The cookbook author and ‘Dessert Queen’, who finished third on season six and won season 12 in 2020, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that viewers would have no idea how much downtime the contestants actually have during filming days.
“I thought you kind of rock up on set, you get straight into the kitchen, you cook for your hour, you get judged for an hour and then you go home. It’s not like at all,” she details.
“You rock up, you might wait around for two or three hours while everything's happening, you cook for an hour, you might wait around for another two or three hours while they're resetting the room and having lunch breaks.
“And then the tastings where they taste everyone's dishes at the start when there are 24 contestants, that goes for like, eight hours. So you’re standing in the kitchen like, ‘Oh my god, I'm gonna collapse’.”
Emelia went on to share that the other side of MasterChef fans don't get to see on TV is the strong camaraderie between the contestants behind-the-scenes.
“You’re living in a house with 24 strangers, you don't have your phone, you've got no access to the internet, so it's kind of amazing because you connect with people on this real genuine level and you're all bonding over this common love for food,” she says.
“And because you don't have any of the distractions of the outside world, you form these really intense, fantastic friendships. So that's not something I ever considered when I was entering into MasterChef, I thought we'd just be cooking and that would be fun.”
Emelia adds that the experience of living with and getting to know a group of strangers as a 24-year-old university graduate completely changed her life moving forward.
“It was really amazing and it gave me a lot of confidence in my life to meet new people and how to connect with new people and that type of thing,” she remarks. “So in that aspect, it was an amazing experience.”
Three years on from winning MasterChef, Emelia is currently writing her second cookbook and “diving back into the world” of creating packet mixes, which she hopes to release soon.
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