Recently made redundant (VIC)
HOME TOWN: MELBOURNE, VICTORIA
MARITAL STATUS: IN A LONG TERM RELATIONSHIP
COOKING STYLE: ASIAN
He is covered in tattoos, but Daniel is hoping that it’s his cooking that will leave a permanent impression on the MasterChef Australia judges. “I have upwards of 25 tattoos,” says Daniel. “There’s a point where you start to lose count! I don’t mind getting a tattoo when it comes to the pain factor – plating up for the judges is certainly a lot more nerve-wracking.”
Daniel discovered the kitchen when he was 21-years-old, after he moved into his own digs from his Melbourne family home that he shared with his parents and two younger sisters. Far from living on a diet of pot noodles and all day breakfast in a can, Dan- iel immediately took a shining to gourmet cooking. “I started cooking properly right from the moment I moved out, and discovered that I actually enjoyed it,” explains Daniel, who names Melbourne’s Greg Malouf as his favourite chef. “I don’t have a signature dish, but my mates always ask if I can cook them chicken tagine. I also love to cook a lot of Asian influenced meals, and experiment with fish.” “I pretty much do all the cooking,” he says. “I cook for Katie [his girlfriend of five years], our mates and my family. When we go to my parent’s house, I try to give mum a break from the kitchen and I’ll do the cooking. “The food I cook at home is quite simple. For me, it’s more about the social side. It’s about having mates around for dinner and having a laugh.”
Daniel applied for MasterChef after being made redundant from his administration job at a wine wholesaler. He has had a long held dream of working in a kitchen but life just took another direction. He studied classical music at Melbourne University, where he played the trumpet, but dropped out shortly before graduating and has since fallen into a succession of office jobs. “I’m happy with my life, but I’ve never really had a proper career as such,” he admits. “Before I was made redundant, I was fairly settled and it seemed like a too dramatic change of direction.
Now the time is right, and I’m ready for the commitment.” As he prepares to take the judges constructive criticism on board and use it wisely, Daniel is edging closer to finding how he can blend a passion for cooking with a new direction in life. “Some people here have a very clear idea of what they want, how their restaurant will look and the name of their business but I haven’t thought that far ahead,” he says. “I really hope to get some opportunities out of this, maybe some work in a kitchen; a foot in the door of the industry which is more realistic than me thinking I’ll leave this com- petition and immediately open a restaurant.”