MasterChef's Poh on running a business with her husband and her ex

Holly Hales
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Masterchef season one runner-up Poh Ling Yeow has kept busy since shooting to fame in 2009 and is now Crock-Pot's newest ambassador. Photo: Supplied

She’s recently returned to the spotlight as a mentor on the show that made her famous.

But Masterchef runner-up Poh Ling Yeow has been building a diverse career across the food industry since her reality TV debut back in 2009.

And while she’s remained a familiar face on the silver screen, many fans wouldn’t know the dynamics in her real life business are more compelling than her on-air antics.

The 46-year-old runs a successful cafe alongside her current husband Jono, as well as her ex-husband Matt and his wife, Sarah, who happens to be her best friend.

Speaking to Yahoo Lifestyle, the new Crock-Pot ambassador opens up about the challenge of mixing work and personal life — both in and out of the kitchen.

“[Running the business] is really hard actually, one because it’s a business and also because we all know each other and are linked by our relationships and creative pursuits,” she says.

“Luckily Jono cooks a lot, which is really great and if all else fails we just go to my mum’s, around the corner! " Poh said of her and husband Jono's home cooking endeavours. Photo: Getty

“Matt, my ex-husband is a filmmaker, Sarah an illustrator and Jono’s a builder so we had that in common but it doesn’t always translate into good business sense.”

Together, the foursome own the Jamface cafe at Adelaide Central market, an experience Poh said has taught her a lot about relationships.

“Communication is the main thing that I’ve learned from working in that dynamic and there has to be a lot of clear communication and a lot of honesty and that’s the only way you can cut through the busyness,” she says.

“But because we’re such good friends [owning Jamface] has enabled us to really work together and we’re so much stronger for it.”

When she’s not on professionally cooking up a storm both on and offscreen, Poh prefers to relax at home and take as much stress as possible out of creating her famous dishes.

“I use how much time I have to cook as a way to gauge how busy I am in my life,” she says.

Poh first rose to fame on Masterchef in 2009, placing second. Photo: Channel 10

“I don’t cook every single night and we probably still get take away one every three weeks. Luckily Jono cooks a lot, which is really great and if all else fails we just go to my mum’s, around the corner!

“But I have been trying more and more to cook, which is where the Crock-Pot comes in handy because the food is comforting and I can use what I have lying around in the fridge that I just can’t bear to find another way to cook!”

Have a try at Poh’s favourite Crock-Pot recipe:

SWEET SOY BRAISED PORK BELLY

Feeds 4-6 Preparation time: 15 minutes Total cooking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil 3 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped or crushed 5cm ginger, peeled, finely shredded 5 stalks spring onions, finely sliced 100g white sugar 4 tablespoons dark soy 4 tablespoons light soy 3 star anise 1 cinnamon stick 4 cloves 150ml Shaoxin rice wine 1/2 cup water 1kg pork belly, cut into 3cm pillars 3 bunches broccolini, cut into roughly 6cm batons

For serving 3 cups steamed Jasmine rice*

Method

1. Select SAUTÉ, then press START/STOP. Immediately combine the olive oil, garlic, ginger and spring onions in the Crock-Pot® Express Crock XL Multi-Cooker and cook until golden and fragrant.

2. Add the sugar, soy sauces, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, Shaoxin rice wine and water. Stir to ensure the sugar is not sitting on a clump on the bottom, then arrange the pork pieces evenly over the surface. Secure the lid ensuring the steam release valve is in the seal (closed) position. Press START/STOP.

3. Select MEAT/STEW. Press START/STOP.

4. Once the cooking process has finished, carefully release the pressure. When all the steam has escaped, remove the lid and nestle the broccolini through the pork, so it’s submerged in the sauce.

5. Secure the lid again to allow the broccoli to blanche for 5-10 minutes in the residual heat, until

crunchy but not raw.

6. To serve, garnish the pork with the sliced spring onions and serve with steamed rice.

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