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MasterChef Australia

Weds - Fri at 7.30pm TVNZ 1

Peter Q&A

Fast facts

1. Favourite chef: Neil Perry.
2. Favourite restaurant: We are so lucky in Melbourne to have so many great restaurants. For me at the moment, Cutler & Co and Movida Bar de Tapas are my favourites.
3. Favourite cuisine: Greek and Italian. Pretty much anything Asian comes a close second.
4. Favourite place to travel: The island my family are from in Greece, Kastellorizo.
5. Favourite dish to cook: My YiaYia's vegetable soup (hilariously made with lamb shanks, heaps of vegetables, legumes and pasta).
6. Favourite vegetable: Anything green - broccoli, beans and zucchini in particular.
7. Sweet or savoury: Savoury.
8. How do you like your eggs: Poached, and the yokes must be runny.


Favourite ingredient and why?

Pasta - fresh, dried and any shape. It is so versatile and when you are cooking it you know you are only moments away from being in a food coma from eating too much too quickly.

What's your favourite meal of the day - breakfast, lunch or dinner?
My favourite and most satisfying meal is Sunday morning breakfast - poached eggs, multigrain bread, homemade baked beans and crumbled fetta.

What dish would be the way to your heart?
The perfect fettucine carbonara with crusty bread.

What are your favourite tunes to cook to?
To be honest, I love the clutter of pots and pans, whisks whipping and knives chopping, and save the tunes for when we sit down to eat.

What do you think you'll learn from being on MasterChef?
Resilience, composure and creativity in the kitchen.

Which judge makes you the most nervous?
Matt Preston.

Tell us about how you got into cooking and how old were you?
I was the stereotypical overweight Greek-Australian boy who was lovingly overfed by my Mum and YiaYia. These two women singlehandedly inspired my love of food and the beauty of simplicity and tradition in the kitchen. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, probably because I knew a feed was not far away! I started stirring pots and folding cake mixes quite early. In my early teens I really started taking over the kitchen at home, when my love of food really took off.

What's the first meal you remember cooking and was it a success or a disaster?
The dish I first remember cooking was a simple risotto made with onion, garlic, chicken stock, saffron and parmesan. I was watching a cooking show and the old Italian lady reminded me of my YiaYia and the way she cooked. I asked my mother to get the ingredients for me and then cooked the dish for us both. It was amazing (probably not the best risotto ever made) and is one of my great food memories.

What three ingredients would you take with you to a desert island and what would you cook with them?
Olive oil, garlic and lemon. Grilled fish with garlic and a squeeze of lemon. I assume every good desert island has a fishmonger, right?

If you were having any three people, alive or dead, over for dinner, who would they be and what would you cook for them?
Guy Grossi, Andrew McConnell and Neil Perry. The twist would be that they have to cook a course each, ha! Can we make it four people, though? My wife would be pretty annoyed if she can't come too!

What inspired you to go on MasterChef?
A close mate of mine actually started filling out the application for me after months of being in my ear about applying. After initially resisting, I finished the application and forgot about it until I heard I had made the first round auditions - I fell off my chair and haven't taken the smile off my face since!