'Never Want To See Another Pea Again': Darrsh Clarke Eliminated In A Pressure Test From Shell

It was a dish fit for a king, but Guillaume Brahimi's pressure test challenged three chefs to their limits.

On Tuesday night, Harry, Sav and Darrsh were each fighting for a spot in the Top 5 for 2024, and all that was standing in their way was the French legend, Guillaume Brahimi.

After revealing Guillaume's Royale of peas with duo of crab, tarragon mayonnaise, caviar and fried mussel, the judges also explained that each chef would have to make five finished dishes, all identical in their plating.

"Seeing it for the first time, I didn't really know what to expect," Darrsh told 10 Play. "When they said we had to make five, that's when I was like okay, it's going to be a really hard cook today and I need to give myself time because time management in the last pressure test I was in made me a bit unstuck," he said.

"That was something I was hyper-conscious about, with a dish like that presentation was everything."

Early in the cook, Darrsh was smashing through the recipe but there were concerns that in his efforts to rush ahead, he was missing vital steps to imbue flavour and be meticulous with details. Then it came time to prep 90 peas to dot around the perimeter of each dish.

"I mean, I never want to see another pea again," he laughed. "It's a mental game at that point. I remember my thumbs were sore, my lower back was sore. You're just focusing on getting these peas done and it's just quiet.

"Sav and Harry, I think we were all at the same point of getting these peas on the plate, getting them shucked. Even though your body's hurting, it's who wants it more to be in the top five."

With the pointy end of the competition so close, it was a desperate race to get each dish plated up, and as time began to tick down, Darrsh had to sacrifice some of the finesse to make sure he was able to serve up five plates to the judges.

"I don't know if the clock moves faster in the last fifteen minutes," he joked, "it was a mad rush. I was throwing mussels onto the plate at the very last second. They've given us time that is reasonable to do the challenge but it's amazing how many times it's exactly down to the last second that you get the plate finished.

"I was really happy that I got five plates up," he added. "The quality of all the elements I did get on [the plate] was not the best but I was really happy I got everything on the plate.

"I was a bit concerned about my presentation but, at the end of your cook, you don't know how the other two have gone either so I was just stoked with where I was at. I was stoked to get everything on the plate."

In the mad frenzy to get five plates finished, Darrsh's consommé was murky, his plating was inconsistent and unfortunately, there were shell pieces through his crab meat. Sadly, it was Darrsh's turn to hang up his apron, a moment where he was overwhelmed with emotions.

"Once we got past the top 10, and Hong Kong, you can see the finish line," he said. "There's disappointment, but there's also pride. Top six is nothing to be disappointed about, and you get a bit reflective of the whole experience, meeting amazing people and trying not to be too hard on yourself."

During the season, Darrsh emerged as the master of sweets, often opting to plate up a pastry or dessert for the judges. "I've always had a sweet tooth," he told 10 Play, "I remember on school holidays mum would send me to my grandparents' place and my grandma would always be baking cakes. I used to get into her icing stash she'd have in her freezer and just eat pure icing," he laughed.

"I loved sweet food and the concept of baking cakes, it's kind of like magic," he continued.

But with the competition's emphasis on time constraints and challenges that require magic to happen very, very quickly, Darrsh admitted that one of his biggest concerns going into the MasterChef kitchen.

"As you get more comfortable you learn little techniques, tips and tricks - that's what the competition is for - you learn and pick those up along the way," he said. "There were some dishes I put up, the Paris Brest or the PB&J Cruller that I was like, there's no way I could have done that on day one. I'm super proud that I could do them."

And it wasn't just his pastry skills he was able to flex in the kitchen, having tackled many challenges where he plated up savoury dishes Darrsh now feels more versatile with savoury dishes, with an appetite to pursue both now that he's back in the real world.

Looking back, Darrsh said that he wished he was able to show the judges one dish fusing Sri Lankan and modern Australian cuisines and techniques together.

In a particularly memorable moment earlier in the season, Darrsh served the judges a curry that meant so much more to him. In that moment, he opened up about the power of food, and how it had allowed him to embrace his heritage.

"It was a big moment for me to live it and to watch it back, and then also the support that I got online from the massive Sri Lankan and South Indian -- any immigrant families that have come to Australia -- huge, huge support network. The support that I got was incredible and it validated what I experienced as a kid growing up, and it meant a lot that what I did, and that reclamation of heritage on screen, resonated with a lot of people. It was a massive moment for me," Darrsh said.

"I think, sometimes, people can watch the show and go yeah, it's reality TV. But, at the end of the day, it was a real moment that I had, that Poh had experienced, that a lot of Australians -- first or second-generation Australians -- experienced coming from different cultures," he continued. "It's such a necessity and a gateway for a lot of people to be proud of your heritage."

MasterChef Australia continues Sunday - Wednesday at 7.30 pm on 10 and 10 Play