GALLERY: MasterChef champion shares recipe secrets

EMMA Dean shared her festive season food tips during a visit to Bendigo on Saturday.

The 2013 MasterChef champion was in Bendigo to launch her new book A Homegrown Table at Strath Village.

The former Bendigo resident now lives in Melbourne but said it was always nice to come home.

"It's always nice to be back in Bendigo," she said.

"I love Bendigo.

"I'm going to go an visit my horse after this.

"He's a bit sick."

Ms Dean took time out to meet fans and talk about her favourite recipes. She also signed copies of her book.

Ms Dean's first collection of recipes is a farm-to-table appraoch using locally grown of foraged food to create an array of dishes.

"The book is getting a really good response," she said.

"It has a nice, high standard and people would buy it even if they didn't watch MasterChef."

Ms Dean's number one cooking tip is to "relax and make it your own".

"I've got a really good tip for Christmas Day," she said.

"I've made it and it's so yummy - you just mash up some pudding and you mix it into softened vanilla ice cream and you refreeze.

"It's perfect for an Australian Christmas Day because it's always so hot."

Earlier this year Ms Dean told the Bendigo Advertiser never in her wildest dreams did she imagine winning MasterChef. 

Ms Dean said she had made a life-long friend in fellow contestant and second-place getter Lynton. 

“We were so happy that the final task we had was a pressure test,” she laughed. 

“We were both so tired and creatively exhausted. I am so proud of Lynton and was so happy to see him do well; I know he has worked so hard.”

For winning MasterChef Ms Dean was awarded $100,000 to follow her culinary dream, a cookbook deal and access to some of Australia’s best chef’s for work experience. 

She also won an Alfa Romeo in a surprise twist. 

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