“I’m still pinching myself!” exclaims Kate, the proud and thoroughly deserving winner of MasterChef 2011. “If in the Top 50 someone had told me I was going to win I’d have laughed at them. I can’t believe it; I’ve done it!”
She may not quite believe she’s the new MasterChef title holder, but growing in confidence as Kate has, she admits she had started to entertain the idea before now.
“When I cooked off against Darren Purchese, I didn’t win but I was still amazed that I managed to even get the dessert onto the plate. I suddenly realised at that point I can cook better than I think I can, I need to keep pushing myself more. So that was the start of me trying to take more risks, and pushing myself a bit further.
“A big milestone too was making the Top 5. I guess quite a few of us in the house had been saying from the begining, ‘I wonder who’s going to be in the Top 5?’” I’d always put other people in that, never myself, so to actually get there I think that was the point where I thought I have a shot at this!”
Kate capped a remarkable journey with an epic performance in a finale comprised of three challenges: Mystery Box, Invention Test and Pressure Test. Receiving fantastic marks across the board, she narrowly beat Michael to the title, but retains a fierce admiration and respect for her fellow finalist.
“I have a lot of affection for Michael; he has come such a long way in this competition. I think in some ways we’ve had quite a similar journey, we started off at the beginning a little bit all over the place, some good dishes, some not so good dishes, and I think over the course of the time we’ve both spent a lot of time reading and studying and trying to work on those weaknesses. He has been such a great and worthy competitor to the end.”
Proving Kate’s words, Michael is nothing less than gracious in defeat, singing the praises of the truly exceptional cook he competed the finale against.
“Kate’s a star, I couldn’t think of a better person having the title,” says Michael warmly. “She probably worked harder than anyone juggling the family back at home, and the amount she studied, every second of her spare time, so if I had to lose to someone I’m pretty happy it’s Kate.”
Michael’s not exactly sure what his future holds exactly, other than he intends to, “Have fun and keep this dream going and enjoy myself.” Kate, meanwhile, will be working on her cookbook – which unsurprisingly will showcase her dessert passion. “I do love cooking other things but desserts are just what come to mind first of all. So I want to be able to just record them and share them with other people; I’ve got so many things floating around in my head.
Kate is also exploring plans to open a B&B on the outskirts of her beloved home town of Orange. “A bit of a rural B&B with a foodie aspect,” she explains. “Obviously there’s a lot of work that has to go into seeing if it’s actually viable, business plans and finding the right property, but I’d really like to see if I can get that off the ground.”
It’s quite staggering thinking about just how far Kate’s come, and if you’re an amateur chef considering appying for MasterChef 2012, she hopes you’ll be simmilarly inspired to follow your dreams.
“I say just do it and see what happens, you never know. For me my whole philosophy is life’s so short you’ve just got to take these opportunities where they come. Just have a go and remember to be yourself.”