'That Just Shocked Me The Most': Grace Jupp's MasterChef Journey Comes To A Pho-nomenal End

On Tuesday night, guest chef Luke Nguyen set a pressure test that really put three of our chefs to the test.

Learning a lot from her earlier experience in the Messina pressure test, Grace said she walked into the kitchen wearing her black apron with a strategy to make sure she followed the recipe closely.

At least that was the plan until the judges revealed that Grace, Adi and Theo would be recreating Luke's Beef Pho without a recipe.

"That was one of the surprises this season that just shocked me the most," Grace told 10 Play. "All the night before I was thinking I just need to go step-by-step, I'm just going to focus on this recipe.

"So it really took me by surprise and we only had minutes to think about how we were going to tackle it. It definitely was a challenge."

Provided with all the ingredients and equipment, the three chefs had to use their instincts in order to serve the judges and Luke a dish as close to his original as possible.

"Every day in the kitchen we were never going in with recipes so we had that resilience to think on our feet and try to be creative," Grace continued. Throughout the competition, the chefs relied on the fundamentals of cooking, building on those skills each week. But for Grace, the traditional Vietnamese dish wasn't something she was overly familiar with.

"I guess we could lean on assumptions of how you should prepare produce," Grace said, "[but] I think a big part of cooking is understanding culture and the reason that traditions are traditions, so I really didn't have the upper hand in that sense.

"From memory, I think I've maybe eaten [Pho] twice in my life -- not even memorable times," Grace said, laughing. "I think Asian food is incredible, it's just not something I've spent too much time refining."

Early on in the challenge, Grace made the decision to roast her meat, meaning her Pho broth had a "greasy" quality to it that wasn't in Luke's original dish. Walking her dish up to the judges after a mammoth cook, Grace said she felt both disappointed and proud of her efforts in equal measure.

"I was disappointed because I knew it wasn't close to what I was trying to achieve, but also so incredibly proud of myself for getting something up," she said.

"I always wanted to bring the judges something I'm proud of. Whilst it was more than I thought I could do, it definitely wasn't one of my proudest moments."

When the judges revealed that Grace would be hanging up her apron, she admitted she wasn't entirely shocked. Seeing Theo throughout the challenge he was motoring along, and though she stumbled on making the noodles a few times, Adi had made Pho many times in the past and was very confident in her method throughout.

"I was really disappointed to be missing out on all the wonderful things that were coming," Grace said. "It really wasn't ever about the prize money, I was just so immersed in the experience, the learning, and it was just the realisation that I wasn't going to be waking up and joining everyone the next day."

Describing her time in the MasterChef kitchen as life-changing and unexpected, Grace admitted that her application was only submitted after a chance encounter with Andy Allen.

"I always loved watching the show but wasn't really thinking that it was something I had the capacity to achieve. I ended up bumping into Andy a few days before applications closed," she said.

"I've always been a foodie, I'm married to a chef, I love the show -- so it's something I was definitely familiar with," but the madness of the MasterChef kitchen hadn't been in her immediate plans. "I was really encouraged by Andy, he shared a bit about how it changed his life and how he hadn't seen himself being able to achieve what he had back in the day."

Surprising herself throughout the competition, Grace always wanted to be creative and approach challenges with an open mind. "I wasn't trying to lean on one particular set of skills," she explained.

But the suddenness of her application also meant that Grace didn't walk into the MasterChef doors with a set food dream in mind.

"I'm already working somewhat in the food industry," she said of her Main Ridge Olive Company, "In the future, I'm really hoping to develop some new products. MasterChef has really given me the confidence to be able to do that.

"I make extra virgin olive oil but I've also got the dream to grow my own produce to make my own relishes, sauces and that sort of thing," she said, admitting that in the past she was concerned people wouldn't want to try her other products.

"Having the likes of the judges compliment my cooking has given me a real confidence boost to have a crack at trying out some new products and sharing them with the world."

MasterChef Australia airs Sunday - Thursday at 7.30 on 10 and 10 Play