“Surprised, still terrified and really proud,” is how Deb sums up her mindset after making it so far in this year’s MasterChef. Her path to the Top 10 was filled with superb performances resulting in incredible dishes, though Deb concedes that as the series progressed, the daily grind of competition began taking its toll on both her and her peers.
“Long days in unfamiliar environments definitely begins to wear you down,” she shares. “As the competition moved its pace up a notch I was acutely aware that my resilience was not as robust as it had been 25 years ago.”
For Deb, so long a vegetarian, her Elimination Challenge experience was certainly more confronting than most. Having to spit roast a pig would have been a task too far for many, yet Deb showed remarkable resolve in getting the job done despite her obvious unease.
“I was just focussed on doing the best with whatever was coming my way. I was completely aware that no one wanted this dish, however at this point in the challenge having been through many team loss Eliminations I was able to focus on the task at hand and trust that I could manage whatever the result was.”
Opting to prepare the pig her way by dressing it with oil, rather than follow George’s ‘water and salt’ approach, was, Deb explains, her way of paying respect to the animal rather than any resistance to outside input. “It was extremely important for me to honour and respect the pig’s life as part of the preparation. And rubbing the pig with oils felt like an embalming process to me.”
Looking back on her competition, Deb has no shortage of memorable moments to reflect upon, but one in particular stands out as her proudest. “This moment wasn’t shown on TV, but it was in the Dude Food Challenge when Matt tasted my sandwich and gave me such generous feedback for cooking what was so out of character for me.”
Deb’s focus is now on realising her dreams of offering an experience of which food is just a part. “My vision is to open a holistic coastal country retreat that offers a space for people reconnect with themselves, others and maybe the person they’ve been with for years. It’s my home and nutritious organic food and local produce is at the nucleus. It’s about being authentic and embraces nature, simplicity and beauty and above all it’s about sharing food, stories and dreams.”