It feels just like yesterday NSW mum and teacher Kate Bracks was crowned the third winner of MasterChef Australia. But the reality juggernaut that is MasterChef is about to kick off again, and launch a new generation of contestants out of the kitchen and into the spotlight. But in the year that’s passed, what has the reigning champion been up to?
Well, earlier this week, Throng was able to speak to Kate about her life post-MasterChef, and she was lovely enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some of our questions!
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, Kate. We really appreciate it. Since leaving MasterChef, what have you been up to?
A lot of recipe writing! I’ve published my first cookbook, joined the team of contributors for Masterchef Magazine and done lots of cooking demonstrations! I’ve also had plenty of public speaking engagements, done some cooking with local chef Michael Manners, participated in quite a few charity events and I’m in the process of relaunching my website (which will have a Kitchen Clubhouse for kids who love to cook!)
How has it been for you juggling your personal life and your ‘post-MasterChef’ commitments?
That’s definitely the word to use: juggling! With a family who will always be more important to me than work, it is difficult at times to get everything done that I’d like to get done! Fortunately I have a VERY patient husband and understanding kids who make this easier for me.
You’ve just released your first cook book, The Sweet Life. What’s it like to have your very own cook book circulating around Australian kitchens? How has the reception been for it?
To be honest it is still quite surreal! There’s been so much talk about it these past months that it is a little strange that it is now there sitting on the shelves. But what an amazing privilege! And so many people have come up to tell me how beautiful it is and how many of the recipes they’ve tried and loved. The reception for it has been so positive!
For those out there who haven’t been fortunate enough to pick up a copy yet, can you tell us a bit about it and what the main inspirations behind the book were?
While I love all kinds of cooking, this cookbook represents my first love in the cooking world: desserts and baked treats! I’ve loved cooking them since I was a child. There is a big mixture of recipes – those handed down to me from family, those I’ve been cooking for my own family for years, and those new ideas I’ve had floating around in my head as a result of all my Masterchef learning! The recipes are also coded (1-4 spoons) to show those recipes that are quick and easy through to those that are a bit more time consuming and complicated. This way there should be something for everyone! Well … everyone with a sweet tooth that is!
Writing a book can be challenging no doubt, but what’s the best part about writing a cook book like this?
The best part was definitely the testing of the recipes! I got to cook desserts all day, everyday for weeks and weeks! And that meant I got to taste desserts all day, everyday for weeks and weeks!
Have you got any plans for future books?
I certainly have ideas in my head but we’ll just see how this one goes first!
Do you have any plans to venture onto television or some other media in the future, as some MasterChef contestants have chosen to do?
I’m certainly not driven by fame and celebrity but if the right job came up for me and it happened to be in the media I’d certainly consider it!
Outside of this, you’ve also done a bit of charity work (or should I say, a lot), notably becoming an ambassador for HeartKids Australia. What was that like and what does it involve?
There have been a lot of requests for charity and while I can’t do it all, I have loved being involved with Heartkids, Bandaged Bear Breakfasts, the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Cancer Council. Some involve recipe writing while others involve cooking but it’s great to know that the things I love to do are also benefiting others. As a Mum of young children it helps me to appreciate the health of my family and makes sense to me that I would help other families going through hard times of sickness.
What led you to work with HeartKids?
Shortly after I came home I was sent a letter outlining their cause. To be honest I hadn’t heard of them or their work so I investigated it a little and came to the conclusion that others needed to know about it too. It seemed a good fit for who I am and what I’m on about.
Finally, MasterChef season four is just around the corner. Have you been involved with this season in any way?
You’ll have to wait and see!
What advice could you give fans of the show who may be considering giving it a shot in the future?
If you have the support network around you … go for it! And just remember to be yourself – you’ll never do a good job of trying to be anyone else!
Thanks for your time, and all the best for the future! Thankyou!
MasterChef’s fourth season kicks off tomorrow, Sunday May 6 at 7.30pm on Network Ten, and continues all week at 7pm.
Don’t forget to check out Throng’s MasterChef: Where Are They Now, where you can find information on your favourite contestants, and links to interviews for some of them.