MasterChef interview: Cate Meade on show experience, top 4 finish

Cate MeadeIt’s an understatement and then some to say that Cate Meade made it far on MasterChef season 8. As a matter of fact, she made it all the way to the final four! She was one souffle away from making it to the finale, but she demonstrated time and time again her ability to make a wide array of dishes, whether it be desserts, complicated proteins, or high-pressure meals during Team Challenges. Until her elimination, she had never really been in jeopardy.

So what did Cate think about her experience? We recently spoke to her via email, and she has a lot of great stuff to say about her time in the kitchen and keeping everything in perspective.

CarterMatt – You made it so close to the finale, but you remained so positive and upbeat even after being eliminated. How were you able to keep from being visibly frustrated in that moment?

Cate Meade – In the moment, I only felt sadness from having to go home. I knew I would miss everyone from the judges to our van drivers. I have never really liked “good-byes” I always try to turn them into a “See you later”.  I also didn’t feel like a loser getting sent home at top 4, cause to me, I won. I won when I won my white apron, I won again when I made it to top 10, then again when I made it to top 5. I even won again when I sent Jeff home (personal victory for me). Not to mention all of the challenges I won, and making it into Family Circle Magazine. Sometimes losing is just a part of life. I have learned more from losing in life than winning. I guess to make sense of it, I had already accomplished my goals so the last Win wasn’t such a heartbreak for me. I wouldn’t know how to be frustrated by that. I did my very best, gave it everything I have, and got beat at my best. Making it to that point in the competition was incredibly hard, we had to overcome and face so many challenges. I could not possibly be mad at someone else for kicking butt in the competition and making it the finale. Dino, Jason, Eboni, and I are all very good cooks, we wouldn’t have made it that far if we weren’t. I just felt happy for them, proud of myself, sad to leave everyone, and excited to go home too!

Can you explain what it was like doing those Pressure Tests in the episode in terms of intensity?

It is literally like the fastest time ever. I would say it is similar to having to finish a job in 20 minutes when it normally would take you an hour. Add in the conversations with the judges. I always would think they will have to give us more time if they want us to have a completed dish. But nope, 30 min or 60 minutes exactly! I never knew I could cook that fast. As for the “pressure” I couldn’t feel it cause there was no time to think about it, it was just like get it done.

One of the things that you were so great at all seasons was always making sure you did enough to avoid being in the bottom. How did you ensure that you stayed so steady in the kitchen?

I never gave up, I always gave 120%, and I pushed all my teammates to do the same. When my team made a mistake in the challenge and the judges would give us advice. I always made sure we listened to what they said. Another thing I always made sure I did was not let my personal feelings get the best of me. If a teammate made me mad, I knew yelling wasn’t going to solve anything. But if I could pick them up, or do it the right way, there is a better chance of succeeding.

What did you think was your personal highlight of the season?

Personal highlight would have to be my venison dish I made for my dad. It was perfectly balanced and composed. The judges said it was perfect, Christina said she wouldn’t change a thing. Gordon told me it was a finale dish. Aarón told me he loved the dish and my style of cooking. My mind was blown. To hear that and then have my dad come down and eat off the same plate – Right then, mission in the competition was completed. I had proved to the judges I deserved a chance a redemption and am good cook. That is what I came back for!

What did you learn from the judges more than anything else?

I learned how just basic fundamentals of cooking are always the most important. No matter how high of a level of chef you are. Salt, tasting your food, the perfect sear, the right temperature, classic and proper techniques. These are the skills sets that will get you far in the competition.

Finally, what are you hoping to do in food now that this season is over?

I would really love to start my own healthy food brand or have a health café where I can sell my delicious food. But in the meantime I am running my business Cate’s Kitchen Fit (@cateskitchenfit) I am doing lots of cooking lessons, health and meal prep seminars, and private dinner parties. I am also still creating and writing new recipes for my website. And of course saving my money so I can reach my dreams one day!

Want some MasterChef interviews?

Then be sure to head over here, since you can see some other recent discussions with both Yachecia and Jeff. (Photo: Fox.)

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