‘MasterChef Australia’: Who Will Survive Luke Nguyen’s Pressure Test?

luke nguyen red lantern

On MasterChef Australia last week, it was Pro Cooks Vs Home Cooks week. We watched our contestants battle it out in the kitchen with a star-studded lineup of chefs, from NOMAD’s Jacqui Challinor to Serai’s Ross Magnaye.

This week, a whole host of new challenges are entering the kitchen to push the contestants to their limits. First up is a pressure test from Chef Luke Nguyen who will challenge the cooks to recreate his iconic Beef Pho. The twist? They’ll have to do it with no recipe. How will the contestants fare?

Who Is Luke Nguyen?

Luke Nguyen is best known for his Sydney restaurant Red Lantern, which is housed in a heritage terrace building in Darlinghurst. But Nguyen is more than just a chef and restaurateur. He’s an inspiration, an author, and has had a few stints on TV, including Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam and Luke Nguyen’s France.

Nguyen was born in Thailand in 1978 after his parents fled Vietnam. He grew up in a Thai refugee camp before settling in Sydney. Here, his parents shared their love of Vietnamese food with him, which sparked Nguyen’s love of food and instinct for taste. His parents had a noodle house in Cabramatta, where he worked and learned the ins and outs of the hospitality industry.

At the ripe age of 23, Nguyen opened Red Lantern, which remains a Vietnamese institution in Sydney.

Today, Nguyen also has his hand in the business world. He co-founded GRAIN, a cooking studio in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, as well as The Little Lantern Foundation Hoi An. The foundation provides disadvantaged youths with an opportunity to undertake a hospitality training program in Little Lantern’s operating hotel, restaurant and bar.

Nguyen has also authored several cookbooks, including The Food of Vietnam, Street Food Asia, My Vietnam: Stories and Recipes, and many more.

Red Lantern Restaurant

Red Lantern channels the best of Vietnamese street food in a casual, buzzy atmosphere. Whether you want to drop in for a street food snack or a cold beer after work, Red Lantern is an institution in Sydney.

Although Red Lantern isn’t just one restaurant, it’s a feast for the senses. Drive down nearby Crown Lane for a delicious banquet shoved through a drive-thru window, and you can enjoy authentic Vietnamese from the comfort of your couch.

The restaurant has a more formal dining area, where diners can assemble and enjoy a meal, or there’s a bar that serves snacks and cocktails and is always a good time.

Monday nights are reserved for Pho, with the recently added HosPho Nights. There, diners can pull up a chair, and tuck into Nguyen’s famous Pho’s, which the MasterChef contestants will have to recreate on tonight’s pressure test.

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