Having grown up in Noosa, Queensland, Elena loves being on, near or in the water. With her family running a scuba diving business when she was young, there were plenty of good times and holidays spent on the water and, of course, an abundance of seafood, which she loves to both cook and eat. Elena recently took home the title of Masterchef winner for 2016.
Many happy childhood memories for Elena revolve around food. From cooking with her beloved nan as early as two, she was preparing entire meals by the age of eight. Blessed with artistic talent, cooking and art go hand-in-hand for Elena and she uses both to express her creativity.
Elena’s mother wanted her daughters to spread their wings and experience opportunities beyond Noosa, so at age 17 Elena relocated to Sydney. A tough move at a young age, she studied for her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College of Fine Arts UNSW and went on to complete her post-graduate degree in teaching from University of Technology. Elena has also completed a year of Foundation Psychology at Macquarie University, with the view to pursuing art therapy.
Elena relishes her role as head teacher of the creative and performing arts at Galston High School, where she has worked for eight years. Elena teaches visual arts, photography and digital media and enjoys inspiring and guiding her young students to be their creative best.
Having applied for MasterChef Australia season seven, it was a blessing in disguise that she did not make it through as she since met fiance Eric, 35, a builder, with the pair now happily living together in Sydney. That decision led her to take the title of Masterchef winner for 2016.
Drawing influence from chefs including Jock Zonfrillo, Kylie Kwong, Maggie Beer, Callum Hann, Jamie Oliver, Marco Pierre White as well as food photographer David Loftus, Elena would love to own a farm café, partnering with young people and the wider community.
Elena is proudly touring Sydney doing live cooking demos and promoting her healthy gluten free lifestyle on her website elenajoduggan.com