INTERVIEW & COMPETITION: Tim Anderson Masterchef Winner & Masterchef Live 2011 Tickets Giveaway!

If you were like us, you watched the latest series of Masterchef 2011 earlier this year with baited breath… who would be crowned the winner with the best cooking skills?
We were extremely pleased when the winner was announced as Tim Anderson, a young chef who created an amazing fusion of Japanese and western dishes such as monkfish liver served with umeboshi ketchup, jellied ponzu and matcha mayonnaise and Kyushu style pork ramen with truffled lobster! We always knew that Japanese cooking was the best! 🙂
Read on for the full interview and details of our latest competition!

Japan Centre has an extra special competition this week for a chance to win a pair of tickets to go and see Masterchef Live at the Kensington Olympia in London on Friday 11th November. We will also give you access to a special event called the Chefs’ Theatre where previous contestants from Masterchef, including Tim Anderson and his Japanese inspired dishes, will battle it out again to see who can create the tastiest food.

If that wasn’t enough, we even have an exclusive interview with Tim Anderson, the winner of Masterchef 2011 where we ask him about cooking Japanese food and what tips he can share with you guys!

COMPETITION: Win Masterchef Live 2011 Tickets

Masterchef Live is coming to London on the 11th to 13th November 2011 and promises to offer some fantastic culinary excitement. With live cooking demonstrations, lots of tips on how to make your cooking even better, and no doubt plenty of snacks to sample, this years Masterchef Live will be a great day out for everyone.

To have a chance of winning a pair of tickets for entry on Friday 11th November, with access to the Chefs’ Theatre to watch Tim Anderson cooking live, enter our competition through Facebook or Twitter. Choose your social media platform of choice and head over to our Facebook page and leave a comment on the competition postor enter the competition by following our Japan Centre Twitter feed and re-tweeting the competition tweet!

* If you enter through Facebook, please make sure to check your normal messages and any hidden messages, as we have found some people do not receive the standard message notification.

INTERVIEW: Tim Anderson – Masterchef 2011 Winner

We were lucky enough to get hold of Tim and ask him a few questions about his interest in cooking, especially how he was influenced by Japanese food. We even asked him about how a budding young chef can get started with Japanese cooking.


You spent time living in Japan in your early twenties… what was is that initially attracted you to the country and Japanese cuisine?

timThere were a few things that initially attracted me to Japan. Japanese video games, anime, and J-pop all interested me, but what really got me excited about Japan was Iron Chef. I started watching it when I was about 15 and I thought it was amazing. The quality and the weirdness of the food were enthralling. I cooked a little bit when I was growing up, but I didn’t get serious about it until I was in Japan, living on my own. It was great to have access to so many amazing Japanese ingredients.

jcWhat sort of food do you eat in an average day for each meal and what sort of Japanese ingredients so you currently have in your fridge or cupboard at home?

timI always keep konbu, dried shiitake, rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, sake, dashi no moto, yuzu-kosho, black and white sesame seeds, umezu or umeboshi puree, and miso at home. Usually I also have katsuobushi although that has been very hard to get since the tsunami hit. I don’t always cook Japanese food but these ingredients usually end up in my cooking no matter what I make. I also keep a lot of Japanese tea on hand – matcha, houjicha, and sencha especially.


What are your favourite Japanese ingredients that you have found at Japan Centre?

timI love mentaiko and I stock up on it whenever I can get it at Japan Centre. I also love the shelled edamame, it’s just so useful. Yuzu-kosho is an amazing condiment and a little jar lasts a long time. And lately I’ve rediscovered kinako, which has a wonderful nutty flavor.

jcAre there any Japanese foods that want to buy, but are not currently available at Japan Centre?

timKatsuobushi is very important in Japanese cooking, and it’s very hard to get now. Sometimes Japan Centre has it, but not always. I’d also like to get fresh yuzu, dekopon, and kinome, which are great ingredients but I can’t find them anywhere!

jcWhat advice or recommendations do you have for first time chefs looking to cook Japanese food?

timYour first step should be making your own dashi. It’s the most important element of Japanese food and it’s very easy. All you need is konbu and katsuobushi, or if you can’t get katsuobushi, niboshi or shiitake. And it only takes 20 minutes – it’s the fastest stock you can make.

jcMany people are interested in Japanese cuisine due to the health benefits. What would be your top 5 Japanese healthy super foods?

timMy favorite Japanese dish is tonkotsu ramen so I’m not the right person to ask about healthy food! But I would say edamame, green tea, sashimi, genmai, and miso are all quite healthy and very tasty, too.

jcIf you had to choose one meal to be your absolute favourite, what would it be? Would you go for something Japanese, Western, or even something that you created yourself?

timI love Kumamoto-style tonkotsu ramen. But I also love a good ploughman’s with ale. It’s a tough decision, but it would be one of those two.

jcWe recently opened our 3rd branch of umai at the new Westfield Stratford City so what would you recommend customers buy from there and why?

timA bottle of tea and some fresh sushi from Umai makes a good quick lunch when you’re out shopping, or if you’re looking for a unique gift for someone you could always pick up a nice bottle of sake!


We agree that making your own dashi is a quick and easy way to get started with Japanese cooking, so why not read up on our guide for more information and find out how you can make it easily at home:

What is Dashi Stock and How to Make it

Good luck in our latest Japan Centre competition and we hope to see you at Masterchef Live! 🙂