MasterChef frontrunner Nat Thaipun is feeling the pressure as the finals loom

‘I have to grow.'
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In the very first week of MasterChef Australia, Nat Thaipun won this season’s only immunity pin and a trip to London to cook alongside celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in his restaurant. But the 28-year-old barista says her early success on the show proved a double-edged sword.

“It was a hard thing to start coming out so hot,” Nat tells TV WEEK.

Nat Thaipun in the midst of the MasterChef competition.
Nat set the bar high too early! (Credit: Ten)

“I feel I set my bar so high. It’s like, ‘OK, I’m going to have to grow from here.’ It was a lot of pressure – from me, because I’m so hard on myself all the time.”

While there have been ups and downs, Nat remains a favourite to go far thanks to her incredible Thai-inspired cooking, a nod to her heritage.

“I’m proud of being able to do that, because a lot of the food I ate growing up wasn’t that pleasant-looking,” Nat explains. “I’ve had to get creative to plate it up for MasterChef.

“It’s a proud moment when a judge tells me they’ve never eaten it before. That’s what I’m aiming for: to showcase Thai foods and dishes that people have never seen, because they’re so good.”

A close up of a focused Nat, cooking in the MasterChef kitchen.
Nat’s mum has been critiquing her cooking mid-show. (Credit: Ten)

Nat’s parents, who ran a Thai restaurant when she was younger, were shocked when she announced she was competing on MasterChef.

“I actually didn’t tell my mum when I first applied, so they were confused,” Nat recalls. “But now, Mum is so funny – she’s been watching the episodes and texting me at the same time: ‘You should have done this’ or ‘How did you overcook that rice?’ [Laughs].

“I’m like, ‘You know what? I don’t know how. But it’s done now – I can’t change it!’”

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