“It’s an invention test with very high stakes.”
MasterChef judges Andrew Atkinson, Benny Masekwameng and Pete Goffe-Wood were palpably delighted at the prospect. Their theme was fruit.
In last Wednesday’s pressure test with Andrea Burgener of The Leopard in Melville, Karen, Tiron, Khumo, Amanda and Joani laboured to create extraordinary dishes worthy of The Leopard’s menu. Tiron was the wow-producer, with walnut and goat’s cheese tortellini in spiced broth. Alas, 19 year-old student Khumo hung up her final apron after presenting not very savoury, dense pancakes.
Meanwhile, Kamini, Seline, Leandri, Ozzy and Jason played with icing effects at Charly’s Bakery in their Masterclass, after which they’d played with the children at the New Orleans School in Paarl, to which they donated that crazy confectionery.
Last night’s challenge for nine nervous contestants started with a taste test to see who could best use their senses to identify fruit. The last one standing could choose the fruit that would star in the invention test, and there would be 60 minutes in which to showcase that core ingredient. The ultimate winner would get the chance of cooking off against a professional chef to win the immunity pin that wards off future elimination.
“Creativity, clever use of the core ingredient and perfect balance of flavour, texture and taste…”
Grey-blindfolded, the contestants groped moleishly, sniffed and nibbled their fruit. It proved surprisingly difficult. With a plate of glossy red berries, it came down to Karen and Ozzy. “We want redcurrant!” yelled Andrew. Karen chose badly, Ozzy well; and he could decide whether the contestants would cook with figs, peaches or coconut. He chose the last.
Ozzy then went into a dither as the others sped into their preparation. Tiron was still smiling from his previous Wednesday’s victory as he swung into action, sporting a promising raspberry-coloured shirt.
Ozzy, Kamini and Karen all picked coconut prawns. Ozzy’s were coconut-crumbed with coriander coconut cream. Kamini’s were battered, featuring a more exciting pea and coconut pilaf. Karen’s went into a curry, sans the tomatoes she’d forgotten in the pantry.
The dishes that looked the most delectable were a coconut tart with Thai ice cream by Leandri and her sister Seline’s gorgeous flaked coconut lamingtons with lemongrsss and mint jelly.
“The worst three dishes go into the elimination.”
Ozzy presented first; Amanda’s crusted duck was a highlight; and then a chocolate granache tart with a coconut lime anglaise and little coconut candies was laid before the judging trio. All else paled before this creation by the man in the raspberry shirt, Tiron.
He will cook off against a chef for the immunity pin in the next epsiode, while Joani’s complicated patisseries, Ozzy’s unexciting prawn plate and Karen’s “confused” curry landed their creators in the elimination.
By Marie-Lais Emond