Off the back of a dish that Marco Pierre White described as a “horror movie”, Bryon Finnerty found himself facing elimination tonight along with Amy Shields and Tash Shan.
The trio had to recreate a dish from White Heat, Marco’s seminal cookbook published 25 years ago. They had just 90 minutes to cook roast pigeon with a ravioli of mushrooms – and were painfully aware that Marco knew the dish inside out and would easily expose any errors.
Intimidated at the prospect of cooking for his food hero, Byron spent 20 minutes carefully reading and breaking down the recipe, putting himself behind the eight ball from the start.
Needing to multi-task to catch up, Byron quickly got onto his confit garlic, lentils and pasta dough, before starting the sauce which Marco had stressed was most important to bring the dish together. Marco hovered at Byron’s bench and pushed him to move through the tasks with more speed.
In the end, it was a race against the clock. Tash struggled to cook her lentils in time and Amy broke out in a sweat as she finished and plated her dish. Marco felt compelled to acknowledge the rising tension, telling Byron “If you panic, I’ll start to panic”. During the plating up, Byron scalded his hands trying to scoop his baby turnips out of boiling water.
Amy presented an exceptional dish and the judges were impressed. It was the closest to Marco’s original.
Byron’s dish was the most visually appealing of the three, however, in his rush to plate up he ran out of time to put enough sauce on the plate, the key element to bring the dish together. While Tash’s undercooked lentils brought her dish down, in the end Byron’s lack of sauce was his undoing.
It was an emotional farewell, but Byron was pleased to have found a clear direction for the first time in his life. He finally realised that he truly wants to be a chef and is inspired to pursue his future in food.
Marco shared kind words about Byron’s humility, commenting that “success is borne out of arrogance, but greatness comes from humility”. Gary, Matt and George echoed the sentiment, praising Byron’s attitude and tenacity in the MasterChef Australia competition.
Byron is continuing to develop his cooking skills, working in Philippa Sibley’s restaurant, Prix Fixe, and completing work experience at other Melbourne venues.