MasterChef Hopeful Minoli Explains The Huge Risk She Took In Her Audition

When it comes to auditioning for the MasterChef judges, many contenders struggle to pick the perfect dish.

For Minoli, it was a struggle to pick the perfect six.

In a preview clip teasing her audition, the judges express their shock at Minoli's decision to cook not one but six dishes for them. And despite putting six times the pressure on herself, Minoli said she was just trying to keep things "as simple as possible.

"I feel like that was very much the Sri Lankan side of me going, 'okay you're feeding some very important people, you can't just go in with one rice and one curry,'" Minoli told 10 play.

"They need to know how good Sri Lankan food is," she continued. "This was an opportunity for me to show what I eat at home with my mum, with my family, and with my housemates.

"There is no way in the world my mum would ever serve just some rice and one curry. It's all or nothing."

"I think it would have been harder for me to go in with just one side and one curry... my body just wouldn't let me do it I don't think," she added.

Not only did Minoli want to impress the judges but she also wanted to present a dish to them that really represented who she is now.

"It was the first thing that came to mind and I've learned to trust my gut instincts when cooking... it works out for me," she said.

The risk is that, by having so many elements to the dish, the judges will be looking for perfection across all six dishes, making her goal of winning an apron six times more difficult than most.

Having migrated to Australia with her family when she was six-years-old, Minoli said she fell in love with food simply because she loved eating. From eating whatever delicious creations her mum was making in the kitchen to buying whatever she could at the canteen at school, being able to discover new foods ignited a fire in her that still burns today.

"Even a hot dog, just thinking 'What is this?', it's a never-ending journey of learning and something that brings an exceptional amount of joy," she explained.

"Being in my mid-'30s I realised that being around food is something that makes me so happy and something that I've taken for granted in the past. I need to recognise that it is something I could possibly make a future with because I love it so much," Minoli said.

Working for an engineering consulting firm, Minoli would travel to the Northern Territory often where she re-discovered South Asian flavours due to the exceptional produce that grows in Darwin thanks to its tropical climate.

Rediscovering and falling in love with Sri Lankan food all over again, Minoli was encouraged to apply for MasterChef by one of her best friends.

"Cooking was something that I think I took for granted my whole life, it's just something I've done," she said. "it was quite scary to think about going on MasterChef but I was like, you know what? It's 2021... let's give it a go."

Though she's has a passion for Sri Lankan food and hopes to introduce Australia to the flavours of Sri Lankan cuisine, her travels around the world also inspired her. From Italian to Thai, when describing the kinds of food she loves to make Minoli paused.

"Basically yummy, yummy delicious food... is that too vague?" she said, laughing.

"I've grown up in Australia and I want that influence to come through, but really highlight how beautiful Sri Lankan food is," she continued.

"I really hope I get the opportunity to go through the whole MasterChef journey because I'm sure I'll learn so much from being there and then hopefully come out with a gorgeous Sri Lankan pop-up at the end of it!"

Will Minoli's gamble pay off? Find out when MasterChef Australia premieres on Monday, April 19 at 7.30 on 10 and 10 play