…BACK WITH A NEW COOKBOOK
MORGAN BROWNE INTERVIEWS NZ MASTERCHEF CHELSEA WINTER
Congratulations on your new cookbook and your success since winning MasterChef last year. What kind of style do you feel that you bring to the table (excuse the pun) that other chefs and cookbook authors do not?
Thank you. Creating the book has been an incredible experience and so much fun along the way.
I guess my style of cooking reflects the philosophy I have of real, tasty, relaxed and honest food, dishes I share with my friends and family, meals that I know people love to eat. Food is personal to every chef and cook. I love entertaining and to me that means good, wholesome meals using incredibly fresh produce and quality meat.
Before your win on MasterChef, you were a marketing executive. You’ve since become a New Zealand household name and a celebrity in your own right. Has your win really changed your life?
It has changed my life more than I ever expected it to and there are so many things going on. I am so thankful to be lucky enough to make a life out of cooking, doing what I love and inspiring people. I am also now a brand ambassador for Beef + Lamb NZ and Kim Crawford Lighter Pick Wines – two great companies I love creating recipes for.
What are your favourite eateries in New Zealand?
I love so many restaurants, honestly I could sit here all day and ramble on about all the great places there are to eat! We are very lucky in NZ – spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. Mike and I don’t actually dine out as often as you’d think; mostly because there’s always something happening at our place!
TVNZ says the NZ MasterChef series had a cumulative audience of 2.6 million in 2012, and is continuing to grow – how did this pressure affect you?
To be honest at the time, I was concentrating hard on my dishes while getting used to the close scrutiny of a television camera; I tried not to let the outside world affect me.
Do you think that the quality of the contestants will keep getting higher and higher?
Definitely and I’ve noticed that across a lot cooking shows.
After your hard earned win, a rumour went through the mill that you alone were granted an extra 15 minutes to complete your final dish. However, TVNZ later responded that both you and runner-up Ana Schwarz had both been given extensions. How do you deal with negative and untrue rumours circulating, since you were quite suddenly thrust into the spotlight?
When something [like this] is just a rumour it is relatively easy to deal with as you know it’s not true. It can be a little upsetting at first, but then you realise the ridiculousness of it and move on.
You recently married your partner – congratulations! It has been said that the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – how much truth is there to this?
Thank you! I’m loving being a wife, I must say. There must be some truth in that saying, surely. Men love to eat. My husband fell head over heels for my chicken pie, which was the clincher for him (it’s in my cookbook…).
A whole heap of our readers think you’re incredibly good looking. One female reader wants to know how you maintain such a lovely, slim and fit physique when you have all the abilities and opportunities to make and eat so many naughty sweet treats.
Aw shucks! That’s so lovely to hear, thank you and that’s very kind of you to say. I’m Dutch and 175cm tall, so I guess it comes down to genetics for the most part. However, in saying that, I do exercise regularly. I eat and drink what I want, however the trade-off is I have to exercise. I love food and am not willing to negotiate on that, which means a lot of walks on the beach, running and going to the gym. Energy in vs. Energy out it’s boring but true. Other than that, keep hydrated, drink water, moisturise. I like Aveeno daily moisturising lotion I use over my whole body. It’s really moisturises and stays on, so my skin is hydrated and recently I have only just started treating myself to the ip5 Facial at CACI, it’s like a mini Microdermabrasion and makes my skin really glow.
Is fame all that it is made out to be?
I don’t really consider myself famous, however it is really nice to be approached by kind and friendly people who appreciate what you are doing. Generally I can go about my daily life without too many people noticing.
There are three judges that mentor and critique you through the series – which one of them was most valuable to you?
All three have been incredible, even now they always make time to chat if I need advice. They are rather lovely in real life, don’t be fooled by their oft-chilly demeanour on TV. It would be boring if they were sugary sweet the whole time.
Living with and competing daily with a disparate group of people from all over New Zealand must have been difficult at times – was there much tension or angst in the MasterChef mansion?
Being in the house was just like a fun holiday home away from home and it was sad when it all ended. I even had many of my fellow contestants at my wedding.