Elimination Interview: Matt
The youngest of MasterChef 2012's Top 24, Matt talks his journey, Elimination and always moving forward.
“I was in absolute shock,” he recalls. “There were so many other brilliant dishes that were cooked that day that I really hadn’t thought I’d done enough to surpass the other contestants. But when it actually hit me that I was going to be part of the next incarnation of my favourite TV show I was absolutely ecstatic!”
Being the youngest of the Top 24 did, Matt concedes, become something of a weight around his next as the competition went on, especially in the team events. The penultimate pick in Kings Cross and traded in the Yum Cha Challenge, Matt began to appreciate that youth may have been counting against him.
“I realised that while I may not necessarily see myself as disadvantaged that maybe some of my fellow contestants did. This is something that was definitely playing on my mind in my final Elimination Challenge – I really wanted to prove I was just as capable as everyone else. Bit ironic huh?”
Demonstrating his typical and admirable ‘can-do’ spirit, Matt says that he actually relished the idea of the Taste Test that began what would prove to be his final day in the MasterChef kitchen. “After all,” he begins, “the Taste Test had always been one of my favourites to play along with at home. However, having the 10th and 20th guess and hearing all my potential answers called out before me really backed into a corner that I couldn’t escape from.”
Admitting that the ramifications of failure sent him “into full-blown panic mode,” Matt’s performance in the subsequent cook-off is likely one he’ll want to forget. Thankfully, his MasterChef philosophy was not to dwell on mistakes.
“One of the ways I learnt to cope is to keep moving forward, otherwise you’ve already lost. When your meat comes out overcooked the first time your only option is to try again and try to change something in your formula. Unfortunately I changed things too much and as a result my lamb was ‘unacceptable’.”
In the spirit of looking ahead, Matt is now deciding where to take his food dreams from here. “Being part of MasterChef has definitely provided me with some ambitions,” he says. “I know that I want to move somewhere with food eventually, but I’m still incredibly young and it would be irresponsible to throw away my degree and jump into an apprenticeship. However I’m currently looking for some work experience to really test the waters, so with a bit of luck you won’t see me disappear for long!”
The youngest of this season’s MasterChef hopefuls, Matt Howell cooked with an assurance far beyond his years. Yet despite his apparent confidence, he admits to being incredulous when a Top 24 apron was finally placed over his head.