This week we have a very special Pod to Plater - you may recognise this friendly face and talented cook from this year's season of Masterchef! Top 9 might we add!
Scott grew up surrounded by fresh, home grown food and family cooks in Brisbane, Australia. Having watched Scott throughout the Masterchef season in addition to what he's contributed below for all you Podders has left us salivating!
We can't wait for you to try this special Gnocchi Parisienne recipe at home with your own Vegepod ingredients. See our interview on growing food in the Vegepod, recipe and step-by-step video below!
Tell us about who you are and what got you into food?
Well, I recently finished Top 9 in Masterchef Australia, and that was one crazy rollercoaster ride! It has been a dream of mine for thirteen years to go onto Masterchef, so super happy to have been able to tick that off the bucket list finally. It pushed me way outside my comfort zone, but I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be part of such an incredible show!
I love cooking and am a bit of a food nerd. I love being really creative in the kitchen – it is my happy place and where I am most relaxed. I am super addicted to cookbooks and have collected nearly 400 – it is certainly a vice I don’t see giving up any time soon! Outside of the kitchen, my other big passion is design. I have been an Interior Designer for almost 20 years and specialise in retail and hospitality design.
I have been cooking for as long as I can remember - some of my earliest memories are of cooking with my family - food has always been a central part of my life. I would help mum and nana pickle vegetables and I would bake cakes, biscuits and tarts with our Nana. Dad would take us fishing and Mum would always involve us in cooking and baking at home.
I love recreating nostalgic dishes in a new way and cooking with interesting ingredients – especially Australian Natives. Food holds so many memories and I love the idea of storytelling through food and how creative it can be. My audition dish for MasterChef Australia was called ‘Black Gold’ and was a dessert consisting of a Chocolate choux au craquelin with truffle zabaglione cream, chocolate soil, blueberries and native Australian mint.
Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind this recipe?
[Scott>] This is one of my favourite recipes - it is super delicious, fun to make, and uses the same dough used for profiteroles, pâte à choux, to create light buttery gnocchi that is poached in water (rather than baked) and then it is fried in butter until crispy.
This is a great example of how mastering a basic technique is much more important than mastering a specific recipe – which was a concept very useful in the Masterchef kitchen! I got to make this dish for the judges on Masterchef which I was super proud about and so excited to share it with you!
Once you have mastered the art of making a good pâte à choux, this French-style hot water dough can be transformed into profiteroles or eclairs, or deep-fried to make beignets or French cruller doughnuts, or like this recipe – boiled to make Gnocchi!
Also, this recipe is a bit of a blank canvas, mine is favoured with lemon thyme brown butter and sorrel, but you can be super creative and add whatever ingredients you want at the end – ham and Gruyère cheese, roast Brussels sprouts or tomatoes – the options are endless!
If you can’t find sorrel, baby spinach is a great substitute! Sorrel is very similar to spinach but has a really lovely zesty, lemon flavour.
How did you find using the Vegepod and what drew you to growing your own food?
[Scott>] Growing up, all my family had huge veggie patches and grew their own food, so I spent heaps of time in the garden, I found it super fascinating. Growing your own food is so rewarding and the taste of homegrown veggies straight out of the garden is unbeatable. It eliminates waste, as you can harvest and use only what you need for a recipe and saves heaps of money! I have been trying to grow my own veggies unsuccessfully for years as I have a huge possum problem at home and everything I have tried has not worked. The Vegepod is the first time I have been able to grow beautiful veggies successfully without possum interference. It is also perfect for our hot weather in Queensland, the microclimate ensures that delicate veggies don’t fry in the heat and are kept moist. I can’t believe how quickly they have grown too!
Where can our subcribers and followers look for more of your work after seeing this awesome recipe! Anything to share about some upcoming work?
[Scott>] I have recently launched a new business Growkery, which I am super excited about.
Growkery.com.au is where I share my love of food, teaching and quirky ingredients, featuring growkable recipes & tips as well as reviews of growkable foodie places and seasonal fresh produce from around Australia. Make sure you subscribe to be kept up to date.
My Growkery branding is based on an old Scottish word, “growk” which means to stare at someone while they eat hoping they will share their food with you. I stumbled across this amazing word, and I immediately connected with it - I have definitely growked at a few people before.
I am developing a lot of content at the moment and next year looking to launch some exciting merchandise, do a few pop-up experiences, host some in-home cooking classes and much more – so hit me up if you are interested.
I will also, in my design business next year, be focusing more on restaurant design and the ultimate foodie home kitchens - so stay tuned for more on this. I can’t wait to work with exciting chefs and foodies to bring their ultimate food experiences to life!
Thankyou so much Scott for sharing your recipe and Vegepod experience with us. Enjoy Podders!