MasterChef fan favourite, author and business owner Brendan Pang opens up about the life experiences and people that have shaped his career and passion for cooking.
Transcript:[Brendan Pang]: Food and community for me, they just pair so perfectly together. Food is such a universal language. If you think about it people share food, they eat together, they cook together, it really brings people together and that’s what community is all about.
My name is Brendan Pang. I’m a local Perth boy, I’m an author, cook and run a dumpling business.
As a Chinese-Mauritian-Australian, I definitely have a unique blend of influences. Growing up in Perth some of my fondest memories were cooking with Mum and Grandmother in the kitchen. My Grandmother taught me how to make noodles and dumplings from scratch and they have shaped my love of food. I’ve carried that with me along the way.
In terms of cooking, the Chinese side of it is really integrating a lot of that culture and family aspect to food and sharing. The Mauritian influences are more like French, Indian and Creole cooking. In terms of Australian influence for me, the biggest thing was learning about local produce, blending all those cultures and giving back to community.
I spent 18 months up in Broome working as a social worker with the local Aboriginal communities. I learnt a lot about local produce and culture and different people. I lived with a Malaysian Aboriginal family. They took me out on the dingy fishing. They would catch local fish and stingrays. A lot of the produce that we caught, we’d cook and for me, quite interestingly, it had such strong Asian influences, so it is very similar to my upbringing. It’s something that I carry with me today.
Community is at the centre of everything that I do in terms of cooking or it’s spending time with family and friends. It’s so important for us to share our influences and traditions with others. I think for me being Australian means having a fair go for all. It means being compassionate, it means understanding about all the people and cultures around me, because it’s such a big part of who I am.
We live in a community that is so accepting and supportive, and for me, the message that I would give to others out there that want to try something new or follow a dream would be – just go for it.