MasterChef Australia: James Isn’t Giving Up on His Culinary Dreams

The Latch interviewed MasterChef Australia's James

Before MasterChef Australia’s first elimination took place, James felt confident he’d be safe. Each contestant had been challenged to cook their dream meal, and James chose to make squid stuffed with feta and green peppers, a parsley and tahini sauce, and wattle seed pita bread. In an interview with The Latch, James explained that not only was this dish a childhood favourite of his, but that he’d cooked it for many special occasions before.   

“On a holiday, in the days before Google, my dad found a Greek restaurant near the Athens Airport, during a time when we had a layover,” James said. “We then ordered some calamari, thinking we were going to get squid rings, but it came out stuffed! It was one of those moments everyone thought, ‘Should we send it back and get what we actually ordered?’ But we ate it, and the dish was lovely. It’s a memory that’s always stayed with me.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by James Holmes (@james_at_holmes)

“I really wanted to try and represent this memory, that link to my family and my travels. I also know that squid is something that I can cook. Unfortunately, that was not the case.”

During the episode, Jean-Christophe Novelli told James that he loathes overcooked squid. The judge’s comment prompted James to only cook his squid on the stove, foregoing his standard technique of finishing it off in an oven. Unfortunately, the decision ended up being a fatal for his time as a contestant on MasterChef Australia. The judges found James’ squid to be raw, and he was subsequently eliminated from the competition. 

“You’ve got this big clock hanging above you, and everyone is going kind of frantic, and everyone is going really fast,” James said. “Perhaps if I just took a moment to pause, stop, and think, rather than getting swept along, I might have been able to adjust the dish.”

What’s Next for MasterChef Australia’s James?

Before going on MasterChef Australia, James was a primary school teacher in Perth. Now that his MasterChef Australia journey has concluded, he’s returning to work, and plans to use his loss as a teachable moment.

“When speaking with the kids I teach, I tell them that sometimes it’s about just giving it a go,” James said. “You might not end up winning the race or achieving that medal, but you’ve got to be proud of giving it a go. I’m very proud of how I conducted myself during that week.” 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by James Holmes (@james_at_holmes)

Additionally, James hasn’t given up on his culinary dreams. 

“On my days off from teaching, I’ve been working in a place called Sal’s Pasta,” James said. “Just getting some experience, being part of a team, and doing the jobs that need to be done. The other day I was rolling gnocchi for three hours, and I’ve never had so much fun.”

To follow James on Instagram, click the link here.

MasterChef Australia 2024 airs Mondays though Thursday at 7.30pm, only on 10 and 10 Play on Demand. Miss an episode? Catch up on 10 Play.

Want more MasterChef AustraliaRead all our content here and the stories below:

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.