MasterChef: Adam wins, Jonathan considers a restaurant

MasterChef: Adam wins, Jonathan considers a restaurant

Media lawyer takes the cake

MasterChef and IT consultant, Jonathan Daddia

MasterChef and IT consultant, Jonathan Daddia

MASTERCHEF LATEST: 31-year-old media lawyer, Adam Liaw, from Adelaide but currently based in Tokyo, has won MasterChef 2010, comfortably beating another Adelaide contest, Callum Hann. Adam won the three round final comfortably scoring 89/100 to beat Hann who scored 82/100.

Sydney-based IT consultant and MasterChef favourite, Jonathan Daddia, made it to the final eight before being eliminated.

However, he made a brief comeback for the final Masterclass show on Friday, July 23, with the rest of the eliminated contestants, ahead of the Sunday, July 25, finale.

Newly bearded, Daddia revealed he had been approached after his elimination with an offer of a restaurant partnership - an offer he was considering with some trepidation. Will he go ahead? Stay tuned.

Jonathan also engaged in some banter with the judges. Gary, in particular, popping a few shots at him and performing an exaggerated version of Jonathan's walk whenever he presented his dish during one of the challenges.

The ARN crew has, as you've probably guessed, been obsessed with this year's show - along with about 4 million other Australians - and several staff members are now working out how or whether they can fill the gaping hole in their lives when the show ends for the year and if not whether they can afford therapy.

Eating more food may be an option.


How did you get started in IT?

I began working at Westpac doing lending and I then moved on to become a management information analyst. I taught myself Oracle, SQL and I worked on a major project delivering balance score cards. I had to collate all the data from the Westpac systems. While I was at Westpac, I was thinking ‘Why am I doing this job here when I can be doing it overseas?’ I went to London and got a job with Sainsbury Supermarkets where they were implementing a balance score card for their directors. My original IT work was in finance as a systems person. After a year there, I began working for a large professional services company called S3 Management Services, which had number of holding companies and I became responsible for all their back office systems such as finance, HR, payroll and legal. In that role, we did a massive IT strategic review that I worked on where we implemented ITIL and I became a service deliver manager. After five years in the UK, I moved back to Australia.

What did you do at university?

In my first instance for my undergraduate I left university, I changed five degrees in the first year-and-a-half. I realised at that point it wasn’t for me, so I left. I then started my first production company doing lighting, sound staging and fireworks. When I got back from London, I did a Masters of Business in IT Management at University of Technology Sydney. That’s when I decided to do a formal IT degree.

How did you set up your consulting firm, Daddia & Co?

I went to work at Babcock & Brown as a project manager and when that went under, I decided to start up my own business.

When I was at Babcock & Brown, the one thing that I realised was that they had no business applications. They had the most amazing infrastructure and technology, but no one that could help them with delivering business systems. There was no project methodology and along with another project manager we started implementing business applications.

My first major client was one of the Babcock & Brown satellite funds, which has been spun off. Their technology was managed centrally and their new IT manager had to put in all the business applications, infrastructure, and she had a lot of different vendor products. I had to bring in a lot of whole project teams and business analysts. I ended up negotiating a lot of projects and there was a lot of work to be done.

Why do you think IT consultants make such good cooks?

I don’t know why we’re good cooks generally, but when I moved to London I discovered that I really loved cooking. On weekends I couldn’t wait to check out all the markets, tasting, buying and getting home to start cooking. I went away to Italy for a weekend to Milan and I thought I was just going to relax and ended up buying an ice-cream machine and packed it into my suitcase.

Any opportunity I got I travelled to France and other countries to cook and eat. I definitely put on a few kilos. While I was in England I touched on my Moroccan heritage - my father is Moroccan - and I started to explore cooking a lot of Moroccan food and flavours. I love doing what I do [in IT], but food is my passion. I put in an application to one of Gordon Ramsay’s kitchens as they took chefs of all levels in. I went in every Saturday, unpaid, for three months to see if I liked it.

One of the things with IT, which is a bit upsetting, is that I’ve delivered some great systems and massive projects for great companies, but when you deliver them at the end of it, you don’t see it. You’re not normally the person that ends up using the system. To some extent it’s a bit of anti-climax and then you move onto the next project. Whereas, for me, cooking is not just about food, it’s about having friends, family, people and conversations. Someone once said to me, ‘You spend all day cooking for 10 seconds of eating’. For me, it’s not about that. It’s about you’ve arrived at dinner at 7pm and you’re not leaving until 2am, because we’re having a great time and a drink. That’s why I love cooking. I never really knew that I had an artistic side at all, but I think food allows be more creative.

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