'I Dedicate This To All The 50-Year-Olds': Anushka Celebrates Her Record-Breaking Time In The 'MasterChef' Kitchen
An intense pressure test set by Ashley Palmer-Watts meant it was, unfortunately, time to say farewell to Anushka Zargaryan.
Speaking to 10 daily over the phone following her elimination, Anushka admitted she never thought that when she was first handed her 'MasterChef' apron, she'd make it all the way to Finals Week.
"Absolutely not," she said.
"I knew people -- at my age -- don't do really well in the competition. I wasn't sure why but I knew there must be a reason. Then when I got in, it's such a physically tough challenge as well as mental!"
Anushka said she felt like her age was a "disadvantage", but also celebrated the fact that she broke a record.
"I'm the first person hitting the big 5-0 and making it to the finals week in the 'MasterChef' kitchen," she proudly told 10 daily.
And it's true: Anushka now holds the record as the oldest contestant to make it to the final six.
"I want to dedicate that to all the 50-year-olds," she said.
"This one is for you! I wish I could win it for us, but it's still a massive achievement."
Anushka's time in the 'MasterChef' kitchen is so perfectly summed up by the incredible range of dishes she plated, as well as her overflowing love for the other chefs in the competition.
"The interactions with the judges, the mentors, the friendships we form, the laughs, the tears, all the experiences that come with this thing called 'MasterChef' are the highlights for me," Anushka said.
The intense connections made during her time on 'MasterChef' made coming back to real life all the more difficult.
"It was such a bittersweet moment," she admitted.
"I was so ready to come back home -- I missed everything about my life -- and when I came back I missed the 'MasterChef' house as well."
"So exciting and yet so scary that it is over, and there's an element of sadness attached to it. But I realised it didn't matter, even if I was holding the trophy at the end, that element of sadness was going to be there."
Anushka, along with Tim Bone and Nicole Scott, had to face one of Ashley Palmer-Watts' creations. This time, Dinner by Heston's executive chef brought in their take on the lamington. With more than 60 steps and 10 elements, it was a huge task.
Heading into the challenge, Anushka admitted she was going to try and keep a clear head -- but falling behind Tim and Nicole, it appeared time was not on her side.
"I don't think it was the time," Anoushka said when we asked what happened during the challenge. Despite managing to catch up to the others, she was missing her raspberry jelly.
"This is going to ruin her," Simon Toohey said from the gantry.
"That beautiful jelly," Anushka said, "that jelly was ready for me five, 10 minutes before but I kept compressing it.
"I remember Gary called two minutes to go and I still pressed the button to compress it when it was absolutely ready," she said, calling it a "classic Anushka moment".
I pressed the compress button when I knew that the freaking jelly was ready! I wasn't ready for that jelly!
While 'MasterChef' has a range of challenges the cooks must overcome, for Anushka her biggest obstacle was something she didn't anticipate.
"English is my third language," she told 10 daily.
"My biggest challenge was reading instructions, specifically written by someone else."
"It wasn't the technical aspect, it was reading the instructions and trying to translate it in my brain."
It wasn't the first time a challenge came with a handful of complex instructions. Just a few weeks ago Anushka was also challenged with Kirsten Tibballs' apple pie.
"My mind went to Tati because she had the same issue -- how hard it was for us to read instructions and translate quickly," Anushka said.
"Just because I was a dessert person and Tati wasn't, [the apple pie challenge] played to my favour."
Since her time in the 'MasterChef' kitchen, Anushka has made steps toward her goals of opening a cooking school that also focuses on food-related mental health issues.
"That side of cooking and baking hasn't really been explored and it's what I want to focus on," she explained.
"If I can help one person and get them out of that dark place, my mission will be done."
She'll also be launching her website very soon, where you can keep an eye out for her upcoming appearances, cooking demos and news on her cooking school.
Featured image: Network 10.