On Sunday, June 6, Dan Dumbrell became the latest contestant to be eliminated from MasterChef Australia 2021.
The 31-year-old aspiring cook participated in three rounds of a gruelling elimination challenge, set by one of his idols — Josh Niland —in which he had to use one Murray Cod, multiple ways.
“I definitely felt more confident every time I went through elimination because I’ve been in so many already,” Dumbrell told The Latch following his elimination. “I kind of find that seventh gear, when I’m in a black apron, to put up my best dishes.”
Reflecting on why this particular black apron cook was different, Dumbrell concluded that it was an accumulation of all of the elimination cooks that had preceded it, the mental obstacles of being told his first two cod dishes were not good enough and cooking fish not being his strength, to begin with.
Dumbrell credits the gantry with being a huge help in pushing the competing cooks along with their cheering and encouragement but noted that this time they actually gave him a glimpse into the future.
“There was a point during that third cook where I looked up and I could see all of them writing my eulogy,” he said. “And I’m like, ‘yep, I’m going on this one.'”
He continued, “They could just tell from how I was in other elimination cooks — usually I’m all excited and bouncing around, but they could just tell I was slowing down.”
As for the nickname given to him by Jock Zonfrillo during the course of the competition — Fusion Dan — Dumbrell said it’s one he actually wears with pride.
“Fusion will always be in my blood,” he told The Latch. “If my mum and Dad didn’t get together, and they’re from different cultures, I wouldn’t be here — I am a product of fusion.
“I think it’s such a lovely way of cooking: bringing all the new techniques and emerging culture that usually wouldn’t merge together. I’m looking to keep exploring that and I think fusion food actually has a place in the culinary world.”
Aside from conquering the world of fusion, Dumbrell is thrilled to be back home with his husband Paul, who he said sacrificed a lot for him to be able to participate on MasterChef and getting his cooking career fired up.
“I’m excited to start my food journey outside of the MasterChef kitchen,” he said. “I’m lining up work experience, I’m going to be doing a few pop-ups here and there. So, if anyone’s interested they can follow me on Instagram and I’ll be uploading all of my journey from here on out.”