After the team challenge at Gradi restaurant, 11 contestants faced elimination: Sam, Arum, Samuel, Jess, Pia, Benjamin, Eloise, Nicole, Tamara, Josh and Michelle.
Tonight’s challenge centred on one of the pantry’s most versatile ingredients: the humble potato. In round one, contestants had 60 minutes to make the perfect hot chip with a dipping sauce. The makers of the bottom four dishes would cook in the second round.
Benjamin was confident with his chips and curry sauce, but failed to heed a warning from the judges that his kipfler potatoes would be too waxy. He was sent into round two, along with Michelle and Jess. Josh’s chips were soggy after he fried them in too much butter before deep-frying and he was also told to prepare for another cook.
In round two, the four contestants had free rein to cook any dish, with the main ingredient being potato.
Jess cooked an inventive dessert featuring potato dumplings, dark chocolate ganache, balsamic jelly and salt and vinegar flavours.
Michelle took inspiration from her Indonesian grandmother and prepared a vegetable curry, intensifying the flavour in her broth to match what she remembered from her childhood.
Benjamin made sweet potato doughnuts but did not listen when George warned him the water content of sweet potato could affect the consistency.
Josh made a classic gnocchi with a tomato and speck sauce, but ran into trouble early when he attempted to boil his potatoes whole in only an hour. On advice from the judges, he cut his potatoes but they still did not boil properly. When he put them through the ricer, the texture was not soft enough for perfect gnocchi.
The judges loved Michelle and Jess’ dishes, marvelling at their complexity, textures and flavours.
Benjamin’s soggy doughnuts and Josh’s lumpy gnocchi meant one of the boys would be the third contestant eliminated from the MasterChef Australia kitchen. The judges decided Josh’s dish was least impressive.
Josh continues to follow his passion for wine and coffee. He plans to open his wine bar Vinoespresso in the near future.