We chat to to Justine Schofield about life after MasterChef, her new show Everyday Gourmet and what inspires her in the kitchen!
1. Growing up,was food and cooking an important part of your family life?
Growing up in a bilingual family and having mum, a very passionate French cook, in the house meant that almost everything revolved around what we were eating next. My mum is a wonderful cook and I am lucky enough to have learnt a lot from her and her philosophy on food. I knew food would become my obsession when I would prefer to sit on the bench either watching mum or dad cook then watching TV!
2. What were you doing before MasterChef?
Before MasterChef, I was selling security cameras! I can definitely say I was not brilliant at this but at the same time I learnt a lot about how to sell and how to be confident.
3. What prompted you to audition?
I had never seen or heard about MasterChef (UK version), but a friend of mine did, She thought it would be a great opportunity and convinced me to apply and fill out all the forms.
4. What was the best thing about being on the show?
The best thing about MasterChef was the sheer learning curve we all went on. We all thought we were pretty competent cooks going onto the show, but once the challenges rolled in and the pressure was on, we were the ultimate amateurs. As time went on though our skills got better and better in such a small amount of time.
5. Your background is French – is that still your favourite cuisine?
French cuisine is what I know best and is of course what I grew up with so I am very passionate about all things French. But in saying this, I grew up in a very multi cultural suburb and had a lot of friends that where Greek, Italian, Portuguese and Asian. I was fortunate enough to learn about their food first-hand by cooking and eating with their families and from this, I now love to cook global!
6. Do you have a signature dish?
It would be a toss up between my beef cheek Bourguignon and my seared duck with airgre douce sauce.
7. Who or what inspires you in the kitchen?
Definitely my mum and grandmother.
8. Which chefs have had the biggest influence on you?
At this stage of my very short cooking career I would have to say my catering friend Pedro. He is so unbelievable wise and talented in the kitchen and I’m very lucky that to be able to keep learning more and more about cooking for him. Other inspirational chefs include, Jacques Reymond, Andrew McConnell and Mark Best. Their cooking creations phenomenal!
9. Tell us more about your show currently airing on LifeStyle FOOD, Everyday Gourmet.
Everyday Gourmet is a daily show that is truly aimed at the home cook that is looking for more easy and delicious recipe ideas with a twist, learning about produce and most importantly about how to be confident with what you are cooking.
10.What is your best tip for home cooks?
I always tell home cooks to really understand the basics on cooking first before getting to the complicated recipes. This is what I did and it truly makes you a more confident cook!
11.What are you working on in 2012?
I’m very excited to say that Everyday Gourmet will be coming back again this year and even bigger and better then last year! I’m really looking forward to showing our viewers a variety of new recipes and new guest chefs.
12. Describe your ‘ultimate’ meal.
A marbled piece of grass fed scotch fillet steak with chips and a BIG dollop of béarnaise sauce! Drool...!
13.What is one question people are always asking you?
More of a statement then a question but I always get.... “Oh you’re much smaller in real life!”
14.Where is your favourite place to travel?
I’d have to say France especially the South West of France where my family live. Totally in love with- Bordeaux, Arcachon and Biarritz. Sun, beautiful wine and lots and lots of food!! My ultimate holiday.
15. Which three people would you invite to a dinner party?
a) Marco Pierre White (In his younger years!) b) Chris Lilley (in character as Mr. G from Summer Heights High) c) Mr. Dom Perignon, surely he’ll bring a beautiful bottle of champagne for myself and my delightful guests!
16. Describe your perfect day off?
A beautiful sunny day... breakfast by the beach, relaxing in the sun and then cooking up a feast for my friends and family in the evening.