FORMER Shoalhaven chef Sarah Knights is set for the biggest test of her career, having reached the MasterChef The Professionals grand final.
The former Nowra TAFE student left her job and put her career on hold for three months to take part in the series and it appears that gamble might have paid off.
The 27-year-old has undertaken eight weeks of culinary combat to be one of the final three chefs left to fight it out for the title, which will screen on Ten on Sunday night.
She will come up against Rhett Willis and Rhys Badcock for the coveted title and all three know they’ll need to raise their game to a whole new level to claim the $200,000 prize, a round-the-world cooking adventure and the inaugural title of Australia’s first Professional MasterChef.
Ms Knights, a former Erowal Bay resident who attended Vincentia High School, is excited by the series finale.
“All the hard work has paid off,” she said.
“I’ve worked really hard. It’s been tough mentally and physically.
“I feel I’ve been consistent throughout the whole competition, but it can come down to your last dish.
“It doesn’t really matter what you have done in previous episodes, it comes down to these last challenges.
“Hopefully it can all pay off on Sunday.”
She said working with her hero acclaimed chef Marco Pierre White had been “priceless”.
“Working with Marco is something I never ever expected to do,” she said.
“Marco was in his heyday before I started cooking but I’ve always admired him and never expected to be able to actually cook with him.
“He really is a gentleman and he is how you see him on the show, he’s caring and everything he says is from the heart, he means it.”
She thanked the local community for its support.
“I got a message from Di Laver at Nowra TAFE yesterday wishing me good luck and the well wishes from around the country on social media have been superb,” she said.
The Shoalhaven’s other entrant in the competition, Nathan Brindle made it into the final six of the competition, but bowed out at the top five stage.