Last n ight Karlie, Ben and Diana cooked off for a place in the 2017 MasterChef Australia Grand Finale.
Their challenge was to prepare a main and dessert for 25 people, with four hours to prep before service. Time started and Ben decided to work on his dessert first. Keen to showcase his Dutch heritage, he chose spices of cloves,
Time started and Ben decided to work on his dessert first. Keen to showcase his Dutch heritage, he chose spices of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, paired with pumpkin.
Service challenges have often triggered a bundle of nerves for Karlie. and she planned to jump between prep from her main and dessert, starting with her main of crayfish with a ginger broth, prawn oil and stir-fried spinach. She then moved on to whip the anglaise for her dessert: black sesame ice cream paired with mandarin and ginger.
Diana set herself a huge task, preparing a main with nine elements and a dessert with seven. She hoped her wagyu two-ways with cauliflower, mushrooms, leeks and wild rice would impress the judges. She also started first on her dessert, a lemon verbena whey caramel with greens and grains.
Halfway through prep, Ben was still on his dessert. His slow pace concerned Shannon, but Ben was confident his main – a cinder beef fillet glazed with charcoal and black butter, served with tulip bulbs and roasted beetroots – would get there. The tulip bulbs represented his Oma, who was forced to eat them to survive during World War II.
Karlie hit a hurdle when she realised her prawn oil was bitter. With no time to remake it, she made the call to ditch the oil. Ben also struggled and was forced to amend his main, deciding to quickly pickle his beetroot in balsamic vinegar and white wine vinegar before thinly slicing it, abandoning his original idea of roasting.
During the tasting, Gary declared Diana’s main was mind-blowing and sophisticated. The judges loved the theatrics of Ben’s dish, and said it was clever and tasty. A flustered and teary Karlie was the last to serve her main. But the judges loved the look of her plate and the beautiful ginger fragrance. George said it was a cracking plate of food.
With the desserts, Diana presented a pretty and clever dish. Karlie’s dish was striking but the mandarin bitter and Gary said that bitterness did not pair well with the ice cream. Last with dessert was Ben. His dish was excellent George said it was a great pumpkin pie.
Time to deliver the verdicts and Diana was first through to the Grand Finale. But a bitter syrup was enough to send Karlie home, on a day when the other dishes were so impressive.
Since leaving the MasterChef Australia kitchen, Karlie is helping Matt Preston on a new cookbook. She is also launching her own food and interiors website.