When I stumbled confused and exhausted through those doors at the end of my audition I suddenly was wrapped in the arms of my children, and I felt insanely happy. Their hopeful faces filled with pride when they spotted the apron and it was a Mummy moment that will last in my memory forever.
When the top 24 were finally chosen and Simon asked us whether we were ready, the enthusiasm of our response reflected the sheer excitement I felt at being there. With cameras buzzing and judges prepping us for what lay ahead, it was an incredible moment. But did we really know what was truly instore for us! For it was only briefly that we could feel elated at being chosen, in the next instant we knew that 1/3 of us would be home before any of us could really breath easily again!
Entering the Masterchef NZ kitchen for the first time felt extraordinary. Somehow it was dreamlike yet when you are surrounded by Stevens kitchen equipment from floor to ceiling and banks of Fisher and Paykel ovens, you are kind of jolted into the reality that this must be for real!
The judges didn’t take long to warn us of our first challenge and when the first group of 6 were told they were off to the French Cafe, I was insanely jealous. I have had the pleasure of eating at the French Cafe and have tried some divine recipes from Simon Wright’s cookbook. It was disappointing to not have scored this particular challenge. Then I discovered that I was off to The Grill and disappointment turned to genuine delight. I hadn’t been to Sean Connolly’s restaurant and I couldn’t wait!
Meeting Shaun was definitely intimidating. Knowing he has cooked from his heart since he was 13 years old reminded me how little I really knew! Then I heard we had to prepare a steak tartare and I felt sick. Having never prepared such a dish I really felt terrified. Once we were shown what was required I felt a little more comfortable but I was conscious of my toes pressing into the floor with an aching sensation and I realised how nervous I was. They ached the entire way through the challenge as I quietly got on with the slicing and chopping. I moved carefully with the knife, cutting cleanly and keeping my bench tidy. When Sean hurried us along I tried to focus solely on where I was at and attempted to remain free of a time panic. I left the steak until the end so that I had time to think through how to deal with it. I minced it carefully but wasn’t convinced with the end product nor comfortable when Shaun came to peer at it, pad and pencil in hand. Too late to worry – what was done was done!
Back in the Masterchef kitchen, when Ray called my name to step forward I was gutted. I figured I was
home already. My meat was clearly over minced and it was time for me to go! When Aaron and Susan were the stars of their groups I was still convinced there was a trick to come. When Simon started to tell me that Shaun had been impressed with my skills I was in complete shock – really?
It was only as the four of us left the kitchen it dawned on me – we just made it – we are in the top 16 – we are in the Masterchef house – WOW – this is AMAZING!!!!!!!!