You might not pick Brent Owens as a foodie if you passed him in the street. Then again, you wouldn’t pick him as a big Mariah Carey or Gossip Girl fan either. Suffice to say, he is a surprise package. In days past, this fiercely independent, hard-working young man could be found behind the wheel of a bobcat, but increasingly, his mind is elsewhere, dreaming up menus. Describing himself as a bad boy turned good, Brent, from Melton in Victoria, might have a tough exterior, but he’s a big softie at heart and maybe even a bit of a nerd deep down. A completely self-taught cook, Brent became interested in cooking at age 16. Watching countless cooking shows, Brent realised his true passion for cooking and, along with lots of practice in the kitchen, he has continued to draw inspiration from watching his culinary heroes on screen. “I’m often told by people ‘it would be impossible for anyone to love food as much as you’, but I want to see if I can really cook and if my food is good. I’ve never had professional criticism and I’m ready for it.” When he gets behind the stove, Brent is all about big flavours. While he respects the origins of a dish, he also likes to deconstruct them, to shake it up, to modernise it. Looking up to the likes of Jamie Oliver, Anthony Bourdain and the self-taught Heston Blumenthal, Brent would love to make his own travel series for TV, showing off global destinations, food cultures and traditions.