So, I'm a MasterChef judge now.

Plus my favourite Thai cafe, a new CBD opening & 19 African breakfasts

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A Bite-Sized Summary:

  • Sincerely, Sofia: how I really feel about being a MasterChef judge

  • Just Open: Melbourne’s best Thai green curry is being served for breakfast in a new West Melbourne dessert cafe

  • List: 19 African breakfasts in Melbourne (Off Menu subscribers only)

  • The Scoop: scroll for the CBD dessert cafe that opened three days ago

  • Turn the Tables: (deservingly) brutal customer reviews by hospo staff

  • Revisit: access past newsletters here

In case you haven’t heard, the news broke earlier this week that I’m joining Andy Allen, Poh Ling Yeow and Jean-Christophe Novelli as a judge on MasterChef Australia. It’s a momentous occasion — adjectives like “excited” and “thrilled” fall beyond short. This isn’t simply a decision for a new gig; it’s also a decision to embrace a new lifestyle. I’ve had more phone calls and messages this week than I’ve had in the past six months.

The other adjective that comes up: nervous. I’ve been writing for — and speaking to — a captive audience for years now. This special group, which you belong to, appreciates the same elements of food, travel, hospitality and even humanity as I do. It’s why you subscribed. I value curiosity, culture and adventure. Deep, meaningful experience that go beyond the table. Plunging oneself into the deep end and leaving “coming up for air” somewhere down the bottom of the priority list.

Here I am, plunging again, without a gasp of oxygen in sight. I’m going to be speaking to a much broader audience; to strangers. Of course it’s nerve-racking, but I’m taking MasterChef as a MasterResponsibility. Morally, philosophically, nothing changes for me. In fact encouraging people to #EatCuriously is more important than ever. Everyone has varying comfort zones and levels of open-mindedness, and I’ve always believed the best versions of people emerge when they expand them. What better place to teach, learn and grow than on the world’s most popular reality cooking show, surrounded by enthusiasts and professionals.

I can’t wait to get started. And I can’t wait to share it with the people who were on board long before the headlines.

Sincerely, Sofia x

JUST OPEN: Game-changing breakfast curry at Roslyn Thai Cafe

Here’s the backstory of one of the most interesting places to eat breakfast in Melbourne, which I’m visiting this Sunday as a guest host on Postcards (tune in at 5.30pm on Ch9 for some of my other Thai favourites!). This spot has it all: Thai dishes and desserts from former Long Chim chefs, a husband-wife dream team, a COVID success story and more. Or forget all of that and just go eat their brilliant food.

OFF MENU: 19 African restaurants to start the day

Have you ever greeted the day with an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, Somali pancakes or pan-fried offal? Some of Melbourne’s most exciting African restaurants open at breakfast time, and although they exist to serve their communities, they welcome everyone with enthusiasm. This is the sixth instalment of the Melbourne Alt-Breakfast Series, for Off Menu subscribers only. Sign up here for access.

THE SCOOP: PaChan dessert cafe is just 3 days old

A modern dessert bar called PaChan swung open its doors on Tuesday. It’s a partnership between the owners of Snow Moon, a CBD Korean dessert cafe, and Roslyn Thai Cafe in West Melbourne. Visit for plated desserts incorporating house-made gelato with Asian flavours and ingredients. Highlights include mango gelato with mango marshmallows, sticky rice, a mango tuile, coconut crumble and coconut foam; as well as durian gelato in a waffle cup with salted coconut foam, jackfruit, young coconut jelly, coconut crumble, a coconut tuile and extra durian on the side. 19 Katherine Place, Melbourne.

TURN THE TABLES: Customer Reviews

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