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MasterChef New Zealand


MasterChef NZ's shock exit

In a move which stunned the MasterChef NZ judges and left the rest of the finalists  , IT consultant Andy Currin walked from the kitchen before the Thai challenge began.

Andy's had a bowel condition throughout his life and had been suffering recent flare ups from the condition due to the stress of the competition. He held grave concerns it would land him in hospital. He chose to end his dream and walk for the sake of his health.


We caught up with Andy to discuss his time in the competition and his shocking exit.

How have you found the whole Masterchef experience?
Full on and hardcore! I'm not one of those people who use exclamation marks willy-nilly either.  
First, there was the cooking.  As amateur chefs we may have had plenty of experience cooking for friends and family but if there is one thing no-one ever does, it's give honest feedback about the cooking of friends and family. The judges on the other hand seemed to revel in this. 
I think the judges picked up pretty early on that while I had strengths in certain areas, I had gaps in others such as desserts and presentation. These gaps resulted in panic as I desperately attempted to come up to speed in a short period to avoid looking like an idiot when, for example, I had to fillet a fish and didn't know how.
Then there was the co-habitation.  I live alone and don't mind it that way most of the time - so to live with 15 others was a real challenge.  I am generally quite introverted; whereas most of the others had very big personalities. 
I am a light sleeper  at the best of times - let alone on a single bed with seven other guys in the room.  The only reason I got any sleep was because they worked us so hard in the challenges and we were exhausted.  I remember for the first few mornings we were woken up by Brotown's (Brenton) phone at five AM with the most annoying alarm I have ever heard.  It sounded like a hooter at a football match.  It took him three days and several death threats to work out how to turn it off.
How did it feel when the judges gave you that initial apron and then a chance to be part of the final 16?
Best feeling ever. I usually find it really difficult to express the emotion of excitement but I had no troubles that day.
How did you feel when you left the MasterChef kitchen?
Well...strictly speaking, I was never told to leave, but when I left it felt absolutely terrible.  I didn't know if I had made the right decision or not. Could I have pushed through and gone further or would I have ended up with serious health issues? Given the quality of my opponents I don't think I could have won, but it would have been great to see how far I could have gone.
What's been the reaction from your friends and family?
They think it's great.  I have had friends over and cooked them what I am cooking on the show as we watch it.  Funnily enough the dishes have come out better when you don't only have 3 minutes in the pantry and don't have 15 cameras in your face!
What's the dish you created that you're most proud of?
I think the green chicken curry .  It was easy to present. I know the flavours and have made it hundreds of times and eaten it in Thailand on numerous occasions.  The only criticism, from memory, was the serving size being too small.  I thought it was good and they were grasping at straws; there was plenty there for the judges to taste and the crew were already fat enough from all the left overs they ate! (Just kidding guys, you know I love you).
What have you learned most from the experience?
Living in an $8 million house is not as much fun as it could be if you didn't have to share it with 15 other people.

Who will you miss seeing most?
I think the Mick Hucknall lookalike camera-man who tried to keep us under control in the Master Chef house.  Mark was the closest to my age group and we shared similar interests.  I really don't think he fully understood the difficulties he was going to have to face and I have to say, given the circumstances, he did a great job.  By the end of it he had many nicknames -  the obvious Simply Red jokes, then Chelsea Winter dubbed him Cute E Pie, and toward the end he had become Gargamel with the remaining contestants being The Smurfs.
What's your biggest regret about not getting further in the competition than you did?
I was really keen to get in on some of the MasterClasses. But I guess I'll just have to settle with watching them on telly.  Having said that, the $20,000 Countdown vouchers, the Skoda Octavia and the Fisher and Paykel Izona cook top would have been quite nice.

What would you have changed about leaving?
I really wish I didn't have the health condition which forced me to leave.
Fill in the gap: the kitchen utensil I look like the most is... 
That would have to be a knife...'cause I look sharp as bro.

What's next for you?
Well, it looks like a number of the contestants are moving to Wellington later this year to attend the La Cordon Bleu Cooking School so it will be great conspiring to take over the world one meal at a time with our combined gastronomic powers.

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

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