MasterChef fans in tears over star’s exit

 

 

MasterChef fans said a sad goodbye to a season favourite last night, with "Dumpling King" Brendan Pang hanging up his apron after an intense two-round elimination.

But no contestant looked more devastated than Brendan's competition bestie Reece, who looked shocked then deflated by the news.

 

Reece Hignell’s reaction was all of us at home. Picture: Channel 10.
Reece Hignell’s reaction was all of us at home. Picture: Channel 10.

 

The Dumpling King has left the kitchen. Picture: Channel 10.
The Dumpling King has left the kitchen. Picture: Channel 10.

The star chef, 27, dished up a seafood noodle creation that just missed the mark after changing his plan to serve dumplings balanced with at least one ingredient from each of the five display pantries - salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami.

While his dish was "full of umami", according to the judges, he was outshone by Tessa Boersma's scarlet prawns, Emelia's unusual vegemite-infused dessert and Reynold's perfectly-balanced (but slightly underwhelming) duck with pickled beetroot and date puree.

It had been an emotional cook for Brendan - whose close friendship and kitchen banter with fellow contestant Reece has become a talking point of the Back to Win season.

Usually upbeat Reece looked utterly devastated by the judges’ decision. Picture: Channel 10.
Usually upbeat Reece looked utterly devastated by the judges’ decision. Picture: Channel 10.

After Brendan failed to correctly identify lime in the cube taste test challenge, instead locking in pomelo as his answer, he was sent to the second round cook, in which contestants were tasked with creating "perfectly balanced" dishes.

Panicking as he prepared his seafood dish, Brendan seemed unable to channel his nerves, and when he set his plate down for tasting, he broke down in tears.

"Are you more confident now than you were a month ago?" Jock Zonfrillo had asked.

"I doubt myself a lot," Brendan, who came ninth on MasterChef in 2018, said as his eyes welled.

"It's really hard coming back for a second time, but you guys have made it worthwhile," he added with a whisper, desperately trying to fight back his tears.

Judge Jock Zonfrillo said Brendan’s dish was overpowered by umami flavours.
Judge Jock Zonfrillo said Brendan’s dish was overpowered by umami flavours.

 

Brendan grew emotional as he chatted with the judges. Picture: Channel 10.
Brendan grew emotional as he chatted with the judges. Picture: Channel 10.


"Normally we love umami in bucketloads, but on a day that was all about balance, unfortunately there was one dish that elevated it way to far above the others," Jock explained when delivering the news.

Responding, Brendan said: "I can't feel anything right now," prompting Melissa to issue an emotional farewell.

"You came back to win with a very clear idea of who you are and what you want to cook, and you showed us that in spades.

"We haven't been standing here very long, but I am 100 per cent sure that we have eaten the best dumplings that this kitchen has ever seen," she said, adding: "We feel a lot of love for you. You will be missed, and we cannot wait to come and see you when this is over."

Brendan runs Chinese-Mauritian dumpling restaurant Bumplings in Perth.

He has also written an aptly-titled cookbook: This is a Book About Dumplings.

 

 

 

 

 

MasterChef continues on Channel 10 at 7.30pm on Monday night

 

 

Originally published as MasterChef fans in tears over star's exit


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