As a member of the elite special tactics and rescue unit in Singapore’s Police Force, Sashi Cheliah’s days were far from ordinary. “Every day was very interesting, and you go in with an open mind to expect the unexpected,” says the former officer turned MasterChef star.
His work in the unit varied from VIP protection to counter-terrorism operations, and high-profile cases such as kidnappings or cases involving explosives.
“It was a job that required a lot of physical and mental endurance,” says Sashi, 39. “As a kid I was very active and loved adventure, so I was attracted towards that king of career parth of high-intensity and pressure."
Yet his time in the special tactics unit and his current role as a prison officer at Adelaide’s Women’s Prison has meant Sashi has always remained guarded.
“Because of my job, I don’t really speak to a lot to people,” explains Sashi. “I try to keep very hush-hush about what I’m doing because my job doesn’t allow me to talk about what I’m doing. I have to keep a lot of secrets.”
It has been in front of the MasterChef cameras that Sashi has blossomed. The self-described introvert and father-of-two has shared jokes with “my food idol” Gordon Ramsay, met and cooked for royalty and achieved a MasterChef first by winning not one, but two, immunity pins.
“To create history is not easy,” says Sashi, adding, “I’ve become very outspoken. I’m not shy anymore. I can stand in front of a camera and give interviews—it’s helped me a lot. I'm like an open book now."
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This article originally appeared on WHO.