Dish debacle puts team on brink

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It’s been dubbed “chickengate”.

During last night’s episode of MasterChef Australia, Hunter contestant Steph De Sousa was appointed captain for the second team challenge of season 11.

The 20 remaining contestants were greeted by the judges at the State Library of Victoria and divided into two teams, which then had to take inspiration from an historical recipe for a state reception.

For Steph’s team – burgundy – it was a 1950s state reception for the Queen, while the other side – purple – needed to cater a 1920s state reception for Edward, Prince of Wales.

The burgundy team served up whiting in a butter grapefruit sauce with a herb salad for an entrée, before the main dish of chicken maryland, pea puree, chicken jus and tarragon oil.

This was where they ran into trouble.

“We may have served some raw chicken, which was very embarrassing, but we recovered, put the oven on a very high temperature, and finished it off,” Steph tells Newcastle Weekly.
“There were lots of problems with the whiting dish – we underestimated how difficult it would be to get it cooked perfectly.
“With the chicken, I remember thinking that it didn’t look as brown as it should.
“Under that pressure, you just have to trust your team, and it came back to bite us.”

Despite a well-received dessert dish, made up of almond, coffee and cherry bombe alaska, Steph’s team went into tonight’s elimination round (Thursday 16 May).

The mother-of-four, who hails from Tasmania originally, says she has always been passionate about food.

However, it was when her young family moved to Vanuatu that Steph developed a true love for scratch cooking.

The term refers to making food using basic ingredients, rather than buying meals already prepared.

“We lived over [in Vanuatu] for a couple of years – you couldn’t just go to the supermarket over there and buy whatever you want, so we had to eat from the local markets and buy our own products that way,” Steph says.
“I’ve since been using scratch cooking throughout my whole life – it’s really cost-effective, especially when you have four kids.”

When she’s not cooking, Steph practices daily yoga and lives by the mantra she once heard from swimming great Kieran Perkins – find what you love and do it eight hours a day. 

MasterChef Australia airs on Network 10 from 7.30pm, Sunday to Thursday.

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