MasterChef's Callum Hann will take centre stage at this year's Hunter Valley Food and Wine festival. He tells us what he has been up to since MasterChef and reveals what he is really passionate about.
He was the youngest kitchen competitor in MasterChef 2010, but that didn't stop Callum Hann from going all the way to the end. The then 20-year-old from South Australia's Barossa Valley, went through to the MasterChef grand final just missing out on winning to 31-year-old Adam Liaw.
So what has he been up to since the competition that launched him into the crazy cooking world came to a close?
After completing a scholarship at MasterChef judge George Calombaris' Melbourne restaurants, he has turned his attention to what he loves most: teaching others how to cook. Something he will be doing at the Hunter Valley Food and Wine month in June 2011.
"I have been running cooking classes for university students, which I loved, so I recently started doing classes in Adelaide for all sorts of people," he says.
Although George's offer to work at the Press Club was "too good to refuse" Callum is now focusing on his newly launched cooking school Sprout Cooking.
"I loved working at George's, it's certainly something I would consider for the future," he says. "I'm concentrating on Sprout Cooking at the moment."
So why is he so passionate about teaching others to cook? Callum says it's about the special moments of realising you have made a difference to someone's life.
"It's not just the teaching, it's getting people inspired, getting people to have fun in the kitchen," he says.
"I recently taught a girl who told me she didn't like fish. We cooked a really fresh coconut fish dish together and she loved it. I love the little moments like that."
Despite leaving the MasterChef kitchen more than a year ago, it seems Callum can't escape his king of the kitchen reputation after making those macaroons which he was highly praised for in the competition.
"Everyone wants to know my macaroon recipe!" he says.
"I don't think the recipe is too much different from any other, it's just knowing the little tips and tricks like allowing the macaroons to form a skin before baking."
Callum will share his love of cooking and his passion for teaching others to be confident in the kitchen at the Hunter Valley Food and Wine month beginning June 2011.
"It's a great chance for me to show people the sort of food I love to cook, and hopefully give them a few tips and recipes too," he says.
"Plus it gives me a chance to eat great food and sample some of the famous wines from the area."
Callum will be part of Flavourfest, held at the Hunter Valley Gardens over the June long weekend, which will include celebrity cooking demonstrations, international delicacies, food and wine and entertainment for the kids. So what can you look forward to cooking with Callum?
"I have a few different dishes, but I'm really excited about showing people my beer mussels and my 10-minute chocolate mousse," he says.
Quick questions with Callum
Who do you think will win MasterChef 2011?
The contestants seem like they are as much in love with food as I am which is great to see. I think Michael is showing some promising signs early. Maybe I'm being biased because he's a young guy from Adelaide!
What was it like to be on the other side of the bench when you appeared on Junior MasterChef?
I loved it. I got to see behind the scenes and understand how the show works a lot more. It was great to meet all the kids, and not have to worry whether the judges would like my food or not!
What is your favourite ingredient to cook with and why?
Coriander. It has a really unique taste is the perfect foil for lots of meat or spicy dishes. Plus it's almost two ingredients in one. Use the roots for pastes and the leaves for salads or finishing dishes.
Was George harder as a judge or as a boss?
I think he was tough in different ways; tough as a boss because he expected only the best in the restaurant and tough as a judge because he wanted us (contestants) to reach our potential.
For more infomation visit www.hvwineandfood.hvva.com.au
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