“I Struggled To Boil Water”: Andy Allen Opens Up About His Own ‘MasterChef Australia’ Journey

From competing on and winning MasterChef Australia, to being on the other side judging, Andy Allen has certainly lived a life full of unexpected turns. Bright-eyed and keen to learn, Allen entered the show in 2012 with no idea what to expect.

He was so clueless, in fact, that he had no idea who Marco Pierre White was when he walked through those famous MasterChef doors, a tidbit he revealed on Twitter years later.

Despite being the underdog of his season, Andy has cemented himself as one of the most successful contestants to come out of the show. Not only has he gone on to publish a cookbook titled The Next Element, he’s also the co-owner of restaurant The Three Blue Ducks.

He is also the first MasterChef Australia alum to have been awarded an¬†Australian Good Food Guide ‘chef’s hat’.¬† Now, as he prepares to front MasterChef Australia as a judge for the third year running, he’s looking back at everything that brought him to this moment.

“I was in a time of my life where I was questioning what I was doing,” Allen recalled while speaking to The Latch. “I was an apprentice electrician at the time and I really liked it, but I knew I wasn’t going to do it for the rest of my life.”

After a “very big push” from one of Allen’s close friends, who encouraged him to apply for the series, Allen said that he “was like, ‘yeah let’s do it and forget about it'”.

The experience was transformative for the hopeful chef.

“It really did take me going on the show to realise how much I loved food,” he explained. “I had never seen any of that stuff you know? I grew up in a town called Maitland, the internet wasn’t a massive thing back then and all I had was afternoon cooking shows.”

At the time, Andy was the youngest ever winner of the show, and despite being the admitted “worst cook in the top 24 and the house back then”, the chef rose to the top rapidly, crediting those around him for his growth.

“Because I had that realisation pretty early, I just took every opportunity as a learning opportunity,” Allen said. “When we would cook dinner at home and I was around these amazing cooks, I would ask them and prod them, really using that as an opportunity.”

Noting that when he was starting out, he “struggled to boil water”, Allen said that he spent his time on the season “really taking in the feedback [he] got from Matt, George, Gary and the guest chefs”.

“You just need to be on the whole time, to make sure you’re evolving as a cook,” he explained.

This year, he won’t be the only MasterChef winner in the kitchen. As the favourites return to the¬†MasterChef kitchen, Allen will be joined by Julie Goodwin, Sashi Cheliah and Billie McKay, along with many other former contestants.¬†

“When [Fans vs Favourites] first got announced, I thought, ‘okay’, I didn’t really know how it would go,” he mused. “I’d noticed a couple of other reality shows had done it and I was thinking, ‘how’s this going to work for MasterChef?”

According to Allen, it’s worked out pretty well.

“It was so evident on day one that having the Favourites in there cooking amazing food ‚ÄĒ it instantly lifted the Fans’ food,” he said.

“It’s one thing for 24 amateur contestants to come up, put their plate of food down, Mel, Jock and myself critique it, and they try and piece together what we’re saying so they can build how well they cook,” Allen explained. “It’s another thing to be surrounded by amazing dishes all of the time, which is what’s happening with the Favourites.”

MasterChef Australia premieres at 7.30pm on April 18, 2022, only on 10 and 10 Play on Demand.

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