Even on the most frigid Melbourne morning, with temperatures in the single digits, MasterChef contestant Reynold Poernomo rolls out of bed and takes a cold shower. Then he looks in the mirror and declares: “I’m going to win today”. After completing a meditation exercise, he makes his way to the set of Channel 10’s hit cooking competition.
Poernomo, along with Laura Sharrad and Emelia Jackson, is fighting to avoid elimination during Sunday’s penultimate episode. On Monday, one of the two remaining contestants will be crowned this season’s winner in the pre-recorded finale. “It’s an incredibly stressful environment,” Poernomo says. “You have to get yourself in the right headspace so you can clear your mind and focus before you cook.”
In addition to appointing a new panel of judges – Melissa Leong, Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen – MasterChef’s producers shook things up this year by inviting former contestants to return for a second shot at glory. All have enjoyed successful careers since their first stint on the program, opening restaurants, publishing cookbooks and hosting TV and radio shows.
“If you make it to the pointy end of MasterChef, you already have the ability and the skill set to win,” Jackson says. “From that point on, it’s about your mental game.”