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Shannen Findlay

“Mum and I really struggled”: MasterChef’s Abbey opens up about heartbreaking past

“Mum and I really struggled”: MasterChef’s Abbey opens up about heartbreaking past

Kitchen and homewares buyer Abbey graciously took out the win for MasterChef Australia’s Mystery Box challenge recently, with her delicious meal that blew away the judges.

However, the aspiring chef contributes her tough upbringing as one of the reasons she came out on top in last week's episode.  

“My parents split when I was about seven and Mum and I really struggled financially,” the 28-year-old told TV WEEK.

“Dad wasn't really in the picture at all. There were situations where we had to live in a car for a week and I had to be home-schooled, because the area we were in was a little bit rough. We really struggled.”

The tough circumstances didn’t mean Abbey went without though, as her mum Belinda taught her to cook on a budget, using simple and basic ingredients.

“We'd go down to the markets and she'd buy everything that was on special,” she said.

“I think that's what taught me how to not waste things and appreciate food. It was about learning to cook with what I had. There would be weeks when we could only afford baked beans.

“When I open my fridge at home, it's like a Mystery Box. I never know what I'm going to cook, as I buy what's fresh and in season. It doesn't come from a recipe book. I think that's what helped me in the challenge.”

The rough childhood, says Abbey, forced her to adapt and make her the person she is today.

“If anything, struggling at a young age taught me to be like, 'I'm going to learn from this and be bigger and better, and prove to the world that just because we struggled, doesn't mean we're not capable,'” she said.

“That made us fight for things more than other people would. Mum is proud of me for putting myself out there.”