Linda Dalrymple was the latest contestant to be eliminated from MasterChef Australia 2021, with the 39-year-old mum of two being sent home after a particularly intense challenge that involved re-creating Hugh Allen’s intricate bottle brush dessert extravaganza.
Speaking to The Latch following her exit, Dalrymple said while she knew desserts were not her strong suit, she was determined to go in and follow each step to a tee and push as hard as she could.
“It was going great at the start,” she said. “But then with the liquid nitrogen stand while trying to do the caramel sticks, it just wasn’t working and it was taking too long – it took me a little bit of time to get it into the mould.
“And then you start to hear the judges give the time calls and you realise somehow there’s only an hour left! And then having issues with the tempering of the chocolate, that just took forever,” she continued. “But at the same time, I just thought ‘Linda, if this is going to be your last cook, then cook your heart out and do the best you can because if you are leaving today, then at least you can leave with your head held high.’
“And that’s what I did. So I’m proud of that.”
When asked about how strange it is to be, on some level, hoping that one of your friends and fellow chefs has done poorly in order for you to remain in the game, Dalrymple said that while she never felt that way specifically, she did have to remind herself a few times that it was, in fact, a competition.
“Starting the MasterChef journey, I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity so I decided to just go with the flow and enjoy it. To be so close [to the finale], at the start of the completion that was just something I never expected and without their [her fellow contestants] love and support honestly, I probably wouldn’t have gotten to the stage I did during the competition.”
Of course, this season of MasterChef Australia has seen the contestants treated to incredible experiences such as cooking with the likes of Curtis Stone and Heston Blumenthal, to creating the first-ever dinner service at Society Restaurant in Melbourne and enjoying masterclasses and challenges from a bevvy of celebrity guests. However, for Dalrymple, the highlight, hands down, was their trip to the Northern Territory.
“Being in the Northern Territory and Uluru, it was just so calming, so zen and serene,” she said. “It was just so beautiful.
“Learning so much from the contestants, as well as the guest chefs, being mentored by three amazing judges… the whole experience, I’d have to say, to me, has been the best that I’ve ever experienced in the last few months.”
Having also been fortunate enough to use all of the gadgets in the MasterChef kitchen, Dalrymple now recommends that any passionate home cook invests in everything they can get their hands on for their own kitchens too.
“I can say every single appliance that you saw in the kitchen – definitely get your hands on them!” she laughed. “I actually have quite a few now at home. I love kitchen gadgets. I definitely love my KitchenAid stand mixer and I use that quite a bit. But I also have the deep fryer and all the other gadgets as well. I think kitchen gadgets are just great in general.”
And in case you were wondering, yep, she has an ice cream mixer as well.
Now that her time on MasterChef is over, the talented home cook has her sights set on hosting a few pop-ups and continuing to pursue a career in food, which she encourages people to follow via her Instagram account.
Speaking about what her appearance on the reality show meant to people in her community, Dalrymple said she was thrilled to be able to share her Laotian and Cambodian heritage with Austalia, acknowledging what a perfect platform MasterChef was for that.
“I don’t really see many Cambodian dishes out there or Laotian dishes, and the fact that I was actually able to create dishes that represented my culture and where I’m from, was just fantastic.
“I love Australia – I was born here, raised here. I love how multicultural we are and, when I do travel overseas, that is something that I miss about home – that multiculturalism that we have, and how we can actually get access to all the different types of cultural food just by jumping in the car and going to the next suburb. That’s such a great thing about our country.”
So, with the finale now less than a week away, who does she think will take home the grand prize and the title of MasterChef 2021?
“I honestly cannot pick a person,” she said. “The top four are absolutely amazing and it only takes just one split second of a decision or something that can actually change the whole game because they’re all just so fantastic.”
You can follow Linda’s food journey at @eating_with_chenwah and be sure to watch the MasterChef Australia 2021 finale on Network Ten and 10Play on July 13, 2021, at 7.30pm.