Minoli De Silva became the fourth contestant eliminated from the MasterChef Australia kitchen during the Sunday, May 2 episode of the hit series.
After failing to impress the judges (Melissa Leong, Andy Allen and Jock Zonfrillo) and guest superstar judge, Callum Hann with her sesame-crusted steak, her lack of clarity was the ultimate reason she was sent home.
“Being around so many cooks that are incredible, I did get intimidated,” Minoli told POPSUGAR Australia during an interview after her elimination.
“You have to remember that you’re running your own race and not to compare yourself to others which is what I did and I’m like, ‘Okay, maybe I need to do something different’ and then I tried to do something that just wasn’t naturally me.”
Before entering the MasterChef kitchen, the 34-year-old was given some advice from her mum, advice she didn’t think of until she had left the competition.
“She told me never to cook for anyone else,” Minoli admitted. “Always cook for yourself and when you’re cooking for yourself, you will just be amazing and I think that’s such an important lesson that I remembered after.”
Sunday’s elimination was more stressful than usual for the contestants who were cooking for Poh Ling Yeow, Reynold Poernomo and Hann — all of whom have not only been through the franchise twice but are some of the most successful chefs to have walked through the doors of the infamous kitchen.
“You have Callum, Reynold and Poh who are MasterChef royalty and they are on top of all the celebrities. Brad Pitt could have walked in and we would have been like, ‘Get out of here’.”
She continued: “Then, you have 20 other people who love cooking just as much as you do. The energy is high when good cooks and chefs come into the kitchen and it can throw you off.”
In fact, Minoli realised how easy it was to be thrown off course.
“I love pressure!” she admitted, before adding: “I actually found the one key thing in the kitchen that either helped you succeed or throws you off in the wrong direction is your mental headspace at the start of the cook.”
She added: “90% of the cook is dependent on where your head is on the day. I think it’s really important when you go into an environment like that, where you’re surrounded by everyone that knows how to cook, that on the day, how you go in and how you decide to tackle the challenge, really determines how your final dish goes up.”
The experience as a whole was nothing that can be beat, however, Minoli got the added benefit of learning something about herself too.
“I learned that I need to give things a go and make mistakes in order to grow as a person, in my cooking and all aspects of my life,” she said. “And I need to not be fearful when doing something unfamiliar because when you push yourself out of your comfort zone, that’s when you can grow.”
MasterChef Australia continues Sunday – Wednesday at 7.30pm on Network Ten.