EXCLUSIVE: MasterChef's cake king Reece reflects on the bittersweet loss of his Nan

Success in the MasterChef kitchen is bittersweet for Reece, following the death of his grandmother Heather.

By TV Week team
While he already has a reputation as a baker extraordinaire, MasterChef's Reece Hignell says he's nothing compared to his late nan, Heather.
"She baked the best cakes," Reece, 30, tells TV WEEK.
"When I was a kid, I used to help her on a market stall where she sold her baked goods. I've never tasted anything better than her sponges. She taught me everything I know."
Reece's current success on MasterChef is bittersweet for the Newcastle, NSW, native, though.
Just four days before he showcased one of Heather's recipes on the show, his nan passed away peacefully.
"I wasn't supposed to tell anyone what I was cooking, but I rang Nan and told her I was making her Victoria sponge," Reece says.
"She said she couldn't wait to see her cake on TV and that she was proud of me."
Reese holding a throwback photo of himself as a young boy, in the MasterChef kitchen. Image: Instagram
Reece posted these sweet photos of himself as a baby with his Nan. Image: Instagram
Reece says Heather is his cooking inspiration. Image: Instagram
Reece is happy now that he tipped off his nan about her starring role on MasterChef, but is understandably sad that she didn't live to see the moment.
"It's been hard, because we were incredibly close," he admits. "I'm just glad I did break the rules to tell her."
Reece says that he's now "firing on all cylinders" after a crisis of confidence at the Top 12 mark.
"It's hard to fight off those 'Am I good enough to be here?' feelings, especially when you're up against Poh and Reynold," he admits.
But his success, both with his nan's sponge and later, the jungle curry, have now spurred him on to win.
"My confidence is back," Reece, who runs his own business, Cakeboi, from home, says.
"Everyone's a good cook on the show – especially Brendan [Pang] and Emelia [Jackson] – but I know I deserve to be there too. After all, I did learn from the best!"
Reece and his good mate Brendan Pang. Image: Channel 10
After MasterChef, Reece says he's hoping to expand his cake business and continue to host classes at Julie Goodwin's cooking school.
He and Brendan want to work together too.
"I love how fans have called us 'Breece', even if his name comes first – and that people are enjoying our bromance," he says with a laugh.
"We're going to do some Instagram Live shows and tutorials after MasterChef and see where it takes us. But we need to workshop that name!"
MasterChef airs on Monday, Tuesday, and Sunday nights at 7.30pm on Channel 10.
WATCH BELOW: The moment Reece was eliminated from MasterChef Australia back in 2018.

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