‘So Sure I Wasn’t Going Home’: Dulan Hapuarachchi Eliminated After Epic Zumbo Pressure Test

Despite sprinting through a marathon challenge, Adriano Zumbo’s latest culinary creation got the better of Dulan, ending his time in the MasterChef kitchen.

On Tuesday night, Dulan stood alongside Julie, Alvin and Max as the Sweet Assassin himself, Adriano Zumbo, walked through the doors of the MasterChef kitchen once again. Both Julie and Alvin had faced Zumbo’s challenges in the past, so they knew this would be no walk in the park.

“When that cloche opened I was like, yeah, I’m in trouble,” Dulan told 10 play, laughing.

Initially, when Zumbo revealed his dish Polly Wanna Waffle, Dulan assumed the four chefs would be making waffles.

GET THE RECIPE: Polly Wanna Waffle

“I’m like waffles? That’s not that hard! Then you realise they’re chocolate, they’re not waffles. It looked beautiful, something I’ve never seen before.”

Admittedly, the nerves didn’t hit Dulan right away. It wasn’t until the judges revealed the chefs only had four-and-a-half hours to recreate the dish, and seeing the stack of pages making up the recipe that it all became real.

One of the biggest challenges in the Pressure Test was tempering chocolate, following Zumbo’s precise instructions Dulan struggled to get his chocolate to the right temperature, losing him precious time early on in the challenge.

“I looked up and I was half an hour behind,” he explained, “Andy came up to me and was like, ‘At this rate you’re going be this much behind’, I was thinking, that’s okay! This is a marathon… people that are far in front of me will definitely have to slow down at one point because, unless you’re Zumbo, you have to slow down.”

Sure enough, with other chefs finding their own stumbling blocks, Dulan managed to catch up to the others. Despite perfectly tempering his chocolate, in his attempt to catch-up, his marshmallow component set-up faster than anticipated, making the precise layers and balance of flavours slightly out.

“That’s when I knew, okay unless someone else has a mistake that’s more significant than this, I might be in trouble. But I just kept telling myself it doesn’t matter, it’s going to get covered, you just need to keep going,” he said.

“If I got into the mindset of ‘I’m not going to finish this dish, it’s not going to look good’, that’s going to get me to not finish the dish,” Dulan added.

“I just kept telling myself to keep going, follow the steps. Just like that I caught up. I’m grateful that I was able to push through and I was super impressed in the end! I was actually pretty happy with the dish.”

Looking around at the finished product, Dulan admitted he was convinced he had done enough to save himself from elimination. Unfortunately, when the judges cut into the dish, having rushed a few of the more precise elements had thrown the balance of the dish out.

“I was like, nah I’ve got this! No way in hell I’m going home today,” he said, laughing. “Literally all throughout, until they announced my name, I had no idea. I was super, super surprised… I was so sure I wasn’t going home.”

Though his time in the kitchen was short, Dulan was disappointed he didn’t get more opportunities to show the judges more of the Sri Lankan food that he loves to cook.

Also, having experienced how much you can learn in just one Pressure Test, he had hoped to be thrown into a few more before hanging up his apron to continue learning as much as he could in the MasterChef kitchen.

“I wanted to show the judges what I can do, I feel like I wasn’t able to because my time was pretty short.

“But the worst dish of the day goes home, that’s just how it works in MasterChef. Everything happens for a good reason, so I. Just have to believe that!”

MasterChef Australia Fans & Favourites airs Sunday - Thursday at 7.30pm on 10 and 10 play on demand