Celebrity chef Poh Ling Yeow has graced our TV screens on and off since bursting onto the scene during the first series of Masterchef Australia in 2009 but, like most cooks, she’s had plenty of kitchen disasters.
She will be sharing tips, tricks and tales during cooking demonstrations at Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival on August 4, 5 and 6.
Tickets are on sale now. Head to the website
“My demos will be about trying to encourage people to be intuitive cooks rather than clever cooks. Too much on telly (TV) people think more complicated is better and it isn’t,” Poh says.
“It’s all about good produce.”
As a cultural cook, she says she was once a “stickler for rules” but now she’s living on her own, her approach has changed.
She’s more involved with farmers’ market producers and growers, adopting a philosophy which embraces imperfection and simplicity.
“Everyone’s trying … including me,” she says.
|“My approach is more relatable. I want to make something people can go home and actually try (themselves).|
The key is using easy-to-find ingredients and giving people a giggle in sharing stories during her demonstrations.
So, what has been her biggest disaster in the kitchen?
“They happen when I’m not focused, if I get out of rhythm,” Poh says.
She recalls a time early in her cooking career when she hadn’t quite grasped the difference between a blender and a food processor, and she attempted to make pastry dough in a blender.
“It didn’t work. I flung dough everywhere in the kitchen. I remember looking up and thinking, ‘oh my god’. The dog was jumping in the air catching it in pieces. It was such a mess,” she recalls.
She learnt from her mistakes and is now a pastry specialist.
“There’s hope for everyone. Things happen to everyone. They happen to me all the time,” Poh says.
The end result is typically a burnt pot when she’s attempting a high level of multitasking.
Born to cook
Poh was born in Malaysia and spent nine years there as a child, enjoying street food and being surrounded by “enthusiastic cooks”.
“It’s everywhere. The food comes to you,” she explains.
Most of her childhood games involved pretending to run a restaurant.
|“I had so many tea sets. I used Playdoh to practise crimping curry puffs,” she says.|
“When I came to Australia, it was all about baking.”
Her parents ran a business, so to entertain herself during the school holidays she would bake and watch soap operas on TV.
Her style continued to evolve as an adult and, in her early 30s, she connected more with her culture via food.
“I became obsessed with food around then … and then Masterchef happened,” she says.
What does she still enjoy about cooking the most?
“It really calms me now. I’m really quite manic in my head because I’m creative … I find it hard to focus,” Poh explains.
“It’s like meditation for me. It really is. Also, teaching people brings me a lot of joy.”
About Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival
Across three scrumptious days (August 4-6, 2023), more than 15,000 people are expected visit the festival precinct at Woody Point’s Apex Park, watch live cooking demonstrations, rub shoulders with celebrity chefs, listen to live music and sample the delights of the Moreton Bay Region’s amazing food bowl.
Poh will join a stellar line-up of chefs including Miguel Maestre, Alastair McLeod, Kim McCosker and Dominique Rizzo.
Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival will be delivered by Moreton Bay Region Industry & Tourism, with the support of key strategic partners, Moreton Bay Regional Council and Tourism and Events Queensland.
Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.
To find out more, head to the website
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