At just 19 years of age, Jess Liemantara was MasterChef Australia’s youngest recruit.
Described as ‘a lover of all things sweet, this dessert queen loves making high tea-style slices, macaroons, caramel slices and mousse cakes with glazes’ and she impressed the judges with her stunning creations and innovative flavours.
Born in Perth, this young waitress was the only one when her parents moved the family to Melbourne.
According to her Masterchef profile, her parents owned a fusion café and restaurant, specialising in Thai, Malay and Indonesian cuisine.
“My mum always tells me that whatever protein you cook, always marinate it in ginger, lemon and garlic because it will take away the protein smell,” she told Berries & Spice.
“On MasterChef, I marinated everything in those three key ingredients. Dad, on the other hand, always tells me to not overcomplicate flavours and stick to the key ingredients such as oyster sauce, salt, pepper, sugar and sesame oil. He has a way with flavours that you can’t imagine,” she adds.
Food was always a significant part of life at home for Jess. She loved food technology in high school, admitting it was probably the only subject she really enjoyed.
Graduating from Highville Secondary College in Glen Waverly in 2015, she now works as a waitress at Nobu in Melbourne’s Crown Casino.
In her elimination interviews, Jess talked about the pressure she was under as one of the youngest of the show.
‘I've always felt a lot of pressure in the competition, especially being the youngest. And I was also in the first elimination just coming off the second-chance cook, so that broke me a little bit,’ Jess confessed to PopSugar.
Jess was eliminated just shy of the semi-final and she revealed her sadness of getting so near but so far to the finals.
“I am a bit sad, but overall, I'm really grateful and so proud that I made it that far in the competition. I didn't expect to make it that far, but oh gosh, it was such a good run for me.”