Interview: Kelly Young

Kelly Young has grown from strength to strength since gaining nationwide attention as runner up in New Zealand's first ever season of MasterChef. With her background in health and fitness, Kelly brings her 'uncluttered' and fresh approach to cooking, a style that earned her a position at MasterChef judge Simon Gault's restaurant, Euro. We caught up with Kelly to ask a few questions about her life in the food industry, her inspirations, cooking ethics and future goals. Make sure you check out Kelly MC the Fisher & Paykel Chef's Kitchen at Taste of New Zealand - Victoria Park, 19th - 22nd October.'

There has been a movement towards keeping restaurants honest in regards to where their food comes from, how has this effected your style of cooking?

For sure there has been a massive movement towards where our food comes from.  A lot of this has been influenced by the media which drives consumers to become more aware of what they are buying and how it made it to their plates.  It does make choosing products more difficult but it also drives you to research more about what you are cooking with and when you do find a good honest company/product you are more likely to stick with them.    

As far as using regional suppliers, is it always a struggle to find people who are producing locally? 

There has been a massive trend in buying from local suppliers, for some people it can be a struggle to find these suppliers for a number of reasons.  Buying local helps the environment, you know it hasn’t had to travel far to get to your plate, you can easily see what sort of practices the business engage and whether they fit your liking, you are supporting your local farmers to become more sustainable, there are a range of products that you may not find in your local supermarkets.  However depending where you are based you may struggle in finding a suitable grower that fits your personal liking.   

Do you think this is something that turns the home cook off, and turns them immediately to the supermarket? 

Well, with the home cook that could possibly be dealing with time, family, work etc all those barriers that we hear of so often these days, turning to the supermarket may seem like a much easier option for some.  Some may turn to the supermarket because of lack of knowledge on where, locally, is good to go and which local growers you can actually trust that their produce is local.  I believe that the old school community feel that I knew so well as a kid is definitely not the same.  As long as the home cook shops for healthy options to feed their families then that’s a great start, from there they can research and ask around what local suppliers are suitable for them.     

Does MasterChef seem like an age ago? Do you still draw from that learning experience when creating dishes? 

It’s crazy cause at the time I thought Masterchef was going to haunt me for life (jokes) but yeah it does feel like a lifetime ago.  A lot has gone on since then which has been just as exciting and challenging.  I would have to say I have learnt a lot more in the kitchen since my MC experience which helps me through creating dishes.    

Presenting on stage at Taste of New Zealand you're surrounded by some of New Zealand's top chefs and in front of a crowd, do you find that intimidating? 

 I feel kind of lucky because I get let off the hook with cooking in front of the Taste of New Zealand crowd.  Presenting is a much easier task to do and it’s always great to watch and learn some tips and tricks that the chef’s bring out.  They love to show off!! hehe  

Who is the biggest cooking influence in your life?

 I would have to say that my Nana is pretty up there.  There is nothing better than good old home cooked meals (old school styles) that are full of flavour using good basic ingredients.

 
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  • Starlite5 says
    I never watched the first series of Master Chef so was wondering who Kelly Young was when she started popping up in ads and articles ( I see them in passing but haven't read one about her til now). I thought it might have been just another one of these cooking shows (Don't get me wrong I love cooking shows), but it's local connection has me watching it now. I get alot of inspiration of these shows and it never ceases to amaze me how a meal can be be so beautifully presented yet be so simple in it's construction.

    It's been good to get back to the basics in terms of when you become cash strapped it forces you to think outside the box and come up with more innovative ways to making meals. I think I keep this philosphy even when finances get better as I have found it so much more easier for the simple fact is that I know exactly was gone into each meal and it's made with all my love!
  • Wice says
    What a lovely photo of Kelly - maybe she is a reflection of good food and eating habits! I missed the first NZ Masterchef series too . I follow the Aus one but they were so mean and intimidating to the contestants in the US one (at least in the first few episodes), that I stopped turning this on despite my love of cooking.

    Once again it is great to see a woman achieving in the male dominated chef industry. I believe from women friends who have given this a go, that it really hard for them and I don’t know one who has managed to stick it out and make a career in a restaurant kitchen!
  • Rosie says
    Isn't she fabulous? Yah that she got a great job at the end of Masterchef. We watched this whole series (we didn't realise it would take 4 months or so) - it was great.
  • New Member says
    yeezy350find I really like your take on the issue. I now have a clear idea on what this matter is all about..
  • New Member says
    Nice blog. Thanks for sharing this to us and it helped me a lot. Looking forward for the next! let's try to play run 2 online game.

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