Diana Chan, a Malaysian-born Chartered Accountant surprised the world when she won the MasterChef Australia in 2017. So, who is Diana? And how did an Accountant win this competition? Turns out, as the youngest in the family, Diana grew up in Johor Bahru watching her parents prepare Peranakan and Cantonese food. As she progresses on later in life in Australia as an Accountant by profession, it is clear that her passion for cooking never left. Diana participated in MasterChef Australia and was selected as top 3 for invention tests on 2 occasions, winning once. And guess what? Her dishes were the most tasted in the competition! (Woohoo!)
Ili Sulaiman had a privilege to meet Diana in person earlier this year and decided to ask her a few questions. This is what she shared with us:
Fondest memory for food in childhood
Picking up the raisins from my mother’s fruitcake. Yes, and I still do it. Fondest memory is my mom’s cooking.
Best meal you’ve ever cooked
If a dish, it would have to be one of my finale dishes because it won me the competition! But the best meal for me is a homecooked meal honestly, for my friends – more meaningful than cooking out. Doesn’t have to be a category, I love cooking roast chicken, i made chicken rice and asam pedas that day. A best meal is the experience instead of the cuisine or the dish.
Worst meal you’ve ever cooked
I was perhaps trying to do too much in one of the MasterChef challenges, where I tried to do a Beef Rendang pie, and didn’t work out – it tasted okay but I didn’t hit it right! I really wanted to cook rendang, but sometimes we just have bad days in kitchen.
If you had a chance to cook for a group of people (dead or alive)
Love to cook for Anthony Bourdain, Mother Teresa and my grandmother who just passed away.
Best meal you’ve ever eaten
Family dinners where dad will be cooking his Ikan Bakar outside while my mom cooking in the kitchen traditional Nyonya dish like Pong Bah or Ikan Berut. Combining them, it will be my best meal. They both love to cook but my dad doesnt go in the kitchen because my mom doesnt allow him to so he cooks outside.
A good strong martini
One thing for the rest of your life
Freshly baked sourdough and butter
Must have in kitchen