She was eliminated from the season six competition over a pan-fried lobster, but now South Australian mum-of-three Tracy Collins is back with a wealth of new knowledge, extending far outside the realm of the MasterChef kitchen.
Since launching her highly successful restaurant Harvest Kitchen in 2016, the former hairstylist has embarked on a journey of self-care through studies in psychology, neuroscience and yoga.
Her inspiration? Tracy's 18-year-old daughter Finella, who throughout her adolescence suffered from undiagnosed endometriosis.
"The pain started when she was about 11 years old and got to the point where she couldn't sleep or attend school for an entire week at a time," says Tracy, who explains the disorder led to her daughter suffering from anxiety and depression.
Despite regular visits to Fin's GP, Tracy, 44, reveals she and her daughter were kept in the dark about Fin's health and how to manage her intense pain.
According to the cook, Fin's symptoms were written off as anxiety and her pain was dismissed.
"As a mother, I felt powerless to help her on a daily basis. Seeing her in pain, and the confusion and guilt that she felt for not being able to cope, it was hard," Tracy admits.
Equally, Finella admits the condition going undiagnosed for so long was soul destroying.
"It was so frustrating. I was going through all the pain and confusion, and nobody else I knew had ever had something like this happen to them," she says, adding the condition left her feeling isolated and alone.
Tracy's determination to find answers lead her to match her daughter's symptoms to endometriosis.
With Fin's quality of life deteriorating, her gynaecologist agreed to let her be operated on as an attempt to confirm and relive her condition.
"Having the confirmation and the surgery initially gave some relief, but endometriosis is not a linear or consistent condition. It constantly changes how it presents and affects person to person," says Tracy, who says she and her daughter now rely on nutrition and wellbeing to improve Fin's health.
"The key changes have been going organic, as there are many hormones placed in mainstream meats. We're dairy-free, minimum gluten and eat organic vegetables and fruit whenever we can," she explains.
Coming back to MasterChef this year, Tracy wants to shine a light on the disease. "When she was sick and someone in the public eye spoke up about their challenges with endo, it helped her to not feel so alone.
"I want to bring awareness to other mothers and family members and show the vital role that we play in being advocates for our daughters with their health and wellbeing," says Tracy.
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