'It is a great learning curve'

'It is a great learning curve'

It is the urge to experiment and learn how to use existing ingredients to make something new that prompted Billie McKay to sign up for the 'Masterchef Australia' contest in 2015. And life changed almost overnight for her after she emerged the winner. Her life took a new turn and she began looking at everything from a totally different perspective. Billie, who was in the city recently for an event of Fabelle, talks about her love for cooking and life after winning the contest.


How has life changed after the contest?

Life has completely changed after I won the contest. Earlier, I wasn't very sure what I wanted to do but now I am more confident about making a career as a chef.

How did winning it change you as a person?

The experience of being a part of the contest has made me a more confident person and has toughened me. It is a great learning curve.

Who were you favourite judges?

In the beginning, I liked Gary but during the competition I slowly took a liking to George because he had so much information to share with everybody. Towards the end, Matt was a favourite with many because after the challenge, he would come around to everybody and talk. That showed that he really cared. 

Are you an experimental cook?

I began by following a recipe book but when I gained more confidence, I began experimenting with strange flavours and tried to make something sensible from it.

Do you cook Indian food?

I love Indian food. I started by making 'Butter chicken' and 'Dal'. I am still perfecting my skills at making Indian curries.

What is important - the smell or taste?

Both have their importance. The smell of something would make me want to eat it almost instantly, but the taste is important because only smell doesn't complete the dish.

How do you handle success?

I don't know. The whole concept of success is very surreal. I don't feel very different from when I started but I am excited when people, especially children, tell me that they were inspired to cook after watching me.

A dish that went all wrong...

One of my experiments was straight out of a memory. I grew up on a dairy farm where we had a lot of turnips. My mother would make some delicious dishes with them. I once tried to make something fancy from turnips and everything went wrong.

Your advice to aspiring chefs...

Keep trying out different dishes and never stop experimenting.

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