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A health scare and a career sacrifice: Everything we know about MasterChef's Sarah Tiong.

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Ever since MasterChef returned to our screens earlier this year, the competition has been fierce.

But last night’s episode certainly had us all on the edge of our seats. During the pressure test, contestants were tasked with recreating Peter Gunn’s Black Box dessert, which included 11 different elements inside a tempered chocolate shell. And they only had two hours and 45 minutes to do it.

All eyes were on fan favourite Sarah Tiong who struggled to create the chocolate shell at the start of the challenge and quickly fell behind. As she became increasingly flustered so too did the rest of us watching from home.

Thankfully, even though she didn’t finish all the elements, Sarah ended up making it through the challenge.

If you’re not watching MasterChef: Back to Win, here’s what you’re missing out on. Post continues below.

Video by Channel Ten.

During both her times on the show, Sarah has proven herself a fighter in the kitchen.

Back in 2017, a then 25-year-old Sarah placed sixth in season nine of the cooking competition.

For Sarah, making it to the Finals Week was something she never imagined would happen.

“On a whim, I applied to MasterChef Australia. I never thought I’d ever make it to episode one. However, I found myself standing in Finals Week and making the Top 6,” she wrote on her website.

“This adventure changed me forever. I realised that it was possible to share the love, passion and excitement I have for food with the world.”

But applying for the show came with its sacrifices for Sarah, who was up for a new role at her law firm at the time.

“I was up for a promotion opportunity and had to leave before that,” she told TV Week in 2017.

“There are things I did have to give up to be here.”


That said, Sarah doesn’t regret her decision to join the show in season nine.

“I think it’s paying off − and I’m loving it,” she previously told the publication.”I think I made the right choice.”

After leaving the competition, Sarah didn’t hang up her apron and began working as a private chef with her pop-up street food stall, Pork Party. It comes as no surprise, considering she always loves cooking with pork in various MasterChef challenges.

As well as being a private chef, Sarah has also continued to work as a lawyer part-time. And she is currently working on her first cookbook, Sweet Savoury Spicy which is set to be released in June.


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A post shared by Sarah Tiong (@fillmytummy) on

Before stepping foot in the MasterChef kitchen, Sarah says she had a pretty “ordinary” life.

“I’d grown up valuing family, education, hard work and respect,” she wrote on her website.

But it wasn’t until she was 11 years old that she realised something wasn’t quite right with her health.

“I was quite lethargic at school,” she told TV Week in 2017. “I couldn’t focus a lot and was feeling really ill often.”

She was eventually diagnosed with diabetes, a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin.

A few years ago, Sarah was rushed to hospital after suffering pain in her pancreas.


“I started getting stabbing pain,” she told TV Week. 

“One day it just got too much, so I went to the GP and he said, ‘You need to get to the hospital immediately.’ It took a lot of work to get me to a healthy point again.”

Sarah’s mum Christine and her older brother Johnathan also have diabetes.

“I’m a bit of an unusual case, though,” Sarah explains. “I’m extraordinarily insulin-resistant. It’s taken years to get the medication right.”


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Happy Birthday Mum! I love you. I wish I could be with you today, but we’ll FaceTime later. Thank you for showing me immense love and resilience and for understanding that I wasn’t ever going to remain the quiet observer you were told I should be. Thank you for letting me be loud and expressive and to have a choice in what I do. Thank you for always supporting my adventures, even when you don’t understand. 1. Classic mum. She’s the real masterchef. 2. On our way to mums debut event – a mother daughter cooking demo! 3. Mum was a total hit! She did so well and I loved having her with me. 4. After all that fear and questioning about whether to do masterchef the first time in 2017, mum eventually got onboard and definitely showed her support! — #happy #birthday #mum #love #family #foodie #foodies #masterchef #gotitfrommymama

A post shared by Sarah Tiong (@fillmytummy) on

Her condition has added an extra challenge in the competition.

“It’s a huge adjustment for me,” she told the publication during her first season of MasterChef. 

“The fact that I’m stressed all the time, because I’m in this constant pressure situation, means my sugars are generally running high… I need to take more insulin and test my blood more than usual,” she added.

“Growing up and having the passion to cook and wanting to explore different flavours was quite dangerous. I had to be cautious.”

But Sarah, now 29, hasn’t let it stop her from cooking and competing for the MasterChef title the second time around.

“I can’t believe I’ll be cooking alongside some of my heroes!” she announced on Instagram back in February.


Now five weeks into the competition, Sarah has a good shot at taking home the victory.

And in loungerooms all around the country, Australians are cheering for her.

Read more on MasterChef 2020

Feature Image: Instagram @fillmytummy

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