Torn between two cultures, Khanh detailed his struggles of being a refugee to HuffPost Australia, saying, “I feel as though when you grow up as a refugee, you pretend that everything is great.
“You pretend that everything is fine but there is a little part of you that just wants to be like every single other person, and I don’t want anyone to feel that.
“Even in the first season I never really spoke about it, just because it’s an awkward conversation."
“At the end of the day, I see myself as Australian still and I feel a lot of refugees see themselves that way and need to see that representation, that Australians are very different, that we have all different cultures.
“We are all different but that should be celebrated.”
After losing his father Tam to cancer in his teens, Khahn took over the family butcher business, where his passion for cooking blossomed while serving as a connection to his late father and leading him to his life-changing appearances on Masterchef Australia.
“Dad would’ve been so proud. He would’ve been so happy,” Khanh said.
“My family have always been a massive support for me. When it comes to cooking, I feel like cooking is all about your memories and your emotions and that’s why half of us do what we do. It’s because it takes us to a place that is comforting.”
Not only did Khanh face hardship from a young age as a refugee, but he also struggled to navigate being a gay man in a culture that didn't recognise him.
“Being gay in our culture isn’t really a thing, so that was hard for me,” he told TV Week, saying he went through the first half of his life “pretending” he was not gay.
“It’s hard enough growing up gay, but then there’s this whole refugee element. No one grows up choosing to be an outcast or picked on – it just happens.”
Now, Khanh is set to take on a challenge of a different kind as he appears alongside his beloved sister Amy in Survivor: Blood V Water - and if he's as good in the outback as he is in the kitchen, the other competitors will need to bring their A-game.
“People may know me from MasterChef. I’ve lost MasterChef twice, it’s my turn to win now,” said the 30-year-old chef.
Australian Survivor: Blood vs Water premieres on January 31, 2022, at 7.30pm on Channel 10 and 10play.