Montana Hughes on Returning to TikTok and Who She Thinks Will Win ‘MasterChef Australia’

MasterChef Australia is quickly coming to a close, and less than 10 contestants remain in the competition. On Tuesday night’s elimination episode, Montana Hughes was sent home after an intense challenge set by Khanh Nguyen. 

It was a gruelling day in the kitchen, as contestants were required to cook up Nguyen’s famous ‘Seafood Plate’, a dish that contained 99 ingredients and 143 steps

Despite putting up a good fight, Hughes’ dish didn’t deliver, as her storm clam and scallops were undercooked. 

“I knew it was going to be tough, but I just followed the recipe as best as I could and I knew that cooking the seafood would be tough, and it was the thing that ended up sending me home,” Hughes told The Latch.

“It was a lovely send-off,” she continued. “There were so many kind words from other contestants that didn’t make the final cut that we’re so incredible. Alvin [Quah], Julie [Goodwin] and everyone said some really amazing things.”

Related: Everyone Who’s Said Goodbye on MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites

With four and a half hours on the clock, Hughes raced through the 13-page recipe as best as she could, but the adrenaline left her feeling mentally and physically drained. However, she’s proud of what she’s achieved, even though it wasn’t able to push her over the line.

“I was exhausted but it was a really clarifying cook for me,” she said. “It sort of reinforced what I want to do after this. I really love creative food, that’s taking on something traditional, so it really opened up that path and I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to do that cook and have that realisation during it.”

As the youngest contestant in the competition this year, Hughes was only 12 years old when Goodwin took home the title in Season 1. From that moment, all she ever wanted was to have her name engraved on the MasterChef Australia trophy. She was definitely motivated, but she believes her drive caused her to be too hard on herself during her time on the show.

“I let the pressure get to me. I’ve wanted this experience for such a long time, I dreamt about it as a kid. I think having wanted it so much, I put that pressure on myself to do well and that showed in my cooking for a few weeks,” she admitted.

“Towards the end, I shook it off and told myself I could do it, and it definitely changed the way I cook,” she said. “I had fun in the kitchen, it showed on the plate, I had some really good dishes — if I could go back tomorrow I would not let the pressure get to my head.”

Related: MasterChef Australia 2022: Here’s Where to Follow the Contestants on Instagram

However, this isn’t the end for Hughes. Even before the show, Hughes had a large following on social media. Her TikTok account — where she posts short recipe videos — currently has 249,000 followers, and she’s not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon.

“I’m definitely going to get back into it,” Hughes said. “I want to up my content a little bit, I want to make it more high-end. I love the quick, easy stuff but my style of food is more refined. 

“So, I want to merge those two parts of me together and elevate that style of cooking a little bit more on my platform.”

As for who she thinks has the chops to win the season? The answer is obvious. As a huge Billie McKay fan, the 24-year-old is backing her to be crowned for the second time — something that has never been done in MasterChef history.

“There all honestly such amazing cooks, but of course, I have to say Billie has what it takes to win the competition.”

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