Last week, contestants were faced with a traditional Kiwi dish: lamb, but not as we know it. Offal, kidneys and brains were all on the chopping block, as well as the contestants’ futures if they couldn’t stomach the unusual challenge.
“It was a great challenge and definitely added some shock value,” says Simon.
While many jaws dropped, he says it was certainly a fair taste of what the teams can expect from the realities of real-world working kitchens.
“To be a true MasterChef you have to know how to serve up any kind of dish that gets thrown your way. There are people who love brains and kidneys, so you need to be able to prepare them. You can’t just not cook something because you don’t like it!
“Overall I was really impressed that they all got into it. Of course there were a few who at first went ‘yuck!’ but they still gave it a good go.”
Surprisingly, it wasn’t a squeamish stomach that led to the second elimination. Ultimately, Matt and Courtney’s undercooked lamb and out-of-the-jar accompaniments saw them leave the show.
Just 24 hours later in Monday’s show, the judges said goodbye to another pair. In just one week, four contestants were sent home – an indication of how swiftly things can change.
“Things are moving so quickly in this season, but the quality of food we’re seeing is really high. I think it really shows on the telly. These guys have definitely stepped it up this season.”
The fierce competition served to highlight the simplicity of Fiona and Bronwyn’s main dish and dessert in the surprise fridge challenge. It came as a shock that they put forward such lacklustre dishes and Simon thought it was right that they left the show.
“I was really surprised by their dish, because they did show a lot of potential early on. But that dish of grilled veges was something that anyone could bash together, really. It was something that you’d expect to accompany a dish, not be the main event. It’s a shame, but there was some outstanding cooking and I can tell you, things definitely heat up from here!”