A MasterChef feast fit for a ‘chocolate fiend’

July 16 / 184

Rachel Sore snapped with quick shot of diners leaving the MasterChef table
Rachel Sore snapped with quick shot of diners leaving the MasterChef table

University of Melbourne staff member Rachel Sore – a Consultant in the Statistical Consulting Centre in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and second year arts student Iolande Diamantis were two of the lucky people selected to join the MasterChef pop-up restaurant in the University’s Underground Carpark for ‘Heston Week’. MUSSE asked them about their experiences.

MUSSE: How did you come to be present at the MasterChef pop-up in the Underground Carpark? 

Rachel: I entered a competition I saw advertised on social media. There was a daily competition for Heston week and I first entered late in the day, but discovered winners had already been picked. I figured winners must be selected on a first-come, first-served basis, so my partner and I set our alarms for 7am and refreshed Instagram, Facebook and Twitter over and over again until they posted the competition link about five minutes later. Apparently I was the first entrant for this one. I actually also won the previous day’s competition which was for 500 people – my first taste of savoury ice cream!

Iolande: My mum and I were selected because we'd been to a few other MasterChef events and someone pulled out of this one last minute! How lucky were we?

MUSSE: What did you make of the experience?

Rachel: It was such a lot of fun. I was pretty excited, as right up until we went into the car park we had no idea what we would be eating. It was also fun watching the judges at work and interesting to hear their comments and discussions with the cooks. I noticed they were very quick to comment and could quickly consider all of the components of a dish that I may have overlooked, picking up on what specifically was not quite right or had worked well. The insight into 'behind the scenes' TV filming was also interesting, like having to repeat something you just said or pretending to eat for the pan shot.

Iolande: The whole experience was fun. The judges are positive but very honest about the food! We were sitting right next to them. The final TV version is very similar to the actual experience.

MUSSE: Were you already familiar with the Carpark? 

Rachel: I had poked my head in before and knew about the Mad Max appearance. But seeing it set-up that way was completely different. It felt very dramatic and very special, almost medieval.

MUSSE: And the most important question: how was the food?

Rachel: We were instructed to meet at 11am and so I was excitedly anticipating a 'fancy' lunch. I was very hungry by the time we got to sit at the dining table, as there was a lot of waiting around and a few takes of us walking towards the car park. When I found out it was a three course chocolate feast I was very happy. I’m a chocolate fiend!  The last dish with dark chocolate was amazing and decadent. Unfortunately I was pretty full by then and felt a little sick afterwards from overindulging! The middle dish was not really to my taste, and white chocolate to me isn't chocolate so the first dish was nice, but not overly exciting!

Iolande: I love chocolate so much so when I found out the theme I was so excited. So glad I didn't miss out!

MUSSE: Apart from MasterChef, what has been your most memorable food event, whether cooking or eating?

Rachel: Each year my partner and I go out for a nice dinner to celebrate our birthdays or anniversary. We're big fans of Japanese food and absolutely loved Minamishima. It felt like being in Japan. Also Kazuki in Daylesford, Nora in Carlton and ESP in Northcote were standout meals. A holiday we had in Japan was just an amazing eating tour, enjoying ramen, incredibly fresh sushi and other delights! I could go on :)

Iolande: I love cooking and have made a few recipes from Masterchef. Once I cooked a smoked lamb cutlet with a pistachio crumb. I was so proud of myself when I finished it off.

MUSSE: Do you have any concerns about the future of food?

Rachel: I've only in the last few years become properly aware of ingredients in supermarket foods and I’m shocked by the amount of chemicals we routinely eat. I try to avoid this where possible. Something that resonated with me that I read was ‘if you can’t buy the ingredients in the supermarket then you probably shouldn't eat the product that is made out of them’.

I’m also concerned about food sustainability and our reliance on mass food production. There's no easy answer though, because if we all went 'local' and only grew our own veggies there wouldn't be enough space for the planet's population. We’ve dug ourselves a hole we cannot get out of.

Iolande: I worry about over-fishing, over-farming and over-production in general. It's scary to be growing up in a world running out of recourses.

Story by Katherine Smith.


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