Food region an inspiration for Margaret River MasterChef
Margaret River kitchen whiz Samira Damirova is winning the hearts of audiences around Australia as a top-24 contestant in season 10 of MasterChef Australia.
The 36-year-old mother of two was born in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku and moved to Australia in 2006 after meeting husband Troy.
The food blogger is still standing among the remaining 16 contestants as the reality TV cooking show approaches the halfway mark of its 60-episode season.
While Damirova remained tight-lipped about how far she got in the show, she revealed she was back from filming “for good” and was happy to see her family again.
“My daughter Scarlett has been the drive for me,” she said.
“Throughout the show and filming I would call and speak to her and she’d be so excited for me, and that kept me going.
“Every time I would go away for filming, it would get harder.
“Every time I felt down I thought ‘I just have to do it for her’.”
Damirova’s calm demeanour was put to the test against the fiery temper of Michelin-star chef Gordon Ramsay during week four of the competition.
“I found Gordon Ramsay quite full-on,” she said.
“We are complete polar opposites.
“He’s intense and aggressive and I found it quite challenging at some points, particularly on team challenges.
“The amount of times he shouted my name... my heart started racing and I was hiding at the back of the kitchen or in the pantry, although I did learn a lot from him and every celebrity chef that was on the show.”
While eastern European and western Asian flavours inspire Damirova’s cooking, she said local produce was prominent in her creations.
“Margaret River has influenced my cooking in so many ways,” she said.
“Everyone I know here is a foodie that loves wine, and I talk about food with my friends all the time.
“I feel fortunate I live in Margaret River because we are surrounded by food, wine, producers and friendly locals.”
She said she would “love the opportunity” to feature at the upcoming Margaret River Gourmet Escape, and would consider a mixture of cooking and tourism as her ideal career.
“I would love to have the chance to champion Margaret River not just across Australia, but across the world,” she said.
“I feel honoured to be someone who could introduce my home country of Azerbaijan to Australia, and Australia to my home country.”
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