Perennial favourite and culinary legend, Maggie Beer, set a two-part challenge for contestants tonight, using some of her favourite ingredients. Each contestant was given two unique ingredients and one tricky choice – do they use the ingredient they can see or gamble to use the one hidden under the cloche?
With just 60 minutes on the clock, all cooks got straight into their dish, with Antonio being the only contestant to take the gamble which revealed oranges, filling him with confidence.
Rhiannon, a self-confessed Maggie super-fan, had an emotional cook with memories of her recently passed mother flooding back. As fate would have it, she was assigned finger limes which she used to create her mum’s favourite dish, mussel curry. She proudly created a knock-out dish that saw her safe from elimination.
Cath’s ingredient was fig leaf, which she used to create a beautifully executed fig leaf granita with goat’s cheese cream, buckwheat crust and verjuice caramel. Adi created a tartare dish to pair with her witlof; Brent used his heirloom tomatoes for a ‘Nduja sauce to pair with squid. Theo featured prunes in his prune crullers, while Ralph cooked duck with parsnip puree and a rosemary oil that the judges raved about.
Malissa highlighted her dill in prawn and dill tortellini served with broth, but her broth was noted as being way too salty. Declan was excited to get blackberries and created his nan’s apple and blackberry crumble. The judges expressed their concern that it wasn’t elevated enough for this stage of the competition and while he tried to correct it, his execution did not meet the grade. Antonio’s use of white chocolate in his hazelnut cream, white chocolate ganache and orange caramel was questioned by the judges for being too sweet. Antonio, Malissa and Declan all faced round two elimination with their second ingredient.
In the second round, Malissa unveiled raisins which she used to create a rum and raisin semifreddo, hazelnut crumb and raisin compote. She was praised for clever cooking with balanced flavours and deemed safe from elimination.
Declan’s caraway seeds featured in a rich tomato sauce that accompanied a baked Murray cod. While he struggled to produce an impressive sauce, his fish was perfectly cooked.
Antonio used his Kalamata olives in an ambitious dessert, a goat’s cheese and Kalamata caramel mille feuille. He sped up the pastry work to produce a rough puff, but it didn’t actually puff and became more of a shortbread. While he was praised for the flavours that worked well together, his pastry couldn’t be ignored. An emotional but incredibly proud Antonio was sent home.