I grew up in the Chewton Bushlands. I loved it! We lived on five acres in a mud brick house built by my dad. We had solar power so I wasn’t really allowed to watch much TV, as a result I spent most of my time outdoors creating my own fun. During my high school years we moved to Golden Point Road.

After high school I worked at the bacon factory for a few years, and joined the Army Reserves. Then I moved to Melbourne and worked in water and gas main construction for five years, before becoming a personal trainer and working at Malmsbury Youth Detention Centre. These days I am a Career Firefighter with the CFA based in Sunbury.

I became interested in cooking when I was about six years old. As a fussy kid I really enjoyed making things that I wanted to eat and it developed from there. I remember helping my mum make a shepherd’s pie using left over roast lamb, it was my favourite thing to cook because we got to use the hand mincer.

I was a big fan of the first two series of Masterchef and always thought it would be great fun to be around some of the best chefs in the world and taste some amazing food. I never thought of it as a possible career change until I got through to the top 24.

Being a contestant was an odd experience; imagine being in a luxury prison. We weren’t allowed to go out into the public, we didn’t have phone or internet access and alcohol wasn't permitted. What we did have was a massive pantry in the garage which kept us amused. I tried my hand at homemade ginger beer as prisoners do, it turned out quite well and we ended up blind drunk.

A lot of the time on set it was extremely boring, we called ourselves warm props as there were many hours spent standing during filming. But with that we had some of the most amazing experiences, such as filming in Italy for three and a half weeks!

During my time on the show I learnt that I am really good at handling pressure, I was by no means the most talented cook on set but I could at least get something decent up without too much stress and keep myself out of trouble. I did have a few disasters, I learn by failing first. During one episode I tried working with cauliflower and chocolate during a Heston challenge, and ended up in the bottom three that week.

Masterchef opened a few doors but I never really maximised on the opportunities. I did a lot of cooking demos, guest food judging and even went to India for three weeks to film a TV show with a retired Indian/Australian chef. The show never eventuated as the footage turned out to be terrible quality, but I did get a free holiday!

I reckon other people’s food always tastes better than your own. The best home cooked meal I've ever had was at my sister’s when I was hungover; she made a Vietnamese-style whole poached chicken noodle soup.

Beau Cook's Food Porn is half cookbook, half photography book and is for anyone who loves food and sex. The recipes are easy to follow and the photos are all tongue in cheek; 'Vegina', for example, is a vegan bolognese complemented by a photo of two women covering their privates with zucchini spirals.  

I love trying new restaurants around Melbourne, but the best meal out I've had was during Masterchef; after winning a team challenge we got to eat with Neil Perry at Rockpool Bar and Grill in Sydney.

In Castlemaine my all-time favourite lunch is the tuna salad at Origini café. The best coffee is at Republic! I also like drinking beer at the Taproom or the Public Inn, the Theatre Royal for live acts and Castlemaine State Festival activities, Wesley Hill Market, the Vintage Bazaar at the Mill, wine tasting through Harcourt, swimming at Golden Point reservoir, Mount Alexander Lookout and the Dog Rocks.and trail running anywhere in the Castlemaine area, especially the widow maker in Wesley Hill.

I did have the opportunity to host my own cooking show but I managed to offend one of the producers via email! Maybe it was for the best.

You can pick up a copy of Beau Cook's Food Porn at  the book launch at the Theatre Royal on Saturday November 4 from 8pm. Or get it on Amazon.com from November 15.

Profile photo courtesy of Bendigo Magazine.

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