Masterchef: Behind-the-scenes with Robin Wickens

How did you feel when you were approached to be a guest chef on season 10 of MasterChef?

It was exciting and humbling to be considered for such a popular TV show and its most significant season yet. It has such a loyal following and it’s a privilege to show my passion for food and cooking to that community. It was never about promoting just our restaurant as it’s pretty successful already, rather a way to sell the idea of destination dining and the wider region.

Did you enjoy the helicopter ride?

I’ve lived in the Grampians for five years now and never seen it from that angle! What a breathtaking view. It certainly makes me want to take the kids out there more and make the most of the hikes and views.

How did the MasterChef garden compare to the Royal Mail kitchen garden?

The garden beds surrounding the entry to the MasterChef kitchen are overflowing with produce, perfect for picking fresh herbs and garnishes to give your dish that extra pop. It’s much larger than seen on TV and would provide the contestants with some great inspiration for their dishes

However, the space we have in Dunkeld to grow and maintain the Royal Mail Hotel’s 1.2-hectare kitchen garden is unique. I am very lucky that I get to work closely with the kitchen garden team and can request my favourite produce. Walking around in the garden looking at all the fruit and vegetables that will be coming into my kitchen soon is where I get my inspiration.

Robin Wickens MasterChef Australia

Tell us about walking into the MasterChef kitchen.

Dave, my Head Chef, and I were very nervous before walking in, but the atmosphere and energy was remarkable. It was great to see the contestants, judges and the crew behind the cameras in action. It’s a well-oiled machine that turned a full days filming into one  hour worth of TV show .

How did the contestants go at recreating your dishes?

I was very impressed with how much information they retained and the level at which they recreated the dishes. It was a very intense situation, with several different ingredients and methods to remember in a short amount of time, under a lot of pressure. Not to mention a helicopter flight in between!

Would you do it again?

For sure. The producers, contestants and support crew were so good to work with.  The platform MasterChef Australia provides is a great way to showcase the area I am so proud to live and work in.

BBQ Lamb with Zucchini and Dried Goats Cheese

Poached Apricots, Meadowsweet Mousse, Lemon Thyme

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