“I’m a Perfectionist”: MasterChef’s Therese Put Immense Pressure on Herself in the Kitchen


Therese Lum was certainly one to watch in the MasterChef Australia kitchen, with many backing her to make it to the finals. Unfortunately, the dessert queen was dethroned on Tuesday night, when she was sent home after failing to use her immunity pin.

The judges and guest superstar judge, Kirsten Tibballs, discovered a long list of flaws in her dish, which was part of a pressure test set by the world-renowned chocolatier.

For the 31-year-old, it was pressure by name and pressure by nature to meet the expectations that not only the judges had put on her, but also on herself.

“I know that I’m a perfectionist,” Therese told The Latch during an interview after her elimination. “Being a perfectionist has its downfalls and it has its good things about it, but it’s also that you need to know when the string ends. That was the feedback I got from the judges, and something I was wary of going into the kitchen every day.”

To Therese, being a dessert chef is very different to cooking other food as it is “very recipe-driven”. “There is a lot of like proportions and ratios. If you are one or two grams over then it’s the end, so you have to be a perfectionist.”

According to the self-confessed “dessert-nerd”, Therese felt that she had to bring something different to the table every week.

“For me creatively, I didn’t want to also redo things I had done, so every week I was always trying to push myself — is there a new technique, is there a new flavour combination that I can bring to the kitchen that actually hits the brief. It was hard to keep up to.”

Therese became the third contestant in MasterChef Australia’s history to leave the series with an immunity pin firmly fastened to her apron and while the pin was something she wanted to hold on to at the time, the same couldn’t be said for when she left.

“I’ve actually given it back,” Therese said. “I didn’t really want to stare at that thing every single day when I wake up.”

Watch MasterChef Australia on Network Ten from 7:30pm, Sunday to Wednesday nights.

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.