Finding his groove
The rain had set in by the time we bid James farewell and pointed the Passat in the direction of Hahndorf, a little piece of Germany transplanted to the Adelaide Hills. It’s one of several places Adam spent his childhood. On the way, he explained how he grew up exposed to English cooking traditions on his mother’s side and Chinese-Malay traditions on his father’s.
He had a few years where he learned effective cooking techniques and honed his favourite dishes, but a move to Tokyo at age 24 brought with it the shock of the new. “It’s exciting when you find a different way of doing something you’ve done your whole life,” he says. “People don’t realise how closed their food world is. When I moved to Japan, it forced me to change the way I cook.”
His preconceived ideas about food thrown out the window, there followed a period of discovery and experimentation that led Adam to consider leaving his job as a high-flying media lawyer to chance his luck with MasterChef. The rest, as they say, is history.