Now just 10 home cooks remain.
After last night’s pressure test episode that saw the departure of Kira Westwick, just 10 cooks remain in the MasterChef Australia kitchen, ready to battle it out in the lead-up to finals week.
With the high calibre of cooking produced throughout the competition so far, it’s clear that the title and biggest MasterChef Australia prize ever offered could go to any one of the final 10.
After thousands auditioned for MasterChef Australia 2014, the Top 50 became the Top 24. Week by week, those still in the running have had to cook to a standard never before seen in the competition to hold onto their place and impress judges Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston.
Let’s look at who is left in the competition:
Amy Shields, 37, Western Australia
Perth-based Amy has endured her fair share of ups and downs in the competition so far, from battling top chef Jock Zonfrillo for immunity, to surviving both the Marco Pierre White and Vikas Khanna pressure tests. Working hard on her skills, Amy takes the judges’ advice on board and is constantly looking to improve, always setting exceptionally high standards for herself.
Ben Macdonald, 36, Queensland
Having faced elimination early – in fact, twice in one week – Ben soon stepped up and is a genuine contender. A strategic cook with his eye on the prize, Ben’s techniques have impressed; he’s inventive and a quick thinker. No longer happy to be middle of the pack, Ben is showcasing his strengths with every cook.
Brent Owens, 24, Victoria
Curious in the kitchen, hard-working Brent has a thirst for knowledge, learning and building his repertoire with every cook. Having broken his losing streak after six team challenges, Brent has often been on the leader board in invention tests, being in the mix to take on a professional chef to cook for immunity on two occasions. His improved plating skills and calmness in the kitchen are noted.
Colin Sheppard, 51, South Australia
With the dream of combining a restaurant with his winery now firmly in his sights, Colin’s broad food knowledge and wide-ranging skills have seen him turn into a solid performer. He may have flown under the radar early on, but Colin is improving with each cook. Having laid everything on the line to be in the competition, Colin is serious about MasterChef Australia paving the way for his future.
Emelia Jackson, 24, Victoria
Known early on as the “panna cotta queen”, Emelia is determined to show the judges that her skills run much deeper. A smart cook, Emelia is confident behind the stove and has shown an encyclopedic knowledge of food. Her mystery box winning streak has shown her versatility and it’s clear that she is a strategic thinker in the kitchen, ready to battle it out for the ultimate title.
Jamie Fleming, 25, New South Wales
This young dad has endured some close calls during the competition, surviving two pressure tests, both involving choux pastry. When he gets it right, it’s very right. The judges say his spectacular cooking proves he’s meant to be in the kitchen and his croquembouche in tonight’s pressure test was the best seen on MasterChef Australia. Confident, driven and happy in a leadership role, Jamie is here to win.
Laura Cassai, 19, South Australia
A prodigious talent who is wise beyond her years when it comes to cooking, Laura trusts her intuition and respects her Italian heritage. Her skills at such a young age have wowed the judges and guest chefs alike. Impressing during Marco Pierre White week, Laura won the first immunity pin of the season against Donovan Cooke, becoming the youngest ever to win one and proving that she is a force to be reckoned with.
Renae Smith, 30, New South Wales
Here to win for her two daughters, competitive Renae is consistently growing and improving. She’s an inventive and intuitive cook, and has the courage of her convictions in the kitchen. A strong mystery box performer, she rose to the challenge when captaining a team cooking under Marco Pierre White and remained composed while cooking during Vikas Khanna’s Indian pressure test dish. This former vegetarian has also proven she’s no slouch cooking with proteins.
Sarah Todd, 27, Queensland
Determined and focused, Sarah won her way back into the competition last week and isn’t going to let anything get in her way this time around. With a great grasp of the classics, especially French and Indian flavours, Sarah has put up some of the best dishes in the competition and has a great track record in team challenges. This perfectionist in the kitchen is ready to take it all the way.
Tracy Collins, 38, South Australia
Gaining composure and confidence with every cook, Tracy impresses with a mix of rustic, country inspired cooking and can be equally restrained and elegant. Drawing on a broad knowledge base, Tracy is hitting her mark at just the right time, the first into the Top 10 and winning the “power apron”, holding the unprecedented opportunity to change the course of the competition this week.