HE has only been a resident of our town for three years, but MasterChef contestant Rishi Desai has quickly become a famous face on the streets of Queanbeyan.
Moving here from Kambah in 2010, the 35-year-old describes Queanbeyan as his new home and speaks fondly of his surroundings.
"I am really happy here," he said. "It's good to come back and have a nice yard to sit back and relax with nothing to worry about."
He also says that Queanbeyan is very quiet and convenient. But it is evident that his community has not been silent following his rise to fame on the reality cooking show.
"The other day when I was in the shopping centre, a guy came up to me and said 'oh Rishi, I'm a big fan of you'," he laughed. "Another lady came up to me and said "you were robbed." It's a compliment."
Throughout the journey in the MasterChef kitchen, Mr Desai has made some wonderful friends, one being Matt Preston who gifted and personally signed a copy of his 100 Best Recipes cookbook.
"If you want a good critique with a no nonsense, straight up answer, you will go to Gary (Mehigan). If you want somebody in the kitchen with you as a mentor, you will go to George (Calombaris)," he said.
"And Matt's good for fun; he is a funny guy."
"I have learnt a lot on the show, and that's the thing, if you walk into the show with an open mind you end up learning a lot," he said.
The culinary whiz had his time cut short in the MasterChef kitchen, eliminated just shy of the grand final, but his cooking dreams are far from over.
Mr Desai is currently operating a pop-up restaurant at Hotel Realm and is happy with its success as all three openings are almost fully booked.
Mr Desai describes his experience as an absolute dream, unmatched by any other challenge he has experienced.
But he admits that, at times, he feels as though he is still in MasterChef mode, especially back in the kitchen of his pop-up restaurant.
"I went into the kitchen when I had the trial and I thought that somebody would be there yelling at me, 'come on you have three hours to go', but there was no one there, I was by myself, which was good," he laughed.
Mr Desai also recently signed a book deal, with the finished product to be available for sale early next year.