Three became two as Masterchef found it’s finalists last night.
Entering the kitchen to applause from the Class of 2015, Georgia, Jessica and Billie were ready to fight for the two places up for grabs in the grand finale. To make it they had to cook a main and dessert for 20 diners each, plus the judges.
Billie’s menu was close to her heart: roast lamb with mint peas. Her dessert was a sophisticated dill and rhubarb “spider”, with dill ice cream, rhubarb and champagne fizz, macadamia praline with apple granita and rhubarb.
Jessica kept her main simple and planned to dazzle with dessert. Her main was roast pork belly, with a Japanese twist of shiso, dashi-smoked yoghurt and roast quince. Her complex dessert of grapefruit and popcorn included a white chocolate dome, grapefruit centre, mousse, a popcorn sponge, crumble and popping candy.
Georgia’s main was an elaborate dish of cured ocean trout with flavours of cucumber and apple, featuring 11 elements. Her dessert was a mango sorbet with vanilla yoghurt parfait, a macadamia chili praline, chili salt and coriander.
Billie braised her lamb shanks and pulled the meat from the bones to form cylinders for frying, but had to come up with a new plan when they didn’t hold their shape. She also cooked sous vide lamb back strap. Jessica quickly prepped her pork to allow maximum time for the skin to crisp up in the oven. Georgia struggled to fillet her ocean trout.
Billie burnt her rhubarb and Jessica burnt the crumb for her dessert. Georgia was way behind when service began and became overwhelmed.
The judges loved Billie’s roast lamb with mint peas; both cuts of meat worked and the surprising flavours of pickled onion and white anchovy took it to another dimension.
Jessica’s pork belly with smoked yoghurt, shiso and quince with radish was also a hit. Visually she had nailed it and the judges were impressed by its elegance, restraint, cleverness and full flavour. They said it was the best crispy crackling in MasterChef Australia history.
When they tasted Georgia’s trout dish, the judges were impressed that she had achieved so many elements by herself – it seemed the work of a team of chefs. They loved its complex and intricate flavours that were complementary and well balanced.
Billie then set the bar with her dessert, impressing with the theatre, flavour, textures and inventiveness of the dish. Jessica followed with her grapefruit and popcorn dessert, impressing the judges with presentation, especially when the dome revealed an oozy creamy centre. Gary loved the dish and while George liked the dome and “Heston-like’” popping candy, he could taste the gelatin flavour in the grapefruit gel.
The judges loved Georgia’s dessert, with George declaring it his favourite dessert. Billie was told that as both her dishes were free of negatives, she was first through to the Grand Final. It was then between Georgia and Jessica for the final spot – the judges’ toughest decision all season.
The judges concluded that on a day with so few flaws overall, they just weren’t convinced by the combination of flavours in Jessica’s dessert and her wonderful time in the MasterChef Australia kitchen had come to an end.
Billie and Georgia will now cook-off to determine who will be crowned the winner of MasterChef Australia for 2015.
Jessica is now working in the kitchen at The Flour Factory in Perth. She has plans to open her own cheese bar in the future.
The Masterchef Finale airs 7:30 pm Tonight on Ten.