1:30pm, Thursday 8 January. The phone rang. A Sydney number; one that wasn’t stored in my phone. I was feeding my son, couldn’t get to the phone in time. Voicemail kicked in.
I called back, heard the good news, sat back in shock as my stomach did backflips, called my partner. I could not believe I had an audition. As it would turn out, I was one of 700 auditionees (100 in Perth alone) from a pool of over 7,000 applicants across Australia. It felt good to be in the top 10%.
For the audition, I was told to make one dish (replicated, for two judging processes) for Friday, 16 January. There would be no means of heating at the judging venue and only limited refrigeration, so the dish really had to be cold.
I decided on a tasting plate, Assiette de Hannah, to show a variety of flavours and techniques. So I set up my pasta maker, called some good friends and organised a tasting party for Sunday the 11th. [BTW, it went awesomely and was instrumental in refining my dish.]
For all my love of food and MasterChef UK, which had me glued to the screen during afternoon feeds [Hannah so should have won!], I was not even contemplating applying for MasterChef Australia until my partner saw the casting call [“You should apply. You’d be great.” That was all the encouragement I needed!]. So I filled out the million-page application form and started visualising my ascent to MasterChef. Not that I really expected to get the call.
I was almost too excited to sleep that night. I felt confident, yet nervous – and prepared, but only as prepared as one can be with almost zero details. All my googling was for nought [until Monday 12 January, when 2 of the judges were revealed in a Channel Ten press release] and the casting agent’s email would not arrive until 3 days before the audition.
I had no idea of what I was playing for or when it would be televised [as at 21 January, these details have still not been revealed to the contestants]. I just knew that this was something I really wanted: it would give me the chance to find out more about a new industry, to have a professional critique of my cooking, and to add to my skills. I have been sitting on a restaurant idea for a couple of years now, and I could already see this opportunity as a stepping stone to that end.
My passion for food had got me this far and I had to trust in my skills to get me past the audition…
[Check out a very awesome-looking dish from another auditionee at Abstract Gourmet.]