Following an epic cook on Sydney Harbour, the youngest contestant in MasterChef Australia has been eliminated from the competition, narrowly missing out on the Semi-Final. Waitress Jess Liemantara, who became known throughout the season for her delicate and decadent desserts was bundled out, leaving Sashi, Ben and Khanh to battle it out as the Grand Finale closes in.
Cooking against Sashi and Ben after Khanh was fast-tracked to the Semi-Final following last week’s challenge at Icebergs, Jess was tasked with preparing a dish for the judges and four special guest judges, in just 90 minutes. Welcoming Jock Zonfrillo from Orana, Danielle Alvarez from Fred’s, Lennox Hastie from Firedoor and Ross Lusted from The Bridge Room, the trio admitted the challenge was going to be massive.
Ben kicked off in the staggered start cook, deciding to play to his strengths and cooking seafood with a crab bisque. With his fish stock on, he fried off the bones for colour as George and Gary implored him to push it.
When Sashi joined the bench he said he wanted to showcase his heritage and culture, deciding to prepare Singapore chicken rice. He started by breaking down his chicken, removing the skin to crisp before adding seven breasts into a sous vide with ingredients including ginger, lemon and sesame oil.
It was time for Jess to join the boys and she raced to her bench with equipment for a black sesame ice cream with a yuzu cremeaux and roasted peanuts. She started by blitzing black sesame seeds in a spice grinder before making on her anglaise. Jock visited her bench and was surprised she was taking on so much, but confident she had taken on complex dishes in the past Jess persevered. With her anglaise in the churner she wanted to get started on the isomalt glass she intended to sit atop her dessert. She mixed sugar, glucose and water, bringing it to heat before she poured it onto a tray and left it to the side.
To make her yuzu cremeaux, she mixed egg yolks and sugar before heating yuzu juice then adding it to the egg mixture. She blitzed it with gelatine and butter before cooling it down, and while she was happy with the various elements coming together, she was devastated to see her isomalt circles had not formed. When they tasted her dish, Danielle said she loved the curd, and Jock said the flavour of the black sesame sable was really nice, but the raspberries were a weird late addition. George agreed there were too many ambitious flavours on the one dish.
With the guest judges split down the middle between Jess and Sashi, it came down to the judges, and with too many elements which did not work, it was Jess who was eliminated, narrowly missing out on the top three and her place in the Semi-Final.
Since leaving the competition, Jess has worked at Om Nom and The Press Club. She is working on her dessert catering business featuring delicious cakes and tarts.