'Get Your Head In The Game': MasterChef Judges Offer Tough Love For 'Hot Mess'

The very first Mystery Box of the season put one MasterChef contestant in a tailspin.

When Emelia Jackson walked into the MasterChef kitchen ready to challenge the brand new Top 24 contestants to the first Mystery Box of the season, everyone was thrilled to see the reigning champ.

Also a fan of desserts, Trent had hoped to impress Emelia, and the MasterChef judges, with his take on a Black Forest - utilising the chocolate, pistachios, cherries, and saltbush Emelia had included in the box this week.

And while Trent was all smiles throughout the cook, cracking jokes and entertaining us all, things weren't going his way when it came to the dish itself.

The wheels began to come off the self-described "hot mess express" when Trent's chocolate wouldn't temper.

Famously finicky, tempering is the process of heating and cooling chocolate to specific temperatures so it sets with a glossy sheen and stabilises it so it sets up as a beautiful addition to any dessert.

When it came time to finally presenting his dish to the judges, though still smiling, his disappointment was visible

"I'm not happy," he told the judges, adding, "I know it could have been a lot better."

The self-dubbed "hot mess express" said his tough cook had only made him more determined to prove himself to the judges.

After tasting, the judges gave the contestant some tough love.

"Technique and focus is going to be the difference between being a punchline and being a player," Melissa Leong told the 23-year-old. "It's cute to be a hot mess for a minute, but you have to be able to bring it.

"You know you can do this. I need you to be able to back it up and show us why you want to be here," she added.

Emelia, having participated in more Mystery Box Challenges than anyone else in MasterChef Australia, gave him some words of advice about the non-stop studying she did across both Season 6 and last year's Back To Win.

"I would go home after every Mystery Box and write down what I could have done with all those ingredients," she said. "I had pages of what I could do with the under-bench pantry. It's really important to get your head in the game."

With the pressure of the very first cook in the MasterChef kitchen, the difficult judging didn't extinguish Trent's fire to prove himself in the competition.

"The judges give me some pretty harsh words of advice but I'm just really determined at this point to show them that I am here to be the best that I can be, and that I can cook," he reflected.

Earlier in the episode, Trent described his love of desserts and the way it gives him the opportunity to express his creativity.

"I can just switch off and it's such a great way for me to relieve stress," he explained.

As an Asian gay man growing up, Trent said cooking became a refuge and "an escape" from feeling different.

"I would always just be baking on the weekend... I've grown to embrace that part of me and it's made me realise cooking is what I want to do for the rest of my life."

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