Mandy Hall Reveals The Secret She Kept Above Her Bed In The 'MasterChef' House
It was a fight to the finish but unfortunately for 'MasterChef's fermentation queen, Mandy was sent home.
In the two-part pressure challenge, the contestants facing elimination were faced with a massive selection of condiments. Their task was to correctly identify condiments, with the five contestants guessing incorrectly going to the second round.
Speaking to 10 daily via the phone following her elimination, Mandy admitted she had yet to forgive Sweet Mustard Pickle.
"I'll never eat it again," she said laughing. "There were so many condiments there and I knew loads, but I saw corn and thought 'Yeah, corn relish', then I did my tasting, George asked me what I thought and I said.... sweet mustard pickle."
"George looked at me like, oh my god, it was so ridiculous!"
Heading into round two Mandy made the decision to redeem herself after the slip-up in the first round. Deciding to make a dish she had made before, peri-peri chicken with a cabbage beurre blanc on top of fried cabbage leaves. Despite feeling confident at first, Mandy struggled to explain the unusual pairing of flavours to the judges as they came around.
"When the judges came to my bench and asked what I was doing, that's when I knew at that point I had made the biggest mistake," she said.
"I was so thrown by the first round, I didn't have the same energy to pull off [the dish]. I realised then and there I was going home."
While things didn't go exactly to plan for Mandy, she did reveal the one secret weapon she had stashed up her sleeve.
"I had a magazine that had pictures of Gary on it, so I made this montage, put it above my bed and hoping somehow -- via osmosis -- that he'd love everything I made," she said.
"Everyone would come in and pay homage to the poster."
While Mandy described her 'MasterChef' experience as "the most glorious", one thing she definitely wasn't expecting was how close she and the other contestants would become in such a short amount of time.
"I can tell you without a doubt, those relationships will go on for a lifetime," she said. "There isn't anybody there that I wouldn't run to if they needed anything. We lucked out this season."
A lot of Mandy's love of food comes in the form of fermentation. After being very sick many years ago she began to look at food in a different way. Seeing the various health benefits of fermenting food, Mandy also became interested in the way so many cultures have their own versions of fermented foods.
"Not only is the stuff good for you, but it's incredibly tasty," she said. "These are forgotten skills! People have been fermenting for forever and a day."
Since 'MasterChef', Mandy has been exploring that world even more, working on her blog as well as doing project work with The Fermentary. On top of that, Mandy is extremely passionate about using her love of food to do good.
Mandy said her first time back in a kitchen after 'MasterChef' was at the shelter she volunteers at.
"That was beautiful," she said, "I got to serve people in our community who are doing it really tough. That was one of the most gorgeous things I've ever done, to be able to put a plate of food in front of someone who you know is desperate for it and so appreciative."
"'MasterChef' is such a platform to do some good, we're all here to do some good and having been on the show means I can do a little bit more."