Season 11 Champ Kelsey Murphy Says This Is The Biggest Challenge For MasterChef Winners - Exclusive

For home cooks with big dreams, winning "MasterChef" is undoubtedly the opportunity of a lifetime. Getting the chance to cook for culinary legends, including Gordon Ramsay, is potentially life changing, especially for the amateurs who manage to make it all the way to the end. Just ask Season 11 champion Kelsey Murphy. Since winning the show, she says her life has taken a "complete 180 in all the best ways." She's working on a cookbook, running her first test kitchen, and more. "For me, the sky's the limit," she told Mashed.

There's no question that for any aspiring chef, it's a dream come true. But getting crowned the "MasterChef" — and thus having your whole life potentially turned upside down — can come with its own set of challenges, too. And not the kind the chefs have to take on in the kitchen. In an exclusive interview, Murphy revealed what she says is the biggest hurdle contestants face after winning "MasterChef," and how she's learning to build a new career as a nationally recognized chef.

Winning MasterChef can lead to a total career shift, says chef Kelsey Murphy

Whether you walk away the winner or not, getting the chance to compete on "MasterChef" is "such a great learning experience," says chef Kelsey Murphy. And after winning season 11, Murphy quickly realized that her culinary career was about to take off. While she welcomes the opportunities, Murphy admits there's been a bit of a learning curve as she transitions from amateur home cook to a restaurant chef and beyond. 

"That's one of the hardest things that not only I, but all the 'MasterChef' winners or people from [the show] struggle with; we're lacking that resumé of prior culinary experience when we try to shift our careers," she told Mashed. Murphy, along with her fellow competitors, has no formal training or experience in the restaurant world. Now she's learning on the fly as she works to build her brand as a chef.

Murphy is putting her MasterChef skills to test in the real world

Since winning "MasterChef" and embracing her culinary future, the chef says she now welcomes opportunities to learn and grow — like her current gig, running her own test kitchen, Inspo, in Fishers, Indiana. "There's nothing better than these test kitchens that are opening up all over the country, because it's allowing me, and chefs like me, an opportunity we would never get otherwise to have the financial backing to try to open up a restaurant," she says. 

On top of that, she adds, "We have other people helping us ... teaching us restaurant operations, teaching us how to order things, how to staff, how to run a line — all these things that I didn't know." For Murphy, it's a chance to let people try her food for themselves, rather than just see it on TV, as well as "a resumé builder ... it's giving me a lot of street cred within the culinary world."

And if you can't make it to Indiana to try out chef Murphy's MasterChef-level cooking for yourself, you can order her handcrafted dishes on Grubhub through MasterChef Table.

Follow along with the latest from "MasterChef" Season 11 winner Kelsey Murphy on Instagram.