Eloise Praino, a 32-year-old graduate law clerk from Adelaide, is the first contestant in the season of MasterChef Australia to win a coveted immunity pin, after a thrilling cook-off against professional chef Charlie Carrington from Atlas restaurant in Melbourne.
With guidance from mentor Shannon Bennett, Eloise had 75 minutes and the choice between a healthy or indulgent pantry. Eloise chose the decadent pantry, which included her signature ingredient of whiskey.
With a 15-minute head start, Eloise immediately picked up peanut butter, chocolate, whiskey and macadamia nuts. She wanted to make a rich chocolate mousse, but stopped when she realised the eggs she needed were in the healthy pantry. She decided to instead stabilise her mousse with cream.
Eloise started her cook confidently. Her egg-free chocolate mousse was working and she had a peanut butter ice cream in the churner. She used honey macadamias to add a crunchy crumble element to the dish and prepared a whiskey caramel.
With one minute to go, Eloise began to panic as she had failed to start plating. She raced to get her elements on the plate and it came together with just seconds to spare.
At the blind tasting, the judges loved the sticky, golden, crunchy look of Eloise’s chocolate and peanut butter dish, and were even more delighted with the taste. Gary described Eloise’s whiskey sauce as “rock and roll” and George said it was an amazing dessert.
They judges revealed their scores, awarding Eloise two nines and a 10 for a total of 28 out of a possible 30, securing her the first immunity pin of the year.