Masterchef

EXCLUSIVE: MasterChef's Courtney admits she was terrified of the old judges and spills on her wedding plans

''I would never have dared to speak to the old judges when the cameras weren't rolling!''

By Alex Lilly
After one of the most intense pressure tests in MasterChef history, Courtney Roulston became the second person eliminated from the competition.
Contestants were asked to replicate three tricky dishes from judge Jock Zonfrillo's restaurant Orana and then the three weakest contestants were tasked with recreating another two of Jock's signature dishes. But despite her impressive work, season two favourite and Sydney Swans chef Courtney was sent home.
Here, the 40-year-old chef speaks about what it was really like cooking under such pressure, how the new judges don't intimidate her as much as the old ones and why it's great to see more women working in the food and hospitality industry.
Courtney was the second contestant to leave the MasterChef kitchen. (Image: Network Ten)
Now To Love: Commiserations Courtney. That pressure test looked so tough and technical, we can't imagine what it was like for you in real time!
It was, it was crazy. It's never been done to do two in a row and there's a reason for that - it's completely mentally draining and exhausting. Jock yelling at you, people on the gantry yelling, 55 cameras roaming around and you've got that pressure of not wanting to go home. It's just as tough as what you see on TV for sure, I needed a pretty strong drink at the end of it!
But you must be so proud of what you achieved. After all the judges said your burrata and the butter were the best of the bunch.
It wasn't a complete failure, it was kind of splitting hairs in between who was staying and who was going. Reece and Ben are really technical cooks - Ben does all his ice creams and desserts and Reece is a baker as well so I was really up against it being with those two. I'm more of a frypan and gas kind of cook so it was very difficult but I was happy about how I came across on TV. I've had a million nice messages from everybody - I haven't had a nasty message yet so I guess you can't ask for more. I went back, I had a go, didn't go as far as I'd like but someone's got to go and what I did do people seemed to like so I guess that's all you can ask.
WATCH BELOW: The first MasterChef pressure test sees Reece's tea towel catch on fire. Post continues after video...
You're the chef for the Sydney Swans but what's next for you after MasterChef?
I'm lucky, I've got my Farm To Fork show which will hopefully start filming later once COVID's over so people will be able to see me cooking at a normal pace without all the stress. I'm lucky that it's not all stressful and it's definitely not the end of the road, I've got lots of good things to go back to after the show.
Obviously the AFL's not on at the minute but I've got 80 footballers waiting for me to come back and cook for them. I had a couple of messages from them last night saying 'Does this mean you're back?' and I was like 'Yes as soon as we're playing I will be back.' I said 'Do not get any ideas about kohlrabi cone and burrata foam salad, that's not happening!'
Courtney is the chef for the Sydney Swans and admitted going back to MasterChef kitchen was about trying something different from her career. (Image: Instagram @courtneyroulson)
A few of the contestants have said the new judges are more like peers than mentors. You're friends with judge Andy Allen but would you agree?
I feel like the new judges are little bit more lighthearted on set - I would never have dared to speak to the old judges when the cameras weren't rolling. Melissa's very jovial when we're filming and I guess that rubs off on the whole kitchen even though when we cook it's stressful. In between cooking and the breaks they're quite friendly and chatty and they're having a joke and a good time perforates the whole room. Maybe it feels a little bit lighter from the old judges because it's not so us and them.
I was always so scared of Matt Preston 10 years ago when he walked in in those cowskin cowboy boots! Obviously over the years we've gotten to know the old judges and we know they're quite soft at heart but 10 years ago they were really playing up on that 'We are the judges and you're the contestants' sort of thing. They were intimidating, I was actually able to speak to the judges when I took my food up this time! You never know what they're thinking and whether they like it or not. You could probably tell from my face, it looked like I was eating the side of my mouth off!
Courtney feels like "the new judges are little bit more lighthearted on set". (Image: Network Ten)
You also spoke about how since you were last on MasterChef there have been more opportunities for women in the industry. Was it refreshing to have a female judge this time round?
I think everyone was waiting for it, I think there would've been an outcry if there wasn't. It's just been a male-dominated sector for so long and I think Melissa adds a nice female touch to the show.
Women are getting a bit more respect in kitchens and if you lead a kitchen you've got to possibly tell a male when they're doing something not right or how you want something done and I'm sure any woman that's married to a man would tell you it's very difficult to tell a man how to do something. A lot has changed, a bit more respect for women has been found and women are getting the confidence to lead their own kitchens so it's great to see. It's been a long time coming.
"It's just been a male-dominated sector for so long and I think Melissa adds a nice female touch to the show." (Image: Network Ten)
You and your partner have been engaged for six years. Are you using isolation as wedding planning time or is that a plan for down the track?
It's a Catch 22 isn't it? I've been so busy for the last 10 years travelling around the country and filming and then flying back in to feed the Swans. There's just been no time to plan it and now everyone's got time on their hands you can't actually plan anything. Do we want to plan a wedding and risk only four people being able to come?
We're definitely thinking about it but it's just too hard to plan anything. Every day you turn on the news and see you won't be able to travel until next year and all of this stuff. We don't want an elaborate wedding - I've said before I'd be happy with a big field and a bathtub full of champagne and ice so I think we'll keep planning on that. As soon as COVID's lifted, we might start getting some plans in action.
On the topic of her wedding to fiancee Sophie, Courtney said "I've said before I'd be happy with a big field and a bathtub full of champagne and ice." (Image: Instagram @courtneyroulson)
There was a outpouring of positive messages on Twitter when you mentioned that you were in a same-sex relationship on the show. Were you surprised by the support?
I was, Khanh messaged me and said 'Doll you're trending on Twitter!' I had no idea, that definitely wasn't a planned thing - I guess it's just a natural thing to talk about your partner. I didn't even think about it at the time and I didn't know the internet would have a meltdown about it, but it was a meltdown in a good way. 10 years ago that probably wouldn't have gone to air and I guess that's a sign of the time that people are becoming more accepting of things.
And finally, who's your pick to win?
It's such a hard question because I know there are favorites on the show with people. If we go off skills, Reynold's gonna win but Aussies love an underdog. To pick an underdog, someone like Amelia - she's a very good cook, she's very stealth under pressure and she's not the name on everyone's lips at the moment. Maybe Poh and Reynold will be the finale but time will tell, it's hard.
Could an underdog take the MasterChef crown? (Image: Network Ten)

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