• Chefs & Recipes

    Meet the MasterChef- Ben Ungermann

  • -Chef Ben Ungermann

    Born to a Dutch mother and Dutch-Indonesian father, Ben says his greatest influences have always been family, particularly his maternal grandmother, his Oma.

    As a teenager he moved in with his grandparents, spending his afternoons kicking a football with his grandfather, his Opa, then watching his Oma cook stews and hearty Dutch food. Alongside his brother Danny and sister Selina, Ben describes his childhood as idyllic, with a close-knit family who always shared meal times. Proud dad to Ella, 13, Phoenix, nine and Oli, seven, he loves spending time in the kitchen with them. A sporty and creative student, Ben played representative football at a State and National level in high school, while juggling his love of drawing and painting. Following graduation in 2001, Ben worked in sports retail while studying Multimedia at the University of Queensland, then moving into sports retail management. In 2017 Ben decided to pursue his dream of a life in food in Masterchef Australia with a strong push from family. Ben learned so much during the season, finished as Runner-Up and discovered a love and talent for desserts and his now famous ice cream. Dubbed the “Ice Cream King” by his fans, the cry was for an ice cream parlour and Ben and his brother Danny opened up Ungermann Brothers retro ice cream parlour on Australia Day 2018 which is run and operated by the Ungermann family. Ben describes his food style as rustic with a hint of sophistication with very diverse and unique flavour combinations. He has been able to work with some of the best chefs internationally from YotamOttolenghi and Clare Smyth to Heston Blumenthal. Ben has been travelling everywhere from Japan to England and his homeland in the Netherlands with his culinary adventures and has brought Ungermann Brothers ice cream overseas which makes it an international brand. He is also taking a step back into his modelling roots with a focus on the fashion industry and an exciting time ahead with his first cook book in the works following his love of different cuisines and cultures.

    Ben has currently kicked off his World Tour with events, projects and meet & greets in Indonesia, South Africa, India, Dubai, Singapore and the Netherlands and is looking forward to some very exciting new projects that will be announced soon.

    BBQ Asparagus Salad 

    Serves 2

    • 2 large bunches of asparagus
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 large handful spinach
    • 1 large handful rocket
    • 1 small handful of shaved parmesan
    • 2 slices of white bread
    • Splash of olive oil
    • 1 large pinch of smoked paprika
    • 1 pinch of salt
    • 1 pinch of pepper

    Instructions

    1. Take the bunches of asparagus on an angle remove woody base and sit in a bowl of water.
    2. 2While the asparagus sits in the water take 2 slices of white bread and randomly pull pieces of it around the size of your thumb. Place bread pieces on a lined baking tray and splash some olive oil over the bread. Sprinkle paprika over the bread and also salt and pepper.
    3. Place bread pieces in the oven at 180 for a few minutes until toasted. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.
    4. Take the asparagus from the bowl and place on a BBQ with some olive oil. Constantly move around the asparagus so it chars evenly. Once cooked on all sides and still has a slight crunch remove and place on a tray.
    5. To make the dressing a combine all ingredients together in a bowl and whisk until emulsified.
    6. To plate up create layers in a bowl. Sprinkle some of the spinach some of the rocket a sprinkling of parmesan. Add crotons and BBQ asparagus pieces to the salad. Dress the salad last minute and serve.

    Babi Ke Cap

    Serves 2

    You will need

    • 200g Pork belly
    • 3 tsp brown sugar
    • Vegetable stock cubes
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 15 tbsp soy sauce
    • ½ cup water
    • 5 tbsp brown sugar
    • Ginger

    For Cucumber Pickle

    • ½ cup white vinegar
    • 2 tsp sugar
    • Splash of water
    • 1 cucumber

    For Steamed White Rice

    • 1 cup of white Basmati Rice
    • 2 cups water
    • Seasoning

    For the Garnish

    • Pea tendrils

    Instructions

    • Take pork belly and halve, cube into 3cm cubes.. With a filleting knife take top layer of skin and set aside to use for crackling. Now add pork belly along with all ingredients and enough water to submerge pork in a pressure cooker. Cook for 25-40 minutes.
    • Place pork skin in over at 200 degrees. Take cucumber and with a mandolin slice strips. Cut into long thin strips. Combine in a bowl, vinegar, sugar and water then add cut cucumber.
    • Take pork belly out of pressure cooker and cut into thin strips, season in a bowl with sugar, half teaspoon of vegetable stock cube. Mix then add to a large pan on a medium heat, cook on either side till brown. Drain excess oil out. In a separate saucepan place sauce from pressure cooker and reduce down to a syrup. Set aside for plating.
    • Add 1 cup of rice to a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water and cook for seven minutes. Cook and place in 5cm cookie cutter for plating.
    • With excess rice, make flat cracker like shapes, place on a lined baking tray, dehydrate in 80 degree oven for 1-2hours or until completely dry. Then fry in oil to create puffed rice crackers, season and place on the dish for height.

    Vanilla Bayleaf Ice Cream, Pumpkin & Dutch Spices

     You will need

    Serves 6-8

    For Vanilla Bay Leaf Ice Cream

     

    • 2 cups cream
    • 1 cup milk (place bay leaves in milk overnight to soak)
    • 6-10 large bay leaves
    • 2 eggs
    • 170g caster sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla paste (not extract) 

    For Dutch Spiced Biscuit

     

    • 35g plain flour
    • 35g self raising flour
    • 55g brown sugar
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • ½ tsp ground cloves
    • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
    • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
    • ¼ tsp ground coriander
    • 55g unsalted butter

    For Pumpkin Galettes

    • 600g pumpkin, peeled
    • 4 tbsp brown sugar
    • 60g unsalted butter, melted
    • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

    For Salted Butterscotch

     

    • 130g brown sugar
    • 200g cream
    • 40g butter
    • 1/2 tsp salt

    Cream Cheese Mousse 

    • 250g cream cheese
    • 200ml thickened cream
    • 3-4 tbsp icing sugar

    For Pumpkin and Vanilla Puree

    • offcuts of pumpkin galettes
    • vanilla paste to taste

    For Isomalt Shards with Dehyrated Marigolds

    1 & ¼ cups caster sugar

    Dehydrated marigolds (40-50 degrees for 2-3 hours)

    Dressing

    • micro greens
    • baby coriander
    • marigolds

     Instructions

    1. Turn on ice cream machine to pre-chill. Pre-heat oven to 180C.
    2. Place egg and sugar into an electric mixer and whip until mixture is white and fluffy like a dense meringue. This will take 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, take soaked bay leaves in milk and place in blender until bay leaves are completely emulsified. Pass milk through a chux or muslin cloth and strainer to remove any pieces. Add bay leaf milk and vanilla paste to electric mixer and mix for a further few minutes. Add in cream and whip until thickened. Pour into machine and churn.
    3. For the Dutch Spiced Biscuit, sift all dry ingredients into bowl. Add butter and use fingertips to rub butter through the mixture, bringing together to form a soft dough. Roll the dough onto a sheet of baking paper to a thickness of 2mm. Place on a flat baking tray and bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool, and crumble to a fine crumb. Set aside on the tray until ready to serve.
    4. For the Pumpkin Galettes, line a medium baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
    5. Slice pumpkin into 4cm wide lengths. Using a mandolin, slice each length into 2 mm strips and arrange in a single layer on the baking tray, to measure approximately 14cm x 20cm. Keep offcuts.
    6. Brush the pumpkin layer with the melted butter. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar and ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon. Repeat these layers another 3 times, finishing with butter, sugar and cinnamon.
    7. Cover the layered pumpkin with a sheet of baking paper and top with another baking tray to weigh it down. Place in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and drain away any liquid
    8. Replace the top tray and place a weight, such as a mortar and pestle, on top of the tray and set the galette aside to cool. Once cooled use a 6cm round cutter to cut circles from the galette and set aside until ready to serve.
    9. For the Salted Butterscotch Sauce, combine brown sugar, cream and butter in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar has dissolved, butter has melted and a smooth sauce forms. Remove from heat, add salt to taste and set aside, keeping warm, until ready to serve.
    10. For the Cream Cheese Mousse, place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until thickened and smooth. Transfer to a piping bag and set aside in fridge until ready to serve.
    11. Take pumpkin offcuts and blend and add vanilla paste to taste. Push through a sieve and place in squeeze bottles.
    12. Take isomalt and heat until liquid. Remove from heat and using a pallet knife, place a smear on a lined baking tray. Lay out dehydrated marigolds on top of isomalt mixture. Allow to cool and then break into shards. Set aside for service.
    13. To serve, spoon Salted Butterscotch Sauce in a swirl on each plate, starting in the centre and swirling outwards. Pipe a 6cm round of Cream Cheese Mousse on one side of each plate and top with each with a Pumpkin Galette. On the opposite side, spoon a portion of Dutch Spiced Biscuit Crumb onto each plate and pipe pumpkin and vanilla puree closely around, and top with a scoop of Vanilla Bay Leaf Ice Cream. Top pumpkin with isomalt shards. Place garnishes on ice cream and place around plate.