Steve on life after MasterChef NZ
Steve Juergens made it as far as the semi finals before being evicted.
How have you been since being on MasterChef?
It's a little weird going back to reality after that amazing house (or mansion!), and I didn't cook for about a week afterwards - had a total break!
Has your life changed?
Yes, life has definitely changed, for the better! I now look at food in a completely different way (as Ray McVinnie said we would).
What do you think you've learned from the MasterChef
I learned SO much, it was one of the steepest learning curves I've ever experienced. I learned how to cope under extreme pressure, how to stay clean & tidy in the kitchen, how to think on your feet if something goes wrong - it was awesome and scary at the same time!
What surprised you most about the experience?
What really surprised me was how much the prizes ($100,000) and the potential 'fame' really ceased to matter to me - in the end all I really wanted was to cook the best damn dish I could, and for the judges to love and praise it! It really was all about the food.
What have you learned from being on the show?
I learned what it takes to make a TV Show - all the blood (knife cuts), sweat (hot kitchens!) and tears that goes into this is mindblowing - it was such an emotional roller-coaster that is hard to explain. You get to know these amazing fellow contestants, then the next minute they're gone, and you have to carry on without them - was a strange feeling to come to terms with. I am very proud to have been a part of the first NZ MasterChef series.
Have you stayed in touch with the rest of the
Yes, we've all stayed in touch via email and Facebook - it has been great to hear of everyone's experiences after the show. They really are a fantastic bunch of people!
Which recipe from the other contestants have you tried
Haven't tried any yet, but I've copied them off the website! I really want to try Rob's fennel scallops, and Brett's Larb Gai. Tracey also gave us a cool recipe for Ricotta cheese, and I got a delicious recipe for stewed Kiwifruit and syllabub from CJ - beautiful! She made it for us in the house, and I absolutely adored it! Yum!
What advice would you give to budding MasterChefs?
My advice would be read heaps of cookbooks, watch heaps of cooking shows, go to heaps of different restaurants, look up heaps of recipes on the internet, and get in the kitchen and cook!! There really is no substitute for experience, so the more you do it the better you get - pretty simple really. Staying in the house gave us a chance to completely immerse ourselves in food.
What was the best piece of advice given to you by a judge? (And which judge was it)
Best piece of advice I got was from Ray McVinnie. He told us early on to USE the resources we had available, and learn! I mean, we were in this beautiful multi-million dollar mansion, with swimming pool, spa, huge TV and Playstation, couches everywhere, amazing view... We could've just laxed out and had a holiday! But Ray strongly suggested that we USE this opportunity (and the free time available) to completely submerge ourselves in everything food - read (we had a HEAP of cookbooks brought into the house for us to use), study, cook, write recipes, talk about food. So it was definitely not a holiday! I think I only had about 3 or 4 swims in the pool in the entire 5 weeks I was there!
What's next for you?
Next for me is carrying on running my graphic design business - Detonate Design Studios Ltd ( www.detonate.co.nz). I just got married to Lisa, so babies are on the cards in the near future. As far as food goes, I'm still keeping my options open - I've had a few offers for different things, so we'll see how they pan out. Food will always play a big part in my life whatever I choose to do.