The contestants entered the kitchen full of nerves, but the mood was soon lifted by adored guest chef, Rick Stein. Jock revealed that tonight’s challenge was all about Rick’s ethos, and the contestants needed to cook a dish that transported them to a place they had been. It could be a favourite holiday destination or even their own homes, but the judges wanted to taste their postcard.
First up, Rick cooked for the contestants, and prepared a Madras fish curry, whipping up an incredibly tasty and delicious dish alongside pilau rice and a fresh salad, and then it was back to the challenge at hand with 75 minutes on the clock.
Billie was first to the tasting table with her Spanish shellfish stew. Rick described it as a “serious soup”, and said he hadn’t tasted a seafood stew as good since he was in Spain. Aldo’s eggplant parmigiana and classic meatballs served in a sandwich was next, and Rick thought it was clear that Aldo had spoken from the heart, it was fabulous.
Tommy’s Banh Khot was new for Rick, and he loved it, while Mindy’s Satay Ayam had a beautiful and skilful depth of flavour. Alvin’s Nasi Lemak was the perfect example of how the dish should work, and Rick said Keyma’s Calabrian Fileja Nduja had a great tomato sauce and it all worked with simple Italian ingredients.
Rick thought Julie’s coq au vin might have been better than one made by the French, there was so much love and character in the sauce. There was lots of effort involved in cracking the crab in Sarah’s Crab Xacuti, but it was worth it for the glorious morsels of meat.
Michael was nervous presenting his San Francisco seafood stew, he was concerned he hadn’t nailed the cooking of his fish. When the judges and Rick tasted, Jock said the mussels and prawns had been cooked beautifully, but the cook on the fish was perplexing, it was overcooked and the skin had tightened.
Montana was last to the tasting room, and she hadn’t had a great cook. When the judges tasted her New York Christmas dinner, Andy said the chicken breast was cooked well, the beans were great and the gravy was nice, but the skin should have been served on the chicken. The dish lacked a sense of occasion and the judges weren’t sold the dream on Montana’s postcard.
When the judges delivered their verdict they declared it was a day of 10s with incredible cooks from almost all the contestants. Only two dishes were stamped with flaws, leaving Montana and Michael vulnerable. On a day where he failed to land the perfect cook on his fish, Michael was eliminated from the MasterChef kitchen, just shy of reaching the top 10.