The Masrerchef game has truly begun with the show’s first elimination.
After their poor performance in the Massimo Bottura service challenge, the eight Red Team cooks – Jessica, Reynold, Kristina, Marcus, Ashleigh, Amy, Georgia and Kha – faced the first elimination of the season.
Marcus felt responsible for the decision to cook pasta for the service challenge, while Kha was emotional as he felt he still has a great deal to prove to his parents. The judges revealed that the elimination challenge was based around one ingredient that frightens many
home cooks: fish. The elimination took place over three rounds, the first being “name that fish”.
The contestants were presented with 20 varieties of fish to identify. Kristina, Reynold and Amy had superior seafood knowledge and were safe, leaving Marcus, Kha, Jessica, Ashleigh and Georgia to fight it out in round two: “fillet that fish”. With a snapper each and just four minutes to create two perfect pin-boned fillets, the race was on to see who could complete the task most delicately. Georgia, who grew up fishing with her Dad, sliced through the side of one of her fillets while Marcus was heavy-handed from the start and damaged the flesh. Jessica and Ashleigh fared best and so Marcus, Kha and Georgia remained to battle it out in the final round: “cook that fish”. They had 45 minutes to cook a magnificent dish using fish as the key ingredient.
Georgia chose to cook a simple dish of pan-seared flathead with salsa verde and potato puree. Kha decided to use tuna as it requires no filleting and is very quick and easy to cook. He seared it to serve with crushed potatoes and a lemon vinaigrette, but was worried it might be too simple. Marcus went with classic fish and chips, using flathead. But his frantic cooking was riddled with drama after he tore a fingernail and bled profusely. He had to drop his plan to make tartare sauce and while the batter on his fish looked golden, it had stuck to the bottom of the basket and was doughy.
Marcus put the fish back in the deep fryer in the hope it would crisp up. He didn’t give up, but it was a battle to get it all on the plate, including the lightly-fried potatoes and tomato and basil side salad. When it came to the tasting, the judges found fault in all three dishes. Although Marcus’ fish was cooked well and his batter crunchy, his accompaniments were underwhelming. But it was a bone left in the eccentric cook’s flathead that sealed his fate. As Gary commented: “That’s what you call a visit to hospital.” The judges thanked Marcus and bid him farewell.
Since leaving MasterChef Australia, Marcus has spent some time in the kitchen at Melbourne’s Cutler & Co. He plans to design and curate a line of unique and innovative dinnerware and is working on a website dedicated to the future of food and design.
Masterchef airs 7:30 pm Sunday -Thursday on Ten