Poh Says That Losing S1 of MasterChef Didn't Really Matter to Her, But Being Eliminated Was "Agonising" This Time Around
The season one runner-up slipped up in a two-round challenge set by guest chef Phil Wood from Mornington Peninsula's Pt. Leo Restaurant.
The first round was a Pressure Test from Phil, where the contestants had to replicate his Potatoes Duchess With Shiitake, Cauliflower and Salmon Roe in 75 minutes. Phil warned the contestants that the piping of the potato would need to be perfectly layered or it would fall over, and the reduction for the sauce would need to be absolutely perfect.
Phil warned Callum Hann about the size of his flame as he made his sauce, saying that his other elements wouldn't matter if the sauce wasn't spot-on. Callum struggled to balance the sauce and to pipe his potatoes correctly — he even accidentally spilled water into the sauce with only two minutes to go!
Walking into the Elimination, Poh talked about the strong contenders she was competing against, but during the first cook she vowed to not hesitate. But by the end of the cook, she was struggling with the time constraint and rushed her butter emulsion with a high heat and by adding too much butter too quickly. Her sauce split when she tried to blend it, which meant she would need to serve up an imperfect dish. Reece Hignell too struggled with his butter sauce splitting, and resigned himself to plating up something with an imperfect texture.
Laura Sharrad was very comfortable with her butter emulsion, even if it was too sweet, and Emelia Jackson felt confident with the French techniques, and they cruised onto the gantry to join immunity winner Reynold Poernomo.
In round two, Poh, Callum and Reece needed to make a sweet or savoury dish featuring cauliflower, mushrooms and/or potatoes in 75 minutes. While he admitted these ingredients were not in his "wheelhouse", Reece made a potato stack dessert, and refused to be intimidated by MasterChef veterans Poh and Callum. But he worried that his chocolate ice cream might overpower the flavour of the potatoes.
Callum made a mushroom broth with buckwheat noodles, while Poh was torn between two dishes — a "redemption" dish of culurgiones and a butter emulsion, or a Chinese mushroom dish that she worried was the easy way out. She stuck with her original idea but worried it might send her home. She ended up starting her emulsion with very little time to go, switching in the final moments to a burnt butter sauce. "Regret cooks never work for me!" she said, upset about her choice.
Unfortunately, she just couldn't compete with Callum's "near perfect plate of food", and Reece's delicious and ambitious potato stack. Instead, her cooking was described as "confused", featuring raw pasta and a rushed sauce. The other contestants were shocked and devastated to hear she would be leaving the competition.
Melissa Leong summed up everyone's feelings at this moment: "Poh, you are a national treasure. Every day we could be guaranteed we would get all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your love and all of your commitment. You have been part of the MasterChef Australia family since day one and it has been the greatest privilege to have you back in this kitchen and cooking with us."
"It's been everything that I wanted it to be," Poh reflected. "I'm a risk-taker and that's what happened today. I met my demise finally. But I had such a fantastic time. It's just been such a joy to cook with these guys and it's really humbling to be around them."
We're still reeling from this Elimination, but can't wait to see what Poh does next!
Read on for our interview with Poh: