It was the first Mystery Box of the Back to Win season on MasterChef and sadly for Cate Meade, it was not meant to be. While the former semi-finalist of Season 8 was definitely at the top of our list for potential winners, the mystery box challenge had other ideas in mind.
With a challenge that was all about incorporating liquor and making it a star (without it being overpowering), Cate, who ended up with Bourbon in her box, decided to make a Stone Fruit Spiced Cake. Unfortunately, it seems like time got away from her and it was ultimately her dish that was chosen as the weakest of the night.
We here at Guilty Eats had the opportunity to speak to Chef Cate Meade about her MasterChef return, what it was like to be back in that kitchen, and even what her Guilty Eat is, following her elimination episode.
MasterChef’s Cate Meade talks about returning for Back to Win
Guilty Eats: What was it like to head back into the MasterChef Kitchen?
Cate Meade: “It was amazing. I think it’s the [most fun] place to be. I like, I think most chefs enjoy, chaos. Especially when they can find their own calm within the chaos or learn to control it. I think that’s where they strive so when everything is firing – the cameras, the stove, the oven, you – it’s such a big challenge. And I think when you can challenge yourself to do something like that, you just feel like you’re on top of the world. You know, it’s the best place I think, no matter what. I was like I have to go back because it’s just so much fun. It’s so much fun to be there. I love kind of goofing off at the same time. And it’s amazing to just be with other people that are exactly like you, all the contestants when we get to like hang out afterwards. It’s just like we all have our jokes. We think they’re funny. We’re all like type Z people not A or B. We’re kind of weird, but it’s amazing.”
GE: That kind of leads me into my next question, what inspired you to actually come back for the Back to Win season?
CM: “What inspired me the most about coming back to Back to Win was really all the fans that reach out to me and say, ‘Oh, we love you and we wish you should have won, you should have won or you need to go back to all stars.’ They’re just the best. I feel like it boosts my confidence up more than it already is. And I just felt like I owed it to everybody who believed in me, more so than I believed in myself.”
GE: Would you do it again?
CM: “Absolutely not.”
GE: When you got that mystery box, what was your thought when you saw the bourbon in your box?
CM: “My first thought when I saw the bourbon was really my family because we’re Irish. And it reminded me of Christmas time. You know after we have dinner or dessert, there is usually some bourbon and lots of pies and cakes, and we usually have a spice cake, so I was thinking how I want to use this cake with bourbon. So I did. And it was delicious.”
GE: What do you hope people took away from you returning to MasterChef?
CM: “I hope that people take away the type of person that I am, and the chef that I am, within my food. And how I hold myself as a person, I guess, as a competitor and in competition.”
GE: Outside of MasterChef, you have your own business, Cate’s Kitchen Fit. Can you tell our readers more about that?
CM: “So Cate’s Kitchen Fit was my baby that I started, my business, probably like seven or eight years ago now. I started meal prepping for clients. And then I took it in-home, doing it on a weekly basis. Now I’m actually changing my business to Wildwood Chef, where I’m going to be touring North America, and hopefully beyond, where I’ll be a guest chef at hunt clubs. And really, I guess, speak to people who appreciate and know the type of food that I love – foraging and hunting the wild food. They’re used to seeing it on a normal level like wrapped in bacon. And so when I come and do it on a gourmet level and really just tie it all together and give them the whole experience I feel like it really blows their mind. And it’s such a deep connection for me, it’s something I really love. I love feeding everybody don’t get me wrong, but when I connect with a group of hunters who are used to having that game meat one way, and I can do it in a really just a mind blowing way, not to be cocky but just really wow them, it’s just a really great feeling for me to feed people that understand it on a deeper level.”
GE: Have you thought about creating a cookbook of your foraged meals?
CM: “Definitely. I definitely want to have cookbooks and beyond. I want to do everything right and very respectfully. I don’t want to rush anything or just do something to do something. So I have a lot of patience. I think that’s one thing I’ve developed over the years, I didn’t have much to begin with, but I know in time things are gonna come. And I definitely will have some cookbooks and maybe some like video cookbooks, or something along these advanced technology lines.”
GE: Do you feel like MasterChef has helped you in any way in this journey?
CM: “Definitely. I think I honestly feel like a winner. It sounds cheesy, I know, but I never wanted to be the actual winner of MasterChef. As weird as that sounds. I love to compete, and I love to win. But I wanted to start a culinary career that I couldn’t afford before. And it allowed me to do that. It gave me the platform to do it and gave me so many opportunities and beyond. And it’s still doing that. And it’s been able to connect me with so many amazing people.
This gets me emotional. I feel like I have so much love, all across America and North America. Just so many people, and beyond (North America) like Bali and Spain, but just so many people that I love and the fans too. I can’t believe I know and connect with people that know who I am in Indonesia. It’s just, it’s very humbling. It’s given me more than I could ever dream of or ask for.”
GE: And our final question, which is not about MasterChef or cooking, but rather, what is your Guilty Eat?
CM: “I guess my guilty eat would have to be deep dish Chicago style pizza.”
GE: Good choice, but what toppings?
CM: “Honestly, I’m kind of a classical babe when it comes to pizza. I’m just like a Margarita basil, keep it simple. I want to just have really good quality ingredients. I definitely don’t pick toppings off of pizza. Although I really do like olives. And like jardinière on my pizza.”
We really appreciate Chef Cate Meade taking the time to speak to us about her time on MasterChef: Back to Win. And we can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next.