2012   24 Comments