‘Devastated’ MasterChef favourite booted
One hot favourite who was widely tipped to win MasterChef has left the competition before Monday night's finale.
Reynold Poernomo, who was the leading contender to take out MasterChef: Back to Win after winning immunity twice in the past two weeks, was beaten at the last hurdle by Emilia Jackson and Laura Sharrad during Sunday night's penultimate episode, in a gruelling dessert challenge made up of a whopping 113 steps.
For the semi-final challenge, three-hatted guest chef Martin Benn tasked the three contestants with making his Toffee Apple dessert, which he'd spent a decade finessing.
Reynold, Emilia and Laura were given three hours and 45 minutes to complete the technically difficult dish, which featured 10 different components.
At first it seemed Laura was going to be in trouble, as she struggled to peel the apple to the required length. In a sweet display of mateship, Emilia and Reynold stopped what they were doing to help her.
"I honestly can't believe... These people have come over and stopped what they're doing in what honestly could ruin their cooks to help me succeed," she said. "This would never happen anywhere else."
While Emilia and Laura glided through their cooks from that point, Reynold suffered a couple of setbacks: He left his leaf decorations in the oven too long and almost burned his caramel, though when it came time to present his dishes to the judges he was satisfied with his elements.
But the episode took an emotional turn when he was asked how the coronavirus crisis had impacted his family's hospitality businesses.
"My mum and dad are very hard workers. My brothers (are) as well," Reynold said.
"And it's one of those things, that no matter how hard my family works, something always kind of knocks us down," he added through tears.
Unfortunately the dish wasn't Reynold's best day in the kitchen, with all four judges agreeing his caramel was too sweet.
"Where I got unstuck was the bitterness of caramel. It wasn't as bitter as the others," judge Andy Allen said.
"The sweetness took over. I think he really went hard on that caramel early and it started to really burn around the outside, and he's diluted it with sugar again and it hasn't got the same depth of bitterness all the way through it.
Martin agreed, saying "The difference is when you don't make that caramel bitter enough, it becomes lollipop sweet."
Emilia and Laura's dishes were both nearly perfect flavour-wise, while Laura faulted slightly on presentation.
Emilia was the first to be sent through to the grand final, with judge Jock Zonfrillo declaring her dish was "within 10 per cent" of replicating Martin's.
Jock then said Laura's dessert was the next best dish, before announcing Reynold was going home.
In a rare moment of emotion, Reynold turned his back on the cameras, breaking down in tears.
Judge Melissa Leong lifted his spirits in her trademark style with a striking appraisal.
"Reynold, to us you embody what this competition is all about," she said.
"Your obsession with excellence and your relentless pursuit for perfection makes you one of the brightest and most promising stars of the MasterChef universe, as well as in the Australian food industry."
Reynold admitted he was "devastated" to be leaving.
"I really did believe I could win," he said.
MasterChef: Back to Win grand final airs Monday 7.30pm on Channel 10
Originally published as 'Devastated' MasterChef favourite booted