EXCLUSIVE: MasterChef’s top six reveal their secret weapons

The contestants open up about the people who’ve been cheering them on from the very beginning

By Woman's Day team
Ahead of the show's hotly-anticipated finale, the MasterChef contestants open up to Womans' Day about the people who've been cheering them on from the very beginning.
It's safe to say, this bunch have some seriously good support...

Reece Hignell: His nan Heather

Reece says his nan inspired him to open his business. (Image: supplied)
Family is everything for the Cakeboi owner, who credits his late grandmother Heather for putting him on the path to baking.
"She was an avid baker and has been someone I have looked up to since I was shorter than the kitchen bench," Reece tells Woman's Day.
"I always remember standing next to her, watching her cook all day long – she honestly made the most amazing cakes," he says.
Before the Newcastle-based cook lost his nan last month, he says there was hardly a day that went by without them catching up.
"She made me feel so good about myself after every call," says Reece.

Callum Hann: His best friend Themis

More than business partners, these guys are best mates. (Image: supplied)
Callum knew he would be asking the world of his business partner and best friend Themis Chryssidis to take over their business, Sprout, while he had another shot at MasterChef.
But what he didn't count on was a pandemic!
"Being away from Themis, my team, my wife and daughter, it's 100 per cent been the hardest thing," confesses the 31-year-old.
"There has never been a tougher few months for our business."
But thankfully for Callum, he and Themis have a decade-long friendship behind them.
"He knew me going away would mean he was effectively doing my job and his," says Callum.

Reynold Poernomo: His girlfriend Chelia

The lovebirds rely on each other. (Image: Instagram)
Despite most contestants naming Reynold, 26, as their biggest threat in the MasterChef kitchen, the restaurant owner says that as a teenager, nobody was willing to give him a shot.
"I realised I wanted to cook when I was 14 years old," Reynold reveals.
"I tried to apply at other restaurants but no one would take me in, so I ended up in MasterChef just to give it a shot."
Thankfully, the Koi Dessert Bar owner says there's been one person who has never let him down, his girlfriend Chelia.
"She always reminds me of the bigger picture when it comes to my career. She encourages my creativity and makes me want to keep creating dishes that would wow her," tells Reynold.
Impressing Chelia is a challenge he enjoys almost as much as wooing the show's judges.
"I made her my legendary 19 days dry-aged duck – still to this day it is the best thing I've made for her, and we both cherish that food memory."

Emelia Jackson: Her mum Nada and partner Craig

Craig is her biggest motivator. (Image: Instagram)
When tasked with deciding who her biggest support is, Emelia can't choose between her partner Craig or adoring mum Nada.
"Craig has been an absolute trooper during the show. He settled on our new home by himself, talked me through all my doubt and is my biggest motivator," Emelia, 31, reveals.
As for her mum, well, she's never faltered!
"She's been my rock! She was also my biggest support in my cake business. I cook out of her kitchen – it's bigger than mine, and she's my resident dishy," she jokes.
While watching the show can feel strange for some, Emelia says she's enjoyed showing her biggest supporters a "glimpse into the experience".
"My parents are so obsessed with it – they giggle like little kids any time I come on screen," she tells.

Laura Sharrad: Her husband Max

Laura enjoyed being able to call Max when ever she needed. (Image: Supplied)
She certainly expected to have her skills and even her patience tested in the kitchen this year, but one thing Laura, 24, perhaps didn't expect was having her relationship pushed to the limits by the show.
"It's one of the hardest things I've ever done," Laura says of leaving her chef husband Max to film the show.
"It definitely tests your relationship, but I'm just so lucky to have had his emotional support every single day no matter what."
Laura says Max was always waiting for her calls, no matter what time of day or night it was.
Thankfully, her biggest supporter is familiar with the highs and lows of the kitchen.
"It helps that we both live and breathe the same passion," she says.

Poh Ling Yeow: Her mum Christina

Christina had doubts about Poh returning to the show, but Poh sure has impressed! (Image: Instagram)
Growing up, frontrunner Poh says it was her mother Christina who inspired her to go into the kitchen.
"It was common to watch Mum bake something over and over again until it was perfect," says Poh, 47, adding it's her mother who she gets her "unshakeable patience" from.
And while Christina's been her biggest support ever since, Poh's mother initially had reservations about her daughter returning to the show.
"She was concerned that I would be risking everything I've built in the last decade since season one, but she's used to me being a bit of a loose cannon," jokes Poh.
Thankfully, she has proved her mother wrong, and Christina even helped mentor her.
"She'd study my performance and tried to coach me out of over-complicating things," says confessed "stubborn mule" Poh.
WATCH: Reynold makes one of the most impressive Masterchef dishes ever!

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