Celebrity News

MasterChef whiz: ‘my amazing mum’

Chelsea Winter says her mother has always been her mentor.

The first clue Annemieke Farmilo had that her daughter was going to be obsessed with cooking was finding two-year-old Chelsea Winter sitting on the kitchen bench next to the stove. “I asked her, ‘What are you doing?’ She looked at me and said, ‘Coo-king, Mummy!’” recalls Annemieke. “Next to her was a little pot bubbling away on the stove with badly hacked up carrot and potato in it, and she’s saying she’s cooking!”

“Crikey!” says MasterChef contestant Chelsea (27) now. “Well, after that story, I guess MasterChef has been a wee while coming.” 

Chelsea’s come a long way from her first attempt at cooking, but her relationship with her mum has always been a constant. With matching laughs, a mutual love of animals and food – not to mention their stunning looks – the two share a close bond. It’s something that’s developed from years of Annemieke humouring her daughter as she made dish after dish of inedible “delights” concocted from things around the house.

“From the year dot, her favourite game was ‘potions’,” Annemieke says, as Chelsea rolls her eyes and grins. “There were all of these little bowls on the tabletop with things that got mixed up – milk, perfume, bits from the garden – you name it! “But I do think Chelsea’s a lot like me, we’ve always got along really well and easily. It’s very comfortable,” says Annemieke.

“She’s an awesome mum,” adds Chelsea. “She’s taught me a lot, especially that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to if you believe in yourself. That’s helped me a lot on the show, actually.” Growing up on a farm near Hamilton meant Chelsea and Annemieke spent a lot of time with each other, whether it was in the kitchen cooking together or looking after the farm animals.

After her parents divorced when she was four, Chelsea divided her time between her mum and stepdad Kevin at their farm in Kumeu, and her father and stepmum Heather in Hamilton. She says she counts herself lucky. “I felt stable and very happy. Both Mum and Kevin and Dad and Heather have been couples for more than 20 years now, and they’re all blissfully happy. I’m so glad with the way it’s turned out.

“Heather is an incredibly cool ‘second mum’. Our mutual love of food is a special bond. I think she’s probably happy I’ve gone from being a hyperactive five-year-old to someone who is always in the kitchen and pouring the Champagne!”

Now living in Auckland with her partner Mike, Chelsea says that time spent with her mother is a matter of quality over quantity. “We don’t see each other as much as we could or should, but it doesn’t matter. When we do, it’s awesome. She’s always been an amazing mother.”

And, of course, when they do catch up, the food she offers now is a dramatic improvement on the carrots and potatoes of her childhood.

Get The Australian Woman’s Weekly NZ home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.

Related stories