Tommy Pham

Tommy Pham

NSW, 31, Kindergarten Teacher

For new dad Tommy Pham, the hardest part of joining MasterChef Australia has been focusing on the competition and not what his baby boy Miles is doing back home.

Having welcomed Miles into the world with his partner in April 2020, Tommy is sacrificing a lot to work towards achieving his food dream.

Raised by his Vietnamese mum, Tommy says home cooked meals from his childhood are what has most inspired his cooking and that his mum is the best cook in the world.

Growing up in Sydney, Tommy admits to falling in with the wrong crowd in his teens, but he eventually graduated from university and went on to work in IT before moving abroad to Japan. A two-year stint living and working in Tokyo, steered Tommy towards teaching and he is now a kindergarten teacher.

Admitting he caused more than a few teachers’ headaches in his time, Tommy is thankful for his evolution and becoming the man and teacher he is today.

Always a lover of exotic foods, Tommy is largely self-taught, though his mum shared many recipes for Vietnamese basics. While living and working in Japan, Tommy fell deeper in love with cooking and when he missed home, he would turn to his mum’s classic dishes. For Tommy, food offers an indelible connection to his family and heritage.

Tommy gets a kick out of seeing faces light up after eating something he has created and enjoys introducing people to out-of-the-ordinary dishes. He believes food is a fascinating pathway into exploring different cultures, and cites Adam Liaw, Luke Nguyen and Anthony Bourdain among his key influences.

With strengths in balancing unique flavours and knowledge of unusual ingredients, Tommy hopes to combine his two passions of traveling and cooking to one day follow in the footsteps of his food heroes. He dreams of travelling abroad, documenting different food cultures and sharing them with the world.