My last post introduced Taste.com.au’s The Great Aussie Dinner Debate: a 5-week campaign through which we might get an idea of what sort of cuisine we Aussies most enjoy for dinner during the week. In this post I’m pleased to follow on with a quick Q&A session with Marion Grasby, former MasterChef Australia contestant, creator of the Marion’s Kitchen range, and now resident of Bangkok where I’m sure the world will be her oyster (c’mon, we were due for an 80s reference in this blog!)
Monica: Marion, I’m sure you’d be the first to agree it’s been a huge year so far: Marion’s Kitchen has grown in popularity, you returned to reality TV (Celebrity Apprentice & MasterChef All Stars), you got engaged and now you’ve moved to Bangkok! What words sum up how you feel right about now?
Marion: When you put it like that it certainly seems to have been a busy year! I feel so incredibly lucky in both life and love at this moment in time. Yes, it’s a crazy, hectic kind of life, but I love it!
Monica: I understand you moved to Bangkok to further expand the Marion’s Kitchen range but what other goals have you got in sight while there?
Marion: My Marion’s Kitchen range will be my ‘work’ focus while I’m in Bangkok. But my move will also be very personally enriching. Although I’ve travelled to Thailand frequently I’ve never lived there before and I can’t wait to learn more about my Thai heritage, culture and of course the food!
Monica: What do you think is the key to Marion’s Kitchen’s success? Is it about taking the fear factor out of cooking Thai/Asian style for the home cook?
Marion: I’m so lucky to have dozens of emails everyday from people trying my Marion’s Kitchen range and having read every single one, I believe the key to its success comes down to flavour. I care about each and every single product that I release and work extremely hard to make each dish super tasty as well as super easy. I think people love the fact they can easily put together a great tasting Asian dish, even if they’re not confident cooking that cuisine.
Monica: I like to think that the average home cook is getting more adventurous these days. Do you have any advice for people who want to try stepping out of their comfort zone?
Marion: My advice is to cook without fear! There are far worse things going on the world than a failed tart or a burnt pavlova. And pizza is only ever a phone call away!
Monica: What (cuisine, cooking style, ingredients etc.) do you predict will become common place on the typical Aussie dinner table in years to come?
Marion: I think our close proximity to Asia and the abundance of fresh Asian ingredients we produce in Australia will continue to influence our dinner choices. I hope so anyway…because I love Asian food!
Monica: Do you have any plans for another book? If so, what will be the main theme?
Marion: I would love to write another cookbook about my experience in Thailand once I’ve been here for a little longer. I’d love to write a book that has more of an Asian focus.
Monica: Finally, please humour me but are you eating Som Oh (pomelos) every day? I love them but don’t see many in Perth :( Do you have a favourite pomelo recipe or usage to share?
Marion: I love Som Oh! They’re so hard to find in Australia and I find they’re much sweeter in Thailand. I think pomelo is beautiful in a Thai-style salad. I break up the pomelo into little pieces and toss with Asian herbs, poached prawns, fish sauce, lime juice, chilli and just a dash of sugar.
Monica: Thanks Marion. All the best in Bangkok!