With Keyma safely on the gantry, Billie, Daniel, Sarah, Alvin, Aldo, Mindy and Julie lined up opposite an ingredient, plus a second ingredient covered by a cloche. In round one, they had to cook with the ingredient they saw in front of them, or they could take a gamble and cook with the hidden ingredient. Whatever ingredient they didn’t use in the first round had to be used in round two. But these weren’t just any ingredients, they were chosen by executive chef of Vue de monde, Hugh Allen.
After the first round, Alvin earned a round of applause for creating the best creamed corn soup Jock had ever eaten. Daniel’s wattleseed sponge and Mindy’s celeriac steak were both lovely dishes.
Aldo’s pan-seared duck with guandong glaze was cooked well but the puree was grainy, and Billie’s concerns about the firmness of her Jerusalem artichoke panna cotta were realised. Sarah’s lemon myrtle cured Murray cod was cooked perfectly, but sadly Julie’s dish failed to land, and it was Julie, Aldo and Billie headed in to round two.
Julie knew she’d be cooking with Lion’s mane mushroom, and Aldo discovered his ingredient was cucumber while Billie’s was wasabi. Julie was gutted to be in the second round and as the minutes ticked by, she emotionally played her immunity pin to save her place in the competition.
Aldo was up first to the tasting table, proud to present his cucumber salad with spanner crab. It was a modern looking dish, a departure from Aldo’s normal rustic and homely style, but the judges and Hugh thought it looked beautiful. They agreed that it celebrated cucumber beautifully, and the modern, clean presentation and the flavours worked wonderfully together.
Billie was next with her wasabi and beef tartare, she emotionally admitted how everything had come down to one little cook. But she didn’t need to worry, the judges agreed that it was deeply impressive food.
The judges felt both dishes were great with no faults, but with a wow factor that was unmistakable in Billie’s wasabi dish, Aldo became the seventeenth contestant to leave the competition.