EXCLUSIVE: Harry Tomlinson says every contestant has a “funny relationship” with the MasterChef judges

But there was one she had a special connection with.

By Faye Couros
Harry Tomlinson's MasterChef debut on the Fans and Favourites season was such a success that the audience was convinced she'd been on the show before.
Despite having unique culinary talents and a vibrant personality fit for television, Harry admits her early success wasn't always easy.
"It was a really weird experience being at the top of the pile so early on," she tells TV WEEK.
"It's something I'm not used to in my normal life so it was really strange to have so much to lose going into the competition from the get-go. I think it was different to everyone else's experience."
Harry was a fan favourite from day one. (Image: Ten)
Harry was eliminated on Sunday night but admits she felt bittersweet about her final cook.
"I was definitely sad, but also at the same time kind of relieved to be out of the stressful kitchen," she says.
The Victorian coffee roaster also believes her unique approach to the competition came down to her "blasé" attitude among her fellow "hardcore" fans.
Ultimately, she credits luck for getting her as far as she did in comparison to her former co-stars, Max Krapivsky, Montana Hughes, and Jen Lee, who dedicated their lives to get on the show.
"They really love the show, and they've been working hard for years to get on. I got really lucky and happened to get in on my first round of auditions.
"I think that allowed me to be a bit more like, 'Okay cool. This is kind of like easy and fun, and we're just gonna be silly. I think that showed with my presence on camera, which was cool [to watch back]," she reflects.
Out of the Favourites, returning contestant Mindy Woods had the most significant impact on Harry, especially her encouragement during the previous service challenge.
"Someone leading you but also taking off the training wheels and being like, 'I know you can do this, just do it,' it was a huge, huge moment for me. It felt like a big turning point in my cooking in the competition," says Harry.
As for judges, Melissa Leong, Andy Allen, and Jock Zonfrillo, she remarks that everyone "has a funny relationship" with them.
"It felt like a big turning point in my cooking in the competition." (Image: Instagram)
"Because as people they're so lovely and as judges, they're also really lovely. But their job in that space is to critique our food, which is really difficult," she shares.
"I think Andy is just incredibly down-to-earth with how he approaches his role with us. Mel is the epitome of humility and grace and always gives us so much time," she says, before adding that she had the best connection with Jock throughout the competition.
"Jock was a special one for me. I felt like from the minute I walked in there he clicked with me that I really gave a s--- about the industry, and I have a s--- about what I was doing and why I was there representing what I was representing."
"I think Andy is just incredibly down-to-earth with how he approaches his role with us." (Image: Instagram)
The novice chef wasn't afraid of mixing it up in the MasterChef kitchen and credits her dad and grandfather's unconventional culinary habits.
However when asked by TV WEEK what her favourite rule to break is, she admitted it's recipes.
"If you use recipes as a guide and inspiration for where you should head or something to fall back on if you feel like you don't know where you're going in your cook. But recipes as a rule book is c--p. Don't like it. Not about it," she says.

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