'It Was A Wonderful Way To Go Home': Mindy Woods Still Smiling After A Kirsten Tibballs Pressure Test

On Tuesday night, Billie, Julie and Mindy faced a Kirsten Tibballs Pressure Test that would have pushed most contestants to tears, but Mindy's unbridled joy was no match for chocolate's temper.

A ray of sunshine throughout the entire competition, Mindy refused to let what would be her last challenge in the MasterChef kitchen get her down. As Kirsten revealed her 'Cherry on Top' dessert, there was a very different vibe to the usual Pressure Test.

"I get excited about this stuff, you know?" Mindy told 10 play, "I love to challenge myself and, to have Kirsten walk in I  knew that it was going to be something I had never done before... and probably will never do again," she said, bursting into laughter.

"It was just one of those moments that I thought, this is such an exciting time. And to be standing beside these powerful women was just this boost. I felt like a wonder woman standing up there," she added.

Mindy had made a pact with Billie and Julie that on the day, the kitchen would be a place of celebration rather than panic.

"I just said, if this is going to be our last cook let's give it our all. Let's get through it and make sure everyone has a chance to shine," Mindy added.

"There was definitely no fear involved. I just thought, my god I'm not a dessert queen, I just want to give this my all."

Given 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete the entremet, at the end of the challenge Mindy looked back on what she was able to achieve in awe.

"We needed every single minute in that challenge but, my god, I was so proud I just couldn't believe that we managed to pull it together," she added.

While her dish was visually similar to the original, Mindy's cherry jelly was slightly grainy, and the balance of flavours just wasn't as close as Billie or Julie's version.  But the minor errors weren't enough to dampen Mindy's spirit, as she was completely chuffed with what she was able to serve to the judges.

When the verdict was revealed, and her time in the MasterChef kitchen came to an end, she was still beaming with pride.

"It was just such a wonderful way to go home, if there's such a thing. I just felt like I got the best of every experience."

Coming back to the MasterChef kitchen, the proud Bundalung Widjabul Wia Bul woman said that a fundamental reason she wanted to step back into the competition was to continue to connect the wider Australian audience with Indigenous culture through food.

"I feel like that is such a privilege to do that," Mindy added. "As Australians, we struggle with thinking that we've got a food culture or food identity. The fact of it is, it's a 60,000-year-old history and we're really only just starting to embrace and tap into that.

"It's an exciting world to be part of right now because we are really open-minded. We've got an open heart, bringing these ingredients into our own kitchens, restaurants and cafes. I would love to see them in everyday homes.

"An opportunity to introduce a lot of these ancient ingredients to a modern world, and just to show they do have applications in modern cooking, is incredible."

Though she was proud of the dishes she served throughout the competition, Mindy had hoped to share a little bit more of the story behind the Indigenous ingredients she loves to highlight in her food.

"The challenges are so fast and furious that you don't often get to share more of the story around them," she explained. "That definitely is such a shame because there is so much to add when it comes to these incredible ingredients.

"They're connected to history, country and culture and there's something so uniquely special about that, and that's something that all Australians can embrace," Mindy said.

"Hopefully I've at least inspired some curiosity around native ingredients, and people get out there and start tasting them and cooking with them at home because, my goodness, they are so much more than food. They are part of the fabric of Australia."

Back on Bundjalung land and her home of Byron Bay, Mindy has taken the creativity and inspiration from the MasterChef kitchen and brought it with her to her restaurant, Karkalla.

"The gift of MasterChef was really getting that creativity going for me again, so we revamped our menu, and you'll see a lot of what was featured on the show coming onto my own menu which is exciting for people to come and try and taste," she said.

"And I'm hosting some of the other contestants with some pop-ups in the future! They've all reached out and want to come up to Byron Bay - I mean, who doesn't want to come up to Byron," she laughed.

"I've got a beautiful little restaurant and I said, if you guys really want a taste of the hospitality industry... come up and do a Karkalla takeover, so there'll be a bit of that happening in the future."

Looking back on her time in the competition, Mindy said this time around she has formed connections that will last a lifetime.

"It just comes from a deep love and respect of each other and food - and the history and culture that we all bring into food, which is so different.

"And the fact that Australia is this amazing multicultural country, and we get to embrace all of that is so special. It's been a real gift."

MasterChef Australia Fans & Favourites airs Sunday - Thursday at 7.30pm on 10 and 10 play on demand