'You've Just Got To Back Yourself': Larissa's Flawless 'MasterChef' Philosophy
Every 'MasterChef' contestant reacts a little differently when the judges visit their bench to offer advice -- or voice some serious concern.
But while some amateur cooks panic or even change their entire game plan, 22-year-old Larissa Takchi never fails to stay calm, stick to her guns and eventually surprise Gary, Matt and George with one of her madcap flavour combinations.
Chatting to 10 daily over the phone, Larry explained what's going through her head when the judges arch their brows after hearing she's cooking a dessert with corn and curry leaves or creating Yakitori chicken... with a sous-vide machine.
"When you go into these challenges... you have this vision in your head and sometimes, the judges, they don't see that same vision.
"A lot of the time they just think I’m doing too much or they don’t get my concept and whenever they say that, it just means to me that they just don’t see what I see," she explained.
Watching Larissa compete on 'MasterChef' is a lesson that isn't just confined to the kitchen. It's a philosophy that can be applied across every classroom and workplace across the country.
"Sometimes, you’ve just got to back yourself," she told 10 daily.
"I take a lot of risks, but I do know that most of the time it will work for me. It’s pretty much just backing yourself and trusting that you know this dish works, it’s not too out there."
Any 'MasterChef' contestant from the last decade will agree that competing on the show is 50 percent culinary proficiency and 50 percent mental stamina.
Larissa explained that the feedback from the judges is a training ground for what's to come outside the 'MasterChef' nest.
"In reality, there are so many things that could throw you off, so they’re kind of preparing you for the real world. People will always question you but if you know what your dish is and you know the flavours, then just go for it.
"So that’s what my mentality is, cook like every day was my last day. I couldn't be prouder of what I’ve done," she said.
Larry has succeeded in the comp so far because she's nailed the mix of confidence and tenacity -- but without being a huge pain in the ass about it. There's not a trace of arrogance in her self-assured manner.
"I think it’s my mum, she’s pretty hardcore mentally," she told 10 daily when we asked where she gets her moxie.
"She’s a very strong person, very humble at the same time. She’s not a cocky person whatsoever. So she definitely stands up for herself and I think that sort of confidence… that kind of respect for myself comes from my mum.
Larissa added that she's always been taught to stand up for herself and not to feel "like you're being stomped on".
"Like, always be proud and humble at the same time, I know that sounds a bit weird," she laughed.
The dessert whiz has learned from the way her mum runs her own restaurant in Dural, NSW, taking mental notes about the way she handles herself.
"She’s hardcore, man, she’s the boss lady. She’s very organised, she’s got a lot of common sense so if someone goes in there and they’re doing something stupid she’ll just be like, ‘use your bloody brain’."
Larry works as her mum's restaurant manager and said she'd known from day one that "you have to have tough skin" to work in the food industry.
"So when I entered the competition, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy," she said.
Over the last few months, Larissa has hijacked her grandmother's knafeh with Corn Flakes, impressed Rick Stein with her cuttlefish recipe (having not ever laid eyes on the seafood before) and bamboozled Coda chef Adam D'Sylva during her immunity pin win -- so we had to ask what Larry's mum thought of it all as she's been watching along on TV?
"She just thinks I’m a psycho," Larissa laughed.
"She just thinks I'm really ballsy I guess. Obviously, we all didn’t expect this to be as big as it was. When we went to the auditions together as a family and she saw how everything was running she was like, what have we done? What have we got ourselves into?
"We didn’t think it was going to be this big -- turns out its fricken huge and its great!"