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Wine & Dine
November 25, 2015

What is Brent Owens Up To After MasterChef Australia?

Text by Nittal Chandarana. Photograph by Tejal Pandey

Winner of MasterChef Australia Season 6, the goofy Brent Owens samples Indian street food, tells us his favourite recipe and which judge is the toughest to please…

He plays ‘chef cool’ dressed in a casual black tee, denims and the goofy attitude that endeared him to judges, contestants and fans alike. He wishes to convert the dosa into a dessert, samples Indian street food and declares pani puri as the best.

How has life been post winning MasterChef Australia Season 6?
I’m doing everything that I love so it’s not really work for me. Every day is new so it’s good!

What was your first thought on winning the show? Did you expect to win?
It was between me and Laura (Cassai), and there was a 50-50 chance. I saw her assemble her dish and I noticed that she didn’t make the nougat correctly but I certainly didn’t expect to win.

Which of the three judges is the toughest?
There were ways that you could win each of them over. You needed to learn what they loved. Gary (Mehigan) was a sucker for anything crackling and crunchy. Chicken skin and chocolates and sweet things. Matt (Preston) was the same. I would say that George (Calombaris) was the hardest to please because he’s got very high expectations and he wants you to be the best you can be.

If not cooking, would you still be a bobcat driver?
That’s a tough one. I had a great opportunity to take over and own the business. But at the same time, I discovered what I love doing!

Does Australia have a distinct cuisine?
We don’t really have a set cuisine or a set style of food. We certainly have things that we eat a lot of, like lamb and Tim Tams and beetroot, but we’ve adopted techniques and flavours from all around the world and done our little take on it.

One childhood meal that has stayed with you?
Well, let’s just say that my mother’s not the greatest cook in the world so there’s not a huge variety of meals that are memorable! One thing that sticks out is this dish that is not very common because nobody else knows what it is. We had sausages that were crumbed and fried. It’s really weird because I’ve made a dish based on that too. There’s a lot of food that I don’t want to remember anymore! My mom certainly tried to cook a lot; she just wasn’t great at it!

What’s the one modern food trend you like?
I like the Australian modern food trend of having a lot of different elements based around one ingredient. I think it’s fun and creative. In Australia, people use savoury vegetables in their desserts. So they’ll do a whole dessert based around a carrot or a pumpkin, which is interesting. It’s all about getting that right balance of flavours.

Your favourite recipe from your book, Dig In!?
There’s a sundae there, which is peanut butter ice cream with salted caramel on it and chocolate and popcorn. Also, a main dish which is made of pork and popcorn.

Food to you is…
Food is everything to me. I think it’s a lot more to everybody else too, they just don’t realise it. No matter what your mood is, you look for food as a celebratory part of that. When I’m sad or down I’ll have 15 blocks of chocolate. When I’m happy or feeling energetic, I’ll have something healthy. When it’s cold or raining, I’ll have something warm to make me feel better.

Tell us about your love for chocolate.
I’m obsessed with chocolate! I actually read somewhere that there could be a worldwide shortage of cocoa/cacao. So, if that’s the case, someone needs to manufacture some synthetic chocolate because the world cannot survive without it.

On a possible Indian deal…
There may be a lot of stuff in India, which will keep me here for a fair amount of time if it happens. It could be a show, a restaurant…time will tell.

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