‘The Pressure Is Just Insane’: How Tessa Made It To The 'MasterChef' Grand Finale Week
After months in the ‘MasterChef’ kitchen and just days from the grand finale, Tessa Boersma will finally face her first dreaded pressure test.
It’s something that not many contestants can avoid -- and if they do -- when they finally put on that black apron, they’re often at a disadvantage against their competitors who have been through the pressure test wringer plenty of times.
But for cool, calm, collected Tessa -- who scored herself two immunity pins this season, it was a chance for her to reflect on how far she’d come.
“I think it was just such a proud moment for me that I made it to finals week,” she told 10 daily over the phone.
“I had always imagined making it that far throughout the competition and then to finally get there, it was almost surreal that I'd done what it took for me to get there,” she explained.
Tessa said that, as she got closer and closer to the end of the cooking show, she "definitely started ramping it up a bit" in how she prepared herself for challenges.
"Just making sure that I was across anything that was getting thrown my way like making sure that I was aware of how pressure tests were even set up, for when that would eventually come my way," she told 10 daily.
Pressure tests this season have ranged from Nigella Lawson's tarragon roast chicken to Clare Smyth's delicate lemon verbena vacherin to Leno Lattarulo's seafood paella. But for the semi-final, Tessa, Larissa, Tim and Simon will be facing a dessert made by a chef who is normally reserved for the grand finale -- Peter Gilmore.
Gilmore presented his Snow Egg to Adam Liaw and Callum Hann back in Season 2 and his Chocolate Etheral to Brent Owens and Laura Cassai and his latest creation will squeeze one contestant out of the race to make room for the final three.
"The pressure is just insane," Tessa told 10 daily of the way the challenges became increasingly difficult as the pool of contestants became smaller and smaller.
"There's so much pressure on your shoulders to be able to get through it and do the best that you possibly can and just rely on all that knowledge and skill that you built over the last few months," she said.
Tessa explained that at that level of the competition, she felt a combination of wanting to "feel the freedom and release" of finishing up in the 'MasterChef' house but also wanting that freedom to come with the number one spot.
"It was kind of like, we were itching to get it done, but also wanting to do the best that we could and not take our focus off the task at hand," the Queenslander said.
'MasterChef' contestants from the last decade would all agree that the competition isn't just about cooking -- it's about keeping a clear head and remaining laser-focused, batting away feelings of homesickness and doubt.
"It's definitely a mental game," Tessa agreed.
"I think for me, I was just lucky that that's just the way that my brain works and that, you know, when I'm given a task, I want to always complete it to the best of my ability and I'm quite competitive.
"So for me, it was just like, I could never walk away from the competition knowing that I didn't give 110 percent because that's just not the way I work," she said.
While Tessa has fine-tuned her cooking skills in the 'MasterChef' incubator the last few months, she's also been able to rely on techniques that she's spent years perfecting, due to her love of a classic Australian dish -- fish and chips.
"I've definitely had a lot of fish and chips in my time, I've eaten more fish and chips and you can probably imagine," she laughed.
"And I actually learnt my fish filleting from my dad and my brother, they're both keen fishermen. So yeah, I have just always loved fishing and I fish a lot now with my boyfriend Elliot. I've just always been able to sort of handle a fish pretty well I think and a lot of shellfish as well," Tessa told 10 daily.
It's a skill she'll continue to use as she makes plans to build on the dream she first had when she entered 'MasterChef' -- opening a food destination in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
"It's almost just become more of a real dream rather than something that was up in the air. I think since being on the show, I've actually realised that it's something that's attainable, and it's something that I can work towards," she said.