MasterChef champ goes head-to-head with MasterChef guest judge in curry cook-off

– 2017 MasterChef champ Diana Chan will go head-to-head with MasterChef guest judge, Ian Curley, in an Opportunity International Australia curry cook-off on 9 October at Canvas House in South Melbourne. The event kicks off Opportunity’s annual Great Australian Curry fundraising campaign which aims to raise funds to help families in developing countries build income-generating businesses.

Opportunity Chief Executive Officer, Meredith Scott, says, “It’s fabulous that Diana Chan and Ian Curley are competing in a curry cook-off to motivate Aussie families to raise funds to help end poverty.

“I can’t wait to watch such extraordinary chefs cook exotic curries. I’m hoping they’ll inspire me to up the ante on my own curry making skills.

“I’d like to thank Diana and Ian for spicing up the night for us and also the caterers, the team behind Babu Ji and Piquancy,” she adds.

The Great Australian Curry is an annual fundraising campaign where Opportunity invites families across Australia to cook a curry, share it with friends and raise funds to help families journey out of poverty. Opportunity uses the funds to provide families in India, Indonesia and the Philippines with small loans to build businesses, earn regular incomes, educate their children and break the cycle of poverty in which their families have been trapped for generations.

Opportunity’s microfinance lending partners are assisting 5.8 million families in predominantly rural and remote areas by providing financial inclusion and support, including loans of a few hundred dollars each, to work their way out of poverty. And they support millions more with community development programs to address other barriers to ending their poverty journey.

The week following the launch is World Anti-Poverty Week (14 – 20 October) and the aim is that the cook off will prompt a wave of curry-based gatherings to be planned during October and November in support of the work Opportunity undertakes to end poverty.

Diana Chan says she is looking forward to the cook-off. “It’ll be amazing to cook with Ian Curley. We’ll have a fun evening and a really good cook with each other and everyone will enjoy what we create.”

Ian Curley, agrees. “I’m looking forward to cooking up a curry with Diana. It’s one way we can give a hand up to families less fortunate than ours.

“It’s important for us to not lose focus of how lucky we are, just the simple fact of where we live. I’m very blessed to have a healthy family and to live In Australia with the opportunity to do the work I love.

“When I travel to India and other developing countries I see lots of people who don’t have the same opportunities as I have, so I’m conscious that you always have to give something back,” he adds.

Diana Chan says she loves that Opportunity helps families end poverty. “I also love that I can contribute to ending poverty through my cooking skills.

“I think it’s a good reminder to let Aussies know something so humble and simple as a curry can be shared with so many families around the world. It’s bringing people back to their roots and reminding them that having a shared meal is really important,” she adds.

Ian Curley says he loves that curry is a family dish. “When you put a steaming curry on the table everybody can dig in and share it. Cooking is all about bringing family together and a wholesome curry really is one of the most home-loving and nutritious dishes to feed your kids.”

The chefs aren’t giving much away about what they’ll be cooking at the Great Australian Curry cook-off. Diana says she’ll make whatever is in season. “In October, there’ll be lots of vegetables, so I do want to incorporate some greens and maybe stick to a chicken or pork curry.” Ian is thinking of cooking a fish curry.

One thing for certain is that both chefs will use plenty of spices. “A good curry comes from the base or paste,” Diana says. “Spices are essential—fennel, cumin, turmeric, curry leaf and cinnamon cloves for meat-based curries and cardamom, cumin, fennel and mustard seeds for fish curries.”

Ian Curley agrees. He believes spices are everything to making a tantalising curry. “The spices, the flavour, the whole experience inspires me,” he says.


9 October 2018
TIME: 6.30pm
VENUE: Canvas House, 37 Buckhurst St, South Melbourne.


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