'It's Anyone's Game': Amir Manoly Eliminated From MasterChef Australia

Ending his MasterChef journey on a high, Amir hopes to now turn his focus to connection through cooking.

Following the team challenge at Apollo Bay, the four contestants in the two bottom teams faced an elimination challenge at Alla Wolf-Tasker's Dairy Flat Farm in Daylesford.

Sabina, Minoli, Linda and Amir were tasked with creating a vegetarian dish using ingredients foraged from Alla's garden and utilising a pantry made up of local ingredients.

Being born in Victoria, Amir told 10 play when he was first told they would be spending the week on a road trip around his home state he dropped to his knees in joy.

"To get to experience the state that I was born in and love so much, being able to go to Apollo Bay and cooking the produce from there, then going to Daylesford as well - getting to put that on show definitely meant a lot," he said.

Despite wearing the black apron, Amir said he was in the best of moods. "It was probably the best I had felt in the competition for a long time," he added.

Being outside in Alla's incredible garden, cooking in the fresh air, Amir felt the joy that first inspired him to apply for the series.

During lockdown, Amir became more and more interested in the act of cooking in general. Being in the kitchen, experimenting with new flavours and dishes he had never cooked before, Amir ignited his passion for cooking.

"The experience of finishing something and producing a good quality product is where the passion comes from," he said. "It's therapeutic, that sense of achievement that you get is what I love the most."

Describing himself as "a typical Aussie cook", the challenge of heroing veg was a challenge that excited Amir, who often puts his focus on a more classic "meat and three veg".

"Initially it was a bit daunting, but I think I wrapped my head around the concept pretty quickly, and that's how I came up with the dish I did on the day."

Happy with the concept, and revelling in the fresh air, Amir said the challenge was probably the most fun he had in any challenge throughout the season.

"Although I was in an elimination I actually felt great about where I was at and what I was doing. It was definitely interesting that I felt so comfortable in that circumstance," he added.

Unfortunately, the cook on his beetroot kebabs was slightly off, and at this stage in the competition, it was enough to see him eliminated.

"At the end of the day it's really anyone's game," Amir said. "It's the pointy end of the competition, everybody's great but the guys I was up against are all amazing cooks.

"It's just what MasterChef is. You've got 24 of these amazing cooks that have to cook to save their spot in the competition day-after-day, so someone's got to go home at the end of the day," he continued.

"It's unfortunate that, out of the four dishes, mine was the worst [but] saying that, I was also proud of my dish and what I put up," Amir continued.

"I was pretty happy that I went out on a dish that I was proud of and that I enjoyed cooking. I’d rather that than go out in flames," he added, laughing.

Looking to the future, Amir said part of the reason he wanted to apply for MasterChef in the first place was to help inspire more men to get in the kitchen and discover the joys he found through cooking.

"There’s this massive stigma around guys being in the kitchen so a lot of guys grow up not feeling comfortable getting in the kitchen, cooking," he explained.

Launching Mister Collective, Amir hopes to not only inspire more men to get in the kitchen but also introduce more men to the mental health benefits that cooking can provide.

"Being able to educate other guys of not only the passion behind cooking, but the importance of healthy cooking for a healthy mind," Amir said.

By introducing at-home cooking sessions, Amir also wanted to show firsthand one of the biggest lessons he learned during his time in the competition, how food can bring people together and that passion can "evoke connection through cooking".

"All too often we get caught up in this idea that cooking is this hard thing that you can’t do, but what I said earlier about being able to achieve things through cooking - that’s what I wanted to educate other guys of Australia to be able to do as well."

Find out more about Mister Collective here.

Follow Amir on Instagram @amirmanoly

Watch the new season of MasterChef Australia, Sunday to Thursday at 7.30 on 10 or watch on demand on 10 play