Goolwa's Mandy Hall has bid farewell to the MasterChef Australia kitchen, battling to stay afloat in a condiment challenge that capped off Nigella Week. Mandy said she was not in the competition long enough.
"I made it to the top 20, which was quite some way from my goal, but still, out of thousands of applicants, you have to remain proud that you made it. In my short time I had some fabulous success," Mandy said.
"I had a top dish that earned me an opportunity to cook with Curtis Stone and that resulted in Curtis saying my bearnaise might even be better than his. I have been very fortunate in my time on MasterChef, very fortunate indeed."
Mandy said it was anybody's game this season, as there are many extremely capable cooks in the competition.
"Living in the MasterChef house with all those gorgeous people was an absolute joy. It was like living with the Brady Bunch on steroids and I loved it, loved it all.
"I learned so much from the other contestants and judges, that was one of the saddest things about being eliminated, that lost learning opportunity. The judges have this extraordinary wealth of knowledge, as do the other contestants."
A highlight for Mandy was meeting Nigella Lawson.
"Nigella Lawson is everything and more, so intelligent, a brilliant cook, so full of grace and compassion. I was trying hard not to go all fan girl on her. Initially, I was terrified at the thought of putting down a plate of food for her, but I can tell you with all honesty that within about five minutes, every ounce of nervousness had disappeared. She is gloriously unpretentious in every sense," Mandy said.
Mandy becomes motivated to cook when she is in Goolwa, utilising all the local produce.
"I love the Farmer's markets, as the the fruit and veg is outstanding, I am hugely into fermenting too, so I make my own cultured butter using cream from the Fleurieu and yoghurt from the milks. The seafood, in particular, Goolwa Pipis are unreal."