Lachlan Whittle on his time in the Masterchef kitchen
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“I can overcome obstacles and keep pushing forward”: Lochy on his time in the Masterchef kitchen

“Keep pushing forward”

Last night, fan favourite Lachlan “Lochy” Whittle‘s time in the MasterChef kitchen came to a devastating end after he lost the time auction elimination challenge to fellow contestant (and bestie), Harry Butterfield.

“I’m just really proud of the food that I was able to put up,” Whittle reflects, speaking with Chattr.

“To not have the apparatus of what I’m so used to and what I’m actually really good at, to be able to get as deep in the competition as I did. I am extremely proud of that moment.”

Whittle describes the solace he finds in cooking and the release it gives him; something he looks forward to after work, even on the “bad days.”

“[You] just put on an album and cook something delicious and just groove to some music, and everything’s going to be all right again,” he says.

Whittle’s story has touched the hearts of many a MasterChef viewer after the heartbreaking reveal that his mother, Jan, passed away from Huntington’s Disease just days before filming.

The news came out during the Mum Cook challenge episode, along with another poignant revelation: that Whittle has since discovered he has inherited the degenerative brain condition.

Despite not having a conventional upbringing, he recalls, one where disease was an uncannily familiar character, but “always a difficult thing,” Whittle thanks his mum for giving him the power in that cook “to be able to push through, and realise that no matter what there is, I can overcome obstacles and keep pushing forward.”

He remembers that challenging day on the Masterchef floor, “the crew and the other contestants and even the judges knew what I was going through, and the support that I had on that day was phenomenal.”

Thinking about some of his favourite moments from the show, Whittle is grateful for the close friendship he struck up with kitchen mate, Harry Butterfield.

“It means the world to be able to be able to come into the competition and be able to click with somebody like Harry from day one,” he says.

“To have that kind of support system, that we would do so much together on our mornings to help get into the zone. Going into the kitchen and cooking every day, and then being able to come back and debrief with each other, cook for each other, and just talk about food and support each other’s ideas… it just made it so, so great.”

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He also fondly calls to mind “a really cool moment” that happened with esteemed Vietnamese-Australian chef and restaurateur, Luke Nguyen. It was particularly significant to him, given it was Nguyen who first made Whittle “fall in love” with Vietnamese cuisine.

“I actually travelled to Vietnam because of falling in love with him and his show and how he talks about food,” says Whitall.

“In my first cook in that elimination, I tried to really ‘MasterChef’ something on a traditional Vietnamese dish, and just didn’t pull it off.”

Despite the dish, short rib Bo La Lot, being what he estimates to be around 15 minutes away from what he envisioned, Whittle describes “the little message that Luke wrote to me in my Luke Nguyen Vietnam cookbook, which was absolutely beautiful, that made me feel so good about where my head was at.”

Lochy in the kitchen with Luke Nguyen – Instagram @lochycooks

“Don’t be surprised if you see that coming up in one of my restaurants, because I thought that was a fabulous idea,” wrote Nguyen.

The chef also gave a cheeky “Ps.” that he would be nabbing the wing bean and green mango pickle recipe Whittle used in his subsequent ghee-seared kingfish cook.

“I pride myself on Vietnamese cooking, and I tried to do a lot in that cook to really impress him. I may have bitten off more than I could chew, especially for a dish I hadn’t tested or done before,” Whittle admits.

“But to have that message after not being eliminated come down right in front of me really made me feel special about that.”

Watch MasterChef Australia from Sunday – Thursday on Channel 10 and 10 Play.

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