'It's Tough To Get So Far And Be So Close': Nicole Leaves The 'MasterChef' Kitchen Days Before The Final
Speaking to 10 daily over the phone following her elimination, Nicole admitted that some days in the kitchen are more important than others.
"It was such a longshot," she told 10 Daily about her audition, "I thought everyone would be way better than me, I never thought I'd make it this far."
It was a tough elimination, with four of the top five battling it out in a 'Duel Duel Elimination', facing off against each other. In her first round, Nicole went up against Tessa who -- armed with an advantage from Wednesday's Press Club challenge -- picked an Asian pantry for the pair to cook with.
"That was a strength of hers, I knew I could do a farmhouse dish that's more in my style of cooking," Nicole admitted. The advantage worked in Tessa's favour, forcing Nicole into a second duel against Tim -- this time using a sweet pantry.
Nicole was already feeling like she wasn't in the right headspace, and heading into a second battle made her feel even more out of her comfort zone.
"I don't know what happened to me," she admitted. "I was thrown by a few of the judges' comments and then wasn't in the right headspace.
"It just goes to show, if you're not focused one day it can be the difference between elimination and the semi-final."
Nicole also said she just wanted to take things "day-by-day", admitting that she never thought she'd make it as far as she did in the competition, instead hoping to absorb as much as she could during the process.
"I'm not a super competitive person, I was just lucky to be able to do it," she said. "Winning would have been amazing, but it wasn't my goal. I guess it was more about improving myself."
Reflecting on her time in the 'MasterChef' kitchen, it wasn't meeting her culinary heroes like Massimo Butturo (who her dog is named after) or Nigella Lawson that first came to mind, but the mates she made along the way.
"I think I loved ['MasterChef'] so much because I formed such close friendships. I was with such likeminded people and made two really close friends -- Tessa and Christina," she said.
"I was so lucky to be with them every day and hang out. We had such a great time, it was such a unique experience I wouldn't trade for anything in the world."
Since her elimination, Nicole has had a few things on the burn, including launching her website. An extension of cooking tutorials she would post on Instagram for friends, she's now bringing them to a wider audience.
"It'll be like weekly uploads on Instagram and shopping lists, and step-by-step tutorials... just simple dinner recipes in a relatable way," she explained. "Little tips and tricks -- stuff you don't read in recipe books, but I can communicate really simply and easily -- that make a difference to the meal."
But before that happens, she's got some celebrating to do. "I got engaged on Friday!" she told 10 daily.
Massive congrats Nicole!
MasterChef Australia Grand Finale airs Tuesday, July 23 at 7.30pm. Only On 10 And WIN Network. Missed an episode? Catch up on 10 Play or 10 All Access!
Featured image: Network 10.