It’s elimination night, and someone will be going home, leaving us with our top 3 for 2020. I’m keen as a bean to find out if Laura, Callum or Reynold will be leaving tonight.
The contestants arrive to find the judges waiting in front of a pantry. Emelia runs upstairs, avoiding the looming doom.
Mel reminds Emelia that she’s the first officially in the top three.
“My heart is thumping, and I don’t know if it’s just because I walked up those stairs or if I’m worried for everyone,” Emelia laughs.
Jock tells everyone it’s a two round challenge. The winner of the first will go up with Emelia and be officially in the top three. However fail to impress in both rounds and they finish 4th this season.
Jock then goes on to tell them about the pantries behind them. There are two!
First is every day ordinary, found in everyone’s pantry. The second, however, is the ‘extrodinary’ pantry, with stuff like caviar, lobsters, french cheese, etc. Round one, they can cook with either pantry, but round two means they have to cook with the other pantry.
Andy reminds them they’re looking for the best dish with the other two going into round two, one joining the top three and the other out of here.
He starts the 75 minutes, and the contestants are off.
All three of the contestants have gone to the extraordinary pantry, trying to come up with an amazing dish to wow the judges into the top three.
Callum talks about his strategy as he dissects a duck.
Meanwhile, Laura is choosing three big flavours.
“Good staring, Reynold! Keep doing that!” Emelia shouts, as Reynold stands and stares at his bench.
Reynold talks about how he got out of his season, and is doing a redemption fish dish. Ooh, redemption dishes can really go one of two ways, which we’ve seen this season. I think maybe Poh did one that didn’t go fab, and Emelia did a great job.
Both Callum and Laura struggle to use a cork screw, the one with the arms.
Then, Callum tells us that he’s going to
suck up to Jock use Indigenous flavours, flavours he’s learnt this season from Jock. which is lovely. Still a bit salty about how they didn’t include an Indigenous person in last year’s Indigenous week, but I digress.
Andy yells about the stakes again with 45 minutes to go.
Mel, Jock and Andy discuss how interesting it would be if Reynold’s elimination dish in his season got him a place in the top 3. Last time, he was kicked out at 4th, so he’s hoping it’s not a repeat.
Laura talks about how she’s doing a simple dish with extraordinary ingredients.
Mel yells about the stakes with 30 minutes remaining. What’s with the judges reminding the contestants in every second sentence about the stakes?!
Emelia asks Reynold what’s he’s doing. “I’m making a flower,” he calls back, before telling us about how he ate food in Copenhagen once.
Andy calls Emelia a queen and tells the contestants they’ve only got 15 minutes.
“Everything tastes as it should,” Callum say, which is relieving. “But I think I need something else.”
Ooh, them dangerous words, son.
“It can be overpowering,” he says, adding wattleseed salt to his duck. “It’s a risk.”
Ten minutes are left, and everyone’s pretty happy with how they’re going so far, which is good to hear, you don’t want to hear that they’e going terrible or anything.
Reynold is cooking his fish over the fire, making sure it gets charred but not overcooked. Hah, me with noodles.
He goes to flip it, but disaster strikes.
“I feel like, right now, history’s repeating itself,” Reynold says, examining the skin of the fish.
It’s stuck. He takes it off, and it’s torn, unusable.
He only has one more fillet left, and if he doesn’t get this right, he’s into round two.
Andy yells about three minutes left, and enthuses about what they’re serving.
Reynold is having a crisis, while Laura and Callum, presumably, are fine.
He takes the fish off, and huzzah! It comes off intact and crisp, exactly as it should be. It’s plating time, as the remaining minute ticks down.
Laura is excited, she thinks she’s all set, and finishes up.
The judges do a dramatic arm gesture as Jock yells that they have 30 seconds remaining.
Ooh, I’m liking the look of Callum’s!
The last seconds tick, and that’s it! Time is up on round one.
It’s the first tasting of the elimination, and first up is Laura.
She’s done a dish based on turnips, a Salt-Baked Turnip with Truffle Purée and Caviar. How fancy! And the colours look awesome!
Andy asks if this is the best dish, and Laura toots her own horn, so to speak.
Jock plates up, and they all dig in.
“The thing for me here, was how you make the turnips a star amongst truffle and caviar. And you’ve done it,” he says, before enthusing about how the turnip, “sings.”
“I couldn’t taste caviar individually there at all,” Jock tells her, loving all the salty tastes and every element.
Mel talks about the creamy and earthy flavours. “It was wonderfully sophisticated.”
It’s looking pretty good for Laura to be up with Emelia, but it depends on the other two.
Next is Callum.
He’s done a Wattleseed Duck with Quandong, Smoked Beetroot and Jerusalem Artichoke Purée.
He adds a bit more Wattleseed salt before dressing it. Callum says it was the best cook he’s done for a while and nothing he would change.
Andy straight up enthuses about everything and how it fits together seamlessly.
“What you have here is a multi-dimensional dish,” Mel tells him, and tells him to feel proud.
Jock commends him on his restraint with the wattleseed, as it is easy to overpower.
Finally, it’s Reynold.
He’s made a Barbequed Bonito with Bonito Tartare, Kohlrabi Flower and Bonito Wine Sauce. It’s looking pretty and fancy, and I’d be up for eating that.
Reynold tells the judges that he’s super into Bonito now, the fish that sent him home, which is nice.
Jock serves up, and they get eating.
“Redemption,” Mel starts, “is yours, my friend!”
She goes on to commend many things, especially the things he had done wrong the first time, and then calls it genius, and triumphant food.
Jock calls the dish extraordinary, just like the pantry.
Finally, Andy adds his enthusiasm into the mix, before saying he’s really thrown his hat into the ring for the top three spot.
Mel says all the dishes were amazing, but they had to pick one person who’s dish was just that little bit better than the others for a secured place with Emelia in the top three.
The winner is Reynold, leaving Callum and Laura to fight for the final third spot.
Jock reminds them they can only cook with the ordinary pantry.
Their 75 minutes begins, and they rush to get going.
Laura and Callum run to their pantry and get everything they need together.
Callum tells us that he’s been friends with Laura for six years, so this will be a really tough cook for him. He is going for a savoury dish.
Laura is having the same internal conflicts going on, as she begins her sweet dish.
Cutting up a snapper, Callum isn’t hesitating to get his dish going. He’s starting a broth.
Ooh, Laura has a big bowl of strawberries, and she cuts off all the tops, before adding sugar and stuff in. She enthuses about ricotta.
“Is it enough?” Andy asks her.
“Yes,” she says, continuing with her strawberry and cream dish.
Callum is zooming through, hoping for the best.
There’s thirty minutes to go, and Laura tells Reynold she’s going to make a granita.
Then, she tells us about how she hopes this isn’t her last cook in the kitchen.
She gives the ricotta a try. “The flavour is there, but the texture is off. It’s grainy.”
There’s just over twenty minutes left, and there’s no more ricotta time. She starts to cry as she thinks that this could have ended her dreams of being a Master Chef.
Emelia and Reynold shout suggestions, and she stands there, trying it, and walking around the kitchen, trying to figure out what will work.
“It’s such a simple element, but if it’s not there, it throws the balance out,” she tells us.
Finally, she’s done something with a hand blender and adding sugar. And just in time, it’s fifteen minutes remaining.
Callum tells us that both he and Laura came 6th in their respective seasons, and here they are, fighting to not be 4th for this season.
Then, we get a sob story about how his wife is taking care of their baby, so there’s a lot of pressure to be cooking well.
Laura continues to gripe with her internal conflict of being friends with her opponent.
There’s ten minutes remaining, and Andy peers over the bench as Callum gets his snapper out.
Ooh, did he do it? It’s it right?
He doesn’t check, throwing it straight onto a plate.
Meanwhile, Laura is layering her dessert, wondering if she’s done enough to save herself.
Callum adds coriander to his dish.
There’s 30 seconds left, and the two hurry to make their dish the best it can be.
Finally, the judges count down the last ten seconds, before time officially runs out for one of them.
The two stand at their benches, crying about how this could be the last cook, and there’s so much pressure, and they love their opposition. Callum takes a few minutes to sob, and Laura wipes away tears, lest they fall into her dish.
Emelia is also sobbing.
They come over and elbow bump while tears stream down their faces.
This is too much emotion for me, I don’t care for it.
It’s time to taste, and I’m getting pumped for dinner, to be honest.
“Two of the finest cooks to ever grace the MasterChef kitchen,” Mels says, sitting around the table with the other two judges.
First is Laura, hoping she can make it to the top three.
She goes through the elements of her strawberries and cream dish.
Laura was talking about how the set up was facing each other, so she was staring Callum down the whole time, which was a bit weird. Then she starts to cry again.
Jock quizzes her on her food goals and dreams, and she shares, which I didn’t listen to.
She leaves, and Mel comments that you can see all the textures.
Andy calls it simple, but done well. It’s technically perfect.
The flavours are still singing in Mels mouth, and she enthuses about all the elements, calling the idea perfected.
Jock called her ideas clever, and execution well done.
Last is Callum.
He’s done a Coconut Snapper with Ginger, Fennel, Roasted Chilli Oil and Coriander Dressing. Hopefully the snapper isn’t overcooked.
Andy reminds him this could be the last dish he ever cooks in this kitchen, and Callum talks about how important MasterChef has been to him and his journey as a cook.
He dresses the dish before leaving.
Laura and Callum elbow bump in the waiting area, grim looks on their faces as they leave the dishes in the hands of the judges.
Alright, no time to waste, let’s get tasting.
“Great flavours going on in this dish, for me,” Jock says, before getting into what’s great about each element.
Mel and Andy nod along.
“The only negative for me,” he continues, “is the fish.”
Mel goes on about how lovely his cooking is, and how all the flavours work together. “However,” she starts, before going on with everything else.
Andy reveals that he was worried about everything from the get go, and he took it to another level, but putting the fish in the sous vide was a bad choice.
Jock kicks off by telling the two that he’s proud of them, and proud to get to know them. Laura starts crying again.
It’s time for the decision, and it’s pretty easy to see who will be out.
“One had a technical flaw we couldn’t get past,” Andy says, before eliminating Callum.
“I’m sorry, Callum, you’re going home.”
“Damn,” Callum whispers under his breath.
Mel compliments him, who he is as a chef, and his food.
It’s very lovely, and Mel starts crying.
Callum says he’s proud of how far he’s come and that he’ll bring back home everything he’s learnt.
Laura does a little speech, before Callum elbow bumps everyone and leaves the kitchen for the last time.
We’ve only got two
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