Masterchef showdown: Buderim battler’s big win
LITTLE pieces of Buderim gold have helped Sunshine Coast contestant Ashleigh Bareham reach new heights on MasterChef.
The childcare worker, who grew up in Buderim after moving with her family from the UK, used a Buderim Ginger product in a dish that helped her win the reality cooking show's coveted immunity pin last night.
And the 24-year-old was more than happy to tell the massive audience that tunes in to the cooking show.
To secure the pin and her spot in the show's Top 10, Ashleigh had to beat fellow contestants Rose Adam and Matthew Hopcraft in a sticky date pudding cook-off.
She went straight to one of her favourite products, crystallised ginger from Buderim Ginger, for her twist on the classic dessert.
"I didn't even know it was going to be there, but as soon I as I saw it sitting at the table I knew I had to use it," she said.
"It was like having a little part of home in the MasterChef kitchen."
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Her sticky date ginger pudding with salty ginger caramel sauce and vanilla and orange custard was the best of the three puddings.
"It's like going to one of those tropical fruit farms up Buderim way and further north and smelling the ginger plants," judge Matt Preston said.
Ashleigh advanced to the next round, where she faced off against professional chef Jim McDougall.
McDougall was the head chef at MasterChef judge Shannon Bennett's acclaimed Melbourne restaurant Cafe Vue 401 before returning to his hometown of Mildura.
His restaurant there was last year named Best Regional Restaurant in Victoria.
Ashleigh's comfortable four-point win over McDougall cemented her position as one of the show's top competitors.
As well as providing a major boost to her CV, Ashleigh said MasterChef had also helped her overcome her shyness.
"Every time I waked into the MasterChef kitchen in those early days I was petrified," she said.
"When you're there (filming) you kind of forget it's going to be on TV, but then when people recognise you, you go 'Oh God what have I done?'
"You have to be less shy. People talk to you like they know you… the show makes you come out of your shell."
She said she has felt the support of the Coast all the way down in Melbourne, where MasterChef is filmed.
"I get so many lovely messages and people are so nice when I see them out," she said.
"I'm definitely feeling lots of love."
MasterChef airs Sundays to Thursdays at 7.30pm on Channel 10.