A SWEET note from his girlfriend and a tricky dessert fouled Ben MacDonald's chances of winning MasterChef tonight.
The former IT consultant from Brisbane was in top form going into the mystery box challenge, which saw him plate up a dish using ingredients chosen by his girlfriend Robyn.
"I was surprised by the ingredients she chose. They're all things I've cooked many times, but I struggled to come up with a dish worthy of finals week with those ingredients," MacDonald told APN.
"Having read the letter first, it was pretty full-on.
"To get a letter like that when you're not expecting it just makes you realise how much you miss your significant others and also how hard it is on them."
In the second round MacDonald, Laura Cassai and Jamie Fleming were asked to recreate a devilish banana and coffee parfait dessert created by three of the country's top pastry chefs.
"They're all amazing chefs but I've done a lot of desserts on the show so I felt positive about it," he said.
"I thought I cooked really well and I was really calm in the first half, but it came down to very small things in the end and that's life in the MasterChef kitchen."
The 36-year-old was the only Queenslander left on the reality cooking show, which will crown its 2014 winner next Monday, July 28.
"I'm really proud of how far I got but I went in with intention of winning and I thought I had the ability to do it, so I'm disappointed I didn't win," he said.
"There was a lot more I had to show but I didn't get the opportunity and that's fine. I'll find an avenue after MasterChef."
MacDonald, who quit his job to go on the show, is already doing work experience at Brisbane's Stokehouse and plans to start up his own intimate dining business.
"I'm launching the Hard to Find Supper Club, which is an intimate 15-30 people multi-course dining experience either borrowing people's restaurants or finding unique places to do it," he said.
"I want people to come try some innovative food in social, casual environment.
"I'm going to start in Brisbane but if there's interest in other places we can take it to other places as well. A few of the other contestants are interested."
He won't tip a winner, saying there's a certain amount of luck involved in winning MasterChef challenges.
"You need some luck to win this competition," he said.
"After what happened tonight I'm not going to pick it. Those guys are all so good. It comes down to who wants it the most and which challenges they are given."
MasterChef finals week continues tomorrow at 7.30pm on Channel 10.