Masterchef's Chelsea tells all

BRIDGET JONES
Last updated 13:28 14/06/2012
FAIRFAX MEDIA

Chelsea Winter talks about winning MasterChef New Zealand.

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Masterchef winner Chelsea Winter doesn't like trifle, and would come over all silly in Jamie Oliver's presence.

The Aucklander took out the coveted title on Tuesday night's final and, in a live webchat on Stuff.co.nz this afternoon, the 27-year-old let readers into the highs and lows of her time on the reality cooking show.

Winter has had to keep her win a secret for almost nine months, only telling her boyfriend, now fiancée, Mike.

She said as time went on, it was easier to keep the news to herself - but she thinks now her family might have higher expectations of Sunday lunch.

"At the beginning it was really tough because I was super excited but as time went by it just became the norm and I had to keep my trap shut.

"It's only been a day since they found out and I've been so busy haven't cooked a thing except toast. But yes, the pressure will be on."

Winter won the competition on the back of conquering a giant 10-layer trifle, but she said she wasn't even slightly tempted to tuck in once the cameras stopped rolling.

"To be honest at the end I didn't even want to look at it, let alone eat it.

"I don't even like trifle. Soggy sponge! Gak. It was pretty impressive though, I must admit."

Although Winter took the title, early on she thought she may have been too young to win. She had to study and work hard to make it to the final.

"My age was definitely a concern against all the others who had more experience. I studied, and I will keep studying. Plus, I wanted it badly. I just made it happen."

And months after the win, she said she is still in touch with all her fellow contenders - even her final rival Ana Schwarz.

"Yes, we are (still mates) there is no animosity between us. She is a great person.

"She deserved her place in the top two - she worked her butt off, as did I."

But it was an ingredient-swap with Schwarz during the Singapore challenge that caused the most controversy during the series.

Winter wanted to set the record straight, saying it was in no way an attempt to cheat and the backlash has surprised her. 

"No way, I just did it without thinking. I would have given Ana the fish sauce without getting anything in return anyway. That whole challenge was a bit awkward - the thunderstorm put me off."

And she said there is no animosity towards whistleblower Tony Price.

"I think I was mad for a couple of hours then I got over it. I understood why he did it and that was his prerogative. We're great mates still."

When pressed on who the nicest judge was, Winter said "Josh [Emett] and Ray [McVinnie] are pretty tough critics, but that's their job", and while she enjoyed meeting Rick Stein,  it is the Naked Chef that really gets her juices flowing.

"I love Rick too but I think if Jamie Oliver walked in I'd probably go all silly like a teenage girl at a Bieber concert."

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Winter is now in the process of writing her very first cookbook, which she described as food that will be "easy to prepare, looks great, taste amazing and it won't be health food". 

She said it will probably include a signature dish, which would probably have something to do with a fancy roast chicken.

And on a practical note, when asked what the best dish to cook on a first date, Winter believes in keeping it simple.

"Something [that is] not too hard to eat. My creamy chicken dish on the Campbell's Stock website is a firm favourite of mine, give that a go. And good luck."

- Auckland Now

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