Fan favourite Brendan Pang has been eliminated from MasterChef Australia, just a fortnight after battling a serious injury he admitted could have cost him his place in the competition.
Arriving at the kitchen alongside Chloe, Sarah, Aldo, Jenny, Jess, Khanh and Ben, Brendan was met by the judges and Curtis Stone, who was challenging the group to an epic meat challenge.
In round one, the group had to name various cuts of meat based only on appearance. Contestants who guessed correctly would stay in the game, but the first four to guess incorrectly headed into round two. After several rotations where they successfully listed off cuts including lamb shank, pork chop, chicken tenderloin and tripe, Chloe and Sarah stumbled – sending them into round two. Jess soon joined and when Brendan guessed bloedworst, he too was wrong, it was a Cumberland sausage, and he joined the Round 2 cooking group.
The four then faced off in round two, where they had to cook with one of Curtis’ favourite cuts, a rib of beef. With 75 minutes on the clock, and following a demonstration by Curtis on how to break it down, the group raced off to prepare their dishes.
Brendan wanted to prepare a traditional Mauritian dish, cooking the spinalis of the beef with Creole sauce, coriander chutney and crispy roti flatbread. Meanwhile Chloe planned to make dan dan noodles, a spicy noodle Chinese dish. She wanted to make her noodles from scratch, serving it with minced scotch fillet.
Brendan worked on his Creole sauce, slicing parsley, coriander, spring onions, thyme, onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes to whip up a tasty sauce. Curtis visited his bench and Brendan said he did not plan to cook his beef too long, leading Curtis to remind him not to leave it too late.
There was just 15 minutes left when Brendan started prepping his steak, intending to serve it raw. He planned to cook it for three to four minutes on one side before flipping it for a few minutes, but with no time for him to get a timer, he opted to rely off feel and instinct.
When he pulled his steak off the heat and sliced into it with just minutes to go, it was more than under and blue, not even close to being cooked – he was devastated. He popped it back in the pan, and hoped the extra minutes would save him.
When the judges tasted they were disappointed. While the bread, salsa and sauce looked good, and the flavours sound and beautifully seasoned, the steak was clearly undercooked.
Curtis said it was caramelised on the outside nicely, but the inside was way too rare, and in a challenge to hero the meat, it was enough to send Brendan home.
Brendan has worked under Jesse Blake at Perth’s Petition Kitchen, and at Wildflower. He is developing his own recipes geared towards local seasonal produce.