How To Be A Master Chef

MasterChef Asia judge Audra Morrice gives us a peek into the most popular culinary TV show ever

Forget KUWTK, we know that when it comes to heating things up, there is no better reality TV show to watch than MasterChef.

Now, the prestigious cooking competition has finally arrived in Asia, with a stellar panel of judges made up of Hong Kong-born culinary expert Susur Lee, 3-Michelin star chef Bruno Ménard, and Singapore’s very own Audra Morrice.

Morrice made a name for herself as one of the finalists of MasterChef Australia Season 4 (one of two Singaporean contestants to have made it into the top 24!) with her signature Asian-inspired cuisine. She’s also established her own catering business and released a cookbook, My Kitchen, Your Table. We talk to her to get an inside look at the world of MasterChef and what to expect from her new role.

How has your experience on MasterChef Australia changed the way you cook?

Masterchef Australia took me from working almost 20 years in telecommunications to running a catering business. I live and breathe food now. The biggest thing i got out of master chef was the organisation side of things. I have to be very organised in the way i cook because that is how i run my business but I think every contestant that comes through will find it a challenge at first. But once they master the art of organising themselves in the kitchen, they’ll find the cooking experience so much easier.

As a judge, do you think you’d be more strict like Gordon Ramsay or nice like Graham Elliot?

Choy, I’m no Gordon Ramsay! I think one of the things people love about me is that I talk to everyone, and I’m easy going and sociable. That’s who i am and will always be, judge or no judge. I’m also a very honest person so I will always say what i think. So while you will always get a straight answer out of me, I also aim to inspire, mentor and encourage people. There are different ways to say the same thing, and I think sometimes being a little bit sensitive to people makes a difference.

Most memorable moment on MasterChef Australia?

The round where it came to sift out the final 24 contestants was one of those days where everything just went wrong. I managed to pull through and made my Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tart with Cherry Port Jelly. When I got my apron for the Top 24, it felt like I won it already. I think the one thing I learnt from that challenge was that when you least expect it and when you’re put in a difficult position, the human body and mind is quite amazing.

If you could your own spin on a Singaporean dish, what would it be and how would you change it?

I’ve actually done sort of a modern take on Assam Prawns. Because I love cooking with assam and gula melaka, I did a sticky assam prawn dish with gula melaka — it’s sticky, sweet and sour.

What advice do you have for home cooks who want to compete or cook professionally?

One of the beauties of being in Masterchef is that it gives you a very good basis on what you can expect in the culinary world. You get pushed and challenged, and it really makes you question if this is what you want to do. There is no quick ways to being a professional chef, I think you really need to put in the hard yards and get the proper training.

I’m not a classically trained chef, but I’ve been in the kitchen every day of my life for the past three years. It’s also important to know exactly what you want to cook and what kind of cook you want to be. There are so many basics to master: You have to understand your ingredients, how proteins work, your equipment, how the weather affects the dishes you might cook especially dessert, etc. You definitely need to put in the hard work and spend time in the kitchen.

Watch MasterChef Asia on Lifetime (Starhub TV Channel 514) every Thursday at 9pm.

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