Karena talks the MasterChef New Zealand Grand Final
After 13 weeks of tough challenges, Karena and Kasey have emerged victorious, being crowned the first ever MasterChef NZ Duo winners.
Karena took some time to discuss the final and the journey.
Congratulations how does it feel to have become the first duo to have won?
Winning MasterChef NZ 2014 is the most satisfying feeling I have ever experienced. It is the realisation of a dream. Cooking is our passion and we have worked our butts off to get to the final. I feel that we have been consistent throughout the competition and if we had stumbled at the last hurdle, we would have been extremely disappointed. It feels like a huge relief to finally be at the end of this journey and exciting to know it is the beginning of a huge new one.
How was the grand final for you?
The grand final was the toughest set of challenges we have faced in the competition. Not only because of the complexity of the dishes and length of the challenges but also because it had the most weight to it. By the time we had reached the final, Kasey and I were absolutely exhausted but we knew no matter how many challenges they threw at us or how long we had to cook or how difficult the challenges were we would keep cooking to the best of our ability until we had finished.
What was the high point of the final?
The high point of the final was finishing, knowing we had won and knowing our family would be walking through the door and we could go home. Being able to shake the judges hands and truly thank them for everything they had taught us.
What was the low point?
Not doing justice to Matt Morans poor lamb that he had brought for us to cook all the way from Australia. He is a chef that I really admire and I would have loved to have performed better in that challenge. Hopefully I will get another chance to prove myself to him.
What have you learnt about yourself on this journey?
On this journey I have learnt that I am actually pretty good at this cooking thing. Entering the competition you are never sure of whether or not you are any good at cooking, and to get the reassurance not only from Josh, Simon and Ray but also Donna Hay, Daniel Wilson, Ben Bailey, George Colombaris, Peter Gordon, Michel Louws and Matt Moran is something you probably wouldnt be able to say if you hadnt entered a reality TV cooking show. It was all worth it.
What have you learnt about your partner on this journey?
I learnt that Kasey is the most grounded, studious and calm person I could have chosen to enter this competition with. Teamwork was a huge component of doing well in this competition and it wasnt until we entered and went through all of the challenges that we realised how close we really are. She has everything I lack and I have her to thank for doing this well in the competition Kasey is my best friend and I am amazed by her every day.
Who will you stay in touch with from the house?
We bonded with many people, Bronwyn and Fiona who are two of the best cooks I have ever met (and I have met a few pretty good cooks) they had so much to show NZ. Donna Marie and Jonathan, they were the little bubbles of happiness in the house. Jack and Catherine, who were so passionate about food and really hard working. Mel and Cerry who are two of the funniest and nicest people I have met. They were so generous with their knowledge and would never hesitate to teach me about anything I would ask of them. Trudie and Shelley who we see almost every other week, our big sisters who made me smile every day. Tanisha and Verena were two of the best cooks in the house, they were a shock elimination and I know they will have fantastic careers in the food industry. The boys, our brothers from another mother. Our quiet places where we would escape from the craziness of the MasterChef house. Jaimie and Bec who are the only other people who will ever know exactly what we had to go through. We still have to watch Flashdance ladies! Nikki and Jordan, we love you two, you are like family to us. Thank you for everything.
Which piece of advice was the most important?
Open you ears and shut your mouth.
Which dish will you never cook again?
Pesto baked mullet, just saying.
What are your future plans now?
Now we plan on travelling New Zealand, gaining experience and learning about all of the beautiful produce this country has to offer. Maybe if we are lucky, we can take you along on our next cooking adventure...