PORT Macquarie’s Michelle Stumpp recently appeared on Masterchef Australia, making it to the final 32 while undertaking a once in a lifetime experience.
The 51 year old home cook has a passion for sweet cooking, her happy place as she calls it, which impressed the judges of the hit television show.
“My happy place is sweet cooking and that is what I want to develop and expand on. I want to get that out there to Port Macquarie locals as well,” she said.
Mrs Stumpp has started a small business called For Flavours Sake, which stemmed from conversations with Masterchef judge Matt Preston.
“We were talking about how I know my flavours. He told me not to compare it, just to do what I do because I make food that people want to eat,” she said.
“The experience has given me the inspiration to take it further. I’ve always wanted to do more with my cooking, but everyone has to work and pay the bills. Now I have the chance with my home business.”
A tedious journey to make it to Melbourne where the show was filmed in August last year, Michelle had some competition from her husband at the auditions.
“We auditioned on the same day in the same room. This was before you even get to the judges,” she explained.
“We had a few items like fish, bacon, potato. I saw a mandarin. Being a sweets cook, I cooked a mandarin and thyme syrup cake with a curd and mascarpone cream.
“The judges loved it and I got through. Unfortunately, Greg slightly undercooked his barramundi and didn’t make it through.
“I came back the follow day and had to cook a signature dish.”
She delivered. Her spiced pumpkin, prune and orange cake with a pumpkin puree, a prune puree, oranges infused in a Cointreau syrup, a walnut praline and a salted spiced brown sugar ice cream did more than hit the spot.
It is the same dish she cooked for the judges on the show, which earned her a place in the top 32.
Unfortunately her prawns in a garlic chilli and lemon butter sauce with goat cheese and a quinoa tabbouli did not do enough to earn her a top 28 spot, the experience and feedback she received will stay with her for a lifetime.
“I come from a family of cooks, and whenever we get together it’s a feast. We love to cook and it’s my buzz. My happy place,” she said.
“When I took my dish up to the judges, who are super professional, and the critique was very positive.
“Matt Preston’s closing comments were that I obviously know how to bake and I know my flavours, which was wonderful.
“The competition was very cutthroat. Everyone there wants to push themselves and learn, and take their passion into the future. I want to do the same.”