Alla Wolf-Tasker’ Autumn Harvest raises the Masterchef pressure

New South Wales mum Lisa Diep has been eliminated from MasterChef Australia after battling in an Autumn Harvest challenge set by Alla Wolf-Tasker from The Lake House.

Following last night’s failed spaghetti bolognaise Invention Test, Lisa arrived in theMasterChef Australia kitchen alongside Hoda and Sarah as judge Matt Preston explained today’s pressure test had been set by a living legend. Alla’s dish was a beautiful plate filled with silky chestnut pasta, confit egg, slow cooked duck, celeriac puree, crispy dusk skin and a chestnut and mushroom veloute.

With two hours and 45 minutes to recreate the dish, Sarah started by reading the recipe thoroughly while Lisa scanned hers briefly, keen to get started. She cut the Maryland from the duck, popping it in the pressure cooker with garlic, duck fat and thyme. There was 90 minutes to go and Lisa was working on her pasta, feeling frazzled knowing she had so much left to do. Sarah’s dough looked silky and smooth, and she covered it and popped it into the fridge before working on her duck yolk. Hoda was at the same step, and as the creamy element to the dish she knew it was critical to get right.

Hoda moved onto the caramelised shallots, whipping up a caramel before her sliced shallots went into the pan. Lisa did the same, but she removed the skin from her shallots unlike Sarah and Hoda, and on the gantry Chloe was concerned. In the final hour, Hoda was working on her crispy kale but while racing to pop her carrots on, she burnt her hand on a hot pan of oil. With the nurse called, Hoda wondered if she could complete the dish at all.

With only 20 minutes left on the clock Lisa blended her tender chestnuts before passing them through a sieve and leaving them to the side. She pulled apart her confit duck before removing her egg from the sous vie, carefully cracking it to reveal the yolk. Once the yolk was ready she popped it into thyme infused oil to sit.

The group plated their delicate and decadent dishes, and Hoda was thrilled with her silky puree and beautiful duck but concerned her carrots were still crunchy. Lisa was trying to remember the elements she tasted and hoped she had recreated Alla’s beautifully refined dish. As time ended, Sarah was devastated to realise she had forgotten to add her chestnut puree.

It was time to taste and Lisa knew the end of her cook was flustered, and she was concerned about the balance of the dish. Alla said the dish was large, and had lost its small elegant look. Matt said the duck was well cooked and the carrots soft, but Gary said while the individual elements might be right, between the two purees and the sauce, it smothered every other flavour in the dish. It was unbalanced and George said she needed to show some restraint.

In delivering their verdict it was her lack of balance that was enough to send her home, and Lisa became the 12th contestant to leave the MasterChef Australia kitchen. She was proud of her efforts in the competition, and knew her family would remain proud of her no matter what.

Lisa is now working on her cookbook, and has worked at Koi alongside MasterChef Australia alumni Reynold Poernomo. She expects to open doors to her pop up shortly.