MasterChef Australia’s Sarah Todd On New Restaurant Plans & Raising Her Son With Two Cultures

Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites contestant Sarah Todd
Sarah Todd had a clear idea of what she wanted to achieve after finishing 10th on MasterChef in 2014, but the world had something else in store for her.
"My dream was to open an Indian-inspired restaurant in Australia, but the universe flipped that on its head and I did an Australian-inspired restaurant in India," she tells Refinery29 Australia.
Now, eight years later, Todd returns to the kitchen that made her famous: as a contestant on the 2022 season of MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites. Things are different this time around. Todd's restaurant, Antares, is thriving in Goa, India, and she's got a plethora of knowledge in Indian cuisine after living abroad and learning traditional recipes from her son's Punjabi grandparents.
"I really learnt so much about Indian food that I think a lot of people in Australia really haven't experienced. Coming back on the show, what I wanted to do was share these dishes from different regions and share my experience and what I'd been up to all these years," she explains.
With the opportunity to showcase her refined culinary skills in the MasterChef kitchen, the 34-year-old says she's got a "new lease" on her "cooking style" and is considering finally opening a restaurant in Australia.
"I have started those conversations," she reveals. "That's a huge dream of mine and I just feel like it's really the right time for that in Australia. Speaking to a lot of my friends in India, they're really open to telling the heritage of dishes but transforming them into a really modern way."
Todd, who worked as a model prior to going on MasterChef, gave birth to her son Phoenix in 2011. Despite being based in Melbourne, the single mother is adamant about ensuring her son knows as much about his Indian heritage from his father's side.
"The moment he was born, I felt a responsibility to take on his culture and understand it so that I could make sure that I'm passing on the right information to him as well.
"We do all the regular traditions like Diwali and Holi and he is really proud of it all," she says, adding she takes Phoenix back to India so he can see the culture "firsthand".
"I think it's just really important that we make him comfortable. I think that his father and I are doing a good job, because we will ask him what his favourite dishes are and he'll say all these dishes where a kid in Australia who doesn't have an Indian heritage wouldn't really know what that is.
"He's excited to show his friends when they come over and I make them parathas as well. It's just to make him feel loved and know that it's OK to be different as well."
Image courtesy of Channel 10
Sarah Todd on MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites
There's a lot on Todd's plate at the moment but she says that entering uncharted territory is actually thrilling.
"I think that in life when you put yourself into these areas where you're pushing yourself and doing things that aren't quite normal, there's naturally going to be a lot of ups and downs. For me, that that's just been a part of being an Australian girl opening a restaurant in India and being a single mum and going on to MasterChef twice like a crazy woman," she laughs.
"But for me, I really thrive on putting myself outside of my comfort zone and I think that through the competition, it's made me feel even more comfortable in the uncomfortable."
Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites contestant Sarah Todd and judge Andy Allen
Todd is one of the final 12 contestants remaining on MasterChef this year which features previous contestants (Favourites) and amateur home cooks (Fans).
Along with Todd, the other 'Favourites' still on the show include Mindy Woods (Season 4), Michael Weldon (Season 3), Alvin Quah (Season 2), Aldo Ortado (Season 10), Tommy Pham (Season 13) and previous winners Julie Goodwin (Season 1) and Billie McKay (Season 7).
The other four contestants are all first-time MasterChef participants:  Keyma Vasquez MonteroMontana HughesSteph Woon and Daniel Lamble.
Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites judges Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen
MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites continues at 7:30pm on Channel 10 and 10Play.
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