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:
- my call up to audition;
- Auditions — Day 1 & Day 2;
- my audition dishes — Assiette de Hannah & tom yum gai; and
- Top 50 week from the onion challenge, to the bolognese challenge and fish elimination, the final cook-off and judgement day.
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:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- strong>Jack, of Eating with Jack, has written about her Top 50 experience (& cont. & cont.)and she successfully reattempted our final challenge; and
- Matt at Abstract Gourmet auditioned in Perth and has become an unofficial blogsperson for issues around the show. Check out his posts on his audition dish, MasterChef gossip & the audition process.
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.