real life

Poh Ling Yeow went overseas when her mum fell ill. She says it was the worst decision she ever made.

Poh Ling Yeow is looking back on the decisions she has made throughout her life. One of the worst ones relates to her late mother.

In November 2022, Yeow's mother Christina passed away.

At the time, Yeow was overseas on a European work trip. Her mum had been unwell, but Yeow made the choice to continue with her travel commitments as it seemed her mother had a good amount of time left. 

Yeow took a risk. Sadly, her mother's health had worsened, and within the space of a week, she was gone. 

"That's the thing that I do keep returning to. I just keep wondering why I chose to roll the dice," Yeow said on The Imperfects podcast with Hugh van Cuylenburg, Ryan Shelton and Josh van Cuylenburg.

"She was ill at the time, quite ill. But I just had this blind faith that she would be fine, because she was such a trooper."

Watch: a look back at MasterChef Australia's Fans vs Faves. Post continues below.

Video via Network 10.

The MasterChef Australia judge said it was definitely one of the "hardest" things she's had to grapple with.

"The only way that's got me through it, is to own it. I was searching so hard, thinking, 'How am I going to get over this?' This was just the worst rolling of the dice ever. I rolled it wrong big time," she explained.

"How I've managed to get over it is by how I get over everything — it's to own my part in it. I did make the wrong decision. I did know she was sick, I am a risk taker. I'm just going to have to live with it."


Grief isn't linear, she noted, adding "I think I'll grieve forever for my mum.

"There's been some really profound lessons, and I think it's definitely pooling into what I'm feeling is wisdom. I turned 50 last December, and it's very interesting. It forces all these learnings and mistakes that you've had, and they kind of transform into wisdom when you have the hindsight."

Yeow has previously opened up about her relationship with her late mother.

The 50-year-old said she often feels her mother's presence when she's baking or creating fabulous dishes in the kitchen.

In the most recent season of MasterChef Australia, Yeow shared: "After I was on MasterChef, it was one of the first times my mum had ever expressed that she was proud of me. I think that's why when I'm in this kitchen I am very emotional because it affected so much of my life outside of cooking.

"Cooking became that thing that bonded us because we did have that very Asian thing of having trouble expressing our love. So, it's just so amazing how this kitchen connects us in so many different ways."

She also told Refinery 29 Australia, that when she was offered the position of judge on the hit reality cooking program, the first thing she thought of was her mum. 

"I didn't think about anything else. I was like, even if I decide not to do this, my mum would get so much of a kick out of this. Every day when I'm in the kitchen, she is so there," Yeow said. "She's so at the top of my mind."

Feature Image: Instagram @pohlingyeow.

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