How MasterChef winner Sashi Cheliah spent $250k prize: 'Not enough'

EXCLUSIVE: The season 10 champion spills on his post-show success.

Five years on from winning the tenth season of MasterChef Australia, Sashi Cheliah has revealed how he spent his $250,000 prize money.

The Singapore-born chef went from working as a prison officer before the show to opening two restaurants in both Australia and India, writing a cookbook, and releasing his own line of Sashi's Secret meal kits across the country.

MasterChef’s Sashi Cheliah holding the trophy.
MasterChef’s Sashi Cheliah spills on how he spent $250,000 prize money. Photo: Channel 10

Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle, the 43-year-old reveals he put all of his MasterChef winnings towards opening his first restaurant, Gaja by Sashi, in Adelaide.

“Actually, $250,000 is not enough to set up a restaurant or a business of what I was planning to do,” he says with a laugh.


“Originally, I planned to do a small takeaway or a café kind of a concept. But my win in the competition and the kind of exposure I got because of MasterChef made me set up something that I never even imagined.

“So I started doing pop-ups, travelling overseas and learning a lot from different chefs on how they go about doing restaurants because it's totally a different ballgame when it comes to cooking for a small group to cooking for a restaurant. So everything went into the restaurant, on top of my savings.”

Sashi's advice for future MasterChef contestants

Sashi explains that after 20 years working in law enforcement, he applied to MasterChef in 2018 because he had a dream to open his own business in the food industry.

“When I went onto MasterChef and the judges asked me, ‘What do you want to do after this competition?’, I was one of the guys who said, ‘I want to start a restaurant’,” he recalls.

“Not many people would like to start a restaurant because it's a lot of work, so the judges were a bit surprised that I was keen on running a restaurant. And when I won, that small restaurant idea became slightly bigger, and it was purely my idea.”

The father-of-two hopes future MasterChef contestants have the same level of determination as him and reach for their dreams, regardless of the risk.

“If you have an idea and if you want to try something, you have to give it a go,” he shares.

“Risk is inevitable. There is a certain level of risk, but you have to still try. Because at the end of the day, if you don't try, you don't know whether you have the potential to achieve your vision or dream, whatever you want to call it. Please try.”

Never miss a thing. Sign up to Yahoo Lifestyle’s daily newsletter.

Or if you have a story idea, email us at