It was a rollercoaster first week in the kitchen for Chris, who went from the top four competing for immunity down to finding himself battling in the elimination cook.
“It was the feeling of the highest highs down to elimination, which I guess is the lowest low,” Chris told 10 play, laughing. “You know what? I just had a really efficient time on MasterChef. I kind of experienced the whole thing!”
Having fallen more and more in love with food during the lockdowns, Chris also became more inspired by MasterChef around the same time with Back to Win. “That inspired me to start cooking and give it a shot,” he added.
Not able to see his friends and connect with people, Chris found food a constant reminder of memories and it felt good to share his creations online. “Sharing it with everyone kind of made them feel good about it too, that kind of feeling is really infectious.”
When it was his time to enter the MasterChef kitchen, seeing the 12 returning chefs who he would be competing against, Chris joked, “I was freaking out! I was like, I chose the wrong season to apply for!”
Though initially it was intimidating, Chris admitted that he relished the opportunity to get to know 12 of the show’s favourites.
“Knowing there were 12 other people who had been on the show, whether we’re competing against them or not, there’s still an opportunity to learn from them which is really cool.”
Sunday’s elimination was broken into two rounds where, in the first round, each chef had to use a jaffle maker in some way. The judges also revealed that the Fans and Faves would still compete as teams, and the best dish of round one would save that person’s entire team from having to cook in the second round.
Unfortunately for the Fans, Minoli’s jaffle won the judges over, sending all the Faves up to the gantry to watch the Fans battle it out in a round inspired by meaningful memories.
“It was an emotional day from the get-go,” Chris explained. “Knowing it was going to be an elimination cook, once the fans got our black aprons that’s when the emotions started to come in.
“That combination of knowing it’s going to be an elimination as well as the challenge being cooking something from a memory… it played on my mind a lot. I think I was pretty distracted.”
Chris chose a Mì Xào Giòn, a crispy noodle stir fry which he said was the very first thing that came to mind, one that immediately reminded him of growing up around food and his chef dad.
During the cook, Chris burned his first set of noodles but thankfully had a back-up. In his rush to plate up the dish, he didn’t swap out the oil in the pan, meaning his new noodles were fried up with a lingering taste of the burned noodles from before.
“[I was] proud of myself that I got something done that looked really good and tasted okay. Obviously it had its issues, but I was proud I plated something up in that timeframe, and something that meant a lot to me as well.”
After the judges had tasted the Fans’ dishes, Chris was in the bottom three of the day alongside Max and Harry.
“I wasn’t surprised, I knew I made a big error burning the noodles… once the cook was over I was like, you know what I think there’s going to be consequences to me not changing the oil over,” he said. “I hoped that perhaps the sauce would have helped save it, but I had a pretty good feeling that I was going home that day.
“It’s been surreal just seeing myself on TV,” Chris added, “I had fun when I was doing it and watching it brought back really good memories. [I’m] even more inspired and motivated than before, and that’s because I got to meet so many great, talented and likeminded people.”
MasterChef Australia Fans & Favourites airs Sunday - Thursday at 7.30pm on 10 and 10 play on demand