But for Brendan, Callum, Emelia, Khanh, Laura, Poh, Reece, Reynold, Sarah and Tessa the competition is about to go up a notch with the judges taking it to a whole new level.
Not only will the challenges be harder, but Melissa, Jock and Andy’s expectations are higher. Good food is no longer good enough. Every dish must be exceptional.
The MasterChef Australia, Back To Win Top 10 are:
Competing twice for immunity, Brendan has wowed the judges with handmade noodles, bold flavours and his creativity and adaptability in the kitchen. His family-inspired Dan Dan Noodles saw him clinch a top Mystery Box spot with a near perfect dish, and he has also proven an accomplished pressure test performer, impressing in judge Jock’s Orana pressure test, Peter Gunn’s Black Box and Kirsten Tibballs’ Meljito.
Having secured the first spot in the Top 10 with his successful Immunity Cook last week, Adelaide’s Callum Hann is riding high. He clinched his first immunity in a Keep Up With Gordon Ramsay challenge before grabbing his timely second immunity, and has loved pushing himself against his talented competitors. Hitting form at just the right time, Callum is impressing the judges with his depth of knowledge when it comes to flavours and combinations, vowing to go one place better in 2020.
Showcasing her talents across both sweet and savoury, Emelia cooked her way into an Immunity battle this season with a quail dish, and pulled off a flawless recreation of chocolate queen Kirsten Tibballs’ Meljito dessert to make immunity hers during week seven. An accomplished team player, Emelia has displayed her Macedonian heritage in the kitchen alongside the most delicate desserts, impressing the judges with her worldly palate and calm nature.
Fan favourite Khanh Ong has returned to the MasterChef kitchen to prove he has what it takes to go all the way this time. His flexibility in the kitchen has positioned him well to respond to any challenge thrown his way – as has his sense of humour – but it is his honesty and humility has allowed him to connect with the judges on a whole new level. Having learnt to trust his instincts and think on his feet since his previous season, Khanh redeemed himself with a successful cook of his former elimination dish Canh Chua Ca (Southern Vietnamese sour fish soup) - with the monkey off his back, he is now ready to tackle whatever might lie ahead towards finale.
Though an immunity or team challenge win still elude her, Adelaide’s Laura has consistently shown the depth of her knowledge and skills, tasting Mystery Box success twice and tackling Pressure Tests without breaking a sweat. Now owner and chef of a pasta bar, Laura has plated up mouth-watering pasta dishes showcasing her rich Italian heritage during the competition, but proven that she’s no one trick pony, with complex desserts, fine-dining dishes, seafood and beyond having been served up to the judges.
To say that Poh’s time in the MasterChef kitchen for Back To Win has been a roller coaster is putting it lightly. Poh has pushed herself to the limit in almost every challenge, be it with time, ingredient or flavour combinations and has taken the audience on a seat-of-your-pants ride along with her. She has often paid homage to her Malaysian Chinese roots with dishes like Vegetarian Dan Dan Noodles or Duck Rendang with Coconut Pandan Lace Crepe and Chilled Pickle, which wowed Katy Perry and won her the coveted immunity. Having been in battle for immunity for four weeks running, Poh’s current form is hot and as the one who has waited the longest time to do so, she is most definitely Back To Win.
Newcastle’s Reece's sweet creations that have caused a stir in the competition so far. He wowed the judges and guest chef Shannon Martinez with his vegan cake and sweet soy ice cream, recently hit another ice cream high point garnering perfect 10s across the board. He was memorably beside himself while cooking Rum Baba for surprise immunity guest judge Katy Perry, whose response to his dish was equally as memorable.
Having impressed with a number of savoury dishes, it remains that Reynold's sweet creations that have really wowed the judges and seen him awarded a top dish in mystery boxes three times, and most recently, winning immunity. His White Noise, Apple Pie and Cinnamon Parfait, Bali Sunrise and Down the Rabbit Hole dishes have all been prime examples of the jaw-dropping masterpieces he has become so well known for, leaving the judges and fellow contestants alike in awe of how he achieves such feats in tight time-frames.
Sydney’s Sarah Tiong is known for her South East Asian flavours and for her ability to balance flavours. A proven Mystery Box performer, Sarah has had top dishes on three occasions and took out immunity once early in the competition. She had a ball when Katy Perry visited the kitchen – cooking a trademark pork dish for the megastar and enjoying her own personal time-calls. Stand out dishes from Sarah include Whiting Stuffed Taro Deep Fried, Sweet and Sour Pork and Duck with Wild Rice, with some more unexpected plaudits coming from her sweet dishes.
As the most recent MasterChef alumni remaining in the competition, Queensland’s Tessa has used her highly developed skills to keep pace in the competition, impressing particularly with many of her favoured seafood dishes. From wowing Gordon Ramsay in the very first challenge, to drawing energy from a huge, cheering live audience when her Calamari and Scallops with Picked Cauliflower dish made her entire team safe, Tessa has been a considered performer throughout.
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MasterChef Australia, 7.30 Sunday - Thursday on 10 and 10 play