Reality TV

EXCLUSIVE: Dami Im reveals how trauma has bonded the Celebrity MasterChef cast forever and why the winner isn’t who you’re expecting

''There were such intense moments.''
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Dami Im was delightful on the wholesome Celebrity spinoff of MasterChef, and although her Sweet Potato Basque Cheesecake was her undoing, the singer wouldn’t change a thing.

The 33-year-olds fate was sealed when she served her piping hot dessert to judges Melissa Leong, Andy Allen, and Jock Zonfrillo. However, Dami jokingly tells TV Week that she felt “great” leaving the show because it was just in time to release her new album, My Reality.

For Dami, Celebrity MasterChef was a great opportunity to bring Korean food to the series and try something new.

“This year has just been a funny year, and all my shows didn’t go ahead. The tour got cancelled, so when I got asked, I thought it was a really great opportunity to do something different.

“It is nice to know that people are a lot more interested in Korean food. And I don’t think I have seen much Korean cuisine on MasterChef on any other season, so I felt really excited about sharing some of that,” she says.

Those watching the show at home are likely curious about the dynamics between the celebrities.

But Dami’s ultimate fan moment was getting to meet the Aussie sporting icon, Ian Thorpe.

“I was quite excited about meeting a lot of them, like Thorpe, I was cheering him on all my life, and all my family are big fans when he was in the Olympics; obviously Rebecca Gibney too.”

MasterChef has always been a high stress, high impact, emotional show, and producers haven’t gone easy on their unexpecting celebrities.

Dami found Celebrity MasterChef a very intense experience.

(Credit: Channel Ten)

Dami recalls how much they all bonded thanks to the intensity of the cooks, long days of filming, and their touch and go cooking skills.

Ultimately, it seems these stars were keener on surviving the famous kitchen than causing any drama.

“Just being there together under the same kind of stress was really interesting, and I think we bonded a lot because there were such intense moments,” she reflects.

When TV Week asks Dami if these high stakes helped them become closer, in response, she joked, “Oh absolutely, yes! Trauma for life.”

Unfortunately for fans of the artist, her MasterChef journey may be her last foray with reality television.

“I don’t think I will be on one for a while,” she says. “MasterChef was just a special one because it’s just a great show, it’s beautifully made, and it’s all about food.

When Tilly Ramsay was announced as a contestant, some felt it was unfair, considering Gordon Ramsay is her father.

“Each week we were surprising each other with abilities and lack of abilities.”

(Credit: Channel Ten)

But Dami insists that the Celebrity MasterChef winner may not be who we expect, and because everyone on the show has good and bad weeks, it’s hard to pin down who will reign supreme.

“Each week we were surprising each other with abilities and lack of abilities, so I think the audience is going to have to keep watching, and they are probably going to be surprised the whole way through,” she teases.

Like music, food is a big part of Dami’s life, and since being separated from her parents since 2019 because of the pandemic, she has spent more time in the kitchen trying to recreate family dishes.

“I do miss her (Dami’s mums) food which is why I have been trying to make more of her dishes and what she would cook for us and trying to recreate what I am familiar with,” she says.

Dami explains that food is a way Koreans express emotions like love and passion, and many conversations start with a question about what they have or are going to eat.

“Food in our family was something we centred our lives around. Korean people tend to not be that expressive or emotional, show emotion on the outside but parents just feed you, grandparents just feed you, and that is how they show their love and care,” she explains.

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“Even right now, they’re (Dami’s parents) in Korea the first thing we ask when we talk on the phone is, ‘have you eaten?’ Or ‘what did you eat today?'”

Despite Covid separating Dami from those she loves, it has also given her a welcomed break from touring, which gave her more time to work on her new album.

Because she could take as long as she wanted, the work has evolved in a more mature and emotional direction.

“One good thing to come out of the lockdown is I had more time to focus on my music instead of just rushing something.

“I finally made something I am so personally attached to because it is so open and vulnerable,” she says.

My Reality will touch on personal subjects like relationships, family, friendship, and facing the past.

Dami’s new album is her most vulnerable yet.

(Credit: Instagram)

The song Scared To Talk To You navigates Dami feeling unsure about reaching out to someone from her childhood, and Lonely Cactus is about feeling lonely but not wanting to go out and socialise.

Audiences may have had their time with Dami on television cut short, but now they get to become closer to the star through her raw new music.

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