Thanh Truong

Melbourne, Australia

Hi Monash Alumni, my name is Thanh Truong and I am a 2010 Bachelor of Commerce/Arts alumnus.

2020 has been a challenging year for us all. For many it is a year to forget. For me it has been a year of opportunity. Being ready to adapt to new circumstances overnight has been the story of the pandemic for me.

Earlier this year I was selected to be a contestant on Channel 7’s Plate of Origin cooking show. I would be cooking and representing my cultural heritage, Team Vietnam. I landed in Sydney to the news NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was announcing a new range of restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19.

I had just left behind my wife and my 6-month-old son Oliver in Melbourne to attend this competition and my teammate and I were concerned we wouldn’t be allowed back into Victoria. Uncertainty, anxiety and panic were eerie feelings on the streets. Then the hoarding started!

I remember contestants talking about how individuals and families weren’t able to get the staples such as flour and toilet paper because the supermarkets had not yet had time to enact “limits per customer” on essential items. This was a wakeup call for all the contestants. We now needed to carefully consider the ingredients needed. I know this brought the teams closer together. Just like the show brought us together, we wanted our food to bring our communities together. We wanted to cook dishes that viewers could also cook at home. The #covidcooking movement had taken off!

Now, back in Melbourne, when I walk around the neighbourhood I feel more connected to my local community and spend far more time thinking about what to cook for dinner. My hope is that the pandemic will encourage everyone to reassess the way we think about food, the kitchen and how we nourish ourselves.

As a fruiterer, I hope you’ve been sourcing fresh fruit and vegetables for your family. After all, I am the Fruit Nerd and my belief is that good food starts with good produce!

P.S. I hope you’ll cheer us on tonight! The Plate of Origin Grand Final airs on Channel 7 at 7.30pm (Tuesday 22 September).

Instagram: @fruitnerd

Images: Courtesy of Channel 7.