Snatching the Mystery Box win during Queensland Week was a "massive high" for Simon, who impressed the MasterChef Australia judges with a clever salad dish and was rewarded immunity.
"It was a really tough one," he tells TV WEEK. "Everything was quite monochrome: coconut, oysters, lychees, peanuts… Trying to making something stand out turned out to be quite a tough challenge. I was really happy with how my mind was starting to grow."
However, establishing this level of skill during his time on MasterChef hasn't come easily, with Simon admitting the pressure of the competition has at times taken its toll.
"If I went to a psychologist, they'd probably say I've got... some sort of extreme personality going on," he says.
"Some days I feel I've definitely got a chance to be in the number-one spot, and then you come to a [challenge] where you don't do so well, and you hit that low, and you go, 'God I've got to work harder, I've got to fight harder, I've got to practise more, I've got to learn more.'
"You're constantly striving to be better, and not feeling you're not the best here, so you fight to be better."
While the frontrunner says he's become accustom to the highs and lows of the show, he still needs to mentally prepare himself for challenges.
"The way I prepare myself is just recognising feelings, which is what a lot of people fight. They fight anxiety, and they fight nerves," he says, adding he makes an active effort to "observe" and acknowledge his emotions.
"It sucks to start with, and you could nearly vomit every single day in this whole thing because you're so nervous. But you start recognising it more and understanding how to harness it, and approach a cook in a more friendly, happy-go-lucky kind of way. You smile at the fear."
MasterChef Australia airs Monday to Thursday, and Sunday, 7.30pm, on Network 10.
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