Andy Allen was an apprentice electrician and amateur basketball player when he signed up as a contestant on the 2012 season of MasterChef Australia. He was crowned the winner and is now a popular MasterChef judge as well as co-owner of the Three Blue Ducks restaurants. Here he reveals a passion for anchovies, Vegemite sandwiches and chilli chips as he tells us what’s in his shopping trolley each week.
How I Shop: Andy Allen
In Andy’s trolley:
Kettle Chilli chips
My fave chips of all time. Imagine this: a rare day off during MasterChef filming, and when it calls for a day of being a couch potato I get the slouchy clothes on and head to the pantry for these bad boys while I watch NBA (US professional basketball league). It’s the crunch, the bite and the chilli hit. They are the binge factor I can never say no to.
Coles Finest Cantabrian Anchovies
I stand by my statement that my last meal would be as simple as a tin or two of anchovies and some good-quality sourdough toasted over coals. With wine, of course. Anchovies provide a flavour edge that makes so many different dishes pop. Can’t stop, won’t stop…
Old El Paso hard shell tacos
Like many Aussie households, for special occasions it was taco night when I was growing up. It wasn’t an authentic recipe back then - our feast consisted of hard-shell tacos, packet spiced beef mince, shredded iceberg lettuce, pre-grated cheese, sour cream and tomatoes. I haven't delved back into this family favourite for a while but I’m getting a craving just thinking about it.
Pana Organic Salted Chocolate & Caramel ice cream
I love ice cream, so you might wonder why I wouldn’t choose one of the full-cream, full-fat versions I enjoy so much. The reason is that my fiancé does not eat dairy. So to compromise and still get my fix we started to make our way through the ever-growing selection of dairy-free ice creams. The search stopped when we found this one: it’s 100% Australian organic and vegan from the guys at Pana.
Ayam Thai Green Curry Paste
As much as I ate pretty well growing up, my “old man” did the cooking and he had a solid repertoire of around three dishes that we had on rotation. One of them was a green chicken and broccoli curry. Naturally that meant the family fridge door always stocked with a jar of green curry paste of some description. I didn’t even know you could make a fresh curry paste until I was about 18!
Growing up I was addicted to being outside. Whether it was playing sports, riding my skateboard, BMX bike or even scooter at one stage, I was constantly coming home with bark off my body. That meant I would go through packets of Band-Aids like they were going out of fashion. Every time I see a pack it takes me straight back to being a careless teenager.
This takes me back to the school playground because my lunch 99 times out of 100 would consist of three Vegemite sandwiches. Sometimes I would envy those kids with chips or roll-ups or something like that, but I was always pretty content with my Vegemite sangers.
Barilla penne pasta
Playing loads of sports growing up, I was constantly in need of food. I would eat packet pasta by the absolute truckload. There was nothing fancy about it at all. Most of the time I was alternating between a jar of pesto or tomato pasta sauce that was kicking around. Back in the day I used to think penne was a bit more fancy than spaghetti, but now I realise that I made that choice because I could stuff it in my mouth faster.
Sodastream Gas Cylinder refills
I’ll say it, I've become a water snob and there’s nothing better than an overload of bubble in your H2O to quench the thirst. That first mouthful gets you kicking again. But here’s a hot tip: always have refills up your sleeve, because running out when you’re ready to scull a giant cold glass of soda is the worst! I also like a little bubbled water sitting next to my long black most days.