Home Town: Highgate Hill, Brisbane, QLD
Marital Status: Partner (Tony)
Cooking Style: Family (Torres Strait) Cooking
“This was fate. If I wasn’t made redundant I never would have applied.”
MasterChef Australia came around at exactly the right time for Tom, and he says that fate has taken its course.
“I was working in law in Brisbane when I was made redundant last November. I went through a period of anger and frustration, over the couple of days following this but then picked myself up and started to look at is as a positive thing, allowing me to change the course of my future career.”
“I started looking at other options. One was the hospitality industry. The thing holding me back though was the complete lack of business experience and I didn’t want to be one of those people that fails’ after a year.”
“Then I suddenly saw the advert for MasterChef. I kept it on the backburner and then eventually did the application on the last day. I was quite philosophical about it and then I got the call. If I wasn’t made redundant I never would have applied.”
From a Torres Strait background, Tom’s cooking didn’t develop until he left home and went to college, and he admits that this was through necessity rather than a love of food.
“In Torres Strait it would be traditional for women to cook and so my mother and two older sisters would cook for our family. When we had bigger feastings, men would do the hard physical cooking using the ground ovens, and the women would be more kitchen based.”
“My own cooking skills developed when I was 16. It started as something I had to do to get by. I left home and started university. I did an art conservation degree and alot of the students were both female and mature aged and helped me develop my cooking.”
“I made anything to get me by but cooking any vegetarian meals and using ingredients like tofu were all new to me.”
Having worked in art restoration after University, Tom travelled to Canada and did a placement there before returning to Australia and the Yam Island where his family are from. After a period there he moved to Melbourne to work at the National Gallery of Victoria before deciding to do a law degree.
Tom moved to Brisbane 18 months ago with his partner Tony, and together they enjoy cooking as a way to entertain friends.
“Cooking for me is very relaxing and enjoyable and I like to use cooking to create an experience that people can share together.”
“I’m not sure where MasterChef can take me but I know that I have so much to learn and understand and that’s why I’m here. I want to learn about everything that’s involved in this business.”