An Exclusive Interview with Julia Taylor - MasterChef Australia

So did you enjoy watching MasterChef Australia? What a fantastic finale, eh?! Every season the show outdoes the last! And in every season there is one contestant who is the undisputed Dessert Queen. This year, in series 4, it was Julia Taylor, with her delicious-looking treats.

She eventually emerged runner-up in the competition – can anyone forget those gorgeous Melting Moments?!

Julia is currently in Sydney, apprenticing with “the Dark Lord of Pastry” Adriano Zumbo. She also has a lovely web site, with some sweet recipes; and she is on Facebook and TwitterJulia graciously agreed to do an email interview for Deliciously Directionless. And here it is; absolutely un-edited!! 

Q1. Welcome to Deliciously Directionless. And congratulations on your superb performance in MasterChef Australia, Series 4! How would you describe your experience on the show?

A1. Thank you! MasterChef was an experience like no other – amazing, inspiring, and exhausting all at once.

Q2. We watched all your highs and lows on TV (and laughed and cried with you). How did you deal with the lows and come back stronger?

A2. Feeling either elated or disappointed about a dish of food is something that’s hard to explain – common sense says “It’s just food” but my heart says “I want it to be amazing!” So every time I made a dish that wasn’t up to standard I just tried to figure out how I’d do it better the next time, and keep focused on the finish line. It wasn’t always easy but my determination helped me in the end.

Q3. The Italy episodes looked like so much fun! What is your best memory of Italy?

A3. Oh, Italy. Such a beautiful country! My favourite moment was the Masterclass, in the old Italian villa with its stunning gardens. It was the perfect way to stop, take a minute, and appreciate the whirlwind food tour of Italy we’d just had.

Q4. How old were you when you first ventured into the kitchen? Any early memories? Do you remember the first dessert you ever made?

A4. I was about 8 when I first baked, and the dish was chocolate profiteroles. They’re something I still love to make for my family and bring back such strong memories of childhood – I think I’ll make them forever!

Q5. You were a legal secretary and a music teacher in your ‘previous life’ in Queensland, not to mention your dessert market stall. How does it feel to have left that behind after MasterChef and your move to Sydney?

A5. It’s exciting and a little terrifying to leave my old life behind. But the best part about MasterChef is all the opportunities that arise when the show finishes, and I’m seizing the moment. Plus, I lived in Sydney for 6 months during MasterChef filming so it feels a little like home now anyway.

Q6. You’ve bagged a pastry apprenticeship with Adriano Zumbo, post-MasterChef! What are your future plans? When do you see yourself opening your own shop?

A6. So excited about this! I plan to stay in Sydney for at least a year to complete the apprenticeship, but I have a feeling I might stay for a little longer. The shop hopefully in 2 years – I’m just loving all the learning at the moment.

Q7. What do you like doing in your spare time (apart from cooking!)?

A7. I love to read, anything from fashion magazines to English classics like Dickens. Photography, gardening (the garden died whilst I was away for MC though!), having cups of tea with my girlfriends, shopping, and walking the dogs with my husband Justin.

Q8. How do you stay in shape when you do what you do?!

A8. The answer no-one wants to hear – lots of exercise! Dog walks, pilates, yoga – when I have time. But I try to always make time to exercise, as pastry taste-testing will creep up on me soon otherwise…
Julia's Melting Moments

Q9. What would be your perfect meal?

A9. Something comforting and warm in the dead of winter, like a stew or soup made with love. And a decadent chocolate pudding for dessert with home-made ice-cream.

Q10. Any plans of visiting India? Which place would you like to visit most and why?

A10. I’d love to visit India, my husband’s family are Anglo-Indian so I think we might go in a year or two. Calcutta, because that’s where they’re from, but also I’d love to take the time to discover what India’s like outside the big cities.

And now for some random questions!

Q1. How tall are you?!

A1. 5’11” (not random at all – everyone asks me this! Hehe)

Q.2 Dream dinner date? (You can’t say ‘my husband’!)

A2. I should say a highly successful chef from a fancy restaurant, but really I’d love to have dinner and a chat with Nigella Lawson.

Q3. Favourite foodie movie?

A3. “Chocolat”, of course!

Q4. What’s inside your refrigerator right now?

A4. Greek yoghurt, some greens, and a little cake from Zumbo that I brought home with me. Yum!

Q5. If you were a dessert, which one would you be? And, why?

A5. I’d be an éclair – either raspberry and chocolate or caramel. I love love love choux pastry, it’s so diverse and I have a fond memory of eating my first real French éclair at La Maison du Chocolat in the Louvre Carousel in Paris, it was one of those “close my eyes whilst I eat this to savour” moments. Divine. 

All images are courtesy Julia Taylor & MasterChef Australia.

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