In the kitchen with Callum Hann

MasterChef 2010 runner-up Callum Hann, 24, was raised in South Australia's Barossa Valley, a region famous for its premium wines and fabulous food.

Hann has joined ConnectPink, Fairfax Regional Media's online website for women, as a foodie blogger and is keen to share his passion and his recipes.

What types of recipes and words of wisdom do you hope to share?

I love to cook simple, seasonal food which still has a wow factor. I would love [readers] to try something new and maybe learn a few more techniques. There is no place in my life for hiding recipes or having kitchen secrets; for me food is there to be shared.

What's your favourite dish?

My favourite dish is constantly changing; I get a bit bored if I cook the same things too often. My girlfriend Chloe and I have just expanded our veggie garden, so I am getting stuck into lots of fresh salads at the moment.

What are your tips for creating healthy meals on a budget?

I think the key is organisation. Try to plan a week's worth of meals and do one big shop, which saves you so much time and money in the long run. It also allows you to take advantage of leftovers and freeze future meals.

How do you suggest new cooks ease their way into the kitchen?

I think the best thing to do is just get stuck into it. If the worst thing that happens to you in your day is you burn a couple of steaks, I think that's still a pretty good day.

Who influences your cooking?

Jamie Oliver has been my biggest cooking inspiration since I was a child. I'm lucky enough to now be the Australian ambassador for Jamie's Home Cooking Skills.

What ingredients can't you live without?

Garlic, spices, herbs, condiments, good quality olive oil and lemons. The little heroes that make all the difference in a plate of food.

Where is your favourite place to eat out?

It sounds a bit corny, but Chloe's mum cooks a mighty fine roast dinner. She is one of those people where you don't ask for second helpings, she makes you have second helpings. Not that I'm complaining.

What's growing in your garden?

At the moment there are leeks, garlic, beetroot, chard, chillies, capsicum, tomatoes, peas, snow peas, strawberries, lemons and a whole array of herbs.

Why is it important to taste food during the cooking process?

If you follow a recipe exactly you will end up with it tasting exactly how the author of that recipe wants it to taste. We all have different tastes, so constantly tasting and adjusting is vital. If I say "juice of a lemon" in a recipe, all lemons are different sizes right?

Has travelling overseas influenced your recipe choices?

Definitely, I have expanded my horizons by seeing not only what other countries eat, but how they eat it. I love tasting a new dish, and thinking about how I can recreate it in my own kitchen.

Is there one dish you just cannot master?

No matter how many times I try to make my mum's chocolate torte, it never seems to taste quite as good as hers.

Sample Hann's culinary style at www.connectpink.com.au, where he's kicking off with a delicious recipe for Vietnamese chicken with green mango salad.

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