Grape­fruit, pop­corn cook chef’s goose

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - HOLLY BYRNES

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).

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