MasterChef interview: Reba Billingsley on recent elimination, show experience

Reba BillingsleySome MasterChef eliminations make you sadder than others; Reba Billingsley leaving the kitchen was an especially sad one. The look on everyone’s face in the kitchen when she left really showed you just how beloved she was there; she had a ton of heart and brought such a great passion and work ethic to the table. Plus, it’s hard to root against a Texan as someone who grew up in the state.

Earlier today, we had a chance to conduct an email Q&A with Reba about her time in the kitchen, the coconut challenge that sent her home, and the moment from the show that stands out more than any other.

CarterMatt – Everyone seemed so genuinely sad to see you go last night. Were you surprised at how close you got to some of them in so short a period of time?

Reba- No, I really was not surprised by it. There are a lot of amazing people there. They were all very easy to get along with and all felt like part of my family. My heart hurt to leave them and I wish I could have stayed to see their progress as they went on. I will miss them, but I will keep in touch with them.

Cate seemed especially sad that you left after she gave you the Savory basket. Do you think you would’ve had a different gameplan doing a sweet dish?

Oh very much so, I saw her giving everyone the opposite of what they were wanting. so I said I wanted savory and it back fired on me, I was truly hoping for sweet. I love to bake and I think I would have done a better job with sweet. But I don’t think I did too badly – just not good enough for Gordon, haha.

I think one of your most memorable moments this season was actually your audition at the start. How nervous were you first stepping in that kitchen?

I was about as nervous as a raccoon being chased by a blue-tick hound. My heart sank as I walked in that kitchen and saw the judges. It’s like I forgot everything I ever knew about cooking. I just tried not to look at them, but didn’t want to be rude. It was like having an out of body experience!

Were the judges what you imagined them to be like before you showed up? Did they meet your expectations?

The judges were so much more then I could ever imagine. When I walked in, it looked like Gordon was 10 feet tall and bullet proof. Christina looked like a doll that you just wanted to take home with you. And Chef Aarón, I really couldn’t read him very well, he was like a mystery.

They were so much more then I expected. It was a pleasure to be able to cook for them and just to be in their presence.

What was the one dish that you were the most proud of making this season?

The duck, of course. It was the one that got me on the show, haha. Looking back, I would have plated it differently, but what is done is done.

Now that your time in the kitchen’s done, what’s next for you?

I’m really not sure! I want to write a cook book and I want to keep on cooking. I really just want to bring joy and happiness to everyone I meet. But mostly, I want to encourage others to live their dream, to go after what they want in life and no matter what, be proud of what you do. I never dreamed I would ever make it on the show, it was just something I wanted to try. I went so much further then I thought I would. It has been the biggest blessing I could have ever imagined. I hope one day to own a food truck or even open a restaurant. And, as always, anything is possible. Look at what I’ve done! I’m still going and hope to do so much more. I’m going to keep on keeping on.

More MasterChef news

You can read our full review for last night’s new episode of the show now over at the link here! We’ll of course be back with an exclusive preview and more next week! (Photo: Fox.)

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