PETALING JAYA: Joe Chan’s phone has been ringing non-stop since his daughter Diana emerged the champ of the ninth season of MasterChef Australia Monday night.
“Yes, my phone has been going off quite a bit since Diana won. I am very proud of Diana and very happy that she won. To be honest, I didn’t think she would make it so far.
“The calibre of cooks on the show and the kind of pressure they are under ... I didn’t know if she would be able to handle it. But she did it,” said Chan, obviously proud of his daughter.
“Come to think of it, she has always been a stubborn girl. If she wants something, she will go all out to make sure she gets it!”
As luck would have it, Chan only managed to catch the last segment of the finale because of issues over the streaming of the episode from his home in Johor Baru.
“I saw her in the dessert challenge. I will make sure I watch the full episode when I can,” he said, adding that he could not join his wife at the finale in Melbourne because of work commitments.
Melbourne-based Diana, 29, who is an accountant, was crowned winner in a nail-biting final on Monday night when she cooked against Queensland-based Ben Ungermann in three pressure-filled rounds.
After the first two rounds, Diana was leading by just three points but she faced some setbacks in round three, when the contestants had to recreate a complicated dessert dish by Australian chocolatier and pastry chef Kirsten Tibballs.
Throughout the season, she constantly referenced her Malaysian heritage in her cooking, and her winning dishes included abalone with Chinese broccoli and green leaf juice, crispy spatchcock skin, shiitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots; and oatmeal prawns.
Diana also constantly spoke of how her parents were the inspiration behind her love for cooking.
Chan said: “Her mother is a perfectionist in the kitchen. She is a very meticulous cook and she doesn’t like me going into her kitchen as she claims I never put her things back in places.
“That’s why I clean and cook my seafood outside on the grill with a nice cool beer. Maybe she did draw some inspiration watching me clean and marinade my seafood in sambal. But I think it is mostly her mother who inspired her.”