The pressure test saw Laura, Brendan, Simon, Tessa, Sarah T, Khanh and Sarah C cook for their place in the competition with guest chef Peter Gunn presenting one of the most technical dishes the contestants have had all season: The Black Box.
It looked like something out of Star Wars, and once smashed open contained 11 elements, including gingerbread stars, isomalt wafer, grilled mandarin custard, yogurt pearls, honeycomb, choc-dipped mandarins, sherbert, and chocolate soil. The black box itself was made of white chocolate mixed with ash.
With two hours and 45 minutes to recreate the dish, sticking to the recipe was key as it was such a layered, well-balanced and intricate dish. The contestants had to start with the black box itself – the trickiest, but most integral element.
Laura and Tessa were strong out of the gates and powered through the challenge with no major issues. Brendan and Khanh pushed themselves hard and got through unscathed.
Simon started the cook well, but became unravelled when only one of his six black boxes survived de-moulding. It was a little lopsided with a small hole in the top, but he was happy and thankful he had something to serve.
Things weren’t so sweet for the two Sarah’s.
Sarah T’s, chocolate was gluggy and when Peter himself commented that her chocolate didn’t look right, she decided to retemper it. Sarah C was in a similar boat with her chocolate becoming too cool so she had to retemper it twice before she got the right consistency.
The final stages of the cook were chaotic and there was a sense of panic in the air from most contenders. When it came time for the judges to taste, Laura and Tessa’s dish were amongst the most impressive, while Khanh and Brendan did a good job in replicating the dish.
Simon’s box held and he was able to serve a complete dish to the judges who were very impressed with his efforts.
It then came down to the two Sarah’s.
Behind from the get-go, Sarah T had to use every ounce of energy she had to prove that she was worthy of staying in the competition. She managed to get her dish up, except for the chocolate coating on the mandarin puree.
With five minutes to go, Sarah C realised she wouldn’t have time to make the chocolate soil, so went into the tasting one element short, not knowing how integral it might be to providing just the right balance of flavours in the dish.
It was a very close decision as both Sarah’s were missing elements, so the judges had to decide on whose dish tasted the most like Peter’s. With this in mind, Sarah T was safe, and Sarah Clare was eliminated from the competition.