ENTERTAINMENT
01/06/2020 6:38 PM AEST | Updated 03/06/2020 1:29 PM AEST

MasterChef Australia's Jess Liemantara Recalls Her School Lunches Being Seen As 'Weird'

She explained seeing a diversity of cultures on the show proved “it’s not weird, that it's just the culture that it is”.

’MasterChef Australia’s Jess Liemantara has praised the cultural diversity on the show this year, saying representation is particularly important for younger people to see. 

Speaking to HuffPost Australia, the 22-year-old – whose parents are both from Indonesia’s Surabaya – recalled feeling out of place during her formative years when taking more traditional food to school. 

“I’ve been living in Melbourne for about 18 years and I think we forget we are Asians and the fact that yes, we did at school have rice for lunch and it was a bit weird,” she told HuffPost Australia. “We always had weird snacks or Asian groceries.”

Channel 10
'MasterChef Australia: Back To Win' contestant Jess Liemantara

After moving to Melbourne with her family at a young age, Jess was surrounded by cultural influences when her parents opened a restaurant specialising in a fusion of Thai, Malay and Indonesian cuisine. 

“To see diversity come onto the screens on MasterChef, it is just phenomenal,” said Jess.

She explained seeing a multitude of cultures on the show proved “it’s not weird, that it’s just the culture that it is”.

“It’s amazing and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.”

Earlier in the season Jess impressed the judges during an instant noodle challenge, before going on to make one of her favourite ‘comfort foods’.

She cooked a Thai Duck Curry with Roti Canai, Prawn Chilli Powder and Coconut Rice.

“My parents have a Thai/Malaysian/ Indonesian cuisine restaurant and then red curry was one of our most popular dishes and I’d always watch from afar, my dad making the red curry,” said Jess.

“And the roti canai, I’d be on the back just flipping them. So that’s my comfortable food.”

Jess was eliminated from the show on Sunday night after her dish, using key ingredients carrot and raspberry, wasn’t quite enough to impress judges Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo.

‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ continues at 7:30pm on Channel 10.