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MasterChef Australia

Weds - Fri at 7.30pm TVNZ 1

Sandra Q&A

Sandra - Fast facts

1. Current job: Mother.
2. Favourite chef: George Calombaris, Richard Stein.
3. Favourite restaurant: Bretts Wharf.
4. Favourite cuisine: Latin American, Japanese.
5. Favourite place to travel: Morocco, France, Spain.
6. Favourite dish to cook: Beef.
7. Favourite dessert to eat: Crème Caramel.
8. Sweet or Savoury: Anything with crab meat.
9. Chilli or garlic: Chilli.
10. How do you like your eggs: Poached with wilted spinach and garlic with hollandaise sauce. Scrambled eggs with chives and truffle oil.

1. Favourite ingredient and why?
Garlic because it adds so much flavour to almost everything - bread, pasta, fish, meat etc.

2. Favourite utensil and why?
Food processor and blender, also my garlic grater.

3. What's your favourite meal of the day - breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Lunch and dinner because there are so many more dishes and recipes for it. 

4. What do you prefer, chicken, beef, seafood or tofu, and why?
I prefer seafood and beef as they are so versatile.

5. What dish would be the way to your heart?
Paella: I grew up with it and to me it is a comforting dish. It is full of flavour and the rice is filling, the seafood makes it so tasty and the red peppers add a different dimension to it.

6. What's your favourite tune to cook to?
I don't have music on when I cook; I have the TV on and watch cooking shows.

7. Describe how you felt during the MasterChef audition?
I was really happy to have been given the chance. At times I felt very nervous and hoped that the nerves would not get the better of me.

8. Tell us about your journey into the Top 20:
It has been an amazing experience; have met so many people that I am living with. We have had to face lots of challenges such as cooking in front of judges, chopping onions etc.

9. What do you think you'll learn from being on MasterChef?
I think I will learn a lot from the whole experience, from running a restaurant to knife skills, to perfecting my cooking skills. 

10. Are you nervous about cooking for the judges and why?
Yes because they are the best chefs and my cooking might not be up to their standards in all aspects. I feel I have so much to learn.

About Sandra
1. Tell us about how you got into cooking and how old were you?
I first started cooking when I was 11, I watched the maids in the kitchen in our house in South America and from that point on, I knew that was what I wanted to do in my life. I used to watch a cooking show called Teresa Ocampo religiously every day. 

2. What's the first meal you remember cooking and was it a success or a disaster?
The first meal I made was when I was 11, I went to the corner shore and bought some ingredients, came back to the kitchen and mixed some of the ingredients and made an orange dessert, but can't remember exactly what it was. My parents had guests at the time and they loved it. It was a hit!

3. Who do you cook for the most?
I cook for my family; my son Alexander, my daughter Isabella and my husband Bruce. They look forward to my cooking at the end of a week day.

4. What do you love and what do hate about cooking food?
I love cooking overall, the fact that I can create lots of different dishes and present them in different ways. What I hate about cooking is having to wash up and also the preparations, like cutting onions that make me cry.

5. What three ingredients would you take with you to a desert island and what would you cook with them?
I would like to take garlic, olive oil and either beef or rice. I think with that I could cook lots of different dishes. I could catch some seafood and then make a paella. : Yum!

6. If you were having any three people, alive or dead, over for dinner, who would they be and what would you cook for them?
I would say all the judges in this competition, so that they would see me cooking in my normal environment without cameras and that way they could not criticise me.

7. What inspired you to go on MasterChef?
My husband inspired me to go in it. He told me I would win it.