Tracy Collins’ dream run in MasterChef Australia is rolling on. Hard on the heels of securing the power apron and the ability to shape the competition last week, Tracy collected a coveted immunity pin tonight.
Triumphing over fellow South Australian contestants Colin Sheppard and Laura Cassai in round one by producing the best beer-snack, Tracy, 38, selected a chef to battle in round two.
Faced with Jason Jones from Melbourne’s Mamasita and B’stilla, and the two-hatted James Viles from Biota Dining, Tracy chose James. Winning the coin toss, Tracy decided to cook with “heads” ingredients (as opposed to “tails”) and had the choice of barramundi and prawn heads, beef cheeks, lambs brains, ox tongue, pigs’ ears and pork neck.
With 75 minutes of cooking time, Tracy opted for braised beef cheeks with pan-fried gnocchi. Beef cheeks need to be soft and tender when served. Tracy decided to use a pressure cooker – and narrowly avoided disaster when she realised the valve on the machine was open, leaving her meat uncooked. Thanks to meticulous plating, Tracy turned a potentially home-style dish into a restaurant quality meal.
A calm James cooked pork neck, hen yolk, onions and leek, employing many techniques for refined dish. The contestants were enthralled watching him cook lambs brains with cream to create a “brain shake”.
James’ dish was modern and beautiful, while Tracy’s was rustic, warm and wintry. With votes cast according to flavour, it was a tight finish. Tracy was crowned the winner by just one point.
Tomorrow night, MasterChef Australia heads to Victoria’s Great Ocean Road to prepare a banquet for a host of local producers in a team challenge.