Alvin Quah – Masterchef Australia Season 2 finalist, white rimmed glasses, a huge infectious smile and just as smart and sweet as he appears on TV.
I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Joburg Good Food & Wine Show and got to chatting to the affable Malaysian Australian pharmaceutical nerd about all things food:
SON: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
ALVIN: Um, here would be uhh… is it Nyala?
ALVIN: I think it’s just weird because you see it and it looks so like pretty and it’s such a cute little beast and then you’re eating it and you’re like “my god and you’re delicious as well” you know? It’s a bit sadistic but it’s good!
SON: What weird things do Ozzies eat? Do you eat echidnas for instance?
ALVIN: Well… we eat kangaroo, we eat emu and we eat possum as well.
ALVIN: No we haven’t tried wombat.
SON: Duck-billed platypus?
ALVIN: Platypus would be good to eat.
SON: Wallaby? In case you didn’t notice, I totally know my Australian fauna. Next question. If it wasn’t totally illegal, would you try human?
ALVIN: Oh? Yes. I believe in eating everything once and then you can decide whether you like it or not. You can base it on an educated decision.
SON: You’re a man after my own heart.
SON: So, you were in advertising before?
ALVIN: I was in science.
SON: If you had to come up with a dish that represents your impression of South Africa what would it be?
ALVIN: I would do springbok on the braai, with a salad consisting of pistachios, rocket leaves, dark chocolate and a soft poached egg on top. It just screams out the eccentricity of food and the culture here…
SON: Ja, there are like, all the colours in there and everything… You’re a machine.
ALVIN: It was the first thing that came out of my mouth.
SON: Well I’d like to put it into mine.
I don’ t know about you guys, but I really think I have a knack for this. I’m like the Parkinson of food interviews. Not Sir Michael. The disease. I’m a bit shaky and I make your brain hurt. Check out my faux-interviews with Adam Liaw and Gordon Ramsay.
The enthusiasm of the Johannesburg crowds and their willingness to learn about and experience good food bodes well for the Big Smoke.
As the people who make delicious food (eg: David Higgs) start to migrate towards the desperate throngs of Jo’burgers starved for anything more gourmet than a Streetwise Two, our restaurant scene will continue its slow but steady usurpation of the right to call herself the Queen of the food scene.
From Franschoek to Fordsburg, SA’s food elite is slowly but surely creeping onto the Highveld. We welcome them with open mouths.
Alvin Quah was interviewed by Like Father Like Son.