Five Minutes with Eliminated MasterChef Contestant #17: Daniel Kelty

Daniel Kelty, a stay-at-home dad from NSW, is the latest MasterChef contestant to be shown the kitchen door, when his twice-cooked pork left the judges unimpressed in last night’s elimination challenge. We had a great chat with Kelty earlier today, talking about life on the show and his future foodie plans.

Daniel KeltyWhat was the MasterChef experience like for you?

MasterChef was tough. The one thing I realised, having been an armchair critic over the years, was that it’s all real. When the judges say, “You have 45 minutes to cook your meal and your time starts now!”, that’s all real. That’s why you see the tears and emotion, because it’s not fake – it’s real.

So is it really the case that you have no time to think about what you’re going to cook before heading into the pantry?

We list ingredients we want to cook with – like Noelene’s pig’s head – but we don’t know when it’s going to happen. As contestants, we jumped on the bus every morning not knowing where it would take us.

What were the highlights for you?

Dubai was a great experience. We were in the desert – the desert desert – not a tv desert where there are houses the left of you. We were on those camels for three and a half hours! I’ll never forget it – it’s a money-can’t-buy experience.

And what were the biggest challenges?

When it started, there were 22 people in the house and I lived in the one room with eight guys and one bathroom – you can imagine it!

You’re dad with little kids – what was it like to be away from them?

I’m a stay-at-home dad and my little girl is only three years old. My departure was a long time in her little life and it hurt.

How are you feeling about the elimination and going home when you did?

It is bittersweet – it’s a bag of emotions. I’m sad, I’m happy, I’m disappointed, I’m relieved.

What are your plans now?

What’s next for me is a concept called Dinner at 8. Is a café share – a lot of cafés do a breakfast service, then a lunch service and then they close. So then I move in. You’ll know when to book Nana or a babysitter, and come along because you’ll always know what time dinner is – dinner is at eight!

Who do you think will win MasterChef this year?

I think Lynton. He’s shown the most development, and he’s come along in leaps and bounds. And the guy deserves some good luck in his life.

What three words best describe the MasterChef kitchen?

Difficult. Hard. Toughen up!