From the MasterChef kitchen to yours: a Q&A with Culinarians Christina & Nicole

by | May 4, 2021 | Chef Interviews

Christina Laker Chef

If you’ve ever watched MasterChef and wished one of those ridiculously talented cooks would come around and whip up a feast in your kitchen, we have some very, very good news for you.

After your favourite MasterChef contestants pack up their mystery boxes and continue their food journeys off screen, many of them pop on their private chef aprons – and some choose to do so with Gathar! 

MasterChef fans will recognise a few familiar names and faces popping up on our reviews and on the ‘gram, including a Queensland-based duo who have been known to partner up and cater some of our larger Gatharings, recreating their time in the MasterChef kitchen together.

We caught up with Season 11 finalists and Gathar Culinarians Christina Laker and Nicole Scott to chat about their favourite MasterChef recipes, kitchen skills they still like to flex, and why they love cooking with Gathar. 

What would people most remember you for from your season of MasterChef? 

Christina: I proudly placed 7th on Season 11 of MasterChef Australia!

Nicole: I was on Season 11 of MasterChef Australia. It was the last season with Matt, Gary and George – the end of an era! I think people would remember me for my love of proteins. The BBQ challenge at the Noosa Surf Club where I had to cook 200 porterhouse steaks was pretty memorable.

What have you been up to since MasterChef?

Christina: Since MasterChef, I’ve been working as a private chef. I’ve also had the opportunity to write menus for start-up restaurants and for other private chefs; I’ve done cooking demonstrations; worked as a food photographer; and even done some product testing.

Being a stay at home mother-of-two and a total foodie, I really wanted to find a way to get back into the workforce fast but I didn’t want to settle for just anything. I want my career to be my passion and to be my own boss in the food industry. 

Nicole: Since MasterChef, I’ve been working for Gathar and on my own recipes. I’m also looking to convert my external garage into a commercial kitchen where I can teach cooking classes! 

Is there a technique you picked up in the MasterChef kitchen you still use all the time?

Christina: Learning to correctly fillet a fish is something you become rather skilled at. We had the opportunity to work with some amazing seafood in the MasterChef kitchen; it’s not every day you get the opportunity to cook with lobster! 

Nicole: I learnt how to make a bombe alaska and it’s a pretty impressive dish to pull out! I love whipping it up for friends and family.

Was there a favourite MasterChef recipe you cooked up in the kitchen?

Christina: My favourite MasterChef recipe was my Thai Turmeric Mussels*, which I cooked for Maggie Beer. I’d mainly been cooking sweets up until that point and hadn’t really showcased my love for Southeast Asian cooking. Not only did my food hero love the dish, it gave me that “aha” moment in the competition to cook more from the heart. 

Nicole: My favourite dish was one I created during Western Australia Week. I cooked a pan-seared red emperor with braised leek, leek puree, and a lemon beurre blanc. That one got me a ticket straight to finals week!

Why did you decide to sign up as a Gathar culinarian? 

Christina: I’ve always been a yes person, so thought I’d join the Gathar community when they approached me and I am so glad I did! I have so many more opportunities for ongoing jobs. I’ve even been working with the team to curate menus for other Gathar Culinarians around Australia. 

Nicole: I love the way Gathar connects chefs with like-minded hosts and guests. It’s a whole food experience and you have the opportunity to chat to people about the whole cooking process. That really won me over. 

Has there been a favourite Gatharing you’ve catered so far?

Christina: I can’t choose! I’ve loved cooking at so many beautiful locations – you never know where you might end up. Some beautiful Airbnbs on the water at the Gold Coast come to mind. 

The Gatharing hosts always make it amazing. They’re quite often avid foodies themselves; I love chatting to them about what’s on their plate and where the produce is from.

Nicole: I love collaborating, so my favourite Gatharing to-date was with my friend and fellow Gathar Culinarian, Christina. We did a four-course meal for a bridal party on the Gold Coast. The vibe was incredible and it was so nice to see everyone enjoying our food!

What advice would you give to your past MasterChef self?

Christina: Cook from the heart and cook with your intuition. A recipe is all well and good, but you should only use it as a guide. Always taste your food and work with the elements you have. Seasonality and the freshness of produce will always win for taste.

Nicole: I think I would tell myself that a dish doesn’t have to be crazy complicated to work. Simplicity and good quality ingredients cooked right are perfection.

Keen to have one of your favourite on-screen chefs cook up a feast in your home or holiday kitchen? Get started by checking out some of our delicious curated menus and drop us an enquiry to see if your fave Master Chef is available! 

*Christina’s Thai Turmeric Mussels MasterChef recipe is available here if you’d like to give it a go yourself – OR  you can book Christina to come and cook her signature MasterChef Favourites menu at your place.