For MasterChef’s bubbly contestant, family and food go hand-in-hand.
With her ever-present smile and eclectic food philosophy, Amina Elshafei
is the MasterChef contestant the whole country has fallen head over heels for. But for her family watching at home, it’s no surprise. "She just opens the fridge and whatever is there she can make something out of it. She is so creative!" says dad Muhammed.
Drawing on her multicultural heritage — her mother was born in South Korea and her father in Egypt — Amina wows the judges with her international palate. But it’s not just her quirky dishes that make her stand out from the crowd. "She is such a kind person… too kind!” laughs her mother, Injoung, 55. It’s not hard to imagine the 27-year-old Amina in her day job as a critical care nurse. "She’s very, very caring and openhearted, she cannot even harm a small fly. That’s just her personality," says Muhammed, 59.
But after years of her sister, Eman, nagging her, Amina finally agreed to put her nursing career on hold and apply for the competition. "I knew how much potential she had," says Eman, 23. "She’s got this really uncanny ability to understand food."
Eman — who shares a flat with Amina in Sydney – dropped everything to support her sister through the initial rounds. "I would have graduated from my law degree last year but because I flew down [to Melbourne] I failed my [final] exam," she says. "But I don’t regret it… I would do it again for her."
Read more about Amina in this week's Woman’s Day on sale Monday June 18, 2012.
Related video: Amina talks about her cooking influences.