The MasterChef finale has officially begun after weeks in the kitchen, as viewers were served a very dramatic first of two parts on Monday night.
With a total of 140 points up for grabs, finalists Pete Campbell, Kishwar Chowdhury and Justin Narayn cooked up a storm to impress the judges and hopefully take home $250,000 and a shiny trophy.
In night one of the grand final, the cooks were first tasked with a unique mystery box before their family joined them to help with the second challenge.
The ingredients in the mystery box were decided by “some of the best chefs in the country”, who unveiled a wide variety to choose from, including duck breast and King George Whiting.
With 75 minutes on the clock and 30 potential points to win, the contestants were off.
This season’s frontrunner Pete served up whiting with kohlrabi, pine mushrooms and Geraldton wax, scoring a massive 28/30.
“Clean, contemplative, modern, refined, sophisticated food,” judge Melissa gushed, while Andy added, “it was perfect”.
Kishwar then followed, scoring 21 points for her pandan wrapped whiting with duck fat mushrooms and kohlrabi salad.
“The fish was dry,” Jock told her solemnly. “But as a dish, it was delicious.”
Meanwhile, Justin was also awarded 21 points after cooking passionfruit glazed duck breast with mushrooms and pickled kohlrabi.
“The cook on the duck was fantastic,” the Scottish judge began. “I just think you slightly missed the trick with the mushrooms.”
Next up, the three finalists’ families were brought in to support them and assist in the second challenge.
The loved ones selected golden balls out of a bowl which determined the contestant’s ingredient and ‘curveball’ cooking technique for round two.
Kishwar was given white soy sauce and ‘smoke’, leading her to create smoked rice water with aloo bhorta and sardines. She was awarded a perfect 30 points after Mel declared it was “powerful food”.
With ruby grapefruit and ‘fusion’, Justin served up poached fish in a curry broth. “That is, I think, one of the best dishes he’s put up in the competition,” Andy announced, earning Justin 29 points.
Pete’s family randomly selected quince and ‘steamed’ for his dish, which he then created quail and enoki mushrooms with asparagus and quince glaze.
Sadly for the 36-year-old tattoo artist, Mel’s piece of meat was undercooked, leaving him with 25 points.
“I’m heartbroken because I really do love everything about this dish,” Mel explained. “Unfortunately, mine is raw.”
Pete, Kishwar and Justin are now headed into the final round of the huge MasterChef finale with 53, 51 and 50 points, respectively.
The ultimate task will see the three contestants compete in an “epic pressure test” involving two dishes, which will then decide who is awarded the illustrious title for 2021.
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