Nine years after finishing in fifth place on MasterChef, Christina Batista received the call to return to the iconic cooking competition for this year’s ‘Fans & Favourites’ season.
“I was shocked and I asked if they had called the right number,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle with a laugh.
The chef and mother-of-two says it was a no-brainer to join eleven other former contestants back in the iconic MasterChef kitchen.
“I basically said yes before they could even finish saying the sentence,” she adds. “Like most people, I absolutely loved the experience and I always said that if I ever had the chance to do it again, I would do it in a heartbeat.
“And so without even knowing what the conditions were or what the game was going to look like, I was like, ‘Yep, whatever you need’. It was a great feeling to get that call to come back.”
Speaking about her first appearance in the cooking competition back in 2013, Christina describes it as an “extremely positive experience”.
“It's almost addictive, like you’re in this little bubble where everyone is just as obsessed with food as you are,” she remarks.
“You eat, sleep and breathe food, and everyone’s TV is on the cooking channel. People out in the real world find that a little too obsessive and you need to pretend that you're interested in other things, but on MasterChef, you don't have to because everyone is just as obsessed.
“So it's such a great environment to be in. You learn so much and make these great friends, so I just wanted to experience that again because you don’t have that feeling in any other circumstance in life.”
'I feel so blessed'
Although Christina was eliminated on Tuesday night following an emotional pressure test, she asserts that her time on the show this season was much better than she could have expected.
“It was a great experience this time around and I had just as much fun,” she shares.
“The living arrangements were slightly different. In my season, we all lived in the one house and I shared a room with like five other women. This time around, you’re in apartments and I only had to share with one other person so that was nice.
“I was just really sad that it was cut so short.”
Christina also adds that while there are things she wishes she did differently in the pressure test - “I probably would have turned up the oven when cooking my tart” - she doesn’t have any regrets from her time on the show.
“I look back on my experience of MasterChef, both my previous experience and this one, just with fond memories,” she says. “I feel so blessed to be a part of it. But any of the little stumbles or the fact that I left earlier than I had hoped, it is what it is.”
As for what’s next, Christina has recently launched her YouTube channel Cooking with Christina Batista and is keen to continue her culinary journey.
“I want to be able to get Portuguese food out there and I want to be able to teach people how to cook,” she explains.
“Portuguese cuisine is so simple, it's very few ingredients and it can usually be executed quite quickly. And I think it's a great cuisine for people to learn how to cook.
“So I want to combine those two loves of mine and possibly run some cooking classes as well to teach people how to cook delicious Portuguese food.”
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