Grapefruit, popcorn cook chef’s goose
MASTERCHEF is largely a confidence game – a “who dares wins” for foodies.
But an ambitious Heston Blumenthal- style dessert, served up by Perth bartender Jessica Arnott, has proved a twist too far for the judges and the downfall of the quirky cook in this year’s tense semi- final.
Despite overcoming enormous esteem issues throughout the Channel 10 competition, the 29- year- old admits she “pushed the boat out” on her final dish, which played off the flavours of grapefruit and popcorn – only to leave a sour taste in the judges’ mouths.
Taking a safer, “more nos- talgic” road to this season’s decider, grand finalists Georgia Barnes and Billie McKay plated up more food memories and won praise and the sentimental vote.
While the judges heaped praise on Arnott’s main course, Matt Preston led criticism of her dessert, finding fault with the density of her sponge element and questioning the flavour combination of sour and savoury.
While disappointed at falling just short with the dish, Arnott said she had no regrets about “playing my cards a different way.”
“I pushed the boat our a little bit and made a couple of little mistakes which were enough to send me home at this stage of the competition.
“In hindsight, I could have played it safe ... ( the judges) love food that pulls at the heart strings, but I tried to do something that was out of my comfort zone,” she said.
“There’s no way I could have made that ( dessert) at the beginning of the competition, so I’m proud of how far I’ve come. “I tried to do something that made me stretch myself and I don’t regret that.”
It leaves Barnes and McKay in a State of Origin grand final, with Arnott admitting she was envious of their final kitchen challenge: a monumental recipe by Heston Blumenthal.
GONE: Jessica Arnott and her quirky dessert ( right).