MasterChef Australia’s Keyma Explains How Contestants ‘Study’ For Challenges When Cameras Aren’t Rolling

The MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites semi-final is just hours away, and at the end of last night's episode, the judges told remaining contestants Sarah ToddBillie McKay and Daniel Lamble to 'study' and prepare a menu overnight that will secure them a spot in Tuesday's grand finale.
The show's most recently eliminated contestant Keyma Vasquez Montero has now opened up about how the contenders actually spend their time 'studying' ahead of a big challenge.
Once cameras stop rolling, the reality TV stars go back to their serviced apartments and use whatever time they have left in the day to research ingredients and practise culinary techniques that could come in handy for the next episode.
"It really depends on how late we do we actually finish the filming that day," Montero tells Refinery29 Australia.
Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites contestant Keyma Vasquez Montero
After exercising, having a long shower and making sure she'd eaten properly, Montero would first review what the judges said earlier in the day, and then decide what study needed to be tackled.
"It's reflecting on what happened during the day, where were the flaws and the good feedback — taking that into consideration and then just starting what I felt I needed to study for the next day," she explains. "But you don't really know how to prepare," she then laughs, highlighting the unpredictability of the competition at times.
Montero's key focus was "finding inspiration and my own style" as well as ingredients and flavours that she could then practise cooking with over the weekends when filming took a break.
"Over the weekend there was a lot more room to actually study and practise. So those were the days," she says, where she was "trying out recipes over and over again to see which one was better."
"It's just learning techniques and trying to do as much as I could outside of the kitchen so it'd prepare me for the actual challenge."
This year's season of MasterChef featured 12 returning contestants (favourites) and 12 amateur home cooks (fans). Montero fell into the latter category.
She says it's "really unbelievable" that she placed fourth and beat the likes of previous winners, Julie Goodwin and Sashi Cheliah, and acknowledges that success comes down to preparation and the ability to cook under pressure on any given day in the competition.
"I was working hard to excel and to better myself each day," she says. "This competition is a lot more than just cooking. I feel like it has to do with determination and [asking yourself], how do you cope with yourself in a challenge? How do you manage pressure? How do you actually deal with all of that?"
Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites semi-finalists Billie McKay, Daniel Lamble and Sarah Todd.
There are now three contestants (two favourites and one fan) heading into the semi-final tonight — Sarah Todd (Season 6), Billie McKay (Season 7) and Daniel Lamble.
The previously eliminated contestants are Julie Goodwin (Season 1), Alvin Quah (Season 2) Sashi Cheliah (Season 10), Michael Weldon (Season 3), Christina Batista (Season 5), John Carasig (Season 7), Aldo Ortado (Season 10), Mindy Woods (Season 4), Minoli De Silva (Season 13), Tommy Pham (Season 13), Ali Stoner, Jenn Lee, Chris Tran, Keyma Vasquez Montero, Dulan Hapuarachchi, Harry Tomlinson, Matt Landmark, Max Krapivsky, Melanie PerssonMontana Hughes and Steph Woon.
Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites judges Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen
The MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites semi-final will air on Monday, July 11 and the finale will air on Tuesday, July 12 at 7:30pm on Channel 10 and 10 Play.
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