'The Last Thing I Wanted Was To Have A Frantic Cook': Dilruk Jayasinha Surpassed His Own MasterChef Expectations

Comedian Dilruk Jayasinha never expected to make it past the first elimination, let alone battle it out for a place in the grand finale.

On Monday night, Dilruk stood alongside Tilly, Rebecca, Nick and Collette in the semi-finale where the remaining celebs had 90 minutes to cook the judges a dish that showed how far they had come in the competition.

Making his mum's prawn curry and beetroot curry with ghee rice, Dilruk hoped to show the judges what a massive journey he had been on since walking into the MasterChef kitchen for the first time.

Throughout the competition, Dilruk spoke about how he had only really been cooking for the last year.

"I suppose when I won the Immunity Pin in episode one people thought maybe I was bluffing," Dilruk told 10 play after his elimination, "but the truth revealed itself when I plated up, for example, in a baking dish that you find at the bottom of your drawer at home.

"The fact that I was able to survive in the eliminations as long as I did, to actually step up to a challenge like cooking in a fine-dining restaurant and, dare I say I delivered, was a huge victory for me," he continued.

"It's an understatement to say I surpassed my own expectations," Dilruk admitted, "I genuinely wanted to just survive the first elimination and after that, it was just a bit of a party for me.

"I genuinely was enjoying every minute of every second I was in there, and to get as far as the semi-finals is ridiculously awesome for me."

But Dilruk didn't just scrape through, in many of the challenges he blew the judges away with what he was plating up. Most recently, his Sri Lankan black pork curry he made during the Vue de monde service challenge was a marriage of creativity and technical perfection that had audiences drooling.

"Certain Sri Lankan restaurants are hitting me up asking me how to do it," he said, laughing. "Also some restaurants are adding stuff to their menu saying 'as featured on MasterChef last night by Dilruk'... to me, I mean surely that's got to be one of the best compliments you can get when a restaurant is inspired by your cooking.

"I had no clue I was capable of making something that was edible, let alone fine-dining," Dilruk added.

Heading into the semi-final, as the judges revealed that it would be a double elimination, seeing the skills of the remaining celebs around him, Dilruk wanted to make sure that, if this was to be his final cook, it was one he enjoyed.

"The last thing I wanted to do was have a really frantic, stressed-out cook for my final one. My attitude was, okay double elimination, finals would be amazing but don't get so caught up in the competition that you forget how fun this is."

Though he was cautious to make sure his prawns were prepped perfectly, an errant "poop chute", and a slightly mild flavour in his beetroot curry saw Dilruk eliminated alongside Rebecca. At the time he said he was ready for his MasterChef journey to come to an end.

"For a lack of a better word I was cooked," he joked. "I was like, you know what? That's fine. Semi-finals, what an incredible achievement, it's so far beyond what I wanted."

As time passed, and seeing his journey air each night, Dilruk said a creeping feeling of FOMO has washed over him since.

"With hindsight I absolutely am like, I can't believe I got so close to the finals and missed out at the very end! Watching the episodes back I'm like, oh my god I was so close! I feel the remorse of not being in the finals today more than I did on the day."

Still, everything that he learned in the competition has given Dilruk a "180-degree change" in his relationship with cooking.

"I'm looking up places where I can go to cooking classes and things like that because I want to add to the passion the show has created!"

On Sunday night when the Vue de monde challenge episode aired, Dilruk recreated his pork curry for his girlfriend and her family.

"I have gone from someone who would always order takeaway if I wanted to treat someone, to actually preparing a fine-dining meal for my girlfriend's family!

"The show gave me a love of the process, even though sometimes I miss the mark with my cook, I really learned to enjoy the lead-up," Dilruk explained.

"It's very similar to stand-up for me, when I started I was pretty crap for the first three years, but I really loved the idea of coming up with material and fine-tuning it.

"Even if I bombed I was like, what a great journey to that bomb! For me, I'm having that same feeling for cooking now where I love the process of it and am genuinely finding other ways of getting better at it."

Dilruk's time in the MasterChef kitchen was in support of LifeLine, an organisation that provides all Australians with support, something he says he really relied on during the worst of the pandemic.

"I think every one of us went into a different dark place and, as someone who lived alone in a one-bedroom apartment, I was so grateful to have a service like that to reach out to and get the help I needed.

"I was very chuffed I was able to play for what I think is such a worthy cause and the people who do such wonderful work."

Watch Celebrity MasterChef on Sundays and Mondays at 7:30pm on 10 and 10 play on demand