'It Was Devastating': Yossra Eliminated Just Days Before Nigella Week
Yossra Abouelfadl has become the third contestant to leave the 'MasterChef' kitchen -- narrowly missing out on the chance to meet her culinary hero.
Yossra and her fellow Blue Team members were forced into an elimination round after coming in second during the 'Feed the Famers' challenge in East Gippsland.
The contestants were asked to select both their favourite -- and least favourite -- ingredients and then decide which one they'd use during round one.
Speaking to 10 daily on the phone after the challenge, Yossra explained that she was confident her choice of lamb would save her from having to use her least favourite ingredient -- white chocolate -- in the second, more daunting challenge.
"Honestly, I had no idea what I was going to do with white chocolate and I was really confident that I was going to kill it with lamb, there’s no doubt," she said, adding that she "didn't even think about the second round".
But Yossra's lamb cutlets with potato puree and saffron jus landed her in the bottom four -- and her white chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis failed to impress the judges with the dish, unfortunately, ending her 'MasterChef' journey.
But worse than finding out that she'd been sent home so early in the competition was the realisation that she'd just be missing out on Nigella Week.
"It was devastating, to be honest, one of the things that I can’t get over is the fact that I missed Nigella Lawson," she told 10 daily.
"It was one of my goals, I said, 'if I ever go to 'MasterChef', I have to stay until I can cook for Nigella Lawson or attend her week' and I just missed it," she sighed.
Yossra grew up in Egypt, a country known for its unique cuisine that blends flavours from the Middle East, Africa, the Mediterranean and Asia. And while she grew up watching her mother cook, she said that it wasn't until she moved to Australia at age 20 and began learning from Nigella's recipes that she really found her groove in the kitchen.
"My mum is a great cook but she didn’t really want me to go in the kitchen, but I was so curious and would always go and watch her cooking, helping her with little things," Yossra explained.
"But I really started cooking when I moved to Australia and my first inspiration to cook was Nigella Lawson," she said, adding that she started buying Nigella's books and watching her TV shows.
"She just made me feel… her style is my style of cooking. I love comfort food, I love late night, midnight snacks, I love pasta," said Yossra., adding that the queen of home cooking is her "number one inspiration".
And although it still stings thinking about just how close she came to cooking for her hero, Yossra said she'll still be cheering on her fellow contestants during Nigella Week, watching every episode.
Yossra said the bonds she formed in the 'MasterChef' house were "unbelievable" with everyone supporting one another throughout the competition.
"The thing I love about all the contestants is there’s a lot of diversity, different cultures, different beliefs and we all blended so well," Yossra told 10 daily.
Since leaving 'MasterChef', Yossra has been working hard on her dream to share the stories of Egypt's diverse culinary landscape with Australians.
"My dream now is to travel to Egypt and rediscover and explore the food and the stories behind the food, how it all started," she explained, adding that she wants to film her journey and eventually write a book based on the trip.
"My kids were born here in Australia but the way I tell them more about my culture and their roots in Egypt is by cooking for them and telling them stories about the food and they love it," Yossra said.
Yossra, we're going to miss watching you cook in the 'MasterChef' kitchen, but at least we have your recipe for Egyptian kofta pockets with tahini and eggplant!