What have you been up to since Masterchef?
It’s been an absolute whirlwind. I’ve been working on my cookbook, which will be released in July, as well as working on my Marion’s Kitchen food range, which will be on shelves in Woolworths in April. Big year!
Do you watch other cooking shows?
I loved watching Junior Masterchef. I can’t believe how talented those kids are. But I’m also totally addicted to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage series.
You’ve created some delicious recipes for Eat, Pray, Love. Is there a country that resonates with you for food, like Liz and Italy?
My Mum is from Thailand and Bangkok feels like a second home to me. As soon as I walk down those busy streets I feel inspired…and hungry because there’s so much to choose from. I love Bangkok street food – the noodle soup carts, made-to-order Pad Thai and fishcakes fresh out of a giant wok are my favourites.
What appealed to you about Eat, Pray, Love?
It was great to sit down and watch the new DVD release of Eat, Pray Love this week because I find the main character’s search for happiness and fulfillment very inspiring. I also love the fact that when Liz travels to Italy she decides to let go of all the guilt about calories and carbohydrates and just simply enjoys beautiful food. Watching Julia Roberts devour that pasta in Italy was torture because it made me so hungry…I had to make myself pasta for dinner that night.
How does travel inspire you and your cooking?
When I travel it’s all about the food. Everywhere I travel to I’m always on the look out for new ingredients or new dishes to inspire me when I get home.
Where are your favourite places to travel, and where are you traveling next?
I love travelling in Asia and I’m heading back to Bangkok at the end of February to do some filming for an online podcast I’ll be releasing later this year. We’re going to be visiting and filming in my Mum’s village, which will be very special.
What are you looking forward to in 2011?
I can’t wait to hold my cookbook in my hands for the very first time. Being able to write and create a cookbook is such a dream come true for me. If nothing else wonderful happens this year, I’ll be satisfied with having a cookbook to my name.
What’s one recipe every home cook should master?
A toasted cheese sandwich. It’s my favourite comfort food but it’s not as simple as you would think. To me, the best toasted cheese sandwich is made from beautiful sourdough bread, a frugal slick of French butter and just the right amount of gruyere cheese.
Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem in available now on DVD.