'A Real Kick In The Pants': A Mother Of A Challenge Ends Jonathan Hooper's Time In The MasterChef Kitchen

On Sunday night, Andy Allen's mum stopped by with some questionable culinary creations.

Maree Allen revealed three of her classic dishes from the 1980s that were instrumental in developing Andy's palate: The Pine Burger, Maree’s Lamb Chops, and Maree’s Fruit Salad Slice.

The chefs were tasked with taking one of her dishes and overhauling it to make it a dish worthy of the MasterChef kitchen.

During the challenge, Jonathan admitted that he wasn't the most confident when it came to desserts, so it was a bit of a surprise when he opted to tackle Maree's Fruit Salad Slice.

"Boy was that a regret," he told 10 Play, adding that his decision was a culmination of a few factors.

"I probably wasn't in the best headspace for that [challenge]... I was really, really homesick. I wanted to be home and I think it came across in my food.

"I was unsure of myself and I wasn't feeling good going into that cook," he continued. "I wasn't as switched on or as motivated as I normally would be."

On top of that, seeing Maree's delicacies didn't provide much more inspiration for Jonathan, and he began to unravel.

"I took that challenge far too literally," he explained. "Instead of trying to recreate a better dessert, in my mind, I just thought I'd make the same thing but better. I didn't have a plan and it came across in that plate of food."

To make matters worse, in the final moments of the challenge as Jonathan tried to unmould his cheesecake, he realised the crust had firmed up and stuck to the springform dish leaving him no choice but to deliver the dessert to the judges still in the tin.

Already having a bad day in the kitchen, Jonathan said having to deliver a dish he wasn't happy with to the judges was "a real kick in the pants".

"I knew it at the start of that cook, I just wasn't feeling inspired, I didn't have any motivation," he added.

"I don't think I appreciated how much of a mental game [MasterChef] is," Jonathan said. "People have to give up so much to be there, you’re away from your family and friends... Unless you’re in a really good headspace and you can maintain that throughout the show, it’s very easy to come undone."

Thankfully the contestants have each other as a support, which Jonathan added was a massive saving grace throughout. "

Heading into the second round, Jonathan was up against Harry, Gill, Nat, and Darrsh. "Looking at the competitors I was up against, they were all incredibly talented. If I went home against them I could still hold my head up high because they're all amazing individuals in their own right," he said. "To come fifth to them is no small feat."

Jonathan's love of food started out of a necessity, he explained that being raised by a single mum, there wasn't always someone around to make dinner. "That's where it started but I'm also a big, big eater. As my love of eating grew, so did my love of food.

"When I'd go out and have a nice meal, the next thing my brain would say was how do I make it? That was always the next step and it would push me further and further."

Not set on one cuisine, a recurring theme when it comes to his food is generosity and sharing with those that he loves. "I think Steve summed it up nicely in an earlier episode," he explained.

"To be able to prepare something and put your heart and soul into making something you're passionate about, to share that with people who feel the way you do is the best feeling in the world to me.

"Spending a couple of hours coming up with a little menu, serving it to the people I love, and hearing the room go quiet, there's no better feeling in the world."

Outside of the kitchen and work, Jonathan's other love is Muay Thai and hopes to marry his love of fitness and wellness with his passion for food. After his time in the MasterChef kitchen, he spent months training for his second amateur fight.

"I kept a folder on my phone of the dishes I was cooking and eating during fight camp, I want to show people that dieting doesn't have to be restrictive. You don't have to eat chicken and rice every night to get fit."

Losing about eight kilos after MasterChef, Jonathan admitted that he made very few changes to his diet and was just strict on the mantra 'everything in moderation'. But he hopes to inspire others with his dishes that don't compromise on flavour.

Winning his fight, Jonathan has been working with his partner on content to release in the coming weeks. "And I've been booked for my first catering gig which I'm excited about and hoping it's the start of getting into the private catering business, running my own events."

With all that in mind there's just one question that remains, was it tougher to be beaten up at fight camp or by the MasterChef judges?

"I'd rather get beaten up at fight camp," Jonathan laughed, "physical beatings you can recover from. Emotional ones take a bit longer."

MasterChef Australia continues Sunday - Wednesday at 7.30 pm on 10 and 10 Play