A few years ago I made the decision to go back to study and embarked on the Le Cordon Bleu Masters of Gastronomy course at the University of Adelaide. Because of all my family commitments (you know – kids, dogs, cattle, blokes) I elected to study online, but I attended a few of the orientation events so I could meet up with the staff and some of my fellow students. One of the students who I met at that time was an attractive, friendly, young woman with a huge and sunny smile called Marion Grasby. Now, I know the course changed my life and enriched it enormously, but the path that Marion’s life has taken since that orientation week has been much more dramatic. Bearing very little resemblance to her previous existence, Marion’s new life has included (among other things) a stint on the television program “Masterchef”, the release of her own line of food products and now a position at Australia’s Number 1 food and recipe website – Taste.com.au – where she is the site’s resident blogger, sharing her favourite recipes and food discoveries.
As she is about to take up this new opportunity in her life, I thought it might be a good time to catch up with her, find out how she feels about the amazing direction in which her life has gone and pick up a tip or two.
Lambs’ Ears – You made a big leap, giving up a full-time job to move back into full-time study – do you think you would have entered Masterchef if you hadn’t already taken a major step down that path?
Marion – I’d been watching the UK version of Masterchef for years before I saw the Australian show and I’d always wanted to test my skills on the show. So I would have done it anyway…and I’m incredibly glad I did.
Lambs’ Ears – When I first met you, you were working part-time at Bottega Rottolo, studying full-time and living in McLaren Vale. I imagine your life has changed significantly since those hectic days, but I’m sure it’s no less hectic – so how does your life look now?
Marion – I loved living in South Australia and particularly in McLaren Vale. My job as a customer service manager at Bottega Rotolo was also one of the most rewarding of my entire life. I loved learning about the cheeses of the world and amazing foodie products that I would never have known existed if I hadn’t worked there. Since the show my life took an absolutely giant turn and I found myself travelling far too much. So I’m now based in Sydney in an attempt to make travelling a lot less hectic. I travel all over the country doing cooking demonstrations and classes as well as promoting my Marion’s Kitchen food range and my cookbook. I love that my life is now all about food, which is what I’d always wanted to achieve.
Lambs’ Ears – The Le Cordon Bleu Masters course was very intense and information-dense – how do you think it has informed the things you are doing now?
Marion – My Masters gave me an incredible base knowledge about the food world – not in a practical sense but in a more intellectual sense. Being aware of how food has been affected by and effects world histories, politics, theology and even psychology informs my writing, thoughts and ideologies about food. I had to cut short my studies to participate in Masterchef and I’m very much looking forward to going back to finish my Masters next year.
Lambs’ Ears – What is your favourite, never-fail, go-to dish when you have to feed a crowd on short notice?
Marion – Thai green curry is my go-to dish. When made well, with the right balance of flavours it’s an absolute knock out and perfect to feed a large crowd. My love of green curry is part of the reason I wanted to create my Marion’s Kitchen food range, which is stocked in the Asian section of 3000 supermarkets nation-wide. My Marion’s Kitchen Thai Green Curry is now my best-seller.
Lambs’ Ears – Can you tell us what you least favourite food and cooking task are?
Marion – I love everything from cleaning squid to peeling prawns. I love all kinds of offal and will try anything once. There’s not really anything I hate doing…except perhaps the dishes.
Lambs’ Ears – What kitchen skills and pantry items would you consider to be the absolute essentials for the novice cook?
Marion – I think more than anything it’s important to have a sharp knife. You don’t have to spend a lot of money but you do need to make sure it’s sharp because it makes preparing food a whole lot easier. I also think it’s important to seek out your favourite providores, speciality shops, Asian grocers and producers. Finding special and good quality ingredients always makes a big difference.
Taste – Australia’s number one food & recipe website – is celebrating its 5th birthday with a re-launch of the Taste Kitchen, and a fantastic 5th birthday competition – inviting members to celebrate with them for their chance to win some exciting prizes including a gourmet trip to Thailand for two, valued at $11,000.
To enter the birthday competition, people are to simply share their favourite original recipe with Taste – whether it’s their best banana cake recipe, their never-fail weeknight dinner meal or ultimate entertaining recipe that impresses every time, Taste want to try it!
- One original recipe per person
- Entries must include a photo of the recipe
- Photo specs: 600px x 400px
For more information on the competition, and to enter visit: www.taste.com.au/birthday