After surviving the complicated pressure test, Karlie and Diana joined Arum, Ben and Tamara in a surprise Top 5 elimination challenge.
The challenge was to cook a dish with no restrictions. Sweet or savoury, the contestants could cook with no limits but they would be cooking for the three judges and four of Australia’s best chefs: Alla Wolf-Tasker, Shannon Bennett, Peter Gilmore and Ross Lusted.
Each contestant had two hours to create seven identical plates of food. Arum, Diana and Karlie decided to cook savoury, while Ben and Tamara chose a dessert. A knife block determined their order.
First was Diana, who intended to play to her strengths and cook food she loved to eat, seafood. She decided to prepare squid, pairing it with beautiful greens.
Arum was next in the kitchen, racing to the pantry to grab duck, rhubarb and fennel. He wanted to create a simple but flavoursome plate, planning to cook a duck breast and use duck bones to make a sauce. He started breaking down the duck but was concerned the step was taking far longer than expected, and he lost precious minutes working on his sauce and fennel. Arum raced to get the duck wings in a pan to caramelise, adding vegetables and Pernod to start reducing. He rendered the fat out of the duck breast before putting the pan in the oven.
Karlie decided to cook pork loin with mushrooms and blueberries. She knew blueberries were a risky choice, but she wanted to stand out and knew expectations were high.
Ben’s two hours kicked off and he sprinted to the pantry, picking up fresh fruits, eggs and butter. He wanted to make a lavender ice cream with a lavender shortbread.
Last to start her cook was Tamara. She had chocolate, orange and fennel on her mind and decided to glaze a chocolate mousse dome with a burnt orange cream, fennel crisps, fresh orange and an orange sauce.
In the tasting, Diana’s dish was gorgeous and the judges were impressed with her technique. Karlie’s dish was well cooked and delicious. Ben’s risky lavender choice had paid off: it was not overpowering and was a subtle, delicious dish. Tamara’s dish was deemed dish of the day by Peter and George admitted it was extraordinarily clever.
When Arum served his dish, he was devastated to find the residual heat from the duck breast under the foil had meant it kept cooking and as he sliced through he was gutted to see it was overcooked. That flaw was enough to make Arum the 20th contestant to leave the MasterChef Australia kitchen.
Arum is doing work experience with Lennox Hastie at Firedoor in Sydney. He is working on opening his own restaurant, serving pub food with a twist.