MasterChef star Khanh Ong has released his first cookbook, mixing his favourite recipes with dating advice, anecdotes and life hacks.
The Melbourne chef first appeared on the Channel 10 show in its tenth season, making it to third place. He returned to the competition for all-stars season MasterChef: Back To Win this year.
Now after the show, the self-proclaimed “food-obsessed gay” has released his first cookbook, A Gay Guy’s Guide to Life Love Food.
In it, he pairs each of the dozens of recipes with very personal life stories.
“One of the recipes in the breakup section [is] a pasta dish I made when my ex-boyfriend and I broke up,” Khanh told ABC Radio.
“I couldn’t eat carbs or gluten with him because he was a celiac person. So as soon as we broke up, it was pasta, it was on!”
Khanh also shares stories paying tribute to his parents and his family’s experiences as refugees in Australia in the 1990s.
“My parents are from Vietnam and [I was born] in an immigration camp in Indonesia,” he explained.
“Mum and dad lived there for four years and I came over to Australia when I was two. My parents sacrificed a lot for my sister and I to get us to Australia.
“Dad died when I was nearly 10, and there’s a lot of recipes inspired by him. Hopefully he’s looking down on me somewhere and is really happy about this.
“In our adult years the reason we love certain dishes is because they remind us of a time we may not have anymore. Food is a really strong connection to memories.”
Khanh Ong wants to see Australia’s multiculturalism reflected on TV
Khanh Ong was just one of three openly gay contestants on this year’s all-stars MasterChef. He joined fellow competitors Brendan Pang and Reece Hignell.
In each episode, Khanh cooked while wearing t-shirts with the words “You are loved”. During the show he put them up for sale online to raise money for the LGBTQIA+ organisation Minus18.
“If I’d watched a program like MasterChef when I was growing up and saw a person of colour of Asian descent or a gay man I would’ve had an easier time,” he told ABC Radio.
“I feel it’s really important that we have that representation on TV. Australia’s so multicultural and we need to reflect that on our screens.”
A Gay Guy’s Guide to Life Love Food: Outrageously Delicious Recipes (plus Stories and Dating Advice) from a Food-Obsessed Gay is out now.
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