MasterChef's Poh Ling Yeow reveals handwritten diary entry from time on show

The season one star has spilled on how contestants prepare for the competition.

Former MasterChef star Poh Ling Yeow has shared a surprising insight into what it’s really like being a contestant on the Channel 10 cooking competition.

The 49-year-old chef, who has made numerous appearances on the reality show since she came second in the inaugural season, took to Instagram on Wednesday to share a photo of the diary she kept when competing on season 12.

MasterChef’s Poh Ling Yeow.
MasterChef’s Poh Ling Yeow has posted about how she prepared for season 12. Photo: Channel 10

The notebook is filled with handwritten ingredient lists for various recipes that she had seemingly prepared to cook in the MasterChef kitchen.

This includes everything from flourless chocolate cakes and brandy sauce to lemongrass chicken and pineapple prawn curry. It also appears that some of the ingredient lists have been repeated, possibly to help her memorise the recipe.


“A page from a notebook of ingredient lists I’d committed to memory for @masterchefau Back To Win,’ she captioned the post.

“This is what we did with every spare minute.”

The twelfth season of MasterChef saw former high-achieving contestants from the franchise competing for a second chance at the title, with Poh finishing in sixth place and season six star Emelia Jackson taking out the crown.

Poh Ling Yeow's MasterChef notebook filled with recipe ingredients.
‘This is what we did with every spare minute.’ Photo: Instagram/pohlingyeow

'Seems crazy'

Poh’s Instagram Story comes shortly after fans took to Reddit to discuss whether or not they think contestants are allowed to reference recipes while cooking.

“Do all of the contestants have recipes for pastries, breads, ice creams completely memorised, or are they allowed time to look at recipes on their phones before they pick their ingredients?” one person asked.

“Just seems crazy to me that these home cooks are able to be so versatile in the kitchen using recipes they know off the top of their heads, and they’re able to do this under extreme pressure.”

A number of viewers replied saying recipes would likely be memorised, with one fan pointing out that recipes for ice cream, pasta and sauces are simple and easy to remember.

“Contestants eg Emelia have always advised in MCAU that you need a lot of studying,” they wrote. “Contestants who basically don’t study will not go far, and why past seasons when they showed the house scenes contestants would always be seen with cookbooks with them.

“Poh mentioned in S11 masterclass that yes they do memorise recipes. During Darren Purchese’s pressure test in S12 when their recipes were removed, Jess [Liemantara] said that ‘luckily I have a glaze recipe in her head’.

“If you are passionate about food then these should be at your intuition and all you have to do is remember the ratios or even just have numbers in your head.”

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