In tonight’s two-round elimination challenge, round one was a street food challenge that saw the contestants each pull a token out of a bag to determine what cuisine they would be cooking, and who they would be partnered with.
With guest judge Charlie Carrington from Atlas Dining on board, each duo had to create two dishes representing that cuisine in 75 minutes, with friend Reece watching on from the gantry.
Poh and Callum got through with their Lebanese dish of grilled prawns with pistachio hummus and a lamb shoulder, but it was Tessa and Brendan who blew the judges away with their Mexican dish, fish tacos and chargrilled quail.
The judges were disappointed in Emelia and Laura’s Indian dish, Pani Puri with raw scallops and chilli cucumber plus Tandoori Naan and prawns, finding them in the bottom four.
Joining them were Khanh and Reynold who made Chinese friend rice with pork and cabbage dumplings. The judges deemed the rice too greasy.
In the elimination round the bottom four each chose a cuisine that Charlie Carrington had cooked in his restaurant. There were 11 countries to choose from and once chosen, Reynold,
Laura, Emelia and Khanh had to create a fine dining dish that represented that country in 60 minutes.
Reynold, Emelia and Laura all selected France and Khanh went with Vietnam.
An emotional Emelia took a huge risk with her petit fours version of a French pastry, a Paris Brest. She soon questioned her choice wondering if it would meet the fine dining brief. In the end, all four judges loved what she delivered and she was safe.
Reynold was also safe with his fish dish – confit blue eye with celeriac puree. In his last season of MasterChef, he was eliminated on a fish dish that he overcooked so the pressure was on. This time, it was a hit with Jock saying it melted in his mouth.
The two quail dishes from Laura and Khanh found them in the bottom two.
Laura’s dish was a Coq Au Vin, which is traditionally a rustic French dish, not a fine dining dish. She chose to swap out the chicken for quail and wine for cognac to get it up to the brief. The judges noticed immediately that the plating was not fine dining, but when they tasted the dish, the quail was cooked perfectly and the bone marrow in the sauce was a winner.
Khanh chose to cook Ga Kho Gung to champion his heritage and Vietnamese cuisine. He also chose to swap out the chicken for quail to elevate his dish to fine dining. But at tasting, Jock found an entire breastbone in the quail and Mel’s quail was dry, seeing him the fifteenth contestant sent home.