A MasterChef Cookbook in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bookshop

by |July 26, 2010

The MasterChef Finale: it all came down to this…

A Guava and Custard Apple Snow Egg

…the signature dish of Quay restaurant’s executive chef, Peter Gilmore.

I thought it looked like the result of a wayward shot on the back nine, (golf joke) but my family thought it looked intricate, delicate and delicious – I quickly found that my comments weren’t appreciated. I was told that if I didn’t take the whole thing VERY seriously they were more than happy to boot me out of the room. (Like to see you try, I muttered.)(SHHHHH!!! they replied.)

Then there was a hush – the two contestants entered the ring – Australia held its breath – the two made near perfect replicas of the impossibly difficult dessert (le golf ball in le rough),  and then, after twenty five commercials and lots of shots of people with open mouths, one contestant emerged as the winner.

How many people watched? Millions. Why? Who doesn’t like to watch grown men cry, who doesn’t like incredibly long pauses, who doesn’t love food? Well? Huh?

MasterChef is so successful our nation’s leaders were forced to reschedule their little debate to ensure they didn’t clash with the MasterChef final.

What did Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard do after their minor contest? We know what they did. They watched MasterChef.

And they, like all of us, now dream of tying on that apron, sharpening our knives, clearing the kitchen bench of old takeaway containers and getting stuck into making making some of the delicious food we all saw on MasterChef.

Pass me that cookbook!

Ahhhh… Never were spin-off products more welcome!

And now we even have more choice. New books will soon be available. MasterChef: The Cookbook – Series Two is out in November.  Poh’s Kitchen is finally coming, too, as is Peter Gilmore’s book Quay

I expect there will be a book deal for Bronze Medallist Claire and one for king of quirk, the “excitable, affable and unfailingly enthusiastic, Alvin” and probably for the know-it-all roadie Aaron, too.

Just you wait, Joanne will get a role on Neighbours, Skye will run for the Greens, Fiona will appear in Ralph and Jonathan will discover he is actually a member of the British Royal family, which, he’ll have you know, he always secretly suspected…

Available in September…

Your Place or Mine

George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan

Forty-three ingredients, eighty-six recipes and two of Australia’s best-loved chefs trading skills and comparing talents.

Go behind the scenes and into the kitchens of George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan. Discover their favourite ingredients – from saffron to salmon – and the art of pulling together unforgettable dishes. Learn the techniques of two consummate professionals and MasterChef Australia judges: the art of making a great souffle, melt-in-the-mouth ravioli and the perfect panna cotta. Then join the boys at home as they reveal the simple pleasures of family favourites given a restaurant renovation, such as hearty braised beef and chocolate mousse.

Inspiring, instructive and loads of fun, Your Place or Mine? celebrates good produce, great cooking and a legendary kitchen friendship.

Available in October…

The Entire Beast : From Ear and Beer to Ale and Tail

Chris Badenoch

‘I’m not a chef – just a fanatical home cook’

Meet Chris Badenoch, the MasterChef Australia finalist who served up a roasted pig’s head on prime time TV; the amateur who caught the attention of the professionals by cooking with ‘the entire beast’.

Chris combines his passion for meat with his love of beer to bring us a collection of recipes like no other. He reintroduces time-honoured nose-to-tail techniques for staples such as terrines, sausages and pies. He raises the culinary bar with stunningly original recipes for trotters, cheeks, ears and, of course, offal. He comforts the uninitiated with great recipes for familiar dishes – his tasty roast duck and rich osso bucco are standouts. Every recipe has beer-matching notes and many have beer as an ingredient, including Chris’ signature Beeramisu.

A triumph of livestock over lifestyle, food philosophy over fashion, The Entire Beast is about expanding our repertoire, deepening our food knowledge, and opening our senses to the pleasure of old-style food made new.

Available now…

Our Family Table

By Julie Goodwin

Since taking out the coveted title of Australia’s first MasterChef, Julie Goodwin has been cooking, testing and writing away like mad, preparing to publish her first cookbook.

Julie says: ‘In this book I’m not just presenting recipes but exploring the role of food in families and communities. I want to get people back into their kitchens and promote the joy of food and family. Our Family Table is full of lovely stories and recipes and feasts, with a strong focus on good old-fashioned tucker. ‘

Some recipes are heirlooms passed down in Julie’s family through generations, while others were given to her by friends and neighbours. There are lazy weekend breakfasts to enjoy with the family, weekday and special occasion dinners, barbecue and camp cooking, and cakes, biscuits and puddings galore. Julie also includes recipes she created on MasterChef – such as her now famous lemon diva cupcakes and her passionfruit ‘puddle’ pie.

The final section of the book is Julie’s favourite: a beautifully designed ‘blank’ chapter with pages for the reader’s own photos, clippings and hand-me-down handwritten recipes from family and friends.

With a foreword by Australian culinary icon, Margaret Fulton.

Comfort Food

By Gary Mehigan

Gary Mehigan, popular judge from MasterChef Australia, brings us a recipe book full of the food he loves to eat – classic dishes with a modern twist. Discover the secrets of family favourites such as pancakes, pumpkin soup and spaghetti with meatballs, and learn how to transform a pork chop or beef stew with the addition of roast quince or onion marmalade.

With over 90 recipes, lively kitchen notes and detailed food photography, this is the perfect introduction to good, honest food, together with the kitchen wisdom of one of Australia’s most generous and passionate chefs.

‘This book makes you want to cram the house with friends and feed them.’ Sydney Morning Herald

Greek Cookery from the Hellenic Heart

By George Calombaris

Welcome to the Hellenic Heart. The taverna is the kitchen table of the village or the street —a place for family and friends to gather; a watering hole; a debating hall; a gambling den, and a café rolled into one.

George Calombaris’ Hellenic Republic restaurant captures that mood and combines it with a menu that champions the full breadth and myriad influences on peasant cuisine across the islands, territories and regions we call Greece. From breakfast rich in yoghurt and Cypriot sausage, move onto plates of tzatziki and peppered figs. Taste the slow cooked pork, moussaka and wash down the saganaki with crisp white wine.

Then sit down with George’s family and taste his Mum’s fabulous authentic recipes that have been handed down through the generations – from Cypriot pies, meat balls and hummus to the tender Afelia that is braised pork and coriander and the fabulous Kolokassi with pork and taro.

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, was published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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  • July 26, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    I wish all the chefs well, but having a son who is a qualified chef and still working in the field, plus a son who is a qualified chef and no longer working in that capacity because the wages are poor and the hours and conditions are crap, (and they both did a four year apprenticeship),I just wonder why Master Chef has glamorised what is a hard, relentless, low paying, unless you work ridiculously long hours, profession. It would be interesting to do a follow up of the non winning contestants and find out how many of them stay in cooking, wouldn’t be too many if my sons’ experiences are anything to go by.


  • T

    October 29, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Actually, I would be interested in what becomes of the losers. I recall one of the judges saying he used to hang wallpaper as a lad (and dresses like he still does!), so I would also be interested in what Gary & George did to pay the way for their careers. Cheers, T

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