Julie Goodwin, winner of the original MasterChef Australia series, will be appearing at the Ferragosto street festival in Five Dock this August. Here she chats to Ciao about her cooking style and how to reduce food waste…
How did it feel to be a MasterChef winner?
Winning was just wonderful, it was such an honour to be considered the best in such a competitive group. There is so much I have learnt from the experience and not just about cooking either. Of course, I did learn many new recipes and cooking techniques, but there was more to it than just that. On top of all of this, I have also now had the opportunity to travel a lot and have entered a new career that has been great for me and for my family.
Why do you think it’s important for people to start trying to reduce their food waste?
We all waste so much food and what people don’t think about when they throw away a half-eaten meal is that it’s not just food they’re wasting; it’s resources. It takes thousands and thousands of litres of water to produce just 1kg of beef, plus you have to include things like transportation costs and time and effort. I think wasting such limited resources is just ridiculous these days.
How did you first learn to cook?
My Mum definitely taught me the basics, but I think I learnt most of it through experimentation after I left home and got my own kitchen. I thought, if I’m cooking my meals from now on, they might as well taste good.
How do you manage work commitments and cooking healthy meals for your family?
As anyone who has a family and works as well knows, it can be incredibly challenging to juggle all your commitments. I found that I make it a lot easier for myself by always having staple ingredients handy. My kitchen will always have garlic, cheese, lemons and tinned tomatoes in it, which are all great for adding flavour and texture to meals. I also always have eggs, dry pasta and rice to extend any meal in a simple, tasty and healthy way.
What’s your food philosophy when cooking at home?
My food philosophy is to cook with love, make it taste great and be healthy and nutritious. I also believe that food can be a tool to get people together so I use dinner as a time to gather the family and connect with them.
Julie’s tips for reducing food waste:
• Always have produce to extend your meals. For example: eggs, pasta, rice and soup stock.
• If you have cheese that has gone hard around the sides, you can just cut that off and use the soft middle.
• Any meat, whether it is just cold cuts or from yesterday’s roast, can be reused for meals like omelettes and soups.
• Veggies go well in pretty much any meal so try to use them before they go off.