I'm not much of a cook, but when I sat down for brekkie with MasterChef star Justine Schofield, I was so inspired all I wanted to do afterwards was go in the kitchen and start whipping up creations of my own. Justine gave us the goss on the original series, her thoughts on Celebrity MasterChef and told us what she's been up to since the show ended. Check back tomorrow for part two of the interview where Justine gives her easy tips for holiday entertaining and tells us what to make to impress a date.
When we last saw you Matt Moran asked you to work for him at Aria. Are you still doing that?
It’s work experience, so it’s been really good in that I can just give him a call and say ‘Hey, can I come up and do a day here and a day there’ between doing food demos and catering all different types of things. I’ve been four or five times out of Sydney and three or four times up in Brisbane. It’s so exciting when I go there, the chefs and the way they cook it’s just so elegant and so beautiful. I’m like ‘Gosh I’ve got so much to learn.’
Do people dining there ask if you are working and want to meet you?
At the beginning it was overwhelming. They were actually telling people not to come in because people wanted to come into the kitchen and were just coming to have a look.
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What did you think of Celebrity MasterChef and did you have a favourite?
It was really good. I was actually really impressed with Eamon, I thought he should win from the beginning because you could just see his skill in comparison to everyone else. He actually had an idea of technique and understanding of food combinations with flavours. Also Rachael Finch. I was actually really surprised that she tried out for the first series. It just shows that she’s got a true passion for it.<b>
Do you keep in touch with any MasterChef contestants?
</b>Because Lucas is in Sydney, I’m really close with him. I see him and his wife a lot — we go out to dinner and coffee. We did a cooking station for ninety people in Bondi a couple of months ago and charged $125. We got a full house and did five courses, which was fun.<b>
Who were you closest to in the house?
</b>Lucas and I were always really good friends. I got really close with Tom, Julie definitely because she was the mum and I could always talk to her about things. Andre was pretty fun, and Sam, too.<b>
Did you sense that there was a romance in the house between Julia and Chris?
</b>Not really. To be honest I wasn’t paying attention. It was all about food and not relationships for me. There was a good third of us that really were there truly for just for the food and making that happen wanting to make a career out of that and taking it really seriously. So with things like that [romances] — I was like, 'Do what you want — concentrate on that and not on the food and it actually gives me more of a chance!'<b>
Were you surprised that it came out that Chris had a girlfriend in Melbourne and a girlfriend in Sydney — he was like the Tiger Woods of the MasterChef house?
</b>For me, in the house, I did get along with him, I did respect his food. With all that other stuff — I really did never ever and to this day, never talk about his relationship with Julia or anyone. It never ever came up. It really wasn’t a talking point ever.<b>
How has your life changed since MasterChef?
</b>I know it sounds like a cliché, but it really has changed. Now I won’t go back to a desk. MasterChef boosted my confidence and made me believe that I can actually do this and make a career out of it and that I do have a talent.