I started cooking because I wanted to break free from the shackles of my Bachelor of Commerce. I wanted to follow a creative career. Cooking made me feel free. It made me feel as though I was in control. It made feel like an artist.
I moved to Cape Town to study that creative part of myself at advertising school. During that time I was wooed by the imagery of food photography. I fell in love with the writing; of the way that food-media was able to transcend the page – the words and images to take me to a different world/mood/time/people.
I had just moved out of my parents home, which is pertinent because I have powerful women in my family who are all great cooks. That doesn’t leave me much space to wield any control over what or how the meals are cooked. It was then that i really started to play around with ingredients and with recipes – or my vague interpretation of what the recipes commanded. I’ve never enjoyed following recipes – it made the process feel less creative or intuitive. Which is why baking has not my strong point – too many rules.
I entered MasterChef because I thought that I was the best cook amongst my friends. It was my stage to shine. I loved every second of preparation. Every moment of not having to have conversation and instead take centre stage. I loved seeing the look on peoples faces when I pulled off a dish that I had made up, to a point. My best compliment was the day that I made yogurt panna cotta with rosewater raspberries for dessert. We had gone away for the weekend and that was my contribution to dinner. One of the friends woke up the next morning and told me that she had thought about that dish since she ate it the night before. I had made an impression. I had been seen.
That yogurt panna cotta was my cold audition dish that got me passed the first round of entries for MasterChef SA. I had made it countless times by then. I was confident about my dish. I believed in that dish.
While I started that competition as a shy, unsure contestant, I followed my gut. I cooked and spoke from a place of authenticity, so much so that I forgot about the tech-line. I found a place of forces in that kitchen that I had never found before. The MasterChef kitchen taught me that I could focus. That I could shine.
“A grapefruit was a lemon that saw a chance and took it” – Oscar Wilde
In 2013 I saw myself persisting through the pressure of cooking on the Masterchef SA. The love for eating that turned to a love for cooking was one of the things that pulled me through. You know what they say, to produce anything, you have to be an ultimate consumer of that thing.
Was it easy to get in the show and also win it? No. There was definitely a preparation process. In the years leading up to my appearance on the show, I kept myself busy with talking on 2 Oceans Vibe Radio, doing an acting course, and going for vocal coaching. I also actively blogged to share pieces of my life. I believe these steps prepared me to win MasterChef in 2013. They are moments in my world. A world that now seems so bright with possibility.
Since winning MasteChef SA I have been living MY food dream, which was always media based. Before Masterchef 2013 my dream was to be the face of food in editorial, radio and television. And low and behold, dreams do come true because I recently shot my own food-travel show, Girl Eat World.
Girl Eat World, is a self-indulgent show about me and my experiences. It’s about the fact that I was blogger before MasterChef SA and how bloggers share so very much of themselves with people they don’t usually get to meet. This show is about me meeting the bloggers that I have fallen in love with online and how these people share their cities with me. I visited Jo’burg, Bangkok, Tokyo, Sydney, Lima, Philadelphia, Berlin, Milan, Copenhagen and Dubai. I ate some incredible (and toe-furling) things but made some incredible friends.
I would love to share more of this story with you more often. You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see how the rest of that story unveils. But mark my words, the best, is yet to come!