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MasterChef Australia's Poh Says She Doesn't 'Really Identify With Being Asian Or Female'

MasterChef Australia's Poh Says She Doesn't 'Really Identify With Being Asian Or Female'

The iconic chef says she was more focused on 'doing interesting things'.

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie

MasterChef Australia's Poh Ling Yeow has explained how she felt about growing in Australia.

The iconic former contestant of the Aussie reality cooking show told the ABC's One Plus One how she moved from Malaysia when she was nine years old.

Speaking to host Stan Grant, Poh said despite her background being Asian, she didn't want that to define her future.

"I've never really identified with being female or Asian or anything. I really just want to do interesting things," the chef explained.

"I think being in the media, it's something I really fought hard to break down...people will think that they like you and they're very quick to decide why without really digging deep."

The 47-year-old explained how people will often come to her with stereotypical requests for food.

She continued: "I'm like, 'You don't understand, I'm not your person for Chinese New Year, I'm like the worst Asian. I don't speak any Asian languages'."

While it sounds like she has shed her identity before coming to Australia, it's anything but. Poh says she loves to embrace the way she was raised.

Poh Ling Yeow/Instagram

"I'm really comfortable with that now, being a product of what my parents have done, they brought me here, I'm a migrant, I love a lot of my [Chinese Malaysian] culture but I don't feel an impulse to identify hugely with it," she said.

"For me, it's all about moving forward and about creativity and absorbing what's around me."

In an interview six years ago, she admitted she tried hard to soak up Australian culture.

"I felt completely alien," Poh told Business Insider Australia. "I remember lining up at the tuck shop and seeing a blonde girl with freckles and blue eyes eating a Sunny Boy... I remember thinking, 'I will never be that'.

"I did such a great job of shedding everything that made me feel different that in my early thirties I had nothing," Poh said in 2014.

Poh was in the top 20 applicants for the first season of Masterchef Australia all the way back in 2009. Despite being eliminated for not knowing the ingredients in a minestrone soup, she was allowed back and got all the way to the finale against Julie Goodwin.

She returned to the show in 2019 as a mentor and then came back this year in the all stars version of MasterChef Australia.

Featured Image Credit: Network 10

Topics: Australia