If there’s one person whose presence is guaranteed to cause panic in the MasterChef kitchen, it’s Adriano Zumbo.
The master pâtissier has made a number of memorable appearances throughout the cooking competition, with contestants previously attempting to recreate his famous croquembouche, V8 cake and Hansel and Gretel house, and Tuesday night’s episode was no different.
The four contestants in the pressure test were tasked with recreating Zumbo’s Polly Wanna Waffle dessert, which unfortunately saw Dulan Hapuarachchi being sent home after he served the least impressive version of the dish.
Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle following his elimination, the financial entrepreneur from Melbourne opens up about the mammoth task and how difficult it actually was in real life.
“My mindset was pretty calm going into the Pressure Test. The judges said we had four and a half hours and I just kept my head cool. It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” he reflects.
“But then they were hinting Zumbo and I was like, ‘Oh, hang on. That is not good’, and then when he walked in I thought, ‘Ah, I could be in trouble here’. Looking around, Julie [Goodwin] was freaking out, Alvin [Quah] was freaking out, but Max [Krapivksy] was cool so I was like, ‘Yeah, we’ve got this’.
“Then we see the waffles, which I just thought like, ‘Ah yeah, it’s just waffles. Just batter, how hard can it be? There’s some tempered chocolate, I did some tempering last night. I should be alright’. And then when he cut into it it’s like, holy moly.”
‘It was a shock’
The intense culinary creation featured tempered chocolate waffle shells filled with berry jam, marshmallow, ganache and wafer butter, as well as a waffle mousse sphere with a caramelised banana and passionfruit centre.
After an extremely stressful cook, which saw Dulan quickly fall behind the other competitors before he cut corners to try and catch up, the judges decided that his dessert wasn’t up to scratch.
“It was a shock for me,” he says about his elimination. “Up until they called out my name, I didn’t know I was going home.
“I knew my marshmallow was a disaster because it set before I could spread it, and I knew the look of it was different, but I thought, look, if I can deliver a dish that tastes similar, I should still be okay if someone else makes a bigger mistake. But unfortunately, mine had one too many flaws.”
‘I’m really excited’
Despite his short run on the show, Dulan describes his MasterChef experience as one of the most rewarding times of his life.
“I went in and made all these great friends,” he gushes. “I got along really well with the 11 other fans who are crazy about food and have the same mentality as me.
“And then I met the 12 amazing faves who were so open to teaching me what they knew. So imagine having 23 other teachers, plus the judges. How amazing is that?
“I went in open-minded and I wanted to learn, and that mentality really helped me. And then every day, every single minute I was there I was learning. I got to be on MasterChef, what more could I ask for?”
Following his appearance in the competition, Dulan says he has a number of exciting things planned for his career in the food industry.
“My goal over the next 24 months is to create a Sri Lankan infused flavours café with great coffee and great cocktails in Melbourne,” he says, before adding, “What’s happening in Sri Lanka at the moment with all the issues and economic crisis is really close to my heart right now. If I get a chance to go there I will go there to support them.
“And meanwhile, I'll be doing a few pop-ups around Melbourne and heaps of fun, cool content on social media. So I’m really excited.”
MasterChef airs 7:30pm Sunday to Thursday on Channel Ten and 10play.
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