'Smells Like An Old Band-Aid': The Ingredient MasterChef's Derek And Larissa Want You To Try
'MasterChef's Larissa Takchi and Derek Lau have planned an exciting new menu around a very divisive ingredient.
Since leaving the reality cooking series, the duo has teamed up to work side-by-side again with Derek flying out from his home in Perth to join Larry at her mum's restaurant in Dural, NSW, for two pop-up evenings.
On 'MasterChef', the pair became known for their hilarious, sibling-like rivalry with Larissa often yelling out, "Shut up, Derek" mid-cook as they shared a kitchen bench.
"We kinda work well together, I guess," Larissa told 10 daily over the phone, with Derek sitting next to her.
"Because of the show, we have really funny banter together that people love to see," the 'MasterChef' winner added.
But more importantly, the culinary duo chose to collaborate because, "If something doesn’t taste right, we’re happy to tell each other," Derek explained.
"Rather than other people saying, ‘Oh yeah, that’s good!’ but it’s like, ‘No it’s not, tell me it’s sh**!”
As a result of their honest approach with one another, Dez and Laz have created a seriously mouthwatering menu that's all about the highly-prized subterranean fungus known as the truffle.
After Derek played sous chef for 'MasterChef' alum Poh Ling Yeow at a truffle festival in WA, he got the idea to plan a whole menu around the ingredient. He also managed to forage for the rare clumps of black gold at the Manjimup Truffle and Wine Co. with the assistance of some very clever pooches.
"It’s actually so much fun and the dog is so cute!" laughed Derek of the expert truffle hunters.
"That’s what you got out of it?" Larissa asked him.
"No, they sniff out the truffle and put their paws where the truffle is," he explained of the foraging process.
The pair have put together a menu featuring truffles served with dishes including an eel custard, pheasant with Jerusalem artichoke and Taramasalata with a salt and vinegar potato -- but admit that truffles aren't necessarily everyone's cup of tea.
"People either love it or they cannot stand it," Larissa said. "They kinda smell like old dirty socks."
"Or an old band-aid, probably," added Derek.
"You have to be an adventurous eater, it’s not your typical roast chicken or pork. It's challenging for some but if you come with an open mind, you’ll be fine," she said of their menu.
Larissa and Derek said that things are very different when you're cooking outside the high-intensity 'MasterChef' environment.
"Everything about it is so different and more relaxed and I think now we realised 'MasterChef' isn’t reality, it’s not how it is in the real world," Larissa explained.
"The amount of time, no one yelling at you from the gantry, no judges coming up to you to question everything you’re doing," she laughed.
The one thing that hasn't changed from their time on 'MasterChef' is her relationship with Derek -- with Larissa insisting she still "goes off" at her cooking companion.
While the two nights at the Wild Pear cafe in Dural have already sold out, Derek and Larry are pretty confident they'll be collaborating again soon -- maybe even in Derek's hometown of Perth.
"Derek’s saying we will, I’m saying I don’t know," joked Larissa.
Main Photo: Network 10