It was promoted as the most emotional elimination ever and it delivered.
Drasko and Bianca delivered an experimental menu that saw last night’s cook off turn into a battle for the ages.
On the traditional side, 19-year-old Josh from Victoria promised love on the plate. “We’re going to cook food we know and love. And that’s what you’re going to see; good flavours and love on the plate.”
Meanwhile, wannabe chef Drasko was desperate to showcase his passion and skills to the revered judges. “This is an opportunity and a door into the food industry that I’m most passionate about. At the end of the day, I’m here because I’m following my passion.
“Our menu is extremely risky. It’s got flavours and combinations of flavours that I don’t think many people have seen before. And that’s very polarising.”
The prep time does not start well for either team. Bianca has scrambled her first batch of ice-cream, while Josh’s empanada dough is too dry so mum steps in.
“Whenever Josh is cooking anything in the kitchen I need to make sure he’s doing it right. It might come across as nagging, but I’m not. I’m just making sure things happen the way I want them to happen,” says Rose.
But when it comes time to cooking, Rose is worried the dough is expanding and overcooking. In a panic, she lets emotion overwhelm her. “Every time we’ve cooked something that we love I always tend to muck it up,” she says amid tears. Only a hug from her son gets her back on track with just minutes left on the clock.
But Rose is panicking for no reason and their beef and chorizo empanadas with salsa brava hit the spot with the judges. While Karen Martini says, “The filling is nice and delicious” and Colin thinks it’s “very homely, it’s a nice dish”, Pete is not convinced it’s a competition worthy dish.
But Manu Feildel has declared Drasko’s take on fish and chips – sardines with crispy pig’s ears – a memorable dish. “I’ve learned something today. Who would’ve thought sardines and pig’s ear would go on the same plate. I just love the texture, I love the flavour. This is probably one of the dishes I’m going to remember.”
Fellow contestant Steve is worried that Drasko is too busy showing off as he cooks his lobster for the main course using the sous-vide method. It requires him to keep the temperature at a constant 59 degrees meaning he literally has to babysit the pots and prevents him for doing anything else. So Bianca has to take over the other elements of their main.
On the other side of the kitchen, Rose is having some major difficulties with reading the clock. “I’m so confused I cannot tell the time on this clock. I don’t know if its counting up or down,” a bewildered Rose says. So Josh has to keep track of when she needs to turn the lamb for their main.
Even under Drasko’s watchful eye, the largest lobster tail does not cook evenly and he’s forced to pan fry it with minutes on the clock.
It’s definitely not Rose and Josh’s night and even with perfectly cooked lamb they fail to wow the judges with their caper and parsley crusted lamb with pearl couscous. The judges find it “pedestrian” and question whether it’s a “competition dish”.
On the other hand, they are almost blown away by the sophistication of Drasko and Bianca’s rock lobster with confit chicken wings and yellow curry sauce.
“Fifteen minutes longer in the confit and a little bit crispier and we would’ve had perfection on the plate,” enthuses Pete.
Possibly realising her time in the competition is nearing the end, Rose sheds a few more tears at the very thought of it while making banana tuiles for dessert. “It might be the last time that I get to do something like this with you,” she sniffles to her young son.
The battle of the chocolate desserts does not necessarily go Drasko and Bianca’s way with their chocolate torte overcooked. But their unusual tumeric ice-cream wins some fans.
Josh’s double chocolate mousse is a hit in Colin’s eyes. “I think it’s a very moorish dessert,” the Irish chef says. But other judges question the use of the banana cream paired with it, with Pete finding it quite unpalatable.
In the end, the judges trumpeted innovation over traditional with a 46 to 34 score line.
Proud mum Rose hails the experience as “amazing”. “I came in here with a boy but I’m leaving with a man. I’m so very proud of him. Adds Josh: “Being the youngest contestant ever on MKR has made me grow up and grow up fast; I’m def leaving a lot more mature than I came into it.”
The remaining teams are in for the toughest challenge in the history of MKR tonight as they push the boundaries of what you’d normally expect from airline food.