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Cooking up a storm

Published : Sep 4, 2016, 10:13 pm IST
Updated : Sep 4, 2016, 10:13 pm IST

Fresh from winning Masterchef Australia 2016, Elena Duggan takes out time to talk about her experience, and new food dream

Elena on the show
 Elena on the show

Fresh from winning Masterchef Australia 2016, Elena Duggan takes out time to talk about her experience, and new food dream

Elena Duggan is riding high on her recent win on the 8th season of Masterchef Australia. The finale (the show aired on Star World and Star World HD) where the school teacher squared off against contender Matt Sinclair was nerve-wracking to say the least. Elena talks to us about her experience on the show and life post her success.

When asked how she decided to compete on one of the biggest cooking competitions on television, she says, “My sister noticed that I was feeling flat and needed inspiration, so she encouraged me to audition for Masterchef the first time. When I didn’t get through, I realised how much I wanted it. I practiced a lot and tried to learn more about food.”

She goes on to say that her experience on the show had a lot of ups and downs — “They sort of warn you before the show that it will be a roller-coaster of emotions — and that’s exactly what it was! There were a lot of extreme highs and lows. I went in with zero expectations of winning, but decided to take it one day at a time, and to learn and grow as the show progressed.”

One of the most beloved aspects of the show is the judges. Matt Preston, George Colambaris and Gary Mehigan, Elena says, were a huge part of her learning experience. “They’re extremely cheeky with each other and share a great rapport. Besides that, the amount of knowledge and experience they have is vast and us contestants were always hungry to learn more from them.”

Ask her who her favourite guest judge was and pat comes the reply — “I learnt something from everyone. Marco Pierre White told me that happy cooks make happy food and that’s the moment when I started to enjoy myself. Dominique Crenn was also wonderful. The way she speaks of and creates food can only be compared to poetry and art!”

Have her dreams changed since she first joined the show The proud chef who counts her dish of crab with apple and brusseles sprouts as one of her favourite creations, responds, “I initially wanted to grow my own food and cook it for other people. After winning the title, I realised I should think bigger. I now also think about how I can contribute to leaving the earth in a better place — I’m excited to teach others that too.”