Tonight’s Pressure Test dish proved to be a fish-flavoured nightmare for contestant Nick Doyle.
Contestants Nick Doyle, Sean Baxter and Sarah Todd had just two hours to recreate Lake House owner and executive chef Alla Wolf-Tasker’s “Rivers and Lakes” speciality.
The dish was a complex celebration of seafood which featured carpaccio of smoked eel, cured trout and cured Murray cod, smoked fish consommé jelly, fresh yabbies and fish crackling, with watercress puree and wild fennel.
George Calombaris said that this was probably one of the toughest Pressure Tests in the history of MasterChef Australia.
As a cook who acknowledges baking as his true passion, Nick had to contend with new equipment, new techniques and time pressures. His rough filleting saw him struggle to keep up, culminating in a hectic finish, while being cheered on by fellow contestants from the galley.
Nick was disappointed in his watercress puree, which he said looked like wet grass. During the tasting the judges noted he was missing elements and his plating was not as delicate as it should have been. While his curing of the fish and his mustard oil crème fraiche received high praise, his fish skin was leathery and floppy and his puree tasted as bad as it looked.
It was a challenge that pushed not only Nick but fellow competitors Sean and Sarah to their limit. Despite the close finish, Nick’s dish was the weakest and he was eliminated. Acknowledging it was the hardest thing he had ever done, Nick remained proud of his efforts.
Since leaving the MasterChef Australia kitchen, Nick has started a blog that marries his love of food and writing. He has also begun a catering business that focuses on baked goods.