He won season ten of MasterChef back in 2018, but Sashi Cheliah and his fellow Fans & Favourites competitors were left stunned when he was sent home during Sunday night’s elimination challenge.
The restaurateur was tasked with an overnight cook and ended up serving the judges a fish curry without realising that it had burned at the bottom.
“It was a shock to me that I was going home on my curry,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle following his elimination.
“I knew that it was not a great cook, because I've been cooking in the kitchen for so many years and I can tell when it’s good and when it’s not good.
“I thought I might be going home, but at the same time, I didn’t know how the others had gone. So I was just hoping that I would be able to scrape through, but it didn’t happen.”
Watching the moment back on TV, Sashi was left surprised by the strong reaction the other contestants had when it was announced that his time in the kitchen had come to an end.
Season one winner Julie Goodwin covered her mouth in shock, season seven champion Billie McKay put her hands to her face, and season two star Alvin Quah was one of the many who uttered, “Oh my god!”.
“I have never seen anyone react like that in all my years of watching MasterChef. Even I was a bit shocked to see that happen,” Sashi remarks.
“Because I was looking straight at the judges, I could only hear the sound. But when I saw their expressions on the TV, it was priceless. It was a very nice feeling.”
‘The good, the bad and the ugly’
Sashi adds that it was “very hard” waving goodbye to his fellow competitors and walking out the door - something he didn’t have to do last time.
“No matter how long you spend in the MasterChef kitchen, you create some amazing bonds with a lot of people,” he reflects.
“For myself, I was there for a long time in my last season and I know the production team very well, I know the judges, and I know the people who are behind the camera.
“I've experienced everything that there is on MasterChef now: the good, the bad and the ugly. I have not left any stone unturned.”
Speaking about returning to the competition as a former winner, Sashi admits he wasn’t sure at first if it was the right thing to do.
“I was a little hesitant going back because there were a lot of things happening during that period in my business and my life,” he details.
“But when I mentioned it to my family they were very supportive. They said, ‘Go for it, you will enjoy it and it will be a very good platform for you to restart your passion. It’ll be a fresh start after the past two years’. I really appreciate what my family said, and it came true.”
Sashi explains that his appearance on the show ended up boosting his confidence in the hospitality industry and despite leaving earlier than he intended, he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I think I lived up to my expectation because there wasn't a single bad cook throughout this whole season until the last elimination,” he adds. “I put up some amazing dishes, so I’ve got no regrets going back into the competition at all.”
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