7 things I learned from reality TV

This is my final post focused on MasterChef Australia because I’m not part of it anymore, hence I can no longer relay personal experience. These are all the related posts leading to this point, in case you want to take a look:

Getting an audition for MasterChef Australia was a life-changing experience for me. It’s made me clearer on what I want from food and life.

I started this process with clear goals in mind, which included having my food critiqued by respected professionals, improving my palate, and finding out more about an industry I wouldn’t otherwise have access to. As I have been sitting on a restaurant idea for a little while, I wanted to learn about the business of food as well as the hands-on aspects.

What I ended up with were a number of key learnings:

  1. I do not want to be a chef. I am not into 17-hour days. I have a baby and an outside-of-work life that I want to put time and energy into. I don’t know if I would enjoy food as much as I do now if I had to prepare it, according to someone else’s instructions, for nearly all my waking hours. And, no, I don’t think this makes me any less passionate about food.
  2. I am far more conservative in the kitchen than I realised. I fall back on flavours that I know and trust rather than consistently trying out new combinations. Until recently, I did not foray into ingredients I had already made up my mind about (eg. pork — although I changed that view in my post of 10 March).
  3. I rely on specialised tools in the kitchen. A lot.A potato masher. A peeler. A serrated knife. A saucepan/frying pan lid. These are kitchen basics to me. They weren’t available to Top 50 contestants and I have to admit to being a bit lost without them.
  4. My family comes first. I knew this before, but it was even more apparent to me after my week away from my son. I missed him intensely — especially because I was having to express so much — and mother-guilt kicked in from day 1.
  5. I am stronger and more resilient than I thought I was. I always kind of suspected it. Having my baby boy confirmed it. Having to be without my support network in a completely alien environment for a week reinforced it in concrete.
  6. I am great, just as I am. I may not be able to cook or take photos as well as others, but I have my role to play in developing culinaria. Food is a passion and an outlet for me.
  7. I am looking at food with fresh eyes. I am tasting, noticing textures, smelling, seeing and listening differently — as though I had not developed these senses before. The experience will broaden my palate and make me a better cook, wine-lover and ideas person.

I met some amazing people and learned a lot of new facts & techniques during my shortlived MasterChef experience. I know that some of these friendships will blossom and last. I am grateful for every life-changing experience and this one is no exception.

Link love. If you have liked my posts, you may also want to take a look at the experiences of fellow auditionees:

If I have missed anyone, let me know, or link to their blogs in a comment.

Addendum of 8/11/2015: I’ve corrected the links to Eating with Jack, as the pages have changed location since my original post.

Addendum [9 May 2009]: There is actually another point that I completely missed before.

8. Reality TV makes you younger. I did not know this until I read the news.com.au article that told me I am now 27! This is awesome news. I lost 4 years from my age, and all I did differently was spend a few weeks of my life focused on MasterChef. Reality TV is the elusive fountain of youth. Spread the word.



  1. As much as I wanted you to win, I am happy that you came out of the contest with a keener understanding of yourself and what is truly important to you. And as a Mommy myself, I am very glad that Xander has his Mommy back!


  2. Hannah, great example of quality reflective thinking and understanding what matters most to you… I hope you move on that restaurant idea of yours.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s