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MasterChef New Zealand


Lamb from Hawkes Bay proves MasterChef contestant's downfall

The business end of the MasterChef New Zealand competition's claimed another scalp.


Chantelle O'Brien, an Ashburton bar owner found the heat in the Hawkes Bay kitchen a bit too much and was told to leave the competition. Her lamb offering was slammed by the judges with Josh saying it was "all very neutral" and Ray declaring it a "feeble dish."

We caught up with Chantelle as she readied herself to head home from MasterChef.

1) How have you found the whole MasterChef experience? 
It has been an amazing ride so far. I have never been involved in such a wonderful experience, learning so many new things, meeting amazing people and being encouraged to be who I really am.

2) How did it feel when the judges gave you that initial apron and then a chance to be part of the final 16?
My heart skipped a beat. I was so ecstatic to be told that I was going to be involved in this craziness, then reality (and nerves) sunk in!  I realised that I had the opportunity of a lifetime and thought if I have to be away from the people I love most in this world, I am going to give it my all!

3) How did you feel when you were told to leave the MasterChef kitchen?
Absolutely gutted, especially because I knew exactly why I was leaving - for a silly mistake!  But the flipside was I knew I was going home to everyone that I love - especially Damien and my beautiful daughter Bella.

4) How have your friends and family reacted?
They are so proud and supportive, the truth is I wouldn't have been able to do this without their love and support.  For them to see what I actually achieved is so cool for them to see and for me to see their reactions.

5) What have you learned most from the experience?
Season all food like you have never seasoned before!  On a more serious note, I learned that if you use your passion and your personality to create food, no matter what it is, you will experience amazing results. 

6) Who will you miss seeing most? Why?
I know it sounds cheesy but I will miss everyone from the amazing crew, the wonderful judges and the beautiful people who went through MasterChef with me, it is quite true that only people who have been through this experience can understand the mixture of emotions that go along with the ride.  Love you guys

7) What's your biggest regret about not getting further in the competition than you did?
Not being able to participate in the Masterclasses. These were amazing, sharing the knowledge with all these creative and passionate people! 

8) What would you have changed about the challenge which led to your eviction?
Salt and pepper, salt and pepper - need I say more? 

9) Fill in the gap: the kitchen utensil I look like the most is... 
Mmm that is a tough one! Let's say a whisk, not sure about looks but definitely similar in that I like to get in there, stir things up and make it exciting

10) What's next for you?
I am focussed on my wonderful bar tweLve, in Ashburton!  I'm looking to put in a new menu so I will be moving from mixing the cocktails out front to cooking up a storm out back!  Also my wonderful man Damien proposed on Christmas Day so I am excitedly organising a wedding (or two)!  Who knows what the future holds - I love cooking, meeting people, being surrounded by creative people - all I can say is bring it on!

Take a look at Chantelle's MasterChef New Zealand audition dish here.

Join the MasterChef New Zealand Facebook community here - and share your thoughts, recipes and opinions on the show!