FOR 27-year-old Sarah Knights, the opportunity to work with one of her heroes, Marco Pierre White, was too good to pass up.
In fact, the former Old Erowal Bay resident, who has travelled the world with her career, left her job to ensure she could devote the three months required to the Network 10 program, MasterChef The Professionals.
“I really like Marco, he is one of my three heroes and to be able to firstly meet him and then work with him was amazing,” she said.
“He is a really nice guy, really genuine, and when he praises you he really means it.”
Ms Knights grew up at Old Erowal Bay and attended Vincentia High School.
She left school in year 10 to begin her apprenticeship has been working in professional kitchens since she was 15.
She moved to Sydney in the third year of her apprenticeship, working under Peter Doyle at est, which became a three-hatted restaurant while she was there.
“I had to learn fast about the food I was cooking and also life skills.
“Peter’s encouragement and advice was fundamental in the development of my passion for food.”
She has worked in a number of restaurants in the past eight years, including two years as a private chef on a super yacht working the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.
“I have been back in Australia for about 12 months but this is a great opportunity,” she said.
“I have made some great friendships with my fellow competitors and have also learnt a lot about myself from the show.
“The hardest part was that every day was something completely different – tomorrow was not like yesterday,” she said.
“When we first started there were so many contestants with quite a few personalities.
“But it was pretty amazing to have two chefs from the Shoalhaven in the one competition.”