It was never about the bis­cuit: chef

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Food -

MASTERCHEF Aus­tralia con­tes­tant Sara Oteri says that she has learnt more in her few months on the show than she had in the past five years of cook­ing.

The 26-year-old has made it into the top seven of the re­al­ity cook­ing com­pe­ti­tion and said it had been an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I would do it again in a heart­beat; it was so awe­some on so many dif­fer­ent lev­els,” she said.

Oteri, who moved to Mel­bourne four years ago, re­signed from her job and a cou­ple of months later de­cided to ap­ply to MasterChef to “see what hap­pens”.

“I was very much open to the uni­verse, I guess. I was just like ‘Give me what you will and we’ll see where it takes me’ and lo and be­hold, months later, this is where I am,” she said.

“It was harder than I was ex­pect­ing but I was glad be­cause it ac­tu­ally shows you that the peo­ple who make it onto the show are gen­uinely good cooks and they’ve got their heart in it.”

For those who think whip­ping up a cou­ple of dishes is all there is to it, think again.

“It was a real unique ex­pe­ri­ence but it was in­tense; months and months wak­ing up early in the morn­ing, fin­ish­ing late, it takes a def­i­nite toll. You have to be men­tally and phys­i­cally able to do it,” she said.

And she had a mes­sage for view­ers who were not so sym­pa­thetic to their emo­tions boiling over on screen.

“If you have a bad day in the kitchen, if any­one gets up­set, you don’t cry over curd and you don’t cry over meringue, what you’re re­ally cry­ing about is that you could be go­ing home and you’re so ex­hausted, emo­tion­ally, phys­i­cally, ev­ery­thing,” she said.

“So that’s the rea­son we are so emo­tional and I think a lot of peo­ple judge us and go ‘Why are you cry­ing over a bis­cuit?’. “It was never about the bis­cuit.” Oteri said she learnt a lot about her­self dur­ing film­ing MasterChef.

“You don’t re­alise how of­ten you rely on the peo­ple around to pick you up when you’re down and when they’re not there, you re­ally have to rely on your­self for ev­ery­thing,” she said.

“That was a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for me. I al­ways thought I was a strong per­son but com­ing out the end of this I have grown an im­mense amount.”

While Oteri’s dream re­mains to open a cafe, she is ea­ger to see what op­por­tu­ni­ties present them­selves.

“At this stage it is like ev­ery­thing’s pos­si­ble and there’s so many op­tions; it’s quite over­whelm­ing ac­tu­ally,” she said.

MasterChef

con­tes­tant Sara Oteri.

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