For Scott, finally stepping into the MasterChef kitchen was a journey 13 years in the making. Initially auditioning for the very first season, Scott said the timing just wasn’t right, but when applications for the latest season opened up it was the perfect moment for him to try again.
“I could make it happen and I thought, I’m just going to do it,” Scott told 10 play. “I’ve waited long enough, the time is now,” he added, laughing.
The self-confessed superfan knew what to expect from the show’s various challenges, but actually earning an apron and stepping behind the benches, Scott said he had no idea just what kind of a challenge he was up for.
“I just wanted to be part of the journey and the experience,” he said, “it wasn’t until day one that you’re standing there and you realise what you’ve done! It was a rollercoaster. I know a lot of people say that, but it’s the best way I can describe it.”
Scott’s passion for food can be quite literally seen in his whopping collection of cookbooks. What started at around 350 has now grown close to 400 since MasterChef.
“I bought quite a few during the series,” he sheepishly said, laughing.
“I actually didn’t realise how many I owned until I had to count them for my audition. It was one of the questions, and then I realised I had a problem… but it didn’t stop me buying more during MasterChef!”
Citing Josh Niland’s The Whole Fish cookbook and anything by Jamie Oliver as personal favourites in his collection, Scott explained that he’s not only a very visual person (so the nice photos help) but how cookbooks can expand your mind, and palate, when it comes to food.
“I love the journey of a cookbook because it allows you to discover things that aren’t on your radar. I still Google a lot of recipe,s but when you’re googling you’re looking for something specific. Looking through a cookbook you get so many more ideas that you weren’t even thinking about which is something that I just love.
“And different cuisines,” he continued, “I’m a big traveller, I love travelling around the world and learning about different cuisines. It opens that world up to you. You can learn so much about a cuisine and a country and its people by the food. I think that’s really special.”
Having sailed into the Top 10, Scott said something felt like it shifted in the last week and, heading into Sunday’s double elimination, the pressure was almost tangible.
“It was definitely the most stressful cook I had done in the competition,” he admitted. “There was something around that ‘Top 10’ place which just elevated everything. The level of stress and responsibility that you felt to keep going and do really well… everything ramped up.”
With a challenge set over two rounds, Scott was proud that his first dish received positive feedback, leaving him in a great headspace for round two, but exhausted.
Making the decision to cook a fish he hadn’t cooked before, Scott said he didn’t feel like himself during the second round.
“My worst nightmare in this competition was plating up something that was unfinished, or not plating anything at all,” Scott said, adding, “Thankfully that never happened”.
While he was happy with the way his second dish looked, he knew the fish wasn’t cooked right.
“Once it came out of the pan it was okay but it just kept cooking, and it was the moment where I went to put it on the plate and I felt it that I was like, this is now way overcooked,” he explained.
“I knew my time was up,” he said. “I think everyone sort of says you know when your time is up and I had that feeling that it was. It was good for me because I could prepare myself mentally for the departure.
“It’s such a strange feeling, the whole elimination, but you know life is going to go on after but it’s quite an overwhelming feeling. I was grateful I knew that, okay, my time is up and I had a great time. I had a great first round and my dish looked okay… and my second dish looked okay, so it was good. I wasn’t going out on a train wreck.”
Follow Scott on Instagram @ssbagnell
Watch the new season of MasterChef Australia, Sunday to Thursday at 7.30 on 10 or watch on demand on 10 play