Occupation: Youth Worker
It is amazing what happens to people when they cook in the MasterChef kitchen. The experience can caus challenge can leave even those with a gentle soul roaring like a lion.
When he walks into the lion’s den, the placid youth worker focuses on his passion for cooking, and reaching his dream of creating a cooking school for disadvantaged kids.
“I never used to have personal strength to fight for something,” says Andrew candidly. “I used to be a rather shy and insecure, and if I got told no then I just accepted it. It took a while for me to learn the strength – probably the last few years – but I now have the mentality that if you want something bad enough, then fight for it.
“I want to feel fearless, forceful and determined. I’m not really into self-asserting myself but to go far in this competition you have to do that.”
Growing up in Adelaide with his two brothers and parents, Andrew soon succumbed to the allure of exploring the city’s food scene.
“When I was 15 I discovered Chinatown and it opened up a whole new world of food for me – all these exotic styles like Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese suddenly became more accessible,” he says. “I had a part time job so I had some cash to buy some of the food.”
He never looked back, and has been cooking ever since, though he regrets not following a career in hospitality. But he can count on support from his wife of eight years Belinda.
“Belinda is so supportive of me wanting to try something I’m passionate about,” he says. “With the exception of being a youth worker, she’s seen me go through a succession of pretty mundane jobs. She wants me to chase my dream – and she’s very encouraging.”
That ultimate dream is a desire to blend cooking with his youth work.
“It would be great to give kids the opportunity to learn and have a future,” he says. “I’d love to have a 30 seat bistro in Port Lincoln that I can turn into a training area to stay connected to South West Youth Services and provide kids with training.
“I know I’ve been the person that’s given up on dreams during my life and I hate seeing that happen to other people.”