MasterChef's Brett McGregor inspires kids
Aspiring young chefs learnt the tricks of the trade with a school visit from New Zealand’s original MasterChef, Brett McGregor.
Year 8 pupil Rylan Flockhart was among the St Columba’s Catholic School kids McGregor spoke to in Hamilton on Monday.
Rylan said he get his inspiration for food from watching his poppa cook in the kitchen.
“My poppa makes creamy coconut chicken … and it’s so, so nice.”
Having not quite mastered his poppa’s recipe, Rylan said his current signature dish is macaroni and cheese.
He said as a part of the school’s food technology programme, he gets to learn and test his skills in cooking classes.
“I like to add new flavours to my food … it’s heaps of fun.”
Rylan said he watched McGregor competing on MasterChef, so was excited about the visit.
He said cooking is something he would like to pursue one day, but he wasn’t sure about some of the food McGregor has eaten – he told the kids he’s eaten everything from rice paddy cockroaches to silkworm larvae.
McGregor said when he was at primary school, his favourite thing to do was to help in the kitchen.
“I was always peeling and chopping vegetables to help get dinner ready.”
He said a couple of dishes the kids should learn to start them on their own cooking journey would be a soup and a mince dish.
“One soup recipe will give you the ability to make any kind of soup … and a mince recipe is important, so when you leave school you can make a range of meals.”
McGregor said the event was a great chance to talk to kids about food and travel.
“You have got to do what you love … I don’t feel like I work a day in my life.”
The former teacher misses being in the classroom, so enjoys coming into schools to tell a few yarns and reconnect.
“I can remember getting a lot of inspiration from people coming through the school as a youngster.
“If kids get to see a whole wide range of careers and pathways that people have taken, then hopefully they can be inspired to do the same.
“Getting up off the couch and giving something a go is a really good thing. I’m glad I did it and I hope that these kids will do the same.”
The St Columba’s Catholic School visit is a part of the promotion for McGregor’s new cookbook, Chop Chop.
This is his third. He has also written Taste of a Traveller and A Taste of Home.
In Chop Chop, he shares his take on his favourite Asian-inspired recipes. The salads, curries, soups, stir-fries, noodle dishes and sweet treats were inspired by cuisines from Japan, Hong Kong, China, India, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea and the Middle East.
Chop Chop is broken into sections of chicken, beef and lamb, pork and prawns, vegetables, the sea and sweets and includes a list of McGregor’s pantry essentials.
McGregor was crowned New Zealand MasterChef six years ago.
“Since entering MasterChef New Zealand in 2010, life’s been nothing short of amazing. I’ve been lucky enough to follow my dream of working with food.
“This book is my journey of discovery.”
An additional event for adults was held on Monday night at St Columba’s School Hall.