MasterChef Australia winner: I'd relive experience again
Reality cooking competition MasterChef Australia is known for transforming home cooks into professional chefs.
But first, contestants have to endure intense cooking challenges and long filming hours.
Months of living in a shared house without Internet, phones and limited contact with family members also take their toll.
In July, MasterChef Australia 2017 runner-up, Ben Ungermann, 32, blamed the reality cooking show for his depression after he was charged with drink driving.
Though the show's intensity is undeniable, this year's champion, Diana Chan who beat Ungermann by one point, wishes she could relive the experience again.
For the Malaysia-born 29-year-old, the bonds she forged with fellow contestants played a big part in her triumphant MasterChef journey.
"It was a tough competition - physically, creatively and mentally - and I cried several times on the show, especially when I missed my family.
"But I couldn't think of 23 better contestants to share a house with. We were like one big noisy family, and we supported each other."
Chan spoke to The New Paper at St. Regis Hotel in Singapore on Tuesday during the celebration of the launch of five new channels on Singtel TV.
She will partner with Singtel to produce cooking tutorials for festive dishes, which are available later this month on its social media platforms.
Healthy competition and camaraderie were evident in the show, which will start its re-runs on Saturdays at 7pm on Lifetime (Singtel TV channel 302) from Nov 11.
Chan said: "Whenever we cooked, we gave each other feedback and constructive criticism, and we learnt from that."
During her seven months on the show, Chan became known as "belachan" (shrimp paste).
She said with a laugh: "Every time I cooked lunch with belachan in the house, they would go 'so smelly', but would still eat it."
Chan, who was born in Perak and raised in Johor, moved to Melbourne when she was 19 to study commerce in university. She picked up cooking from her parents in Malaysia and gained confidence in the kitchen after receiving positive feedback from her friends.
The MasterChef Australia fan, who followed every season, was on the couch with her boyfriend when he asked her: "Why don't you join the competition?"
He filled out her application form and Chan went on to win A$250,000 (S$260,000) and a monthly food column in Australian magazine, Delicious.
The accountant will quit her job to open a restaurant serving "balanced, wholesome and delicious meals with Malaysian influences".
She will also work on a tourism campaign for Malaysia.
Chan said: "It was definitely one hell of a ride but the show has given me a platform to do what I want to do, and I am very thankful for that."