Sara Oteri has been a Masterchef favourite since the very first episode this year.
That’s not a surprise really. The Perth native and former advertising creative has a charismatic TV presence. She’s warm and authentic.
Her Masterchef run finished last night as she fronted up for her first pressure test of the whole season. Sydney chef Grant King’s Liquid Gnocchi with Mushroom Consomme challenged all three contestants, but it was Reynold and Jessica who scrapped through to continue on in finals week.
So what's next for Sara?
"I’m working at The Kettle Black, for chef Jesse McTavish. I have a few things on the go, a few projects of my own. Hopefully they’ll come about in the next year or so," she told The Motherish exclusively.
She says working in the 'real world' is much less stressful than Masterchef.
"You know what to expect. There are no curveballs. There's no six hour barbeque challenge," she says referring to the team challenge that saw the amateur cooks prepare and serve slow cooked barbeque to 120 diners in just six hours.
Masterchef has copped a fair bit of criticism this season for the skills required to make the dishes set for challenges and pressure tests. But Sara says, "I think at the end of the day when we enter the competition we’re all still home cooks.
"The show lifts the standards, yes. But it’s also all of us who lift the standard as well. If one person does really well one week, we all go home and study and read and prepare to try harder."
The bread and butter for most reality television is personality clashes.
Nothing like whipping up a bit of drama between contestants to keep an audience interested. But Masterchef doesn't seem to do that.
"Yes, the lovely thing about Masterchef is that it doesn't focus on the drama," Sara remarks. But I ask her about John, sensing a bit of tension between the contestants in earlier weeks of this season.
"I think you might be talking about the white chocolate incident. He didn’t do it intentionally. No one makes mistakes intentionally. We do what we believe is the right thing to do at the time. John got a lot of flack publicly for that decision. But it wasn’t intentional."
Early on in the season, the Daily Mail went deep into Sara's background and published photos from social media showing her doing some pretty normal stuff for a 20 something, going to music festivals and taking silly photos with friends.
Life has clearly changed. "When I saw it I was like, oh my god I have an account on Myspace?"
But perhaps the most interesting fun fact about Sara is that she was Joel Creasey's date to his school formal. "We both worked at McDonald's." Sara says they were both quite cheeky and they've been friends for a long time.
Could she have imagined they'd end up where they are now? "No way. We always joked about world domination... Never in our wildest dreams did we ever thing it would be like this. I’m so proud of him, especially to have privilege to have known him before."
Watch the video below to see Sara's exit interview with Masterchef. Post continues after the video:
As for who might win this year? Sara says she would love to see Reynold take the crown.
Who do you think will win Masterchef this year?