EXCLUSIVE: MasterChef's Amina says the show was her maternity leave after giving birth to her daughter

This mum is juggling a lot to be back in the kitchen.

By Scott Ellis and Amber Giles
For most mothers, taking maternity leave for the birth of their first child is a chance to take on the chaos and challenges of motherhood.
But MasterChef Australia contestant Amina Elshafei chose to make her maternity leave even more stressful – by using her time off work to return to the MasterChef kitchen!
New mum Amina is back to win! (Image: Network Ten)
"It will be very busy, and I know I should be trying to relax," Amina, 35, says with a laugh when thinking of the timing of the show's filming.
When Amina started filming earlier this year, her little girl Aya was nine months old. The paediatric nurse says the arrival of the baby turned her world turned "upside down".
"She's just such a little blessing for all of us, not just my husband and I, but all the family," she says.
Little Aya is a joy for Amina and her family. (Image: Instagram @aminaelshafei)
While Amina was at home taking time off from her job to be a full-time mum, she just couldn't say no to the opportunity to tie on an apron and be in the MasterChef kitchen again.
Amina, who first competed in the hit reality show in 2012, declares she's coming back stronger.
"I think last time around, the challenges for the eliminations did wear me out a bit towards the end," she admit. "It was tiring – and, obviously, your self-expectations are the hardest to overcome."
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While the chance to cook alongside the likes of Gordon Ramsay and other renowned chefs has Amina living her dream, she admits it comes at an emotional cost.
"I'm not going to deny it's hard!" she admits. "I'm doing a lot of Facetime; I've got a very supportive and wonderful husband.
"I hesitated at first about coming back onto the show because of the little one, but my husband was like, 'Why are you even hesitating? You don't get second chances all the time, so do it!'"
Amina first competed on MasterChef in 2012. (Image: Network Ten)

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