MasterChef Australia series 3 contestant Rachel McSweeney.
MasterChef Australia series 3 contestant Rachel McSweeney.

Rachel's MasterChef escape is over

RACHEL McSweeney fizzled, instead of her milkshake, in last night’s gruelling three-hour pressure test on MasterChef.

The Western Australian mum admits she was out of her depth in the burger, chips and milkshake challenge set by renowned British chef Heston Blumenthal.

“I really was determined to finish,” she said.

“Quitting was not an option, but I think I’m also a realist.

“I remember the moment he walked in the MasterChef kitchen. I looked up to Kate and mouthed to her ‘do you think I can do this?’

“I think even then I was so daunted by the task in front of me.”

Despite being considered the mum of the house by many of her fellow contestants, McSweeney saw her time on the show as an escape from her domestic responsibilities.

“Being in the MasterChef house was just such a break from my normal life that it was bloody fantastic,” she said.

“It was the most self indulgent, selfish, egotistical experience of my life. I didn’t have to look after three kids; I didn’t have to be a wife; I didn’t get phone calls at 3am to pick up my kids because they couldn’t get a taxi. I’ve always done my best to look after my family, but I loved having that time just to cook and when we weren’t cooking we were reading cook books and talking about cooking.”

The former office administrator recently started a traineeship in hospitality at Fraser’s restaurant in Kings Park in Perth.

“Every day I learn something new. I almost feel bad getting paid for it,” she laughed.

“I sat down with Chris Taylor, the executive chef at Fraser’s, and after a lot of discussion we realised my strength and talents were better utilised dealing with people.

“My knowledge of food is making me a better front of house person.”

McSweeney’s many MasterChef highlights include impressing Adriano Zumbo with her brownies and travelling to Malaysia to meet Rick Stein, but celebrity chef Nigella Lawson takes the cake, literally.

“For me the absolute highlight was meeting Nigella and getting that fantastic feedback that she wanted my recipe and loved my cake,” she said.

“Pretty good for a mum from Yokine.”

She tips Sunday’s challenge winner Kate Bracks as the person to beat this series.

“I really do think Kate will show everybody how wonderful she is,” she said.

“Sometimes it’s not just about being a good cook, but being centred and calm. Kate has all of that. She certainly is my top pick. I also think Hayden (Quinn) and Michael (Weldon) and Mat (Beyer), the three young boys, are certainly going to give her a run for her money. I have to say Ellie is really coming into her own. I think that Ellie, even if she doesn’t win, she will shine.”

Tonight, team challenge winners Bracks and Danielle Dixon face off against sweets master Darren Purchese, who challenges them to recreate his highly technical dessert, for a shot at immunity.

MasterChef Australia airs Sundays through Fridays at 7.30pm on Ten.

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