Pictured above with runner-up Melissa Darr, Stuart claimed the highly coveted title of Best Home Chef last night with his utterly delicious recipe White Chocolate Parfait with Lemon Curd and Shortbread Crumble:
The Best Home Chef finale took place on Wednesday 19th June at the brand new Winning Appliances Flagship Redfern Showroom in Sydney, with contestants flying in from around the country to compete in an epic cook-off alongside professional chef mentors Pete Evans, Mark Best, Hamish Ingham, Anthony Fischbeck, Massimo Mele and Luca Ciano.
Luca, who is a professional chef and the brand ambassador for SMEG, assisted Stuart with the creation of his dish, which was a unanimous favourite with the judging panel (including fashion designer Lisa Ho, CEO of the Winning Group John Winning, Recipes+ Food Director Amanda Lennon and Woman’s Day Food Director Jennene Plummer).
The night was a triumph for desserts, with Melissa’s amazing Fig and Almond Frangipane Tart coming in at second place:
After the benches had been wiped down and the icing sugar had been dusted off our clothing, we caught up with our talented winner Stuart to find out a bit more about him and how he got caught up in this cooking caper:
“I started cooking my late teens – Mum asked if I could cook a meal once a week to help out. Growing up, my parents taught me the importance of the family meal; of eating and respecting good food. When I realised that cooking could be a creative outlet for me in addition to helping out at home, my passion started to develop. Throughout my twenties it became apparent that cooking was a great social skill, bringing friends and family together to enjoy great food and company!”
“For a number of years I worked at night which freed up my afternoons to spend some time in the kitchen, exploring new cuisines, techniques and ingredients. I have a real thirst for culinary knowledge, reading cookbooks as one would a good novel, watching cooking shows and immersing myself in all things food!
“I tend to gravitate towards Asian cuisines as the flavours and techniques lend themselves to healthy and simple cooking yet with a great breadth and complexity of flavours. Thai and Japanese would have to be my two favourite cuisines… although recently I have jumped on the Mexican bandwagon.
“I try to keep my cooking style simple and honest, as I inevitably get myself into trouble when trying to cook recipes that involve complex techniques and deft presentation. I cook more by feel and intuition rather than by science or precision and as such rarely cook deserts. I don’t have the patience or skill to cook pastry/deserts which is ironic given that my winning dish was a dessert!”
“Although I have yet to start my own family, I have plenty of young nieces and nephews that I love to cook with when the opportunity presents itself. I love being able to share my passion and knowledge with the kids – making pastas, breads, pizzas, burgers etc – and teaching them the importance of respecting food and those who cook for you. Unfortunately for my brother, his kids no longer allow him to cook with store-bought pizza bases… you gotta make the dough yourself!
“I view food and cooking as very important components of our lives. Not only does eating good food have health benefits, there is the social/family element bringing people together at meal times. Then there’s also the pure enjoyment and decadence of experiencing top notch produce and ingredients.
“Being a part of the Best Home Chef competition has proven to be great fun. I feel that it has made me a better cook as I have learnt a lot from all who took part… from a 13 year-old budding cook who likes to utilise a smoking gun, to home cooks growing their own produce, to the highly entertaining and at times “lively” discussions taking place in the review sections! Creating my own recipes certainly made me think more about my cooking, the ingredients I use and how to be more creative and original in the kitchen. It also helped develop my presentation skills from somewhat ‘artistically challenged’ to mildly pleasing to the eye!”
Stuart would like to extend his thanks to all who were involved in the competition: “Thanks for opportunity to take part in another wonderful foodie experience!”
As winner of Best Home Chef, Stuart takes home $50,000 worth of cooking appliances from Winning Appliances. (Melissa, the runner up, took home $25,000 worth of cooking appliances).
Congratulations to everyone who took part – and keep uploading your original recipes for Best Home Chef! Keep watching this space, exciting new things are in store…
Best Home Chef's resident writer and sweet tooth, Louise once decorated ice cream cakes for a living. Although this job had several health consequences, osteoporosis was not one of them. Louise is also an ex barista whose biggest pet peeve is burnt milk. She loves travelling, and has recently returned from a pasta-eating excursion to Italy. One day she hopes to grow vegetables and make her own cheese and wine. She lives in Sydney. Google+
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congrats to Stuart and everyone who participated, you all are amazing chefs, cheers
Very nice article and once more time congratulations to all chefs.Well done.
Interesting to read!