Andy Allen, author of The Next Element and winner of MasterChef Australia 2012, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |December 28, 2012

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Andy Allen

author of The Next Element and winner of MasterChef Australia 2012…

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and raised in a town called Maitland, which is 25 minutes N/W of Newcastle and I completed my HSC at Maitland Grossmann High School.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

Growing up I always wanted to be a professional basketball player. I put all my energy into this until I finally realised this wasn’t going to happen at the age of about 18. At this time I was at a crossroads in my career and at the age 20 I decided to take an offer of an apprenticeship as an Electrician. By the age of 23 I knew this wasn’t for me and decided to fill out an application to be on MasterChef.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

At 18, I didn’t really believe that dreams could come true. I had to come to terms that I wasn’t going to play basketball professionally and started to think I would have to settle with a job that was just a place to go to work for the rest of my life. But now at the age of 24 I now realise if you want something bad enough and you are passionate enough about it, nothing can hold you back.

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

My families love for food.

Quitting university to work in a bar. It sounds insane but this is where I had most of my free time to learn about cooking.

Entering MasterChef.

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? aren’t they obsolete?

I’m not going to lie, the reason I wrote a book was that it was prize given to me for winning a competition. At first I thought I was not worthy of becoming an author nor being experienced enough to write a book but then I looked back at the last 8 months of my life and realised how hard I had worked to win MasterChef and I deserved it as much as any of the other contestants.

6. Please tell us about your book…

My latest and first book “The Next Element” is a cookbook which displays my progression throughout my MasterChef ‘journey’. The first chapter, Cooking for myFamily, is full of basic, weeknight meals which any novice cook should be able to complete. The second section Cooking for my Friends, are all the recipes I cook when my mates come over for an afternoon BBQ, more your tapas style dishes. These recipes are also very achievable for any home cook. A New Direction is the last section where you will find a few of my successful dishes I cooked on MasterChef and also a few more advanced recipes which I love to cook now. Hopefully there is something in there for everyone!

Click here to buy The Next Element from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

Everyone finding the job that they want to do for the rest of their life.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

My family. My Mum, Dad and two sisters, as they have stuck by me in everything I have tried.

9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

If there is one thing I have learnt from my time on MasterChef it is not to look to much into the future. Yes its great to have ambitions and goals, but its more important to focus on the task at hand. In saying that my long term goal is to set myself high standards in everything I put my hand to and know that if you work hard enough, anything is possible.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write a book you want to write and enjoy writing it. Come up with a concept in which you know you will be proud of when it comes back from print and go from there.

Andy, thank you for playing.

Click here to buy The Next Element from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

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About the Contributor

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

Follow Andrew: Twitter


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