How do you feel about being crowned the first ever MasterChef Professional?
When they read out my name, I felt a bit blank – it was a bizarre feeling, very surreal. I thought Sarah had it in the bag. As far as I’m concerned, she’s the most talented chef in the competition. She’s absolutely got a bright future – she’s a gun.
How did you celebrate your victory?
I had one glass of champagne and went to bed. I was tired. It was a big night last night!
What are your plans now?
I’m going to buy a combi and try to start a little cooking show, driving around the country catching different things and cooking it up! I’m not too sure when the round-the-world trip happens – I haven’t thought about it because I didn’t plan on winning! I’ll have to talk to Matty Preston about where he reckons I should go.
So did you get on well with Matt?
Yes, he’s a nice guy. So is Marco – they’re both champions. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Marco in the kitchen – we couldn’t have had anyone better there. He’s a legend. Maybe I’ll see him again - if he’s still got a couple of restaurants, I wouldn’t mind swinging in there on my trip.
What are your long term plans?
My dream is my own cooking show. I just want to do well enough out of this whole thing that I can set myself up for life and get a house. But I’ll definitely still live my surf lifestyle – you don’t get me away from the beach!
What was your toughest moment during your time on the show?
The Moroccan-Mexican challenge was the toughest thing for me. It just about broke me. I hadn’t cooked that cuisine before, so it was right out of my comfort zone.
Did you feel the tension between contestants in the kitchen during those challenges?
I sensed it, but you’ve got to stay away from that sort of stuff and keep your head in the game.
Who caused the most tension?
Cameron I’d say. He is definitely [hot-headed].
Will you keep in touch with any of your fellow contestants?
I’d work with Sarah again – she’s a phenomenal chef. I’ll keep in touch with a few of the guys, such as Coop and Kiah, Cassie and Bonnie. And I’m going to work with Nathan this year on the boat too.
During your time on the show, you spoke about your past battles with drug abuse. How has your love of food helped you overcome your problems?
Cooking is a lifestyle, it’s a religion. To overcome an addiction, you need something to focus on. But you’ve got to want to stop though.
You paid tribute to your mum on the show. How does she feel about your victory?
Mum is stoked – I spoke to her last night and she was crying. I’m going to sneak over and surprise her in WA in the next few days.
Do you cook for her or does she cook for you?
Mum loves cooking for me so I’m quite happy to take that.
You became famous for your funny little phrases, like describing diners as “full as a fat lady’s sock” – do you have a favourite phrase?
I use many different phrases. I steal some off some people and create a few myself.