MasterChef's Jess Never Thought She'd End Up in an Immunity Challenge — Let Alone Win One!
With Callum having won the first weekly Immunity Challenge and Sarah the second, and with Laura at least having competed in one last week, 21-year-old Jess seemed to be up against some formidable opponents.
The Challenge, led by guest judge Curtis Stone, started with a reverse auction, where the contestants had to pay for ingredients for their dish with time. While they had a collection of basics — no eggs or vinegar — at their benches, they wouldn't have access to the pantry, so they needed to bid on everything they could possibly need for their dishes. They were able to bid on one item from each category: protein, miscellaneous, fruit and veg, and herbs and spices.
Laura wound up with 45 minutes to cook tofu with leafy greens, vinegar and Indian spices; Sarah with 60 minutes for coral trout, root veg, citrus and Asian herbs; Callum with 75 minutes on chicken, nightshades, European herbs and corn; and Jess with 100 minutes for eggs, rice, stone fruits and Middle Eastern spices.
While the contestants in the gantry marvelled that Jess wouldn't just make a dessert with her eggs and stone fruits, she was determined to challenge herself by producing a savoury dish of sous vide egg with turmeric noodles, rice crisp and chilli oil. "If by 40 minutes things go to sh*t," Jess jibed to the judges, "I'll make an ice cream."
While there were plenty of cracked, undercooked and even boiled eggs on the way to her perfect sous vide egg, paired with her handmade egg noodles, she surprised everyone, making a dish judge Jock Zonfrillo described as "luxurious" — even though she was relying on plums to give it acidity!
Laura's uncooked tofu with leeks and spiced black vinegar got a special mention, before Curtis broke the good news to Jess. "Jess, we all loved your homemade noodles, we all loved the bold use of the egg, we all loved the aggressive chilli oil you served, but . . .," he paused for dramatic effect. "There is no but. You're the winner, well done."
Jess, fourth place in season ten, was shocked, standing in silence for a few moments. "You must be kidding, she said when pressed, gesturing towards the "strong cooks" beside her. "I can't believe it. Thank you."