Julie Australia’s first MasterChef

From more than 7500 applicants, Julie Goodwin was tonight named Australia’s first MasterChef.

The mother in me felt Julie’s was a well deserved win; I don’t know if I could spend three months away from my husband and children (although my husband seems to think I could and wants me to apply for series 2!?).

Julie’s now trademark nerves and flustered state looked like they’d be the end of her but she managed yet again to scrape through. Anyone who has had guests coming for dinner only to discover something has gone awry at the 11th hour could relate to her. In the end, she just had really goo, solid food sense even if she scrambled to plate and pretty her dishes up.

But the Asian half of me would also have liked to see Poh emerge victorious. I think it was fantastic that she embraced her Chinese and Malaysian heritage and cooked Hainanese chicken rice. And that she went a step further and cooked pandan chiffon cakes, too.

They are two of my favourite dishes and are not easy to get right; there’s one place in Perth that tries to serve up tough chicken breasts as chicken rice and I am sure the same chicken is used in all their dishes.

As for the pandan cake, I hate packed cakes but have used packet pandan to cheat – and still not quite got it right.

Matt Preston was right, there aren’t many good Malaysian cookbooks around so hopefully Poh will find and fill a niche in the market. It will be a beautiful book to look at if her plating skills and artistic skills are any indication (wonder if her artworks will now all increase in value!?)

Julie’s cookbook will clearly do well (can we expect a foreword from Donna Hay?) – be interesting to see if they can get it out for the Christmas rush or maybe time it for Mother’s Day 2010 (probably too late).

There will also be a series cook book out next year and a DVD later this year. I just hope they keep all the recipes and videos online at least until series 2.

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