WAGGA chef Soon Lee Low wants to see the city’s tastebuds become more adventurous.
Mr Low arrived in the city late last year with an extended cooking pedigree that has taken him to all corners of the globe.
Now he's a man on a mission – to awaken a sense of adventure in the city’s food culture.
“They have to know more about food, that’s the main thing,” he said.
“People are scared to try things.”
Since arriving in Wagga, he has operated a pop up restaurant at Birdhouse on Fridays and Sundays, featuring an exotic and frequently-changed menu.
While Wagga’s foodie scene may lag behind the bold offerings of Sydney and Melbourne, according to Mr Lee, it is starting to catch up.
“It is moving in the right direction, (but) still slow,” he said.
He had high praise for The Oakroom Kitchen and Bar, on Morgan Street, which he said had a modern direction inspiring its culinary offerings.
Mr Low began plying his trade in Melbourne as an Asian fusion chef before heading abroad to develop his style.
“As a chef you have to travel,” he said.
“As you travel you learn different cuisines and you pick up some styles.”
His travels eventually led him to London and he even appeared on the UK version of MasterChef as a mentor for one of the contestants in 2013.
“(MasterChef) was good exposure because my time there was only for two years,” he said.
Mr Low said his time in London was particularly inspiring and he picked up elements from Japanese and European cuisines to add to his signature style.
In an effort to broaden the horizons of Wagga cuisine, he’s planning to start offering cooking classes in the coming months to share what he’s learned in his travels.
But soon it was time to return home, and his travels brought him to Wagga when his partner, Audrey, was offered a job with the Department of Primary Industries.
Mr Low quickly picked up work in Melbourne too, but decided maintaining his relationship via long distance wasn’t going to work.
Clarification: An earlier version of this article referred to Mr Low as a contestant on Masterchef UK in 2013. He was actually a mentor for another contestant.