Monica Exits The 'MasterChef' Kitchen But She's Still A Hero To Her Primary Students
Monica Mignone is the latest contestant to leave 'MasterChef', but the primary school teacher has been enjoying a rock star reception on the playground.
Speaking to 10 daily on the phone following her Nigella Week elimination, Monica said her students have been treating her like an A-lister since watching her 'MasterChef' debut.
"Oh my gosh, they think I’m a celebrity," she said, adding that the kids' commentary after each episode has been "so gorgeous".
"I rocked up to school today and they said, ‘oh no, you were in the green team, you have to cook tonight!’" she said.
Monica added that her school in Victoria surprised her with a musical tribute the day she entered the competition's top 24 with her 'Flavours of the Adriatic Sea' recipe.
"The day I got my apron, I got to school and you know how before school they play music before the bell? It was “Hot and Cold” by Katy Perry," she laughed, referring to the longtime 'MasterChef' theme song.
Monica left 'MasterChef' on Monday evening after Nigella Lawson's roast chook challenge -- an elimination that meant recreating the celeb chef's tarragon chicken.
We asked Monica if she's attempted the recipe since that day and she replied with a groan, "God, no, I have not!"
"The funny thing is, I’ve cooked it once in my life, it’s not really my style of cooking," she said, adding that she's "not really a traditional girl who makes roast beef or a chook".
Monica explained that the biggest challenge in the 'MasterChef' kitchen isn't having an encyclopedic knowledge of every recipe ever written -- it's more of a psychological test.
"The most difficult thing was definitely getting in my own head," she mused.
"I think a lot of the time, I’d have an idea but then I’d think it wasn’t impressive enough or think, ‘Oh the judges want to see more’."
I was second guessing what I wanted to cook and I think I really focused on what I thought the judges wanted to eat, rather than what I would want to eat.
Since leaving the comp, Monica has been working as a casual primary teacher and is also working hard on her food dream, with plans to write a cookbook that honours her family's treasured recipes.
"My mum is from the north of Italy and my dad’s from the south, so, coming from an Italian family, everything’s about food and it’s always been that way," she told 10 daily.
"I grew up learning about recipes from Nonna and Nonno and mum, so I thought, ‘What better way to bring together all the recipes handed down to me?’”
But in the meantime, Monica will be busy educating her biggest fans, who she says will be disappointed she's left the competition.
"I’m sure they’ll all be up in arms that I got eliminated because they all think I was the best cook there, which is a good little confidence boost!” she laughed.