What is Jo Up to Now?
Updated: Aug 29, 2022
Since finishing filming for MasterChef Australia, I have had quite a journey - some very low lows, and some incredibly humbling highs! I think most people forget about a TV show pretty quick, but when you put your entire life, and income on hold for a year, it takes its toll, and there have been many many times when I find myself shaking my head in disbelief as to the enormity of that decision. Even though the struggle is real, I have never been one to take the easy way out - so onwards I go - because every day is a new opportunity to be better than the last day, and there is always hope! It's tough when you don't earn money like you used to - the financial hardship is really tough, and the only option I have to stay off the streets is to work hard, and give 500%. And So, I have a few jobs because I still want to cook, and I still want to talk travel, and I still want to make my spice mixes - and one day - I will look back and laugh at the craziness that is 2019 and 'the year after'. What will never change, is that I will always work hard, and never give up.
For almost 20 years - I have been in the Travel industry - Living my travel dreams by sending clients on the most amazing holidays and vacations. Bucket List stuff. I was good at it - I won a lot of awards, and always smashed targets and had the best clients - because I had passion for what they wanted to do! Slowly, the passion for food took over, and I made the decision to Jump into a new career - no regrets, and BOY what a turn my life has taken since.
In 2018, I started working in kitchens full time - with a job at RACV City club - firstly in the fine dining restaurant, and then settling into a role in banquets - which I enjoyed and learned so much from. In January 2020, everything started to change - there was this virus that was making people cancel their bookings, and before we knew what had happened - Covid had hit the world, jobs were lost and everything changed!
We were stood down from our roles and sent home to wait until things ‘got back to normal’
During that time, I decided to help my city rather than just sit at home, and so I took a job as a city street sanitiser - cleaning the streets of the city while everyone was in lockdown. In Melbourne, we had the most lockdowns of any city in the world I believe? It was mentally very challenging but throughout it all, I tried to keep busy - even while we had strict curfews and required permits and paperwork to leave the house!
During the lockdowns, I also trained to be a License tester for Vic Roads, and when ‘things opened up’ again, we were ready to help go through the backlog of people trying to get their licence. At this stage, restaurants were still only permitted to serve takeaway only, so there was a lack of cooking jobs to be found.
After what seemed like an eternity, and having missed births, deaths and family weddings, we were finally allowed out and to sit in restaurants again - so while I didn’t go back to my RACV job, I did end up back in kitchens. I worked in Mamasita cooking and learning about Mexican food - made some lifelong friends, and then about a year later, I started working at Movida Aqui - and am currently still there on a full time basis and loving the learning and growth that I see in myself every day!
I’m still a mad foodie, and am planning an extended trip to Spain in 2023, so that I can really get behind Spanish food, and bring back some great inspirations into the kitchen!
Follow me over on Instagram to see what food I’m currently serving up x
Are you exhausted yet?? A day in my life - always delicious and lots of fun.
How to find me
Currently working as a chef at Movida Aqui in Melbourne, and loving it so much! I believe I have found my place and my people 🤍
My Cooking classes at South Melbourne Markets have sadly finished as the space we used has been repurposed. During lockdowns from 2020-2021, I did online and private cooking classes instead, and these were a big hit! I am open to doing online or private classes again in the future - but they will need to fit in and around my full time chef role - which does keep me busy! get in touch by sending me an email if you want to organise something for family and friends!
To check out my spice range - click here