Tommy Pham’s last cook in the MasterChef kitchen might not have gone exactly to plan, but judge Melissa Leong assured him that his experience on the show had been an important one — reminding him that his appearance on MasterChef had meant so much to so many viewers.
“Hearing that from Mel definitely made my heart feel some way,” Pham told The Latch following his elimination. “It just made me feel like so empowered that, me just being on the show and being who I am, made people feel represented. And that’s a big thing.
“In Australia, we’re so multicultural and yet people still feel a little bit left out. And me being on the show and being of Asian descent, made people feel like, ‘Hey, I could do that.'”
He continued, “Even little kids — I teach Kindergarten and I see the kids thinking ‘Mr Pham is Asian and he’s on TV, that’s so cool.’ It lets them know that they could do it as well.”
Not only did Pham’s impressive time on MasterChef help Asian-Australians to feel seen, but his passion and expertise for Vietnamese cooking has brought the cuisine to the forefront of the country’s cultural palette.
“It has been so awesome that I’ve been able to bring such interesting and different Vietnamese food to Australia,” he said. “I’ve had so many people from the Vietnamese community thank me for bringing this food to Australia because they eat it all the time but they never imagined they would see it on TV. So, it’s been really nice to hear that from the community.”
You might remember that one of Pham’s Vietnamese innovations was the delectable Bánh mì Danish which not only won the aspiring chef immunity that week, but a permanent spot on the menu at Melbourne institution Lune.
Sydney-siders will soon also have the opportunity to try the ingenious treat, as Pham revealed he is arranging for a pop-up at Carriageworks, which will hopefully be underway by the end of July.
“I’ve been experimenting with it and making sure that it’s perfect,” Pham said. “I’ve got a few partnerships with some bakeries and stuff to make it happen and it’s amazing to be able to get food out into the community.”
Pham also revealed a trick he used during the competition to endure that he was always putting his best foot forward and remaining true to himself.
“Every morning before I went to film, I would give myself five to 10 minutes to do a quick meditation and centre myself,” he explained. “I was telling myself that I couldn’t go on TV and be someone I’m not, so I told myself to just have fun with it and it it worked, it worked. Hopefully, I think it did work.
“I tried to be myself and I just tried to have fun — you’ve got to have fun in life, if you’re not having fun than what’s the point in doing anything?”
These is one thing, however, that Pham has not found to be fun since leaving the competition.
“The biggest thing that I cannot live without, but I could never probably get ever again, is having someone wash up all the dishes after I cook,” he laughed.
“The hardest thing about coming back is making a massive mess of cooking and then being like, ‘Man, I’m gonna spend the next half an hour cleaning up after myself!.’ That’s deadly, especially after a big cook.”
To keep up with Tommy’s food journey, follow him on Instagram @tommyphameats and be sure to watch the MasterChef Australia 2021 finale on Network Ten and 10Play on July 13, 2021, at 7.30pm.