Food & Drinks

Poh Ling Yeow chats cooking with her husband, watching reality TV and the best meal she's ever had

Poh Ling Yeow may be a master chef - but when it comes to cooking dinner she's just like us.

By Holly Royce
Artist and chef, Poh Ling Yeow, cooked her way into our hearts as MasterChef season one's runner up.
Since then she's hosted several successful cooking shows including Poh's Kitchen on ABC and Poh and Co. on SBS, opened a gourmet food stall, Jamface by Poh, at the Adelaide Markets, co-owns a café, released her first children's picture book, Sweet Petite.
With such busy life how does Poh unwind and can she still bring herself to cook during the week? (because we know we struggle!)
Now to Love chatted to Poh Ling Yeow to find out.

After you’ve been cooking all day for work, do you still feel like cooking dinner?

That's a very good question and to be honest the answer is no. When I've been going hard in the commercial kitchen all day, I definitely find my appetite diminished when I get home, plus the thought of doing dishes makes me immediately grumpy.
Sound familiar?

What does your regular week night menu look like?

As I get busier and older I've started to work smarter, not harder. By this, I mean Jono cooks half the time (he he he) but I hate waste so am also dictated by what's in the garden and any bibs and bobs in the fridge.
Being Chinese, it's not uncommon for me to have rice at the centre of at least half my meals in the week as it's so versatile and quick to cook - this includes super simple stir fries and very traditional meals such as fried eggs with fresh cucumber.
I sometimes whip up Mum's Malaysian sambal belachan with fried white bait over some brown rice, or one of my new favourite creations to use up garden surplus is to blitz 4-5 zucchinis in a food processor and add it to quickly sautéed sliced garlic, dried chilli flakes and about 10 anchovies, then simmer it with 1 cup of milk until soft.
I then grate about 1 loose cup of finely grated parmesan cheese and a really good handful of chopped parsley, then fold into SunRice brown rice & quinoa blend. It takes literally 20 minutes and is incredibly tasty.
My new fave of Jono's recipes is pineapple and bacon fried rice.
Poh and husband Jono love their fur babies.

Do you and your husband have “cook-offs” or competition when you cook for each other?

Not so much but we often recipe test for the café together and sometimes I like his version better!

What’s your favourite sort of food to cook?

My favourite type of food to cook is probably French pastry

Do you enjoy watching cooking reality TV shows, such as Master Chef, in your downtime? What about other more general cooking shows?

I love ALL cooking shows. It's what opened my eyes to other cultural cuisines - watching the likes of Rick Stein, Antonio Carluccio, Nigella, Gary Rhodes and Jamie, all back when cooking shows were not what they are now.
I do still love watching Masterchef as I'll never be able to shake that addictive adrenaline rush that happens when a challenge has been announced. Even on the couch, I start to imagine how I'd tackle the task. It's a pretty magical feeling when you walk into a challenge wondering how you will survive and come up trumps with a recipe you invented in seconds - the thrill of it never really leaves you…

What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?

I think picking THE best meal is impossible but two of my all-time favourite dishes are ones I go home to Mum's to eat and they are - my Great Aunty Kim's 'scrambled mint & ginger omelette' with steamed rice and also, her 'Nyonya dried shrimp & cucumber fried rice'. Both are dishes I grew up with, which are simple and flavourful - memories of these kinds of flavours are what inspire me about honest home cooking.