M *asterChef *favourite *Amina Elshafei *, pictured below, was shocked to learn about her strong fan following since entering the reality cooking show earlier this year.
When the chirpy 27-year-old spoke to _AAA _last week, she was lost for words when informed of the overwhelming support from MasterChef viewers.
"It's awesome having that knowledge that the public really have a lot of faith in me to take out the competition," she said.
"I think a lot of the expectations that I put on myself just get harder and harder for me personally. I do want to meet those expectations from the public, so it's a personal challenge for me every day I step into the kitchen."
Emerging as a strong performer in the competition, Elshafei - who has an Egyptian/South Korean background - has impressed judges *Gary Mehigan *, *Matt Preston *and * George Calombaris *with her Middle Eastern/Asian-style cooking .
Despite blitzing three team immunity challenges, Elshafei wasn't able to secure her immunity in a cook-off with chef *Philippe Leban * in Tasmania.
And for some of Elshafei's fans, the cook-off -making one of Leban's signature desserts - was seen as both difficult and unfair.
But does Elshafei share this view? "I was pretty surprised that it was a one-on-one," she admitted. "That's the thing about MasterChef. You never know what the next challenge is going to be.
"But in saying that, I actually really enjoyed that challenge, despite the pressure and the circumstances. It was something I've never done before but it was a great opportunity to learn something new."
While some may think handling pork in the MasterChef kitchen would present a major challenge for the 27-year-old given her Muslim beliefs, Elshafei thought otherwise.
"I haven't really looked at it like 'Oh my God, it's pork' and freaked out," she said. "I just used the same rules as I would if I was cooking beef or lamb.
"I think its all about touch and feel, just making sure that it's cooked. And if I've got sauces, I make sure I taste it before it touches the pork."
MasterChef Australia airs at 7pm today on Ten.VANESSA WILLIAMS
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