Tears, laughs, gossip and plenty of incredible food. For the six Wellington-based MasterChef New Zealand contestants, getting together each week to watch themselves on the telly is a chance to reminisce about their time on the hit TV One show: the good times, the bad, and the moments they wished never happened.
Glynn Rudolph and James Culleton, Nikki and Jordan Shearer, and Jenn Clark and Elizabeth Marshall take turns hosting the others and all say it’s great to watch the show with people who have also been through it – and of course, as James says, it’s a great excuse to eat, drink and be merry.
“It’s like a weird support group,” laughs Jordan. “It’s great to be able to laugh and cringe together!”
“Yeah, we all have moments from the MasterChef kitchen we want to have included in the show and others we’d prefer stay on the editing room floor,” adds Elizabeth. “And we know what’s happened behind the scenes and the edits! We all have a laugh – and sometimes Glynn cries!”
The tight-knit group, out of which only Nikki and Jordan are left in the running to win the gruelling competition, started the tradition after meeting to watch the premiere episode together in a Wellington pub. They decided to carry on the tradition in their own homes.
“It’s the easiest way to get a really delicious feed,” remarks Glynn, wryly.
“And it’s great to watch with people who have shared the experience,” says Nikki.
“We all groan and laugh at the same things knowing what has gone on behind the scenes, and gasp with horror when some contestants talk negatively about other contestants in the interviews!”
Along with reliving their finest moments in the kitchen, the group also have to see things they’d rather forget, such as when Elizabeth thought she and Jenn had run out of water in a baking challenge, only to realise all she had to do was turn on the tap, or when Nikki had a meltdown when confronted with a tiramisu.
“It’s known in my household as a ‘terrormisu’ now!” she laughs. “I had no idea what I was doing and I went into a complete panic. I didn’t like watching that episode. I held my best friend’s hand the whole way through. But we survived – and I’ve since nailed the dessert!”
Of course, they all contribute to the amazing feasts they share each week. Elizabeth always bakes bread, Jenn likes to cook a mix of things, Glynn and James use the “age-old man trick of applying meat to fire”, and Nikki and Jordan are particularly proud of their lamb shank and pasta dish.
“Everyone always brings nibbles and bread, so we have plenty,” Nikki says. “It’s a big crowd to cook for and otherwise it could become quite expensive!”
And while they’re still getting used to seeing themselves on TV – “I’m always just hoping that I don’t embarrass myself too much!” Jordan smiles – the proud Wellingtonians insist the best thing about getting together is making sure they remain firm friends.
“It’s very important to keep these special relationships,” says Elizabeth, with James adding that the friendships they made were the best thing about being on the show.
“We can talk about stuff with the other contestants you can’t talk to anyone else about,” adds Nikki.
“They become your best friends, your brothers, your sisters. They know you in your happy and sad times, and have seen you laugh, cry, scream and curse. The friendships we made on the show will be lifelong.”
“Yes,” Glynn agrees, “there are some glorious souls who I’d love to keep in my pockets for life!”
We joined the six MasterChef competitors to enjoy a delicious shared meal. Here are all the recipes you need to recreate our fabulous meal at home!
1. Nikki’s Asian Slaw – try this delicious crunchy slaw, topped of with crunchy chilli macadamia nuts.
Click through to get Nikki’s Asian slaw recipe here…
2. Jordan’s Spicy Popcorn Prawn Sliders – these tasty mini-prawn burgers are perfect for sharing.
Click through to get Jordan’s Spicy Popcorn Prawn Sliders recipe here…
3. Jenn’s Cauliflower Salad – this vegetarian feast is packed with flavour.
Click through to get Jenn’s Cauliflower salad recipe here…
Also on the table… Glynn & James’ steak with green peppercorn sauce (get the recipe in this week’s issue of New Zealand’s Women’s Weekly), served with delicious freshly baked bread by Elizabeth, with fresh pate from Cellar-Vate.
About Kelly Bertrand
“I started at the Weekly after a two-week internship in 2011, which was part of my journalism studies. Basically, I hung around and annoyed people long enough to land a job as a staff writer, and I’ve been here ever since. I’m lucky enough to get to write stories ranging from the Kardashians through to the Queen, but my real passion is telling the stories of New Zealand’s sporting stars. Sometimes I can’t quite believe it’s my job to hang out with All Blacks and Silver Ferns! I absolutely love working at the Weekly, and feel really privileged to be part of this 83-year-old Kiwi institution. I’m also fond of Instagram, coffee and animals dressed as humans!”more of this author