HA NOI – Hoang Minh Nhat, a 23-year-old bank employee, beat fellow Vietnamese overseas home cook Le Chi of Canada in the pressure-packed finale of the second Vietnam MasterChef.
|In her element: Hoang Minh Nhat performs at the Vietnam MasterChef contest on Saturday. — Photo kenh14.vn
Right after the show, Nhat decided to quit her current job to devote all of her time and efforts to cooking. "From now on, I am completely free to pursue my life's biggest dream," she said.
In the Saturday finale, the contestants were told to conceptualise and prepare a three-course meal, including the starter, main course and dessert, within two-and-a-half hours.
While Chi, a mother of four, prepared mussel soup with lemongrass and coconut milk, red tilapia with sweet-and-sour vegetable sauce and durian crepe with custard filling, Nhat, the only child in her family, prepared a French cuisine-influenced menu.
Her cooking featured pan-seared foie gras, rabbit confit with apple sauce, red wine poached pear with whipping cream.
Praised by judges for her passion for learning and great ability to further develop her talents, Nhat, the show's youngest contestant, was declared winner of the title of MasterChef, a VND500-million (US$24,000) grand prize and a cookbook deal.
Nhat revealed that she started learning to cook when she was only six years old. She had to prepare lunch for herself because "my parents wanted me to be independent and do everything by myself". Since then, she took her time to learn from her mother, who also has a great passion for cooking, and unexpectedly "fell in love" with this hobby.
Nhat revealed that all cooking programmes served as her "greatest lecturers on cooking", but her favourites included those of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, also a judge and executive producer of the high-rating TV show US MasterChef.
"The first lesson I learned from these programmes was how to select a suitable knife and how to properly hold a chef's knife," she explained.
Regarding her future plans, Nhat said she would soon launch video clips for teaching cooking on YouTube.
"I want to show young people that cooking is not something complicated. Cooking can help strengthen relationships among family members and give a deeper understanding of Vietnamese culture," she added.
"Let's get in the kitchen! The development of Vietnamese cuisine all depends on the cooking passion of the young generation," she remarked. — VNS