Five Minutes with Eliminated MasterChef Contestant #20: Rishi Desai

In a shock elimination last night, MasterChef Australia favourite, Rishi Desai, from NSW, was sent home after Samira pipped him at the post on a French beef fillet dish. We spoke with Rishi earlier today about leaving the show and following his foodie dreams.  

Rishi DesaiQ: What’s it like to be a part of the MasterChef experience?

It was really overwhelming, to be on the show. You don’t think about being on the show, you think about auditioning and “maybe I can get in”, so actually being there in the first place is really amazing. When the 22 of us were walking into the MCG, at one point we thought there’d be 22 others coming in from the other side and we’d have a top 50 or something like that – we didn’t realise we were the top 22 so it was really amazing to find that out. Being sent home… I know it’s about winning the competition, but at the end of the day there’s so much learning you can take from the show. Winning is one episode, the grand finale. It’s the in between you have to soak up and that’s the best thing about being on the show, learning about everything.

Q: What were the standout moments for you?

Heston is my food hero, and he came on the show and we had four days with him. And I cooked in every challenge that week, and that was the highlight. Cooking Heston’s edible vegie garden – you don’t get the opportunity every day. That was probably the best thing, and my family being there after that. As for lowlights, I’ve had a couple of disasters on the show.

Q: How are you feeling about leaving the competition?

It was disappointing to go home. But at the same time, someone has to leave and you are only as good as your last cook, and mine wasn’t the best. It wasn’t a bad dish, but one of the elements wasn’t perfect. And top four or five, it comes down to having everything in the dish perfect.

Q: What’s next for you?

First things first, I’m catching up with friends and family. My dream of a restaurant is still alive, but it’s going to take some time to figure out how it’s going to work so in the meantime I’m thinking about publishing a couple of books, and have a restaurant after that.

Q: Who would you like to see take out MasterChef this year?

I have worked with Lynton and he’s a friend of mine. I’ve seen him grow. He’s got the right headspace to win the competition, I think. He’s cooking really well and he knows what he’s doing. I’m going to put my money on Lynton.

Q: What three words best describe the MasterChef kitchen?

Incredible. Exciting. Pressure.