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MasterChef Australia: How Reynold Poernomo's Girlfriend Helped Him Reconnect With His Culture

Indonesian-born Reynold stopped speaking his traditional language after moving to Australia at age four. That changed when he met girlfriend Chelia.

‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ contestant Reynold Poernomo has always been very proud of his heritage and loved ones – something he spoke about during the ‘family memories’ challenge earlier this season.

The 26-year-old has also previously opened up about losing touch with his mother tongue after moving to Australia from Indonesia with his family at age four. He said he reconnected with the language years later after meeting girlfriend Chelia Dinata.

“Soooo you ALL have literally been asking me if I can speak in Bahasa!” Reynold wrote last year underneath a YouTube video he uploaded called, ‘Can I still speak in Bahasa Indonesia?’

Bahasa is the traditional language spoken in Indonesia, where Reynold was born.

'MasterChef Australia: Back To Win' contestant Reynold Poernomo and girlfriend Chelia Dinata
'MasterChef Australia: Back To Win' contestant Reynold Poernomo and girlfriend Chelia Dinata

“The reason why I don’t tend to speak in Bahasa much or have denied that I can speak Bahasa is because I’m still learning,” he explained. “I moved into Australia when I was 4 yrs old and stopped speaking and English became my primary language and still is.

“Since I’ve met my girlfriend Chelia, I’ve been able to speak in Bahasa again although am still learning. It’s just easier to say that I can’t speak in Bahasa than to try and process the conversation and only understanding half of it.”

In the accompanying video, Reynold and Chelia did a Q&A, with the ‘MasterChef’ contestant speaking in Bahasa and English.

In an episode of ‘MasterChef’ earlier in the season, Reynold spoke about his younger years in Indonesia, where his parents ran a restaurant called ‘Bali Sunrise’.

“A long time ago my parents had a restaurant together. I remember going after school, and people would think that I’d be learning so much from my mum or my dad, but actually they’d be working so hard in the restaurant,” he said.

“I remember during immigration having my parents taken away for a little bit. The restaurant closed down of course, my brother was getting food for me when I was hungry... It was the only time I had time with my parents, watching them work.”

On Tuesday night Reynold competed against Callum Hann and Laura Sharrad in the ultimate immunity challenge.

Thanks to his Harry Potter-inspired dessert called ‘The Snitch’, he managed to impress judges Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo enough to win and become the first person through to the show’s finals.

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

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