Dee-licious all the way! | Sunday Observer

Dee-licious all the way!

She was born and raised in Sri Lanka . The oldest of four, she attended a boarding school in Kandy and has hardly been in a kitchen. But today she is a contestant at MasterChef Australia. How did she get up there, and who is this mystery woman? Here is Dee Williams pouring out her thoughts and experiences to Youth Observer.

Q: Dee, tells us something about yourself?

I was born in Rakwana. I attended boarding school in Kandy for 12 years (Mowbray College). Boarding school meant everything was provided and I rarely found myself in the kitchen making meals.

I really looked forward to going home on holidays, I missed my family and it was my mum who encouraged me to read cookbooks and taught me the basics of classic Sri Lankan and South Indian dishes.

I am the oldest of four children, I lived on a tea plantation and in 2007 I decided to move to Australia to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management at Homesglen Tafe, graduating in 2011.

I am currently working as an Office Manager for a plumbing company.

Q: What was it like being a boarder?

It was tough being away from my family since I was six years old. However, it made me independent from that age. So, 12 years of boarding school meant that everything was provided and I rarely found myself in the kitchen making meals.

Q: Why did you decide to become a chef?

I’m passionate about cooking; it’s something that I have always enjoyed. Arriving in Australia I was inspired by the variety of cuisines and cooking cultures on offer.

Q: Did you go to a culinary school?

No, I never did any studies related to cooking. It was my Mum who encouraged me to read cookbooks, teaching me the basics of classic Sri Lankan and South Indian dishes.

Q: How did you get into the MasterChef program?

I first applied online and answered several questions. Additionally, I had to upload some photos of previous dishes made by me and a video of my cooking a dish. After submitting the relevant information, I was invited to a facility with others in my state to compete in a mystery box challenge.

If the production teams are happy with your dish, you will be asked to come the next day to make whatever dish you want to. On that day I made Watalappan and was hoping the production team will be impressed by it.

They were and I was required to complete various written tests. Afterwards, I went into a selection pool with other people from around Australia.

Q: What was it like to take part?

Being a part of MasterChef 2019 top 24 is such a privilege, it’s not an experience that you can pay for. This is a memory that I will cherish forever.

Q: How did it feel like to be in the presence of celebrity chefs?

It is a very exciting moment when a celebrity chef walks through the MasterChef doors, it’s an unbelievable experience. In a short space of time you get to learn different cooking techniques. Also, it is a nerve-racking moment when you see a celebrity chef, the challenges are not easy.

Q: Did you have to buy your own ingredients?

All the ingredients are provided by the show. Our job is to provide the judges with delicious food.

Q: Was there someone there to do your make-up?

Make-up will be done only for the special events, such as title shots. Daily make up for the studio will be decided by the individuals.

Q: Did they tell you what to wear?

No, you can wear anything, but several colours are not permitted

Q: Where and how were you trained?

No training was provided; we learned from each other at MasterChef House. Also, there are several books available in the house to learn from. Ingredients are provided in the MasterChef house to practise as well.

Q: Is there a chef you admire the most? Who and why?

There are several chefs that I admire for their style of cooking.

Curtis Stone – He cooks local produce and make the simple ingredients shine through the dish.

Amaury Guichon – He is a pastry magician and makes amazing and eye-catching desserts.

Gordan Ramsay – He is very strict in the kitchen but at the same time he is very skillful.

Peter Kuruwita – The way he represents the Asian produce, especially the way he highlights his heritage (Sri Lankan food)

Q: What is your favourite cuisine? How many different types of cuisine are you capable of producing?

My favourite cuisine to eat is Italian – Italian food is something simple.

There are limited ingredients used in a dish, but those ingredients shine through the whole dish. Eg – Pizza (Tomato and basil / Pasta’s with just two ingredients)

My strengths in the kitchen are Asian cuisines; such as Sri Lankan. I am a confident allrounder in Malaysian, Chinese, Thai and Singaporean flavours as well and am capable of producing Italian, Greek, Moroccan and Middle Eastern food, both savoury and sweet.

Q:What is your favourite cuisine to make ?

Asian – Sri Lankan, Indian, Malaysian, Thai and Singaporean.

These are my favourites because they are complicated to cook with use of spices and balancing the flavours with sweetness, sourness, bitterness and spiciness. Also, the scents when you use chilies, cardamom, cinnamon, curry leaves, mustard, ginger, garlic, coriander and cumin - I just love it.

Q: When are you happiest at work?

When I get good feedback from customers and colleagues.

The shocking good bye

It was kind of a sad to learn about Dee Williams been eliminated from MasterChef Australia, justdays after the interview and after her cooking alongside Curtis Stone for a guaranteed immunity pin.

After failing to impress in the surprise Invention Test elimination, Dee cooked alongsideYossra and Nicole for her place in the kitchen, attempting to recreate Darren Purchese’s BombeAlaska. With a history that goes back 150 years, this dish boasted a chocolate brownie, andfeatured salted caramel ice cream with flecks of chocolate, mandarin sorbet, and an Italianmeringue.

Dee struggled early in the cook, and 45 minutes down her ice cream was thick and gluggy afteradding too much stabiliser. Stressed and emotional, at one moment she left her bench to take abreak, unsure if she would be able to complete the dish.She rallied and kept herself in the game, thrilled to finally produce her own Bombe Alaska.

When the judges tasted her dish, she admitted she was proud to have put up a dish to taste. Herbiggest concern was her salted caramel ice cream, and she hoped in her rush to remake it thatit had time to set properly. Despite her dish being well balanced visually, the judges found thesponge was heavy, dry and biscuity, and the ice cream overly eggy. The mandarin sorbet hadsunk so was not evenly distributed in the dessert, and the decision was clear.

The trio returned to the tasting room where Dee was announced as the second contestanteliminated from the MasterChef kitchen.

Since leaving the MasterChef kitchen, Dee has completed work experience at Om Nom Kitchen.She’s also working on a YouTube channel called Dee-licious providing recipe tutorials and tips. So good luck t Dee. Hope to see more of you soon.