MasterChef Australia reaches the halfway mark

MasterChef Australia reaches the halfway mark

Tonight’s episode of MasterChef Australia saw the contestants compete for a place in the coveted Top 12. 

Having won immunity, Jess watched on from the gantry as the judges introduced Australia’s most famous fish chef to join them, Josh Niland.

The elimination challenge took place over two rounds of fishy goodness with round one called “name that fish”. The contestants took it in turns to pick a fish and name it. The first five contestants to guess incorrectly were Khanh, Emelia, Reece, Laura and Tracy seeing them move to the second round.

The judges revealed that a 60-minute cook lay ahead, but first Josh would butcher a large kingfish in front of them. In an awe-inspiring display of skill, Josh did his thing making sure no parts of the fish went to waste. First, he created a shank from the tail of the fish, then cut off two cutlets, or darns, a butterfly fillet from the belly, a four-point rack, a tail chop, and two double cutlets. Finally, he was left with the traditional sashimi fillet.

Using a full pantry, the contestants each chose a cut of Josh’s fish to cook with and prepared to cook for their lives in the competition.

Tracy chose the double cutlets and decided to honour the cutlets by cooking them with Spanish flavours and she got to work on a chorizo-based sauce. The judges were immediately worried her strong flavours would overpower her very thin kingfish cutlets.

Laura impressed with her tail chop creating a smoked pippy sauce, a wakame oil and using succulents from the garden with the judges calling it a hit.

Khanh took a risk cooking a dish that helped send him home in his first series of MasterChef – a Vietnamese dish called Canh Chua Ca aka fish cooked in a sour broth. But this time, he was safe with the judges calling it a resounding success.

It came down to the business end with Reece, Emelia and Tracy in the bottom three.

For vegan pastry chef Reece, his pan-fried kingfish belly with a chicken cream sauce and baby veggies left the judges disappointed. While it looked pretty, his fish was overcooked and the flavours weren’t there.

Emelia struggled with her little experience with kingfish and chose the four-point rack, roasting it and serving it with an Italian American seafood stew. With her fish also overcooked and dry, she received positive feedback for the cooking of her seafood and the depth of flavour in the sauce.

Tracy had concerns her strongly flavoured chorizo sauce would overwhelm the flavour of the delicate cutlets and decided to pull it back with fresh tomatoes. But with her fish overcooked and the sauce overpowered by pork, the judges found it was not an impressive dish given her 60-minute cook time and she was sent home.