Looking back on his experience during MasterChef: Pinoy Edition's live cook-off, first Pinoy MasterChef JR Royol believed it was due to divine intervention that he was able to pull off his million-peso "bigorot" dish. He didn't realize that the heirloom rice from Baguio that he requested as part of his final dish would take an hour to cook. When in fact, they were only given 30 minutes to accomplish the challenge.
"When I was cooking my final dish, ang na-practice ko lang yung heirloom rice kasi kailangan ko orasan. When I tried at 4 am [that day], nagawa ko pero 'di lutong-luto. Nung nasa competition, nakita ko na na there's no way na maluluto ko yung rice. I was blessed kasi I saw yung tapuy (Filipino rice wine). Yung rice wine hindi ko naisip before. Yung naging experience ko, parang napunta ako sa trance, na humiwalay sarili ko, then I just saw myself doing whatever is needed for the finale."
But when he served the dish to the celebrity judges, he didn't expect that they would like it. Although Kris Aquino liked Carla's yellow rice much better than JR's rice wine, she still gave him a whopping 99% for his authentic "bigorot dish". "Kasi 'di ko na-imagine paano nasolusyunan problema ko dun, without me seeing yung rice sa tapuy and then nagustuhan pa nila yung lasa. When I tasted it, yun ang worry ko. Since I soaked it in liquor, baka yung lasa kumapit ng husto yung pait. When I tasted it na matamis siya na walang bahid ng alcohol, dun ako talagang natuwa. Wow! This is such a blessing talaga."
It helps that he was very optimistic from the very start of the show. "Iba yung attitude or perspective mo with whatever you do. Yung outcome ng sa akin, never ko na-consider pros and cons. I was so hooked sa idea ko na ito gagawin ko sa finale. Lahat siguro ng positive energy nabuhos dun."
Aside from pursuing his culinary scholarship, JR also hoped that his exposure on MasterChef would boost his band Israfel. "We're really hoping we could make something out of it or somehow magamit in the future. At least may recall man lang, not just for me but for the entire band para makakatok kami ng pinto ng kung sino man interesado makinig sa amin."
Although they stopped doing gigs when he got busy with the cooking competition, JR said that they do regular gigs at several music bars. "We usually play '90s post-grunge alternative pero all original songs. We've been recording our own songs ever since. And hopefully, we'd compile our materials and submit to whoever's willing to listen to our songs."