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MasterChef NZ finalists tell all

The remaining cooks spill the beans on their toughest
rivals and life-long friendships.

The final two finalists have been revealed for MasterChef NZ, but we caught up with the final four to spill the beans on their MasterChef journeys

Elliot: The pressure is crazy

Growing up, Elliot McClymont dreamed of writing his own cookbook. "To make that a reality would be surreal," the Auckland gin distiller says of the MasterChef NZ winner's prize. "I've always had my eye on that top spot and now it's truly in sight!"
But even if he doesn't take out the competition, Elliot, 27, has won some life-long friends on the Three reality series. "It's incredible being surrounded by these talented foodies," he grins. "I've never laughed more in my life. Back at the MasterChef house, we feel like one big family and the banter round the dinner table is out the gate!
"But I don't think viewers quite understand what we're going through. Everyone's put their lives on hold for almost two months and we're thrown into this crazy pressure cooker.
Elliot – who describes himself as a "resilient little bugger" – rates Sam as his top competition. "He's extremely talented and we've been nipping at each other's heels this entire journey, but I wouldn't count Alice out of the running either."
Asked how he'll celebrate if he wins, Elliot replies, "I'd probably tuck into a few gin and tonics with my friends and family – then get to work on that cookbook!"

Hana bounces back

After testing positive for COVID, fan favourite Hana Kirk was "super-gutted" to be eliminated from MasterChef NZ so close to the final, but there's a silver lining: "I'm technically undefeated!" she laughs.
And the Christchurch software product manager's culinary journey is far from over – Hana, 26, has just moved to Wanaka with her partner to open a food truck selling karaage chicken and donburi bowls.
"Living in Queenstown for six weeks during the competition sparked the idea of moving to Central Otago," she reveals. "We love how outdoor-focused the lifestyle is, how beautiful the landscapes are and how friendly everyone is.
"Now, with my grandma's secret recipes, I'll be bringing Kiwis the burger and donburi fix they've been waiting for!"

Alice's secret tears

Alice Taylor describes herself as the MasterChef underdog – but she reckons that status might give her the edge in the final.
"I've never felt comfortable in the competition," the Dunedin politics student, 22, tells Woman's Day.
"I've always felt like I'm fighting an uphill battle. Half the time, I have no f*ing clue what's going on! But I'm always on my toes, always learning more."
Asked who her toughest competitor is, Alice insists, "I can't pick! Sam and Elliot are both forces to be reckoned with.
They've proven themselves to be consistently exceptional, experienced and talented cooks."
And they're also good counsellors. "They've taken me out for coffees and burgers, and listened to me cry and rant. I love them to bits. They're literally brothers to me."
A life-long MasterChef fan, Alice says the highlight of the series was getting her apron. "I couldn't believe I got on the show – and then to make the final three? I honestly still can't believe it!"
If she wins, the book deal will be her best prize. She explains, "I actually wrote my first cookbook manuscript when I was 15, so seven years later, those dreams could come true!"

Sam's foodie magic

Sam Low is always thinking about food. Asked how he'll celebrate if he wins MasterChef NZ, the Auckland content creator replies, "I'll have a Chinese feast with my community of friends and family, then book a holiday somewhere that has great food. Honestly, I'll just sleep and eat!"
But for now, the award-winning latte artist, 30, is still struggling to believe he made it to the top three. "I absolutely did not expect to get this far," he insists. "The competition is so random with its challenges and ingredients, it's impossible to walk into the kitchen feeling prepared. I'm so proud I've managed to get here whilst staying true to who I am and what I stand for – cooking from the heart and using food as the medium to tell my story."
While being away from his loved ones has been hard, Sam says, "Whenever someone has a bad day in the kitchen, we go down to the lake, have a burger, and talk about the beautiful things in life and how grateful we are.
"The highlight of the competition is meeting the other contestants, who are from all different walks of life and cultural backgrounds. The diversity is incredible. It's magical to share stories and foster our love for food together."
MasterChef NZ screens 7.30pm Mon & Tue and 7pm Sundays on Three

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