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MasterChef New Zealand

TV ONE

Season one winner Brett on his MasterChef book


He took the MasterChef New Zealand crown last year - and now Brett McGregor is reaping the rewards.
April 1st sees the release of his cookbook Taste Of A Traveller - tvnz.co.nz caught up with Brett to get the inside word on getting the book out there and what life's been since leaving teaching behind.

So, how does it feel to finally have the book out? 
It has to be the most satisfying achievement ever. I have had a great time writing it but an even better time seeing my idea actually come to life! I had a vision and the fantastic people at Random house helped me to achieve it. To be honest, I just want to start on the next one!

How's life been since you took the crown of New Zealands first ever MasterChef?
It has been busy that is for sure. I now get to live food. I have found myself in situations I never thought possible and have just tried to enjoy every moment. I have had some wonderful support from home and this enabled me to spend quality time learning from real chefs. I want this to continue forever.

How has it evolved from the book idea you presented to Ross, Ray and Simon near the end of series one of MasterChef NZ?
It is basically exactly what I envisioned.

Was it a conscious decision to make this book feel very personal with the use of pictures of you and your family travelling?
Yes. It was always going to be a celebration of my family -we have travelled a lot together and I wanted people to understand the importance of food, travel and whanau. It really is about my influences and without them, things are not the same.

Why did you decide to do this?
I want people to enjoy looking and reading the book just as much as cooking from it. I think at times it's funny and very honest.

How did you manage to choose the recipes?
The recipes are what we eat at home. For sure my influences come from all over the world -the book is a selection of recipes that we as a family enjoy to create. 

Were there any you left out and if so, why?
I have left out many and since finishing the book I am ready to write the next. I am trying to stick to certain parts of the world. The rest of the world will be in the books to follow!

How many new recipes are you coming up with - do you still find joy in the kitchen?
I am in the kitchen every day and am continuously writing recipes. I have found inspiration from those around me and realize just how much there is to learn about flavor etc. This is what I love and it most certainly is not like working. I think I will write about and cook forever. I am totally hooked and just want to continually get better.

You've included a section for all of the season one contestants to proffer up a recipe which of those that have been submitted will you be trying out?
I have tried them all. It was amazing that the judges gave recipes. True foodies give and continue to give forever -it is what people who love to cook do.  

Is there any type of food that you still struggle to cook with and have yet to master?
I still make mistakes - especially when baking!
I love to throw things together but baking is a real science and your measurements matter. If I said that I had truly mastered any cuisine I would be a liar. The more I learn the more there is to know- but it is a fantastic journey.  

What's your favourite recipe of your own in the book and why did you choose that particular one?
There are many great recipes - larb for getting me in the comp, the surf and turf for getting me to the final, but I love a good curry and my Northern Thailand jungle curry is superb!
If I was cooking from the book at home -just start at the front and work your way through! What a culinary journey. 

What do you make of the latest batch of MasterChef contestants?
I think they are all amazing. After all, they are off the couch putting themselves out there to be graded in front of the country. Some seem to have a great knowledge and in the end the more knowledge you have, the more diverse a cook you will be, and in a competition like this, that is vitally important.  

So, your first book is out but like any great chef, I'm guessing you've got stacks more ideas! What's the plan for the next book?
The plan for the next book is to concentrate on and travel to new destinations and continue to build on my culinary knowledge. I just want people to understand that cooking does not have to be difficult - and that the more you understand about other cultures' culinary attributes, the better your meals become at home!




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