Wednesday night’s episode introduced the first of several elimination rounds, which was dreaded by everyone. But unfortunately someone had to go.
The elimination round started with Khumo, Tumi, Neil, Mary, Shannon and Seline back in the breakfast nook. They were given the challenge of creating the perfect hollandaise sauce, which judge Andrew Atkinson (AA) described as the “central element” of the famous eggs Benedict breakfast dish. Benny Masekwameng warned ominously, “This is a big day in the MasterChef kitchen because, for one of you, it will be the last.”
“May the sauce be with you!”
As a benchmark, the judges prepared three versions of hollandaise – as Pete Goffe-Wood put it, “The good, the bad and the runny”. The first three who got it right were guaranteed safety.
There was a flurry of whisking and stirring as the six battled it out to get the right consistency of this emulsion. The other contestants watched on and cheered, while the judges reminded the cooks of the three criteria for the hollandaise: colour, consistency and taste.
Mary whisked her heart out and was very doubtful about the finished product, but prevailed. Seline’s first attempt proved to be acidic to the judges’ taste and she started anew, “whipping the living daylights” out of the egg yolks. Neil was up next, and “it’s a winner,” declared the judges. Khumo, despite her reservations, was the next one through, elated with her efforts. The third spot was a tussle between Tumi and Seline, but Tumi’s seasoning was not quite right and Seline pipped him to the post with her second attempt.
Shannon, Tumi and Mary were left to the pressure test and had to re-create a special dish conjured up by AA – warthog loin with smoked egg yolk, baby seasoned vegetables and herbed aioli. The stakes were high, with little room for error.
Meanwhile, Kamini, who won the bell in the bread challenge on Tuesday night, headed off to her master class with Nederburg winemaster Razvan Macici. Learning how to choose wine with the right food will be a nice competitive edge for her for the remainder of the competition. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on Kamini in the kitchen!
“For whom the bell tolls”
The first elimination challenge is always tough, so the pressure test produced a lot more drama and tears. AA’s intricate dish was no mean feat and the three contestants put in a tremendous effort. But, at the end of the day, well-done warthog and overcooked egg was what it came down to.
Mary’s efforts were the closest to AA’s dish and got her through comfortably; however, between Tumi and Shannon, it was touch and go. In the end, graphic artist Shannon from Cape Town had to hang up her apron and bid a teary goodbye as the first contestant to leave Season Two of MasterChef South Africa.
Next week, it’s mystery box time with a twist! What will it hold for the 15 remaining contestants?
By Priscilla Urquhart