MasterChef Winner Kelsey Murphy Opens Up About The Final Competition - Exclusive

The more you learn about most reality TV, you come to understand how much of it is, in fact, shot multiple times for best effect, controlled, and edited (via Insider). There is one notable exception to that rule, though, and it's the cooking competition show. Ask just about any chef who has competed on a program like "MasterChef," and they will tell you how very real it was.

That was certainly the case when Mashed caught up with Kelsey Murphy, winner of Season 11 of "MasterChef," for an exclusive interview. "It was honestly fascinating to be on the show," Murphy said, "especially as a previous fan of the show — and I continue to be a fan of the show — to learn how it's filmed, just to picture myself actually as a contestant is very surreal ... Honestly, the most surprising thing about it is how real the show is. People always think reality TV is very scripted. It's not, this is not scripted. The clock is the clock and what we cook is what we cook."

And beyond the challenges the chefs faced, the relationships they formed were real, too. "So there's a lot of downtime, and that's kind of where us as contestants just [hung out]. We had 15 people to start and [there were] the strangest personalities, all different personalities. And so just the conversations you have, the bond that you make with all 15 of these people, it's pretty fascinating."

Just like the clock is real and the conversations are real, the cooking on "MasterChef" is very much real. The stakes were high and so was the stress level, but equally high was the thrill Murphy felt during all of it, especially at the end.

Kelsey Murphy's final challenge on 'MasterChef'

"So the finale competition was really very challenging," Kelsey Murphy said. "We had to actually prepare a four-course meal for the judges and make it obviously a cohesive menu and really highlighting who we are as home cooks, but now moving into being chefs. So conceptualizing this menu was very, very difficult." Murphy also said it was difficult to stand out against her fellow contestants, who were all "quite amazing in their own right." She continued: "They both had amazing points of view on food and fall very strictly into different cultural backgrounds. So I felt that made my job a little bit more challenging since I don't really have a single culture that I cook with. So yeah, that was probably the hardest part about it."

But Murphy met and bested the challenge and went on to win the season, something she is still coming to accept herself: "Honestly, it's very surreal, not only to be on a major cooking competition, the biggest cooking competition in the world, and then you win it. I can't really explain what it feels like. It almost still hasn't set in that I actually went on a show, made it the entire way and then won."

What sweetened the win wasn't only the recognition Kelsey Murphy got from the judges, but the support from her fellow chefs from the show. "I think the best part of it was I felt with my competitors and the fellow competitors who were watching were genuinely happy for me," she said. "And we were all just so supportive of each other, that it really just felt like a great culmination at the time of this journey that we all went on."

Be sure to tune into "MasterChef" on FOX. You can learn more about the upcoming "MasterChef" meals available on Grubhub, visit their website