Essentially good: Central Coast celebrity and chef Julie Goodwin has a new cookbook on the market. JulieGoodwin, the first winner of Australian MasterChef,is a rarity: a former reality lifestyleshow contestant who continued on an ascending career. There’s been no looking back since her sweet victory,with multiple books, magazine columns and now an in-demand cooking school, all while juggling a family.
Her new book Essential Cookbook Recipes (Hachette Publishing) is simple. It even gives instruction on how to boil an egg. Here is aninterview Weekender conducted with her.
What is the secret of your success?
Gosh, Ican only do what Ido with the people around me, family and the people who help me organise my calendar, everyone of my colleagues or publicists, including the staff in my cooking school.
What are yourMasterChef memories?
I had been watching the UK version, which was civilised and so British (laughs), but Itruly didn’t know what it was going to involve, especially as Ihad three small children and a family business. If Ihad of known Ihad to live out of home for months it might not have happened, but I’m kind of glad Idid apply now (laughs). It was an incredible intense scary experience, fun and inspiring, rewarding all at once. To win was an enormous privilege that came with great opportunities and experiences, just fantastic for the whole family.
What are a couple of your favourite recipes in your new book?
If talking about easiness it starts with the basic building blocks of cooking, from scrambling orboiling an egg all that kind of stuff. Highlighting different cuts of meat for different purposes. My favourite things in any of my books are the things you put all ingredients into a pot, put it on the table for all to share. Things like osso buco or apricot chicken tagine, big hearty family food.
Are you telling me there are people who cannot boil an egg?
Yes totally! Absolutely there is. If you can’t cook at all this book is the perfect go-to. Even if you can cook there aresome really great ideas in there that are my family or friendsapproved.
Does your family ever cook for you?
Indeed, life is busy so my husband and sons pitch in. As a basic life skill Ithink people should teach children how to cook.
Are you happy that many fast-food establishments provide so-called healthier options?
It’s a little bit tricky because they offer the healthy options to look, good but how many people truly walk into a fast-food outlet and order the salad. You still go in and order the burger, right. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring. If you’re cooking from scratch you can make the adjustment you need to make for your own health requirements or taste. Nothing wrong with a hamburger you make at home with lean meat, fresh vegetables or salads. You decide not to put on four pieces of bacon, eggs, a block of cheese. It’s about making your own decisions knowing what your eating. Some places have make-your-ownthat’s different, but generally fast-food outlets have offset healthy ingredients with unseen unhealthy like sauces or dressings. Healthy food is food that allows you to make your own choice.
Tell us about your cooking school.
It’s called Julie’s Place in North Gosford and we run recreational classes on a variety of dishes. Recently we did a French feast with, among other things, how to create asouffle, then we sat down and enjoyed it all with a glass of French champagne or wine. We do corporate events or function catering. Upcoming classes include Indian feast and Thai feast. It’s a pleasure to teach one and all.
Do you ever run out of recipes?
Everywhere Ilook, everywhere Igo, everything Ieat provides inspiration for new ideas. Honestly, Idon’t know as the world is a big place withlots of cuisines I’ve never tasted or cooked. You know Ihaven’t looked much into Polish food, so that is definitely on my radar. Also Scandinavian, too, after having fish with a friend once – it was really interesting and different.
When you eat other people’s food do you secretly rate them or yell out an open opinion?
(Laughs) No. How rude would that be. If somebody goes to the trouble tocook for me I’m extremely grateful and blessed.
Have you ever thought about ‘Julie’s Food Truck’?
Your read my mind.Certainly we would love to bring the food to the people in a fun way, only if Ihad thetime.Maybe one day.
What makes your cookbooks stand out from the others?
In all my books the commitment is to have success with the recipes, easy to find ingredients, understanding the method. If you follow the steps you will get the food you’relooking for.