It wasn’t cooking in one of the finest Michelin-starred restaurants in London, and afterwards in Stockholm — challenges posed in the MasterChef Ireland final — that Tamarin Blackmur found most challenging.
It was a task that came earlier in the 10-week competition.
“The hardest challenge was the soufflé. I was totally unprepared for it and we didn’t have any recipe to go by. Not knowing what challenges lay ahead of you was always tough – not being in control and being unprepared.”
Ireland’s newly-crowned best amateur cook, who loves meats such as lamb and veal, was born in South Africa and came to Ireland five years ago.
“I came over with an Irish boy. We’re not together anymore. I’m with a different man now, David, ” she says.
Tamarin, 35, is a programme management officer in a software company.
“My dream is to work with food. That’s what I’ll be aspiring to in the New Year, so winning MasterChef is a dream come true.”
What shape are you in?
I definitely need to work on it. I play a little tennis but my love of cooking means I put on a few too many pounds and I need to lose them. But they say never trust a skinny chef.
Do you have any health concerns?
I have hay fever all year round and I’ve had asthma since I was a child but it’s under control. My mum suffers from severe hay fever so I’ve inherited that.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
I eat more fish and less bread than I used to.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Desserts hands down — I just love a good dessert dish. Crème Brulée is one of my favourites.
What would keep you awake at night?
Worry — I can be a bit of a worry wart, especially if there’s something important happening next day. But with Masterchef I was so exhausted by the end of the night that I never slept better. I literally just passed out each night.
What do you do when not working?
I love to relax by being at home. I love cooking and always find time in the kitchen so relaxing.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
If I could have anyone, it would be David Walliams, the British comedian. He’d be interesting. I’d probably have a celebrity chef too, someone I’d aspire to, like Thomas Keller and Anthony Bourdain.
What would you change about your appearance?
Just my weight, particularly around the middle. I’d lose a few stone.
What’s your favourite smell?
Fresh baking bread.
When did you last cry?
It was just after it was announced that I’d won MasterChef – because of the emotion of it all.
What trait do you least like in others?
What trait do you least like in yourself?
We all have things we’d like to change about ourselves. I’d like to be more laid back, not so stressed. I’d like not to worry as much.
Do you pray?
Yes, I do.
What would cheer up your day?
Anyone making me laugh.
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