She made it to the top seven, but Tessa Boersma was pipped at the post by Reynold Poernomo on Sunday night and eliminated from MasterChef: Back To Win.
The 27-year-old chef was the dark horse of the competition and was even rumoured to be the next Bachelorette - something that she admits she'd be keen to do!
In an exclusive chat with Now To Love, Tessa reveals what it was like on MasterChef behind-the-scenes during the pandemic, plus she names the contestant who's the most fun to go out to drinks with!
Now To Love: Congratulations on making it to top seven. It's never going to be easy re-watching your elimination, but what was it like going through it all again?
Tessa: It was hard, I just felt all the feels again. Watching myself cry, it kind of hit home. I forgot how I was feeling and then it all kind of came back. It's always hard but I'm so proud of how far I came - I honestly went into this season just to do my best. I didn't set too many expectations for myself as I did last season - this season I just wanted to have a bit more fun with it and see how far I could go. I was so happy - once I got to top eight I was like 'Everything is a win from here'.
You were also one of the 2019 contestants who did back-to-back seasons. What was it like getting straight back in?
It was so full on. I'm so glad that I did it, it was definitely worth it but I underestimated how mentally challenging it is. Just thinking of more recipes on top of the other 60 odd that I did last season, that was probably the most strenuous thing. Physically fine but mentally you've really got to pace yourself.
Round two of last night's challenge was a moment for me where at the beginning I really couldn't think of something that was revolutionary and that they haven't seen before. It was probably one of the hardest challenges we'd had this season. I hadn't had a challenge where I was sort of stuck and for the first five minutes I was thinking 'Have I got anything better that I could be doing?' but I'm still really happy that I chose what I did. I wouldn't change anything.
What was it like navigating the competition with COVID-19 going on? We saw elbow-tapping and no hugging, but what else was a big change?
I suppose not being able to leave our apartments at the end of a big day or for the weekend just to take our mind off studying and practising. Instead, because we were bound to the apartment unless we were going to exercise or go the shops, it became quite intense just to be in the apartment all day on a Saturday and Sunday immersing yourself in study and practising.
Who was your roomie? Did you have any clashes?
I had a couple of roomies, but in the end it was Poh and I living together and that was amazing. Poh and I get along really well so it was so nice to hang out with her and build that friendship. When someone gets eliminated, you automatically go into the spare room so I moved three times. I had Dani as my roommate first and then Sarah Clare and then Poh.
Now you're back at home, what are you doing to keep yourself busy with COVID going on?
Well I'm still cooking a lot which is good. I think last season I gave myself a little bit of a break but this season I've kind of felt like I just want to keep cooking so that's what I've been doing. I've been coming up with new recipes and just reconnecting with my friends and family and taking a breath. I need to get back to reality but I'm also planning some exciting things going on when COVID moves along a little bit, watch this space!
There was a rumour buzzing about that you were going to be this year's Bachelorette. What did you and your partner make of that?
I loved it! I did float the idea past my partner but it didn't go down too well. I think he knew I was joking but I was like 'It could be fun! It's just an experience!'
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You were up against Reynold in your last cook and you were backing him for the win as you left. Are you still Team Reynold for the win?
100 per cent Team Reynold, I think he's incredible. I really warmed to him and he's got all the ability to take it out and once he hits his stride again, I think he will be unstoppable. He's like a robot but he is human - I've worked that out!
You're all such good friends too, who is the biggest character of the contestants left?
Definitely Reece, he is the best. He's so funny and what you see on TV is his personality. He's hilarious and the best person to have drinks with.