MasterChef's Minoli speaks out after 'strange' Chrissie Swan interview

·Lifestyle & Entertainment producer
·4-min read

She made waves in the MasterChef kitchen this season, and Minoli De Silva also found herself making headlines across the country recently after an awkward exchange with Chrissie Swan on The Project.

The 36-year-old restaurateur appeared on the current affairs program to promote MasterChef and revealed the heartbreaking news that she had found out her breast cancer had returned on the same day she was asked to join the cooking competition.

MasterChef’s Minoli De Silva.
MasterChef’s Minoli has opened up about her awkward on-air moment with Chrissie Swan. Photo: Channel Ten

While Minoli was praised online for her candid admission, it was Chrissie’s response that raised eyebrows.

The TV host seemingly ignored what Minoli had just shared and fumbled a response, saying: “Wow, from the sublime to the ridiculous, I don't know which one is which!”

Chrissie's co-host Sarrah Le Marquand then jumped in and changed the subject to jaffles, with no one mentioning Minoli’s cancer battle again.

MasterChef’s Minoli De Silva and Chrissie Swan on The Project.
Chrissie fumbled a response after Minoli spoke about her breast cancer diagnosis. Photos: Channel Ten

Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle about the incident, Minoli admits that she was “a bit startled” by the on-air moment.

“I love watching The Project, and there is a sense of banter that surrounds you, so I just accepted that it was just a slip of the tongue,” she says.

“Chrissie is very fun, she’s very quick-witted. I think it was just not her finest moment when someone admits that they've gone through breast cancer and her response is to make a quick remark. I might do that with my friends, but I think on a national level it's probably not the right message that gets sent out.”

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Minoli adds that although she thought it was “a bit strange” that no one asked her how she was doing, she understands “things like this happen on live television”.

“I'm so glad that I had the support of everyone watching and they were able to feel the uncomfortableness and they spoke up for me,” she continues with a laugh.

“And at the same time, I spoke to The Project team later and they kind of understood that their response wasn't ideal. People make mistakes, everyone says silly stuff all the time, but unfortunately, it was on live TV.”

MasterChef’s Minoli De Silva in tears after the pressure test.
Minoli was eliminated during Tuesday night’s episode. Photo: Channel Ten

‘This whole season I've just felt what I needed to feel’

After finishing in tenth place on last year’s season of MasterChef, Minoli returned to the show alongside 11 other former contestants for Fans & Favourites.

However, she was eliminated during Tuesday night’s episode after an emotional pressure test which left her in tears.

“As soon as the challenge was finished I knew I was going home. I sat on the ground for ages afterwards and I was really upset, especially when I realised I had to serve the food to the judges,” she details.

“I feel like that was a good example of the highs and lows of MasterChef and I didn't want to hide how I was feeling. This whole season I've just felt what I needed to feel and I haven't worried about the cameras being there.

“It’s just a natural emotion and sometimes it’s a part of life and it's so normal to not have things go your way.”

MasterChef’s Minoli De Silva.
Minoli is launching her first restaurant, Ella, in Darwin next month. Photo: Instagram/ellabyminoli

‘I feel like I'm living a dream’

Now, Minoli is preparing to launch her very first restaurant, Ella, in Darwin on the first of June.

“I've really tried to embody everything that I love about cooking, the flavours I love, and make sure that I don't deviate from that and my passion as a restaurant,” she says, before adding, “I feel like I'm living a dream, like I can't explain it any other way.”

While Minoli acknowledges that it’s a difficult time for the hospitality industry coming out of lockdown, she’s excited about the upcoming launch and says she has “a bigger plan with the world of food”.

“When I grew up, I took cooking and the skills that I had for granted, and I feel like it gave me a lot of confidence in life and made me really happy as a person,” she explains.

"I really want to change how people see cooking and teach people to cook intuitively and use local produce and be more interactive with the community and be open with my recipes and how I cook and be an open book, because I think that's the only way to upskill the community.

“It's something that I never really experienced growing up, but hopefully I can give something back that I wanted growing up.”

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