Tonight Matt, Elena and Harry cooked off for a place in the 2016 MasterChef Australia Grand Finale.Each contestant had four hours to make a main course and a dessert for 20 people.
Matt cooked confit duck leg with harissa pumpkin, roasted baby beets, dukkah and a date reduction. For dessert, he made a brioche donut with orange and coffee. Elena made a nicoise salad, with a bush tomato sauce, tempura samphire and a lemon myrtle crusted tuna. Her dessert was apples with “bikkies and cheese”.
Harry cooked a kingfish and lobster cannelloni with a lobster sauce. For dessert, he made a tiramisu, with an espresso bavarois, an almond meal daquoise and ice cream.
With 16 elements to complete in four hours, Elena struggled to keep pace and fell behind. Multi-tasking, she hoped to make up time but when Shannon Bennett talked her through all the elements she had to get through, she became visibly overwhelmed.
Matt started making his brioche dough but lost almost half his prep time on the laborious task of breaking down the ducks. He started feeling the pressure and began making small mistakes, including leaving a metal bowl in the microwave.
Harry questioned his use of kingfish in the mousse for his cannelloni after feedback from Shannon. He lost time peeling his artichokes and worried that there was not enough of the lobster reduction for all the plates.
The judges loved Matt’s main course, saying he delivered a sophisticated and almost perfect dish. His donut also impressed the judges and Gary Mehigan wanted seconds.
Harry’s kingfish and lobster cannelloni looked spectacular and the pasta was perfect, but there was not enough sauce and the flavour of the lobster was lost because of the kingfish.
His dessert looked like a brownie but tasted like tiramisu, which was a brilliant surprise. Elena’s Aussie French tuna salad was a beautifully elegant dish, with the tuna cooked exquisitely. The judges would have liked to see more tomato sauce on each plate.
The judges though her dessert combination of apple sorbet, goat’s cheese mousse and fennel salted caramel sauce was wonderfully creative and modern.
With two flawless dishes, Matt was a clear finalist. Elena’s tuna was perfectly cooked, and so it was Harry’s use of kingfish in the mousse which proved his undoin, and saw him farewelled from the kitchen.
Harry is currently working at Pumphouse Point, a wilderness retreat in Tasmania’s central highlands.