MasterChef Australia Season 9 is in full swing and Malaysians will undoubtedly be cheering on Sarah Tiong. The Season 9 contestant is a risk consultant and has always been involved in the kitchen where her mother always taught her recipes of traditional Malaysian food.
With her family roots firmly entrenched in East Malaysia, she has learnt an array of cuisines while she was growing up and has a unique sense of aroma and fragrance that one uses in cooking. She is fond of cooking traditional food from her family dinners and she recollects the aroma of rich Asian flavours such as fermented beans, ginger, wine and so on.
Despite being an insulin-dependent diabetic since she was 11 years old, Sarah finds a way to manage her condition within the challenging confines of the show and is fast emerging as one of the favourites of this new season.
We speak to her to uncover her thoughts on the cooking and the competition…
What are you hoping for personally in this upcoming season of MasterChef Australia?
I am hoping to find a lot more self-belief and I am hoping to find the answer to the question if my passion the right path for my future.
What motivated you to enter the competition in the first place?
I was motivated by the love and joy I feel when I am cooking. And for me it’s always been a fun thing to do. It started off as a hobby but as with most hobbies you begin to immerse yourself into it and begin to find the passion that makes you feel that you want to do this for the rest of your life and really get involved with.
How far do you think you can go in the competition and who do you think is your biggest rival?
Honestly, I am really hoping to get all the way to the finals. But I definitely think that there are a lot of good cooks, which could make it difficult. I will try hard to get as far into the competition as I can but I think my biggest competition would have to be, Diana, the other Malaysian. She’s a great cook and we’re great friends, so we’ll see.
What is your philosophy of cooking?
My philosophy is to always love and respect what you’re cooking. If you’re cooking with positivity and you want to share that love and joy with others, then there’s a high chance that you’ll wind up plating some memorable and beautiful.
Does your Malaysian background give you a slight advantage in this competition?
It definitely gives me an advantage because Malaysia cuisine is always about combining the different flavours and cultures together. For me to be exposed to that is quite inspiring because it sort of gives me that creative edge and a better understanding of combining flavours.
What would you say is your go-to/signature dish to both cook and eat?
To cook, I would have to be soya sauce chicken and rice. And to eat, I would say something like a Char Koay Teow or Hokkien Mee. I really love those stir-fried noodle dishes, they’re real comfort food for me.
Catch Masterchef Australia Season 9 as it premieres on Lifetime (Astro Ch 709) on 19 June, Mondays to Fridays at 8pm & 11pm.
Images Courtesy of Lifetime Asia