EXCLUSIVE: Meet the mums behind the MasterChefs!

''My mum shows me love through her food.''

By Woman's Day team
With Mother's Day just around the corner, Woman's Day chats with the MasterChef contestants on why their relationship with their mothers are so special and why they cite them as their biggest cooking inspirations.
From Kishwar Chowdhury, who says she is doing MasterChef for her mum who "spent her entire life dedicated to making our home a beautiful place", to Tommy Pham who says his mum's love language is through cooking, these rising stars think the world of their mums.

Tommy Pham, 31

The 31-year-old says he spends most of his time together with his mum chatting about food and recipes. (Image: Channel 10)
Describe your relationship with your mum
My mum shows me love through her food, whenever she comes over she literally fills my fridge with enough food and ingredients to last a month! We're both massive food fiends and spend most of our time together talking about food and recipes.
Would you say she's your biggest cooking inspiration?
Definitely! The crazy thing is mum doesn't need a recipe to recreate a dish! She literally tastes something and says "I think it has fish flakes, sugar, nuts and they probably steam it first before frying it" and she'll go home give it a go and 90% of the time she'll get it right.
But it's also the way she uses food to show love. Food has this crazy way of showing people you love them and my mum does this so well!
What does she think of you going on MasterChef?
She's so proud of me, she really wants me to just be the best version of myself and she thinks I have what it takes to win it! She probably has more faith in me than I do.
Tommy says that his mother, My Hoa (pictured left), believes he has what it takes to win the MasterChef competition. (Image: Supplied)

Kishwar Chowdhury, 38

Thirty-eight-year-old Kishwar says she is doing MasterChef for her mum who "spent her entire life dedicated to making our home a beautiful place.." (Image: Channel 10)
Would you say your mum is your biggest inspiration when it comes to cooking?
Absolutely! My mother is from Kolkata and grew up in different places including Jakarta, Karachi and Burma.
She understood different cultures and cuisines and would tell us stories and share food from all the different cities she grew up in. I was born and brought up in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, for me, she was from another mystical era.
What does she think of you going on MasterChef?
My mum was initially hesitant for me to come onto MasterChef. Like me, my mum is quite shy and going onto MasterChef would mean opening yourself up in a very public space.
Once I told her how much this means to her grandson - my son and how much it means to me to share our delicious Bengali cuisine instead of hiding in our homes, she became my biggest strength and put everything into place for me to start my journey in the MasterChef kitchen.
What will it mean to you and her if you win?
I've told my mum this before....it's me cooking in here, but I carry everything she's taught me in this kitchen.
Winning MasterChef wouldn't just be a win for me, it would be a win for my mum who spent her entire life dedicated to making our home a beautiful place without asking for recognition or reward.... and hopefully a win for all the mums like me, who need to take a chance on themselves, take that leap of faith and just follow their wildest dreams.
While she says her mum was hesitant for her to go on the show, she has since become her "biggest strength" in her journey on MasterChef. (Image: Supplied)

Justin Narayan, 27

The 27-year-old reveals that his family has "been through a lot" and says there would be "many late night chats, tears and laughs" with his mum. (Image: Channel 10)
Tell us about your relationship with your mum
Mum and I are super close, our family has been through a lot so growing up there would be many late nights chats, tears and laughs.
However, I do love a good practical joke, in saying that she is often on the receiving end, which maybe more fun for me than her but she loves me regardless.
What's your fondest memory of being in the kitchen with your mum?
My fondest memories will always be around Christmas or any big family gathering.
We'd often collaborate together on the menu and where I would try and put a twist on some of the classic dishes she would make, she'd hate it at the time but secretly I think she loves it.
What will it mean to you and her if you win?
It would just prove to myself that I'm a better cook than I thought I was, and owning a restaurant could become a reality. For my mum it would mean that I could maybe pay her back for draining her bank account growing up.
Justin also says that winning the MasterChef competition would mean he could maybe pay his mum Sunita back for "draining her bank account growing up". (Image: Supplied)

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