Season four favourite Kylie Millar returned to the MasterChef Australia kitchen last night to set the pressure test for Rose, Ashleigh and Kristina.
Now working at the sixth best restaurant in the world, Mugaritz in Spain, Kylie lived up to her reputation as “The Countess of Salty Caramel” by setting the contestants the formidable task of replicating her toffee apple dessert. A complex recipe with 14 elements and 28 steps to complete, Kylie explained that the caramelisation techniques would be key. If wrong, they could possibly ruin the dish by throwing off the balance of sweet and bitter flavours.
This was Ashleigh’s dream challenge and she got off to a good start. Rose lagged behind, flustered and overwhelmed. But Kristina, who doesn’t often cook with a recipe, made the first mistake by burning her caramel. While Ashleigh’s white chocolate caramelised perfectly, Rose overheated hers and it was much darker than Kylie’s, running the risk of being too bitter. Rose then mixed up her ingredients at the crucial step of making the edible spoon. Confused, she left it to one side in a bid to make up time.
Kristina was lagging behind the other two and with 10 minutes to go, there were still several elements that she had not attempted. She and Rose scrambled towards the finish line. Kristina got as many elements up as she could, but missed the cinnamon flakes, isomalt shards and apple jellies.
During the tasting, all three were praised for their efforts. Ashleigh was applauded for a great dish while the judges said Rose’s dish had taken elements of Kylie’s and turned the volume up. Kristina failed to heat her sticky caramel sauce enough but her glaze was impeccable and her spoon judged the best of the lot. Matt said that, importantly, Kylie’s dish demonstrated the perfect amount of bitterness in the caramel and the freshness of the apple to balance the sweet and saltiness.
Because Kristina had not achieved the apple element, or the bitterness of the caramel, it was her time to leave MasterChef Australia. Since leaving the competition, Kristina spent some time working as a chef’s apprentice at the Westend Pumphouse in Hobart.