Tash Shan, the final Malaysian contestant in the current season of MasterChef Australia, claimed that she was marginalised by other contestants after being eliminated on the show last night, according to news.com.au.
Tash lost a risotto cook-off against fellow contestants Colin, Brent, Kira and Emelia after she added too much wine and lemon in her dish, resulting in the dish being too acidic according to the judges.
“I tasted the dish and I was happy with it,” Tash, the first top 24 MasterChef contestant from the Australian Capital Territory, insisted. “I went with really clean, subtle flavours. For me it was about having those ingredients blend into the rice and having the creamy consistency throughout.”
“The thing for me was that in the weeks before this I don’t think I had put up a bad dish. This week my head was not in the right space.”
The 28-year-old social media manager said to Canberra Times that personality clashes and cliques in the MasterChef house, where contestants live together during taping, had hurt her performance.
“The house was really tough for me because there are a lot of big personalities and it can be hard to find a little space to yourself or even find people you connect with on a genuine level. The tricky part for me was I felt like I hadn’t necessarily been given the benefit of the doubt and some people took the liberties of telling stories that may not have been true about me.”
“It’s just the nature of getting a large group of people together and there’s always going to be cliques forming.”
“You literally spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the same people and so that can really mess with your head. You haven’t seen anyone else from the outside world,” she said to news.com.au.
“I drew the short stick in that respect (lack of friends). If you’re feeling alone at school or at work you get to go home at the end of the day to be with your family. In this situation it is so hard to get perspective.”
Tash, who is a Malaysian with Chindian heritage from Kuala Lumpur, however stopped short of suggesting that the marginalisation was racially motivated.
“I have no insight into that,” Tash said to news.com.au. “People want to do what they want to do. [The MasterChef house] is a strange environment.”
Tash came to Australia at the age of 19 and studied a Bachelor of Laws and Communications at Melbourne University. After meeting Nick who is now her partner, they moved to Canberra where she worked as a social media manager.
She entered MasterChef after watching from home for five years. Tash made an impression on the judges from the very first audition, and was selected as one of this year’s top amateur chefs.
After being eliminated from the show, she is now in Melbourne doing work experience at Melbourne fine-dining restaurant Ezard. She also said she is planning an online series about food and Canberra’s producers and chefs.
Tash was one of three Malaysians who were among the top 24 contestants in the current season of MasterChef Australia. Emily Loo from Sarawak and Steven Peh who were from Chinese Malaysian backgrounds were eliminated in Episode 13 and 20 of the Channel 10 show. Poh Ling Yeow and Adam Liaw are among famous personalities with Malaysian background from MasterChef Australia’s previous seasons.