Cooking With Alvin Quah
I had already booked my flights to Johannesburg when I saw the notification that Alvin Quah of MasterChef Australia fame would be cooking at the Good Food Studio at the Pick N Pay in Hurlingham. Straight away I contacted Cindy and we decided to do the Hands On Cooking experience. At the time of booking I was not aware that Alvin was here through the Good Food and Wine Show. As you might know, through them and DSTV I cooked with Jonathan Daddia earlier this year.
We arrived early at the studio and were made welcome with a choice of coffee or tea – I had some rooibos before moving into the demonstration area where we watched Alvin prepare the two dishes we would be cooking ourselves. The room was not adequately prepped which is a pity as it distracted Alvin from his chat with us. He spoke about his experiences with food and his previous trip to South Africa and I made sure when I chatted with him I found out a bit more about him. He is amazing – friendly, open and a laugh. His food style is like mine – good ingredients and comfort meals.
After the demonstration we were split into two groups – each kitchen can take 16 people and we cooked in pairs. Of course Cindy and I chose the only station prepped for one person – but they quickly got me an apron and we were on our way. I am so used to my very sharp knives and as usual, the knives at these studios are blunt. We also had to get someone to bring us tongs and go searching for a tin opener and we were missing ingredients.
That aside, we had a great time cooking duck curry and bruised and drunken chicken – and Cindy and I enjoyed the curry we made afterwards for lunch with a glass of wine.
I have no intention of entering Master Chef South Africa but was amazed at the fact that out of 32 people there 6 were entering. I know you have to prepare a cold meal for the interview and I was astounded that people were considering salads – that seems to plain in my opinion. A dessert or terrine seems the obvious and I think it is going to be the non obvious dishes that get a second glance. Alvin did say that they are interested in the person, which of course makes sense. It is a long hard slog – 12 weeks away from home and Alvin told me how much he missed his partner, and how many relationships have broken up after the show. I could never be away from Dave for that long – even the 5 nights this trip was long enough.