Ralph’s Carrot Cake Crumbles

Ralph’s Carrot Cake Crumbles

After plating up the bottom three dishes in yesterday’s surprise mystery box challenge, Ralph, Malissa and Rhiannon cooked for their spot in the top eight.

Known for his whimsical creations around fairy tales and storytelling, tonight’s challenge was set by chef Nelly Robinson from Sydney restaurant, Nel. He revealed that contestants must recreate his Mr. McGregor Garden dish which was inspired by Beatrix Potter’s tales of Peter Rabbit.

The dish included eight key elements to complete: carrot cake, carrot and ginger sorbet, vanilla yoghurt foam, charcoal crumble, tempered chocolate branches, sweet potato and chocolate oak tree leaves, crystallised carrot fronds and pickled carrot ribbons. The contestants had two hours and 15 minutes to cook, with seven minutes to plate up in the tasting room.

As soon as the clock started to tick, Malissa was focussed and set the pace. Worried that she had never tempered chocolate, Malissa took her time with this element and each one thereafter, completing each component in time. She finished, feeling proud of her efforts and while her plating wasn’t as pretty as Nelly’s, the judges agreed her flavours were similar and were impressed by each element.

Rhiannon had been to Nel before and was familiar with Nelly’s cooking style, which she admitted was miles apart from her own. Drawing on her English heritage, she felt connected to the dish, which helped her settle into the cook. Her plating was on the rustic side, but the flavour of her carrot cake, sorbet and foam were spot on. While her charcoal crumble was a little burnt, the judges were impressed with her efforts overall.

Ralph went into the challenge knowing that desserts were not his strength. His plan for precision resulted in a slow cook which saw him put his carrot cake into the oven late. As he raced to catch up, he cut corners. He managed to complete every element but during plating he lacked attention to detail. The judges found his cake undercooked and his charcoal crumble burnt. Overall, his dish missed the mark on each element and lacked the balance that was achieved in other dishes.

Ralph was ultimately eliminated, leaving the judges sad to lose such a willing student of the kitchen, and the contestants sad to farewell such a good friend.  


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