MasterChef talks a big game when it comes to Dreams. The show’s all about finding them, chasing them, eating them and (a lot of the time) crying about them. It’s also a little bit about watching close-ups of Matt Preston chewing things, which is both horrifying and kind of hypnotic. Observe his eyes roll back next time he’s masticating a chocolate mousse. That’s A-Grade family entertainment right there.
But what happens after the cameras stop rolling? For most of the contestants, it’s back to life on the forklift/call centre/ insert un-food-related job here. But for a precious few Golden Children, there’s a whole smorgasbord of foodie glory up for grabs. Cookbooks, TV shows…the sky’s the limit. A MasterChef apron is literally your gold-embroidered meal ticket.
Want to know where to find your Ex-Favourites now? Here are the bricks-and-mortar places you need to try around the country.
The self-proclaimed home of ‘Gringlish food’ (that’s half Greek, half English, in case you were wondering), Bahari is one of the few Melbourne Ex-MasterChef restaurants that has stood the test of time. Others, like Josie Bones, haven’t been so fortunate. It was created by alumni Philip Vakos (Season 2) back in 2015, and it’s still pumping most nights, dishing up slow-roasted lamb shoulders with rosemary and garlic and sweet-as semolina Galaktobourekos desserts.
Julie Goodwin is almost on the Cher and Madonna level of name fame. Just the words ‘MasterChef Julie’ are enough. You know who we’re talking about. Season 1 winner, home-cooking legend, gets a bit teary when soufflés collapse etc. Julie has become a cook-book publishing powerhouse since MasterChef wrapped, but she also runs a cooking school in North Gosford, NSW. It’s called Julie’s Place, and it’s got classes in everything from High Tea to Thai Fusion.
KOI Dessert Bar
Chippendale & Ryde
KOI is the brainchild of Season 7’s undisputed dessert maestro, Reynold Poernomo. It’s been generating a Zumbo-esque buzz in Sydney for the novelty of the sweets…and the novelty of seeing Reynold himself, carefully piping in the front window like a freakishly talented zoo animal. Downstairs is a the patisserie and café, but there’s always upstairs dining too if you’re after something more formal. It’s one of the few places we know with an actual ‘Set Dessert’ degustation menu. Degust-ingly good. He also just opened his second outpost in Ryde, so get on that.
Sprout Cooking School
He didn’t win Season 2, but young gun Callum Hann was always in this food caper for the long game. After brushing up his skills with an apprenticeship under George Calombaris, he went and opened Sprout Cooking School in Hilton. Sprout’s all about healthy eating for the little ones (Hann designed the whole thing in partnership with dietician Themis Chryssidis) but it’s recently added clean-living adult classes to the mix. Jamie Oliver would probably bust out a ‘happy days’ or a ‘lovely jubbly’ right about now.
Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar
This place gives it all away up front. It’s a cucina and polenta bar, run by a guy called Andre. Andre Ursini to be exact, who appeared on the first season of MasterChef, battling it out in the Dark Ages when a good roast chicken could still win you a Mystery Box (stuff like ‘floating ice-cream’ was only a glint in George’s eye). This place is all about fresh, seasonal Italian food, done well and without a lot of fuss. The $65 set menu is a good place to start if you want a crash course (the Zeppole doughnuts are a particular treat).
MasterChef not your speed? Binge on these 10 TV shows instead. Apologies to your social life.
Image credit: MasterChef