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Masterchef

EXCLUSIVE: Why Alvin Quah's time in the MasterChef kitchen earned him a new "level of respect" from his partner Mark

''I will never discount how much of that support kept me going.''

By Catie Powers
On Sunday night's episode of MasterChef: Fans and Favourites, the top six contestants braced a very windy Freycinet Marine Farm on the shore of Great Oyster Bay in Tasmania.
The competition was fierce, and although Alvin Quah's chilli vinaigrette wowed the judges, they decided that his omelette wasn't enough to keep him safe, and the cook was sent packing.
"I was battling with not just oysters, but with mother nature as well," Alvin tells TV WEEK following his elimination.
"It's been quite an amazing journey," Alvin told TV WEEK. (Image: Ten)
Despite his time in the kitchen coming to an end, Alvin doesn't take anything for granted.
"It's been quite an amazing journey, you know, to do it twice. It's such a privilege – the trials and tribulations and self-discovery."
For the cook, making it so close to the end has been "bittersweet".
"Obviously I never thought I could win at the start, but then when you get so close, you think, 'oh wow'. You could really sort of smell the trophy."
Alvin just missed out on a place in the final five. (Image: Ten)
While missing out on first place, Alvin still managed to find victory in his time in the kitchen by honouring his mother and Malaysian heritage.
"I think it's so important that I got to do that on national TV," he tells TV WEEK. "As a migrant, I think there's so many things that come with so many stories that deserve to be told, and to express it through food is even better.
"I think Malaysian food - people know of it, but I think there there's still a lot of room for people to learn more about Malaysian cuisine. To be able to showcase that, it's incredible; what an opportunity."
WATCH: Melissa Leong on Masterchef Australia winning a TV WEEK Logie. Article continues after video
Along with Alvin's cooking prowess, MasterChef fans were equally as enchanted by his ever-changing spectacle collection.
"It's a growing, healthy addiction, I would say," he tells TV WEEK of his glasses, adding that he even has names for them, like "children".
"I have over 35 pairs. And it's growing. I just can't help myself. I'm a firm believer that if you need to wear it, you might as well wear it in style."
Alvin's partner Mark is his number one supporter. (Image: Instagram)
While viewers have been enamoured with Alvin, none are more supportive than his partner Mark who has been by his side from day one, and has only grown in his admiration for the cook.
"I think he's always been such a great supporter and he's always loved my cooking, but I think seeing me do what I do on MasterChef actually increased his level of respect for me," Alvin says.
"I think he's constantly wowed by the things that they put us through and also the number of challenges that I survived. I will never discount how much of that support kept me going."
But when it comes to cooking, Mark is happy to remain on the sidelines, with Alvin revealing his partner stays out of the kitchen at home.
"I came back and my fridge was empty. There's no food. There's just a smattering of things in the pantry. So the first thing I did was restock the food and cook for him."
Of course, during his time in the kitchen Alvin was surrounded by a different support system – his MasterChef family. And the star is quick to emphasise the importance of this firm bond with his fellow competitors.
"It's such an intense few months, so it's very important to have your support group and support network because that's all you have, sort of, calling your family or loved ones, physically: they are all you have."
Alvin thinks Billie will win MasterChef. (Image: Ten)
He continues: "It's so important that we all got along. We all have one thing in common, that we love food. And everything else just falls into place."
According to Alvin, the judges - TV WEEK Gold Logie nominee Melissa Leong, Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen - are equally as supportive.
"They are wonderful. Not only are they chefs and know about food in their own right, but they also have this ability to sort of connect with us on a human level. And I think that's truly special."
As for who he thinks will win the competition, Alvin's "money is on Billie".

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