Welcome to the latest edition of THE INTERVUE. Our next guest on the interview was a Grand Finalist on MasterChef Legends – Season 11, based out of Houston, Texas. Her bio describes her as a recipe developer & food photographer. She is the creator and storyteller behind Burmalicious, a food blog that specializes in the mystifying Burmese cuisine and celebrating his diverse culinary heritage.
She and along with fellow MasterChefs are going to be coming to the DC area on November 13th for MasterChef Live at the Warner Theatre. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have Suu M. Khin
I’m glad to be talking with you, Suu. You’re the first MasterChef I’ve ever talked to. In our twelve years we’ve been with the Rogers Revue.
Oh, thank you. Thank you for having me. Again. It’s an it’s an absolute pleasure to be doing this.
The first question I want you welcome. The first question I want to ask is, when did you realize that you have a talent for the culinary arts.
Cooking started pretty young, I started helping my grandmother in her kitchen since I was five or six. It started by like, you know, doing very basic stuff like peeling onions, and I’m Burmese born and raised in Burma. So, our cuisine has a lot of curries, like we eat a lot of rice and curry. It’s important to make fresh curry paste in the morning. That’s like the first task in the kitchen.
And my job is usually to pound like, you know, onions, garlic, lemongrass chilies all in a morning. If you think cutting onions make you cry, you should try pounding chilies in a mortar there was a lot of crying involved. Again, you know, it was like, it was more of a chore more of a responsibility because I grew up in a culture where cooking is, is a essential trait for a girl to you know have so that you can grow up into a decent woman. I would say I hated cooking as I was growing up, but like, you know, it’s part of the responsibility. It’s what all the woman gathered around in the morning to you know, prepare a meal fit for rent not king but for men of the house. So, I hated it. Like I you know, I have a lot of questions in my mind.
Like, why is this only woman’s job like, you know, so there was a lot of a lot of resentment, a lot of yeah, there’s a lot of resentment growing up and then I actually moved to United States when I was twenty-three for grad school and I was like, this is it. No more cooking. I’m just going to do what I love doing. I’m just going to study Explore the world. But then it was in Massachusetts, it was just so cold. So, we were stuck indoors. So, I picked up cooking again. But now, but that time, it was more of a heavy choice because it is a good way to, you know, make new friends because I always say, you know, it’s, it’s the best way to reach people’s minds and hearts through their stomach.
It’s really good way to make new friends meet new people. And it’s also it is the best way to cure homesickness to cook something that you know, like your grandmother make, or your mom make. And then when you recreate it. What in your little dorm and when you start smelling the aroma that used to fill your home like in Burma? Yeah. So, I would say twenty-three is when I cooking become a heavy choice.
Awesome, that’s wonderful story. I’m glad that you were able to tell us a story. Yeah, indeed. When did you realize that you had the culinary skills to try out for MasterChef?
So actually, so after school, like I’m going to continue with this story, because yeah, it will all make sense. After the grad school, yeah. So, after the grad school, I went back home to Burma, there was after three years, I went back home to Burma. And I stayed with my grandmother for four years before I moved back to the United States in 2018. And then, that time, like, she couldn’t cook anymore, she was in her late 90s. So, I do most of the cooking for her. And then like all that she could, she will always be in the kitchen, she will sit down in the in the kitchen. And she will though this is how you do this. And there’s also a story behind these recipes.
And I see the need for these recipes to be you know, put on something whether it’s in a book or on a website, and I started my food blog. So that was when you know, all this like, like this recipe development, food signing, food photography begins as well. And I and that blogging begins. So, I after I moved to United States, MasterChef discovered me through my blog. Oh, wow. So yeah, so when I think it was in 2019, August, a casting manager, like she DM me on my Instagram, and she was like “Hey, I landed on your Instagram page from #homecooking. And I see you know, you’re good at cooking. You have great plating skills. You’re good with food photography, like everything and just like it like I see a lot of passion in you from your blog. We’re going to be in Houston, do you want to try out?” The rest become history. And yeah, right now.
Yeah, you’re here. Right now, talking to us. You were a grand finalist. And plus, you were in the very first all-female finale in MasterChef history, how does it feel to be part of that history?
First of all, I’m very honored to be part of this, you know, like, very first, all female finale and MasterChef history. And I was together with Kelsey and Autumn. And they were great competition. They were also my, they’re also my best friends. And we really had no animosity, we, you know, we have our own style of cooking. And when we’re in the finale, we were like, whoever wins that we were going to cheer for, for and for all of us. And yeah, we’re just going to be happy.
And I think it was, it was very apparent in the finale as well that we’re very, very genuinely have been when Kelsey was crowned MasterChef. And it was just so proud. Because, you know, like, it’s a male dominant industry after all, so for you know, to see women doing their own things, and you know, like taking, like our own space, I always say there’s we make history with her story. So yeah, it’s a proud moment for all of us.
What was it like to work with such judges Gordon Ramsay, Aarón Sanchez, and Joe Bastianich, as your hosts, your mentors, your guidance, and I understand that during filming, they had to be shut down due to COVID-19. And you had to resume in October of last year.
Yes. Yeah. So, this season is especially it’s a little bit more special because it’s not just the three judges. We call this even MasterChef legends because we were visited by these culinary legends every single week. Every single challenge like Chef Morimoto, Curtis Stone. We have Emeril Lagasse. We have Chef Roy Choi, Dominique Crenn, or like, you know, Michelin stars they all over. They’re all running Michelin star restaurants. They’re likely like Chef Dominique Crenn like she’s like I think she’s like the first female to hold three Michelin star restaurant in United States. So, it’s just it was you know, it was already a unique and surreal experience, but especially to be on this season with a daily appearance of Legends.
While the whole world is going through interesting times, so this, this first row VIP tickets to watch them cook, see them in flesh and blood and you know, just very cool personal advice do to get these very personal devices directly from them. Like I always say, I was legit living in a dream. But yes, you are right. We started filming in February 2020. We filmed for a good three to four weeks, and then it had to shut down for eight months. And then we picked it up again at the end of September. So yeah, we were you know, we were just amateur home coach who enjoys cooking for hungry family and friends. And suddenly this opportunity of the lifetime knocks on our door and you’re part of us additional experience, and then I’m in the finale. So yeah, I’m grateful again and again.
Absolutely. And here you are, you’re on tour in Evansville, IN for MasterChef Live, and you’re come back to DC in the next few days. For those who have never attended MasterChef Live, tell us what it’s all about, similar to what we see in the show, or it’s a condensed version of it.
First of all, I promise you, you’ll have the most fun and exciting time with your family and us. And you know, all the MasterChef consensus, it’s going to be a great experience. So please make sure to bring your family and friends who come see us and to answer your question. So usually, the show we will have one or two challenges, whether it’s usually start with mystery dogs, and then it goes into a pressure test. On the live show we have appetizer round on three round and the dessert round. So, it’s more of a demonstration. It’s not a competition, because we have two juniors and two MasterChef adults. So yeah, it’s more of a more of a cooking demonstration. And we chased each other through we do you know, these little fun, we do these impersonations, we do fun judgment.
And then we had all the fun challenges as well. Yes, it is very similar to the show. And people are always wondering, you know, how we cook against the clock, you know, because we always had this one our time is that clock real? And you’ll find out that the clock? Real the clock is you know how we are like, like, because people are like, Oh, they always have recipes. But no, we don’t, we didn’t have recipes. We never had recipes, we must think strategize and put on our feet. So that you’ll have to find out how we strategize. You know, when we are thrown curveballs, how we tackle witness tree ingredients. And you know, there’s like, again, like there’s going to be curveballs, it’s going to be twists and tricks and surprises, like, you know, MasterChefs are always filled with surprises and curveballs.
So yeah, that you’ll get to see how we keep our tools under pressure. And most importantly, how we still enjoy every moment of it. Because you know, cooking, it’s what we all enjoy doing. Come expecting the unexpected. But again, you’ll be entertained. We’re doing our 25th show (as of earlier this week), and everybody in every city goes back home with a big smile on your face, that you will enjoy it.
That is great to hear. Now while you’re in each of these cities, so you have a chance to taste some of the local cuisine in each of the cities or no.
Sometimes no sometimes, yes. So, in Nashville, like so again, like you know, I’m, I’m still new to America. So, I signed up, I signed up for this tour. Yes, first reason is to you know, meet and greet. And thank all the fans who have been very supportive throughout the season. And the second reason is to see that America, so you know, the whole country because I’ve only been to four states before the tour started. So yeah, like I’ve only I work. I was in Massachusetts for school. I live in Texas. I was in California for filming. I have family in New York. So that’s just the only four states so now I’m seeing like, you know, the whole America in the most beautiful season.
Fall has been like, you know, it’s just beautiful everywhere. But yeah, so in Nashville, we’re in Nashville and I had to get to try hot chicken. We were in Akron, OH, and we were we were able to try their fried cheese curds. So yeah, like every city like not every city but yes, I’ve been I have a chance to explore the city for like, two hours. And yeah, I get your free local foods as well.
So this will be your first time in our Nation’s Capital, correct?
Correct. It’s going to be my first time in DC and I’m very excited. Very, very excited.
Well, I must tell you as a lifelong Washingtonian, and when you get here you must try the blue crab. You must try it. That is our delicacy. You cannot leave Maryland DC or Northern Virginia without blue crab, our Mumbo Sauce or try the Old Bay seasoning.
Definitely give it a try, Thank you for recommendation.
What would you say to the home cook chef that would like a piece of advice that want to continue their journey into cooking and to the culinary arts down the road?
You know if you I always say like follow your passion follow your dreams because dreams are valid if you and you know your voices can be heard if you say it loud and clear so love you know do what you love doing and then just go in don’t let that fire died down because it will take you to places just like me like I never knew.
Like never like in my life that I would think that will be on MasterChef though I will I’m a huge fan of the show but again like you know I’m in this again, this is a very surreal experience I was I’m so grateful to be a part of and follow your dreams chase your dreams. There’s you should never have a regret; you should never have second thoughts about choosing and following your dreams.
Thank you very much for having me again. I can’t wait to see everybody in DC in few days.