Bright, bubbly and brimming with enthusiasm for all things food, Alice has left a lasting impression on this season of MasterChef. She may have missed out on finals week by a whisker, but the nature of her final Elimination Challenge certainly made her exit from the competition a far less bitter pill to swallow.
“When Nick walked through the doors, all I wanted to do was run upstairs and hang out with him,” says Alice, fondly recalling the moment some very familiar faces arrived in the MasterChef kitchen to set the contestants their dishes. “It took me about half an hour to actually kick into gear and then I just imagined that I was back at home in our kitchen, with Nick watching on from the doorway (though he’s usually right next to me, as my sous).”
Unfazed by the dish before her, Alice’s biggest concern was how to make her lamb sufficiently different to that of her competition – which in true Alice fashion meant engaging in some fearless bouts of improvisation. “Both Andy and I were cooking lamb, so I wanted to make sure that I showed enough points of difference to get me over the line. I used a lot of techniques and ingredients that I’d only read about... There was a fair bit of freestyling involved.”
Less than confident about her chances of remaining in the competition as the judges prepared to reveal their verdict, Alice concedes to feeling revealed that she was spared having to witness a close friend’s exit. “I was pretty sure that it was going to be me going home, and I had come to terms with the possibility... I was actually willing the judges to announce Julia’s name, because I didn’t want to stay off the back of my BFF going home.”
Honing her culinary craft throughout the competition, it was during Italy Week that Alice really showed how far she’s come. “I think that being back in Europe reminded me of the fact that I have a lot of experience with European food and that my food nerdiness was finally paying off. I had been lucky enough to travel a lot with my parents growing up and I was able to transfer this knowledge and experience into soulful, authentic dishes that impressed those picky palates!”
A series of increasingly excellent performances weren’t the only highlights Alice will cherish from her MasterChef experience. The opportunity to meet culinary luminaries like Massimo Bottura provided her with memories that will last a lifetime. “Cooking for Massimo Bottura – he’s an absolute inspiration to chefs across the world with his unwavering commitment to conceptual, fun and challenging food. By the same token, cooking for Heston and having him say that my food challenged him, was also pretty darn cool. Most importantly, it’s not just professional chefs that I’ll remember most, but the people that I met, and the friends that I made.”
The school teacher from Victoria now has her sights set on the future, which means continuing to try and inspire Australia’s youth wherever she can. “I’m working on some ideas that’ll help me in connecting with, and inspiring, as many young people as humanly possible, to get active and into the kitchen!” Alice explains. “I hope that in 10 years time, I can look back on what I’ve done and feel that I’ve helped make a difference. What I do know for sure, is that there’ll be plenty more laughs along the way. If you’d like to keep following my journey, check out my website.