The irrepressible and irresistible Justin Narayan, who won Masterchef Australia 2021, is jumping into the Christian advocacy space, doing a “virtual” event for International Justice Mission (IJM) Australia, an anti-slavery nonprofit whose work aligns with his Christian values.
On 29 October, Justin will share a “secret recipe” in a virtual cooking class for IJM as a way of raising funds for its campaign against bonded labour in South Asia.
With his fun and infectious personality, not to mention consummate skill with food, Justin is clearly a great asset for IJM to have in its toolkit, likely to attract people who wouldn’t ordinarily engage with such a difficult issue but who know him through the popular cooking show.
“I love being able to serve people and being able to share and communicate through food and so this is working with an organisation that is making a difference on the ground and doing something practical,” he tells Eternity.
He added that he had always been attracted to the “epic” work of the global anti-slavery organisation, particularly in South Asia.
“It’s such a cool way to use what I have in front of me, to partner with IJM, and it feels like a natural, organic thing.” – Justin Narayan
As a Fijian-Indian, Justin said he always wanted to make a difference in South Asia but until now he didn’t have a way to do so because he couldn’t go over and plant a church there.
“It’s epic how these doors have opened up and now able to use this new platform I’ve been given of cooking and food and sharing my story through that and highlighting to people on the ground in a practical way. It’s such a cool way to use what I have in front of me, to partner with IJM, and it feels like a natural, organic thing.”
Having grown up in a South Asian culture of sacrificial hospitality, Justin was blown away by what he experienced during a visit to South Asia in 2018.
“The people are just stunning; they will open up their door make you a cup of tea and make you something delicious – they’re so hospitable – sometimes to the detriment of themselves. That’s 100 per cent inspired me to do the same. I grew up in that culture, but then to be able to reciprocate it would be awesome.”
With 40 million people in slavery worldwide, of whom 62 per cent are in the Asia-Pacific, Justin said “It wouldn’t matter where my pay cheque came from, I’d always find a way to bring awareness to this issue, and now there’s this wild opportunity to have an influence over there so I’m going to make the most of that.”
Justin for Justice
Friday 29 October, 7PM AEDT