MasterChef: Rotorua's Charlene avoids chop

By Abigail Hartevelt

Rotorua's Charlene McGechan has made it through to the Top 16 of MasterChef New Zealand.

Mrs McGechan was among 24 who fought for a place in the top 16 in last night's episode.

Twenty five made it through to last night's episode but Dave McKinnon had already secured a spot in the top 16 after winning a golden apron last week with the best dish.

The remaining 24 were put into two teams - the red team and the blue team. Each person in each team had to cook a chicken dish with the best performers from each team making it into the top 16.

Mrs McGechan was in the red team and created a Fijian chicken curry.

She said it was a mystery box challenge and she told The Daily Post that when she lifted the lid of the box and saw chicken she knew instantly what she would make - curry.

Often when she had friends over they had a special request - that she make a curry.

She admitted it was difficult to listen to the judges and think about the ingredients she needed at the same time, as they were given a limited number.

The 34-year-old said she had to move fast in the pantry as they were only allowed three minutes to pick the ingredients.

Her chicken curry was accompanied by an Indian roti and a fresh salsa.

She said making the dish wasn't hard as she knew it well.

"It would be rude not to learn how to make curry after living and being born and raised in Fiji."

One of the judges, Simon Gault, told her he really liked her dish while Ray McVinnie spoke of a restaurant in Fiji where he had eaten curries.

Mrs McGechan said she was thrilled to make the Top 16 but was also thinking about her husband, who would have to continue being a "solo dad".

- Rotorua Daily Post

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