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Trent Harvey: From Masterchef to Local Press

Belinda Neame

“There is a lot of pressure when you finish up with Masterchef to get out there and do something with it. I am just going to take some time to figure out where I fit in the industry.”

In the office a couple of weeks ago, my colleague Beatrice called out…

“Hey Belinda, do you want to go and chat with Trent Harvey from Masterchef, eat some yummy food at Local Press Café and write a little story on Trent’s journey?”

Ummmmm well that’s a no-brainer, hells yes!

Growing up on the family farm in Batlow, Trent has always been surrounded by homegrown produce. Everything was grown from the ground up – fruit, vegetables, meat and even milk, fresh from the cows every day.

An electrician by trade, Trent’s true love of food didn’t come until recently when he spent some time overseas exploring other food cultures.

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“Growing up in a country town, you don’t really get to experience food at the same level as you do when you live in the bigger cities,” explains Trent. “The restaurant options are very limited. So when I visited places like Europe, Canada and Asia it really opened my eyes to a whole new world and now when I travel, my itinerary is literally based around food!”

So how did Trent end up on Masterchef?

“While I was attending a cooking class down at River Cottage in Tilba Tilba, I was advised that Masterchef applications were open and that I should seriously look at applying. I wasn’t convinced but in the end, I thought what the heck, submitting my application at the very last minute.”

Trent took the audition process in his casual stride. “You had to supply all your own cooking equipment at the auditions so people were turning up with 2 or 3 boxes full of food processors and blenders etc. The auditions were held in Melbourne I didn’t have access to my cooking equipment so I would literally turn up with a fry pan and spatula!”

Making it through to the final 24, Trent moved into the share house and began his Masterchef journey. Four contestants per room and a communal kitchen made things challenging. Rosters were set up and each room was allocated their cooking nights.

After being a Masterchef enthusiast since it started, I was curious to know what it was really like on the ‘inside’. Like, did they have to study, did they get much time with the judges and all the nitty gritty!

“If you weren’t on set, you were in the house. We weren’t allowed Internet so we used the time to read the copious amount of cookbooks to improve our ratio knowledge and techniques.

“The judges were fantastic; we often got time to chat to them after the shows. Marco was really generous and always up for a chat off air. I really related to Curtis, so it was always great to catch up with him. Matt Preston loves the show and always had time for the contestants.”

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Trent was a bit of a dark horse throughout the series and his strategy was to stick to his style and not try to overcomplicate things. So what dish did he rate as his best?

“My favourite dish was definitely the quail dish I cooked when we were at the winery in San Fran. I really felt like I nailed all the elements of that dish.”

After making it to the top six, Trent is now back home and working at Local Press Café in Kingston on a casual basis.

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“I love the local and fresh philosophy they have here at Local Press and I’m learning so much from John (owner) who has been generous with his time and sharing his knowledge. I’m having to take a bit of a break while I have a knee reconstruction but I’m looking forward to being involved in some events coming up here a little later in the year.”

Trent and the Local Press team

(L-R) Trent Harvey (chef), William Fisher (head chef), Jonathan Draper (owner), Larissa Hrstic (PR and Florist) and Ben Cadby (raw food & vegan expert)

Trent is taking his time deciding what to do long term “There is a lot of pressure when you finish up with Masterchef to get out there and do something with it. With knee surgery and my wedding in December, I think I am just going to take some time to figure out where I fit in the industry.”

“Initially, I wanted to open a café but after spending some time at Local Press, it’s opened my eyes to the massive commitment a shop front is. I think I will explore other ways I can make food part of my life, possibly private and event catering.”

So I guess it’s a case of ‘watch this space’ for Trent…who knows where he’ll ‘pop up’ next?

Images by Lux & Us

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Belinda Neame

Belinda is HerCanberra’s Production Manager. A foodie and lover of handmade, Belinda enjoys nothing more than a good coffee and seeing Canberra businesses thrive. In her ‘spare time’, Belinda organises the quarterly Canberra street food event, The Forage with her husband Tim.

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