Victorian stay-at-home dad Loki Madireddi has become the first contestant in season 10 of MasterChef Australia to win a coveted immunity pin. Loki “out-cheffed” the chef in last nights Nigella Week immunity challenge, going head-to-head with the 2017 Young Chef of the Year, Alanna Sapwell from Saint Peter in Sydney.
After taking out the first round pancake challenge against fellow contestants Hoda, Ben and Kristen, Loki faced Alanna in round two. As the home cook, Loki was given a 15-minute headstart with a total of 75 minutes against Alanna’s 60 minutes. He also had the advantage of selecting the main ingredient, either oranges or lemons. Thinking of the lemon curries and broths of his childhood in India, Loki selected lemons.
Loki then chose kingfish and along with prawns, pipis and mussels, decided to make a spicy lemon seafood broth, and serve it alongside the filleted fish. Loki flavoured his fish with turmeric, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper before frying it to create a crispy skin.
Initially thinking she would make a dessert, Alanna opted instead to cook with calamari, serving it with fennel. At the halfway mark, comments from Shannon pushed her to try and include more lemon and she decided to incorporate lemon into her squid sauce.
In the blind tasting, Alanna’s Port Lincoln calamari, BBQ fennel, lemon and squid ink was tasted first. The dish looked beautiful and was simple and fabulous. Gary said it was subtle, clean and he wanted more, while George agreed the calamari had a beautiful bite.
Next was Loki’s kingfish with shellfish lemon broth, rice and chapatti, and the judges were impressed with the look and fragrance. Nigella said she never wanted to stop eating it and George agreed it was comforting. The lemon was front and centre. There was a sharp, hot sourness to the dish and Nigella said that made the fish taste so sweet.
Alanna was awarded 34 out of 40 for her inspiring, gutsy dish. Loki knew he would need a massive score to win and with a nine each from Matt, Nigella and Gary, and a perfect 10 from Gary, he was awarded winner of the challenge. Loki literally jumped for joy and Nigella had the honours of pinning the first immunity pin for the season onto his jacket.