Masterchef farewlls another contestant

The guys are dropping like flies on Masterchef.

The Red Team from Wednesday’s Army Challenge – Matthew, Kha, John, Georgia, Jacqui, Amy, Sara, Rose, Anna, Ashleigh and Melita – faced elimination over two intense rounds of cooking.

The judges announced that in round one the contestants had to make an “uber salad”, something creative and worthy of being the main attraction on the dinner table. The makers of the four worst salads would face elimination in round two, with one contestant going home.

Sara, Amy, Rose and Kha landed in the bottom four. Kha opted for a twist on a traditional Vietnamese salad, which the judges said lacked finesse and was “flat”. Rose combined too many ingredients in her salad, while Amy’s brussel sprouts and roasted figs failed to impress. Sara suffered the indignity of having the judges re-plate her dish on the bench in front of her.

In round two, the contestants had to select the cuisine, protein, cooking apparatus and cooking duration. Sara chose quail over veal cutlets and prawns, Rose chose the cooktop over the oven and deep fryer, Amy chose 45 minutes rather than 30 or 60 minute options and Kha chose Vietnamese cuisine over French and Spanish.

Rose had never cooked quail before and got off to a bad start when she simmered it for too long. Sara was happy cooking with quail, but unsure about Vietnamese flavours, while Amy was quietly confident. Kha drew his inspiration from a quail dish eaten at Vietnamese weddings, complete with a rich caramel sauce. He was hesitant as he cooked his quail and when he took it off the heat he discovered it was raw. He had to rush it back to the pan to try to cook it through.

The judges awarded dish of the day to Amy’s spiced barbecued quail with nuoc cham dipping sauce, loving her smoky flavours and the fish sauce. They were also impressed by Sara’s marinated charred Vietnamese quail and noodle salad, which was delicate and well balanced, with French influences.

Rose overcooked the quail for her Vietnamese salad with pickled carrots, but it had big flavours. Kha’s pan-fried quail was undercooked. The judges added that while he had frenched his quail legs well, the dish lacked interesting elements and they were disappointed by the caramel sauce. Overall, they felt Kha’s dish lacked flavour.

In the end, it was flavour that saved Rose and the contestants were forced to bid Kha an emotional farewell. Kha said: “At least I know what I want to do with my life now. I’m not too sure if I’ve proved my parents right or wrong, but I’m proud of what I did.”

Since leaving the MasterChef Australia kitchen, Kha has started living his food dream by working as a chef at Melbourne’s Tokyo Tina restaurant.