MasterChef runner up Rhiannon reveals exciting plans for the future

"I actually really enjoyed being in front of the cameras."
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Whilst 46-year-old Rhiannon Anderson may not have won MasterChef, she sure has won over the hearts (and stomachs) of the nation with her creative cooking, and vibrant can-do approach to competing under pressure. 

The Townsville local just missed out on the top prize to returnee contestant Brent Draper, but has still walked away with a smile on her face, richer in both experience and with the $40,000 prize money she received for placing second. 

WATCH NOW: Jock Zonfrillo’s widow encourages fans to tune in for MasterChef finale. Article continues after video. 

Taking to her Instagram shortly after the finale aired and her incredible on-screen effort in the final challenge was made public, Rhiannon shared an emotional update with her almost 10,000 followers. 

“What a mentally, physically, life-changing experience this has been. I have pushed myself beyond any limit I ever knew I had. Being on MasterChef is going to be life-changing for me and to be able to pursue a career in the food industry is a complete dream come true.”

“A massive shout out to the judges @fooderati @andyallencooks who I feel completely blessed to have met and be mentored by. They showed nothing but kindness and taught me to believe in myself, the amount I learned from them is priceless and will flow on into my life.”

Rhiannon then went on to share her own heartwarming tribute to the late Jock Zonfrillo: “Jock was such a special man who was so kind with sharing his knowledge and mentoring along the way. He will be missed by anyone that’s crossed paths with him and I will be forever grateful for this experience with him.”

Rhiannon has big plans for the future. (Credit: Ten/Instagram)

How does it feel to be runner-up on MasterChef? 

There were a lot of tears. It’s quite bizarre watching yourself cry on tv whilst you cry in real life.

It was emotional and it was hard because it brings a finality with Jock and so much hard work went into it.

It was very emotional because it was like this is it, this is the end.

What was the most challenging moment you faced during the competition and how did you overcome it?

[The pocket watch] was so hard, it was beyond hard. 

As soon as I saw Amaury walk in I was like ‘Oh my goodness. I don’t know what’s going to be under that closh but I know it’s not going to be great.’ I just knew it was going to be ridiculously hard.

The pocket watch was really, really tough. It was also one of those things where the more you go through the cook, you hit a real wall around the three-hour mark and there’s just so much to do. Just keep moving, that was all I was thinking. 

Honestly, ‘I was thinking I can’t do this, I can’t get this done’. I felt really overwhelmed at that moment and I’m thinking, ‘I’ve got my family up there’ but Jock snapped me out of it. And he knew what to do to snap me out of it. And then I was like ‘I can do this’ and ‘I’ve just got to keep moving’ and even watching it last night it was very emotional because he knew exactly what to say to me to get me out of that headspace. 

“I just knew it was going to be ridiculously hard [when Amaury walked in].” (Credit: Ten/Instagram)

Can you share some highlights from your MasterChef journey?

I think the whole season was a highlight, but something that really stood out to me was Maggie Beer.

When she came into the kitchen, it was very emotional for me, I felt like I had my mum and my aunties all in one person standing in front of me.

They’ve all passed away from cancer, and we grew up with my mum and my aunties laughing and cooking in the kitchen and just having such a fun time, and it just felt like they were all there with me in Maggie Beer. So that was just super emotional. 

What was the biggest lesson or skill you learned during your time on MasterChef?

Balancing flavours was probably the biggest skill I learned and that was all thanks to Jock.

He wanted us to always think about how to get five different flavours into every dish and it was life-changing for me.

I’m definitely not the greatest at presenting dishes under pressure but I can sure bring the flavour!

Everything I cook now all I’m thinking about is getting everything balanced.

There were emotional scenes as Rhiannon reunited with her family. (Credit: Ten/Instagram)

Are you still in touch with any of your fellow MasterChef contestants?


I haven’t caught up with Cath since the show because I’m in Townsville and she’s in Melbourne, but I am catching up with Declan and Antonio in September when I’m down in Sydney. I also caught up with Rue and Ralph when I was in Perth. 

But all the contestants, without a doubt we will all be mates for life, all of us. 

What’s next for you? Any exciting plans for the future? And how do you plan on spending your prize money?

I went on the show thinking that I wanted to open a restaurant in Townsville but now I really want to travel around Australia, promote local fresh produce, and local farmers, cook from farmers’ markets, and maybe open a restaurant after that.

I want to use the money to travel around Australia and maybe do a TV show. I’d love to do that, I actually really enjoyed being in front of the cameras. 

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