Many of you have been asking me about MasterChef, so I want to let everyone know that I did not make it beyond the audition stage. The lead up to those intense 60 minutes really took a lot out of me, but now I have time to finally catch my breath and reflect.
It was tough competition and I knew that the standards would be extremely high. There were 6 groups of about 15 people each. Mine was the final group of the day and out of us, only 2 were asked to come back for a day of filmed competition for a coveted MasterChef apron.
I went into it feeling good, but nervous, not knowing what to expect, as it was a Mystery Box challenge. Two of the items I chose to cook with were the chicken and the sweet potato. I was pleased with the fact I was able to come up with a recipe on the spot – chimichurri chicken with sweet potato quinoa salad. But ultimately, I was disappointed in how it turned out. Cooking on the clock, in a kitchen you've never been in, with equipment that isn't yours, and the added pressure of a dozen or so other people doing the same with a production team around you was a totally different experience than anything I was used to.
The panel of judges (unfortunately no George, Gary or Matt) did like my chimichurri and thought the flavour of the chicken was good, but the quinoa salad was about as underwhelming as the final presentation. I had to cut off a section of the chicken just for it to be served cooked. But despite the result, there were still lots of positives to take away from this unique experience.
Though in the back of my mind I felt like I was in over my head (I can’t bake, for one), my friends, family and coworkers supported me more than I could have ever imagined. It was unbelievable having all these people close to me, rooting for me – even if only for an audition. There are friends who've been telling me to do this for years, and were a big part of this. Also, the-restaurant-that-keeps-on-giving when it comes to my existence in Australia - Richmond Oysters. Even though I didn't make it far enough to make my signature seafood dish, they went above and beyond to help me out. And my lovely girlfriend, whose belief in me was so genuine and filled with enthusiasm, that for once I didn’t let stress get the best of me.
This was a learning experience that’s motivated me to become a better cook and to continue to put myself outside my comfort zone in order to find success.
And the first thing I did when I got home from the audition was get right back at it and re-create the very same meal I'd attempted in my audition, to the exact image I had in my head. Except, it only took me 2 hours.