Well that’s a bit of a bummer Newcastle best mates Chris and Cookie lose sudden death cook-off and fail to make the Top 5 finals series.
The finals decider unfolded in two parts. First, all six teams were challenged to create a knock-out fusion dish using unusual flavour combinations. The four teams with the best dishes – as decided by Pete Evans and Manu Feildel – were safe, leaving the bottom two teams to fight it out in sudden death. Holding the advantage from their Chef’s Table challenge win, mother and son team Anna and Jordan decided what ingredients each of the six teams cooked with. They chose saffron and vanilla for themselves, plating up saffron and vanilla lobster with saffron pasta.
They assigned fig and liver to Gianni and Zana who created chicken liver pâté with balsamic figs. Tasia and Gracia were given one of the most difficult flavour combinations of rhubarb and black pudding. The girls created black pudding scotch eggs with rhubarb mayonnaise.
Mitch and Laura had lamb and apricot and made a spiced lamb rack with apricot purée and tortellini.
Both Chris and Cookie (basil and raspberry) and Carmine and Lauren (beetroot and chocolate) struggled with their dishes, sending both teams to sudden death where they had to present a dish featuring classic flavour combinations.
Carmine and Lauren made a white chocolate and raspberry tart dessert. Pete said their pastry was “sensational.” Manu agreed saying: “Whatever recipe you have with the tart shell, bottle it. It just melts in the mouth with a crunchy texture at the same time.” The only negative was the small amount of coulis on the plate.
Chris and Cookie opted for a main of mint crusted lamb back strap with peas and mint. Pete said their lamb was “cooked to perfection,” but as Manu pointed out, the lack of crust on the lamb had let them down. “It was there, but not enough.”
With the judges admitting it was a close call, Carmine and Lauren were put through to the Top 5.
Commenting on their win, Carmine said he was: “Over the moon happy, but I just didn’t know which way it was going to go. We’ve made the Top 5!”
“It’s been a tough trip,” said Cookie upon leaving the competition. “You spend so much time thinking and talking about food and having fun along the way. You just couldn’t buy that. It’s been wonderful.”
From tonight The Top 5 teams set to compete in the Ultimate Instant Restaurant round
Anna and Jordan (Mother and Son)
Mitch and Laura (Whizz Kids)
Carmine and Lauren (Married)
Gianni and Zana (Lawyers)
Tasia and Gracia (Sisters)
Victorian sisters Tasia and Gracia are back in their instant restaurant Mortar and Pestle for what they hope will be a triumphant night in the kitchen.
“For me, the Ultimate Instant Restaurant round is one of the best parts of the competition,” says judge Pete Evans. “You get to see phenomenal growth with some teams.
“You know they have listened to the critiques and worked hard to improve their techniques. And if they can master the pressure, you know they’ve got a good shot at the grand final,” he continued.