Woman’s Day (New Zealand)
Cooks under pressure THE HEAT IS ON!
As we gear up for the fiery finale, the final five contestants reveal their recipes for success
SARAH: I SABOTAGE MYSELF
She became a celebrity chef after her first turn on the show in 2014 and despite tackling this season like a pro, Sarah Todd confesses that she still struggles with “selfsabotage”. The single mum, 34, explains, “As soon as I start to do well, I overthink. I’ve been doing a lot of work on my confidence and how I talk to myself.”
But Sarah has no hesitation when it comes to what she’ll do with the money if she wins. “I’ve dreamed of opening an Indian-inspired restaurant in Australia since my first time on MasterChef. I’m thankful I didn’t because, after living in India, I realised how little I knew about Indian cuisine. But I’m ready now and if I won, that’s where the prize money would go.”
However, Sarah says her 11-year-old son Phoenix isn’t letting her get carried away just yet. “He asked me the other day, ‘Do you really think you can win, Mum?’ He’ll always make sure I’m grounded!”
KEYMA: MY KIDS ARE SO PROUD!
Having their mum in the MasterChef kitchen has given Keyma Vasquez Montero’s daughter Bella, 12, and son Osvaldo, nine, some serious props in the playground!
“My kids are so proud – they got a lot of attention from friends and teachers,” grins the Venezuelan-born foodie, 37. “One of my daughter’s friends is waiting for me to get back home to cook for her. It’s hilarious as she’ll get the same empanadas and arepas I’ve cooked for her in the past.”
Keyma insists she never thought she’d stay in the competition this long, adding, “Every time one of my children gets sick or something happens at home, I want to pack my bags and leave, but I’m in the final lap and I have to keep going.”
Hoping that this experience will lead to a culinary career, she continues, “I’m so fired up and inspired. This has awoken a part of me that was probably dormant. It’s time to let the inner Keyma be ambitious and follow her passions!”
JULIE: I’M MY BIGGEST COMPETITION
She’s this season’s most high-profile cook and Julie Goodwin admits to Woman’s Day, “My biggest competition in this kitchen is and always has been myself – my nerves and my state of mind.”
The winner of the very first season of MasterChef Australia in 2009, she adds, “There’s a certain amount of pressure on all the returning contestants, especially those of us who have businesses in the food industry. Our livelihood depends on our reputation, so it’s a risk to put ourselves out there in public, not knowing what the challenges will be.”
Still, it’s been “a lot of fun” the second time around, admits the Sydneysider, 51. “I loved meeting Rick Stein, and I’m amazed, humbled and incredibly grateful to still be here. Making it this far means there’s life in the old girl yet! It also means there’s still a place for family food, big flavours and generous helpings.”
DANIEL: IT’S BEEN A ROCKY RIDE
Daniel Lamble insists he didn’t think he had “any chance” of making it to the top five. “It was more of a dream than a goal,” he admits. “Walking into this season was very intimidating and it’s been a rocky process, but I’ve made it. It’s the best feeling in the world!”
Whatever the outcome, the Darwin firefighter says being part of MasterChef has changed his life. “I feel like a different bloke. I have a newfound confidence and I’ve learnt not to be so hard on myself. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to put myself out there like this. I had a lot of confidence issues and this experience of diving into the deep end has helped immensely.”
If Daniel does come out on top, he’ll be buying an engagement ring for his girlfriend Kassie – and his pooches are in for a treat too. “I’ll go to the butcher and grab them some seriously deluxe bones!”
BILLIE: I’VE GOT MY SPARK BACK
A lot has changed for reality TV favourite Billie Mc McKay since she won season seven of of the the show show in 2015 – most notably, the 30-year-old became a mother.
She admits it’s been “really hard at times” being away from her daughter Ada, confessing, “I miss her terribly. She’s almost two now, so she knows I’m not there, but MasterChef has given me back my spark for cooking and food, and that’s going to make me a happier person and, in turn, a better mum!
“The phone call to come back to the show came at a perfect time. As a new mum and not really having a clear idea of what I wanted to do, I was quite anxious about how to get where I wanted to be.
“Sleep deprivation and a small child will do that to you! MasterChef has given me so much, but most of all, it’s given me confidence. I’ll be forever grateful for that.”