Eric Mao Betrayed By His Lucky Pants, Eliminated From The MasterChef Kitchen

"They're nice pants but they're definitely buried in the deepest, darkest corner of the closet. Never to see the light of day again."

For over a decade, Eric has had his sights set on the MasterChef kitchen, even applying for Junior MasterChef when he was just 10-years-old.

Having grown up watching the show, Eric was well aware of the power the competition has when it come to amateur chefs realising their food dreams. With the timing just right, Eric missed his final medical exam in order to attend the judges' auditions where he would eventually win himself an apron and a place in the competition.

"Ever since I was a kid I remember food and cooking being my biggest passion," he told 10 play.

"I come from a family of immigrant parents, they had to work really hard to provide for our family growing up here so, if they were working and I happened to be home, I had to be self-sufficient and know how to cook," he added.

Starting from a young age, that self-sufficiency soon blossomed into a passion for not just cooking but, over time, for regional Chinese cuisine.

"That's the cuisine that I'm so, so passionate about," Eric said. "I think it's so special and underrepresented in the mainstream western scene."

When he was younger, Eric didn't have as much of an appreciation for the food that was just around him at home.

"As a kid, you venture out and think things that you're not used to are interesting," he said. "It was only when, as I got a little bit older, I realised how special and important it made me feel and how it was the food I love."

Throughout his time in the competition, Eric wowed the judges with his authentic takes on regional Chinese cuisine, like his strange flavour chicken that became a hit online.

"I'm really happy that people are embracing this style and the food that I'm trying to make on the show... traditional representations of Chinese food."

Unfortunately, when the invention test returned on Monday, Eric said it was like a spanner in the works that he wasn't expecting.

"As much as I like to be creative, I don't think the food that I actually want to make was that. I want to be authentic and have a very honest approach to cuisine-based food," he explained.

Without a clear idea of how he could approach the invention test, Eric landed in the bottom dishes of the day, sending him to a pressure test. Having survived Jock's tart test a few weeks prior, Eric knew what he was in for -- and had the perfect outfit for it too.

Wearing the 'lucky pants' that saw him plate up the only tart with a successfully tempered chocolate shell, Eric walked into the pressure test on Tuesday with his head held high.

"I had done a pessure test before and I had done well in it, so I didn't have any doubts at the time when I first got into it. I was excited to do it, I wanted to tackle it head-on."

Standing in the pressure test alongside Sabina, Brent and Scott, Eric watched as guest chef Clinton McIvor lifted a cloche to reveal... a blindfold.

"I literally had no idea, I thought we were making a dessert that looked like a blindfold or something," Eric said, laughing.

MasterChef Australia Eric Mao eliminated after blindfold pressure test

But the challenge was much more difficult. For the first time ever the contestants would have to taste Clinton's dish blindfolded before attempting to recreate it as close to the original as possible.

"The look is so important," Eric said. "Especially because it was a lamb dish, not just the plating but how caramelised that piece of lamb is and where exactly the colour that skin has been taken to.

"Things like that you can tell by tasting a little bit but it's much more obvious when you have that visual cue."

Having to focus as much as possible in the tasting, memorising every flavour and element he could identify without seeing them, Eric said as the challenge went on he slowly began to forget about the taste of the dish and was just trying to get something, anything, on the plate for the judges.

Early in the cook, Eric butchered his lamb -- literally -- removing the entire fat cap while trying to take the skin off. With only one piece of lamb, it's an error that almost seemed to have a domino effect on the rest of the challenge.

"I realised I had done it incorrectly like a minute after reading it. The lamb is the focus of the dish so, if I didn't get that right... I was definitely frazzled," he said.

Though he felt the challenge, and thus his place in the competition, slipping away from him, Eric said there was no chance he was going to give up.

"You don't know how other people are going to go so just keep pushing until the end. You never know, and you're going to regret it if you don't try your absolute hardest," he said.

Feeling deflated by the time he had to bring his version of the dish to the judges, Eric said he wanted to speak "truthfully to the judges" about how he felt the cook went.

"I really felt like I had disappointed myself," he added.

When asked about the fate of his lucky pants Eric admitted, "They're nice pants but they're definitely buried in the deepest, darkest corner of the closet. Never to see the light of day again."

His time in the MasterChef kitchen only further cemented Eric's passion for food and his drive to share regional Chinese food with the world.

"Stay tuned, I'm going to be posting videos and reels and video content about the food that I'm passionate about!"

Follow Eric on Instagram @e_mao_

Watch the new season of MasterChef Australia, Sunday to Thursday at 7.30 on 10 or watch on demand on 10 play