Smart behind the apron

Magic Fingers

Smart behind the apron

She is a mother of three, a loving wife and most importantly, a terrific cook — both in her own kitchen and on ‘MasterChef Australia’, of which she was the winner in their third season.

During her recent visit to Bangalore, Metrolife caught up with Kate Bracks, the chef with a constant smile plastered on her face.

“I love Bangalore! On my first day here, we were out the whole day — we went to City Market, had lunch at Queen’s, went to Commercial Street and to the Snake Temple,” she says excitedly.

“For me, I’ve always loved experiencing different cultures and food. I’m very food-driven, food is a very important part of understanding a culture. I think culture can be separate from food but I think every culture has food that’s deeply entrenched in it, especially in places like India and Italy,” shares Kate, who loved eating what she calls ‘Indian tacos’ but are actually just sev puris.

Bhel puri and butter chicken are also some of the Indian foods she devoured. Asked about her most memorable moment on the show, she laughs and recalls, “It was the episode when my family came to visit me on the set and my little daughter was calling out to me and singing ‘Come on Mommy, you can do it’ – it was really cute. I felt like I was home again just for that little moment. I even joked with the judges that I just needed a telephone to ring and it would have transported me straight back home.”

While she has loved cooking since she was a child, ‘MasterChef’ happened quite by chance. “I didn’t enter the show thinking I wanted to be a chef. I just followed my love for cooking. Besides, I’m not a full-time chef now — I work in kitchens or do cooking demonstrations. This way, I get to cook through the day in a commercial kitchen when my kids are at school and as soon as it’s three, I’m out!,” says the 38-year-old.

The show’s family-friendly and its influence on children is a pleasant surprise, she expresses. “I think a show like MasterChef has a lot of potential in any country if it’s done well. It’s interesting to see that in Australia, kids are now really interested in where their fish comes from or what’s on their plate. This wasn’t the case five years ago,” notes Kate. What is the most challenging thing about her profession? “The hours!” comes the quick reply. “It’s often glorified to make it look like it’s not a tough job.

But it’s not unusual for chefs to work 14 to 16 hours a day. And the hardest part is that they work when everybody else is out having meals with their friends and family,” she elaborates.

For the time being, at least, Kate cannot see a future outside cooking. “I used to be a teacher and I’m thinking of going back to it. But then, I can just teach kids how to cook! Nowadays, there’s so much scope and so many different avenues that it’s too exciting to imagine doing anything else,” she sums up.

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