Tasked with plating up a fine-dining dish worthy of Hugh and his staff, the celebs also had to feature a native ingredient that wouldn’t be revealed until right before their cook time began.
For Archie Thompson, when he saw his ingredient was wattleseed, only two words came to his mind: “F**k me”.
“I had just never even heard of that before,” he told 10 play, laughing. “I wouldn’t even know what that would taste good in!
Re-watching his time in the kitchen as episodes aired, Archie noticed a trend where, in almost every challenge, he would describe how stressed he was.
“It was nothing out of the norm for me when I saw wattleseed, I was like well, I’m going to feel stressed.”
Despite having difficulty featuring the main ingredient, Archie still managed to plate up a stunning first course, one that really did blow the judges away. With such tight competition, it was the lacking wattleseed that sadly ended his time in the MasterChef kitchen, right before the semi-final.
“I know I’ve been pretty chaotic in this whole experience but I’ve managed to have some kind of level of calmness,” he said, “I reached a point where it's like okay, just breathe. I feel like I didn’t breathe that whole challenge.
“You can kind of see afterwards, I was just spent. I was emotionally spent. I just knew that was probably my ride and it was time to get off. I felt a lot more out of my depth in that challenge.”
After his final plates were delivered, a wave of emotion washed over Archie. Exhausted from the cook, overwhelmed and grateful for the privilege of cooking in one of the country’s best restaurants for a start, Archie also said he had an inkling this would be his last challenge in the competition.
“A small part of it was that disappointment, knowing that maybe I’d be going home, but a big chunk of what I was feeling was just being proud. Proud of how I was able to have this journey and be more than what I expected it to be, growing on so many levels and also, just beautiful people.
“Every time you walked into the kitchen, it was just such a beautiful experience.”
Since his time in the kitchen, Archie revealed that there has been one unforeseen consequence he wishes he could reverse.
“I don’t get to slack off at my mum’s anymore,” he said, laughing. “I used to fly in there, kick the feed up, and mum would just cook food that she knows I love. I was treated like a king!
“Now she’s like the queen and I’ve got to cook all of the dishes from MasterChef for her! It’s like, if I had known that was going to happen I wouldn’t have gone in the kitchen!”
Thankfully, Archie said he’s a lot calmer in the kitchen and has found himself enjoying the act of cooking a lot more since diving into the competition.
“I don’t put so much pressure on myself, and that’s probably due to putting myself in a position where I’ve had to feel every kind of emotion there is, and you can't run away!
“The big thing for me, whenever anything gets hard I tend to run from it, because it’s easier to cope with,” he continued. “With this experience you couldn’t, you had to really be in that moment and that’s what I learned. I still run, don’t get me wrong, but I try not to run as much.”
With the semi-final within arm's reach, Archie said it was tough to leave the competition so close to the end, but he couldn’t help but feel overwhelmingly proud of what he was able to achieve.
“We all just didn’t want to be that first person, that’s what it was. But then the next person goes out and you start to go, hang on, I’m actually not too bad here! And the food’s not too bad, so I’m going to see how far this can go!
“And then the next person goes out, then the next and you go f**k yeah, I’m on fire! I’m close to being in the semi-finals and before this competition, I couldn’t cook?
“That left a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth, when I didn’t [get to the semi-finals] because I was so close, but that’s not taking away from everything I did. I was over the moon. I’m pretty proud of myself.”
During his time in the kitchen, Archie was competing for Berry Street, which provides support for children, young people and families through a variety of programs and resources. You can find out more about Berry Street here.