'I Do This Weird Thing At Home - I Cook': Chris Badenoch Eliminated From MasterChef Following Take-Out Challenge
When the judges surveyed the MasterChef contestants to find out who often gets take-out delivered to their houses, one hand that was not raised was Chris Badenoch's.
"Pretty much everybody except me," Chris told 10 daily following his elimination on Sunday night.
"I do this weird thing at home: I cook! So I was like... I'm f**ked."
The remaining contestants -- except Amina who won herself immunity during the sushi train challenge -- first had to correctly identify take-away dishes and their country of origin, with Chris stumbling on laksa.
Joining him in the bottom four were Tracy, Tessa and Ben Ungermann, each of whom were tasked with creating a take-away dish to be served not just in the MasterChef kitchen, but also delivered to Melissa Leong at her home.
The dish not only had to be up to the MasterChef standard, but also needed to travel well and still be just as delish when it arrived at Mel's door.
"I didn't know what to do," Chris admitted, "A lot of the kind of food I would cook wouldn't travel well sealed up in plastic, on a bike going god-knows where.
"I was really trying to figure out the best way I could come up with a dish that could stand up to the home delivery process," he said, adding with emphasis and a laugh, "which I'm not familiar with!"
Settling on a classic Saag Paneer with rice and flatbread, Chris felt somewhat confident as it's a dish he makes at home quite a lot. Unfortunately the judges felt the flavours just weren't up to that of his competitors, ending his time in the MasterChef kitchen.
At the time, the challenge seemed quirky enough but since it was filmed the world is a far different place, with the coronavirus completely turning the restaurant industry on its head. Many restaurants and cafes have had to pivot to offering take-away in an effort to keep their businesses running.
"Now it seems very timely, but it was just a giant coincidence," Chris said. "Turns out that everybody's getting home delivery which... it's the difference for so many restaurants surviving or not.
"Turns out it was a necessary evil!"
For Chris and his wife Julia -- who me met when the pair competed during Season 1 of MasterChef. Julia placed fifth, and Chris third.
"It's kind of embarrassing when people ask where did you meet," Chris said, "We say on a plane because that's technically true!"
It came as no surprise to see Chris back in the kitchen for Back To Win. His time in Season 1 brought the concept of 'nose-to-tail' cooking to mainstream Australia like it hadn't before.
Serving up roasted pigs head or duck neck sausage, the master of meats really brought the notion of reducing waste when it comes to meat that hadn't really been seen on Aussie TV all those years ago.
"It's not uncommon overseas to get offal on menus in France or the UK. In Australia it's not common, and you definitely never see it on TV. I think it helped open people's eyes to what can be done," he said.
His other passion is one that has quite literally lit up his time on the show -- cooking over fire.
"I totally love that. It feels very primal," Chris said.
"When you put a beautiful piece of meat or vegetable or something over some hot coals, the smell and the sensation is uneatable. I hate water baths and all that kind of crap," he said.
"To me, that's not cooking. Give me fire and some basic produce, and that's what I love. I don't like the chemistry side of cooking."
Having competed in the very first season of MasterChef -- and returning in 2012 for the All Stars season -- Chris admitted it took some time re-adjusting to the rhythm of the kitchen.
"It's a wonderful experience and you get addicted to it. You get back and you're like, 'What the f**k am I doing back here?' because it's so hard!"
Between filming All Stars and Back To Win, the series had moved to the now iconic Melbourne facility. Something that also took a lot of getting used to.
"Even though it looks kind of the same, it's just different enough and the first few cooks were so hard because, like, I don't know where the f**k anything is! It takes a while to get back up to speed with that."
Coming back also meant Chris was reunited with a few of the gang he had cooked with in Season 1 and All Stars.
"It was so good cooking with those guys and meeting a lot of them," he said, "you see them around and about but you never actually meet them, not properly anyway. It's been interesting and fun and hopefully we'll get back to film the finals and hang out again!"
One former contestant Chris has kept in touch with was Season 2's Aaron Harvie, with the pair recently launching their website Bad Harvie where the duo will be releasing graphic novels.
The whole idea started after "way too many whiskeys" when Chris pitched an idea for a graphic novel.
"We had a long, drunken conversation and were like, 'Let's do it! How hard could it be?' That was about a year ago."
The site launched last week, with their first product up for sale in a few weeks. The pair collaborate completely on the ideas, with Aaron doing the writing and Chris the drawing and design.
"We cook together and do demos together, we've got a BBQ show we're trying to pitch, so it's pretty much food and graphic novels which is... kind of ideal."