‘I Blanked Out Completely’: Nigella’s Surprise Custard Ends YoYo Yang’s MasterChef Journey

In a wickedly tough elimination challenge, five cooks had to prepare a dish from Nigella Lawson’s description alone.

Right on the heels of the very first elimination of the season, the cooks arrived to find themselves in black aprons once again.

Kicking off Superstar Week, the contestants welcomed Nigella Lawson — until they found out the dastardly challenge she had set for them.

In the first round, the cooks had to taste a series of biscuits and identify their flavour, which sounds like a dream until you realise there were garlic and anchovy biscuits in the mix. The five cooks who identified the least biscuits correctly would head into the second round.

Without ever seeing the dish, the recipe, or even a list of ingredients, the five contestants would hear Nigella describe what she wanted them to recreate. Without knowing it, YoYou, Maja, Conor, Brent, and Tom were attempting to bake Nigella’s toasted marshmallow and rhubarb cake.

Nigella's toasted marshmallow and rhubarb cake.

Then, about halfway through the cook the celebrity chef informed them that they would need to add a complimentary crème anglaise, or cold custard, to complete the dish. Sadly the crème anglaise was enough of a spanner in the works to derail YoYo’s cook, making her the second cook eliminated from the MasterChef kitchen.

“You know that ‘oh no’ meme?” YoYo asked 10 play, “that was playing in my head. I was like… oh no.

“I’m fine with savoury without a recipe, I can easily wing that, but desserts without a recipe throws me off. I’m like, okay, how long is it in the oven for? What should I really look for?”

In the beginning, YoYo seemed on track, making a list of the key elements of the dish — two sponge cakes, roasted rhubarb and a marshmallow icing torched to perfection.

“Then Nigella threw in the crème anglaise and I just blanked out completely. I was like, ‘What is a crème anglaise? What is that made of? What do I do?’”

With support from the gantry, YoYo kept pushing through the challenge, but things began to slip away from her. When she pulled her rhubarb out of the oven it was overdone, and she had to attempt to make a second batch in the few remaining minutes.

“I didn’t give that one enough time, the cake took a little longer than usual so that threw me off… it piled on, and I think that’s why it went a little bit downhill,” YoYo explained.

The youngest in the competition this year, YoYo applied for MasterChef after her mum suggested it. One of her biggest sources of inspiration, when asked what kind of food YoYo likes to cook she said, “Whatever my mum likes to eat”.

“We’ll be watching TV or she’ll see something and go, ‘Oh I really feel like eating that’, so I’ll research how to cook it and make pretty much make it the next day to make her happy.

“Sharing food with people is probably one of my favourite things to do, it just makes people happy,” YoYo added. “I’ve always been helping out in the kitchen, definitely a fan of cooking, but I never really seriously cooked independently until lockdown happened. Doing different things every day, I just cooked 24/7.”

Though the competition is still only just heating up, YoYo’s departure was felt by a lot of her fellow contestants, with emotions running high as she walked out of the MasterChef kitchen.

“I’ve always been really quick to bond with people so it was definitely very emotional for me to leave… leaving a chance to further connect with people,” she said.

“I was sad leaving the kitchen, for sure. Sad I couldn’t continue showing my cooking, but the other half was really that I was leaving a bunch of exceptional people that I had such a unique experience with.

“It’s really great to know that, in the future, we’ll still be really close.”

Follow YoYo on Instagram @yo_yo_tato.

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