Emma was the cake queen
IT SHOULD have been a piece of cake.
Emma O'Shaughnessy was the cake queen. It was the first thing she ever baked when she was five and she used to make a cake every week for her friends in high school.
But in last night's MasterChef elimination, the 19-year-old from South Australia unravelled to an emotional eton mess.
In a touching cook-off against her surrogate brother, Ben Milbourne from Tasmania, both contestants struggled to come to terms with the fact one of them was going home.
In a chivalrous gesture, Ben offered to bow out to keep Emma's dream alive.
"Ben offered to walk out of the competition if it meant I would be staying and I was gutted, I was so heartbroken because as much as I wanted to do well in the competition I didn't want it to be at Ben's detriment, he was my closest mate in the house," she said.
But the judges' decision to put another elimination contestant in his place persuaded Ben to fight it out.
"Him leaving the competition wouldn't save me and so we made the decision that we'd both cook against each other and try not to treat it like a competition and treat it like we were cooking with each other," she said.
"If we thought of it as a competition we'd get too stressed out and too frazzled and I think that was my downfall was I couldn't put it out of my head that I was competing against Ben.
"It wasn't my best day in the kitchen."
Emma and Ben were two of eight contestants from the blue team to face elimination last night - the first round 'name that cake' catching out the besties.
Round two saw Emma and Ben have 90 minutes to make a layer cake with free rein of the pantry.
Ben's Raspberry Mojito Cake was pitted against Emma's vanilla cake with choc garnish, raspberry and pralines.
While Emma opted for a more traditional layer cake, it was Ben's exploration of flavours which proved to a winner and kept him safe in the competition.
Since being out of the MasterChef kitchen, Emma has been watching the show at home and had one comment - "I cry so much!"
"Because you're in the MasterChef bubble, every time you wake up it's MasterChef, you go to bed and it's MasterChef, all people talk about is MasterChef and it becomes this massive thing in your life, it's all you can think about. When really good things happen they become incredible and when really bad things happen it's like the end of the world, so all your emotions are so heightened," she said.
Emma credited Ben's big brotherly love as her saving grace in the competition and tips him to win this year's series.
"I recon it's going to be a boy, I think I'm a bit biased because all the boys were my best friends but I recon it's going to be Ben or Andy or Beau. I recon a boy's going to take it out this year," she said.
"Ben, Andy, Beau and Sam were like my big brothers in the house, for one of them to win I would be overjoyed."
Looking back on her time on MasterChef, Emma is overcome with emotion.
She said the highlight was winning the OzHarvest team challenge (therefore having a week off elimination) and meeting idols Maggie Beer and Jamie Oliver.
"Being South Australian I've got a real soft spot for Maggie Beer, I love going to her farm shop so getting to meet her was great. I got a few Maggie hugs backstage," she said.
When it came to the lowlight, there was no question.
"Having to cook against Ben in the elimination. Getting down to the bottom two in elimination was so emotionally draining because you're worried about yourself and worried about him," she said.
Emma is now paving her culinary future, making the most of the opportunity in front of her.
"It was the best experience I've ever had in my entire life and something I never thought I'd have the opportunity to have, so I feel like I'm the luckiest 19-year-old in the world to have that experience," she said.
"I gained so much confidence in myself and my cooking, when you go into the show you're not thinking you're going to get far, it's only because my best mates told me to give it a go and I kept progressing, getting further and kept getting told your food's good enough.
"I was getting so much confidence in myself and I learnt that the food industry is the industry I want to be in for the rest of my life.
"I'm in the process of opening my own business called Eden Desserts and it's making cupcakes, tarts, little treats and cakes and delivering them.
"At the same time I'm also doing menu design for a dessert place in Adelaide and I'm also doing lots of work experience.
"So I'm very busy but I think you're only young once you may as well cram as much in as possible. While I can handle the hours I may as well do them."