Metter Chin spends weekends at his Kendalls Beach home and during the week he appears in living rooms across Australia.
Having made it into the top 24 contestants on MasterChef Australia, the 54-year-old IT senior project manager’s dream is to introduce Australia to the cuisine from the Hakka speaking regions of China.
“I chose to sign up for MasterChef to modernise traditional Hakka food and introduce it to the Australian palate,” he said.
“To be crowned MasterChef Australia 2018 would be a lifetime dream for me.”
It is the first time Mr Chin has auditioned and taken part in a reality television show. He said he learnt to cook out of necessity, at the age of 14.
Born in the Malaysian city of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Mr Chin was raised by his mother, who ran a hair salon, and his father, who drove a taxi, alongside his three siblings.
Later, he also called Hong Kong, New York and New Zealand home.
“My mother ran her own hair salon and being the eldest I had to cook for the family,” he said.
“When I was 19, in order to put myself through university, I worked as a part time kitchen helper at a Chinese take away restaurant in a small town called Torquay.
“Later, I worked in the university kitchen as a pot cleaner and assisted in the kitchen serving more than 200 students.”
Mr Chin hopes MasterChef Australia will change the trajectory of his career path.
“I want to work in something that I love to do,” he said.
He counts “being able to bring joy and pleasure to the people I love and care about through my cooking” as his greatest achievement in the kitchen. But said he experiences the “usual frustration with testing recipes when things just don’t work as they should”.
Mr Metter splits his time between his Sydney base during the working week, where he lives with his partner, Joey and their Kendalls Beach home on the weekends, which they have owned for more than a decade.