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MasterChef Australia locks in its Top 10

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MasterChef Australia’s Top 10 Class of 2016 is now complete.

With three immunity pins already awarded and high praise given by some of the most respected local and international guest chefs, including Marco Pierre White and Nigella Lawson, the calibre of the 2016 contestants continues to impress.

This season has delivered some of the most technically complicated elimination challenges ever seen in the eight-year history of MasterChef Australia and judges Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston have been wowed by the contestants’ skills and determination.

Ten remarkable cooks remain and with the coveted title of Australia’s MasterChef 2016 up for grabs and some amazing guest chefs still to come – including Heston Blumenthal, Peter Gilmore and Curtis Stone – the stage is now set for intense competition in the run home to Finals Week and The Grand Final.

Here are the MasterChef Australia Class of 2016 Top 10:
Brett Carter, 43, Western Australia

Brett has twice led his team to victory and the airline captain’s cooking confidence continues to grow. He has faced elimination only twice in the competition so far. It was during a pressure test with guest chef Jason Atherton that this father of two realised how much inspiration he gets from his daughters. Brett’s dishes have been tasted in two mystery box challenges, one leading to an immunity cook off, in which his éclairs were only narrowly beaten.

Chloe Bowles, 24, Queensland

A veteran of six eliminations, Chloe has proved not just that she is a survivor, but that she has the skills to go far in the competition. The recipient of a coveted immunity pin, Chloe came very close to becoming the first contestant in the history of MasterChef Australia to wear two immunity pins at once. Loving desserts that mix sweet and savoury flavours, Chloe is a two-time mystery box winner and had a memorable moment when Nigella Lawson asked for one of her recipes. Matt Preston declared her apple pie jaffle as not only the best jaffle in Australia, but the best jaffle in the world.

Elena Duggan, 32, New South Wales

Having impressed Nigella Lawson on her first day in the kitchen, Elena’s creativity also caught Maggie Beer’s eye when she plated up a unique dish featuring gluten-free noodles and abalone. Elena’s Spanish pork and rice was applauded by the judges as being one of the best they have ever eaten in the competition. Elena teamed with Theresa to produce the dish of the day during the Curtis Stone degustation challenge and by making ugly box ingredients beautiful, she went on to win the relay team challenge and have her first cook for an immunity pin.

Elise Franciskovic, 28, Queensland

With the most elimination and pressure test survivals (seven) under her belt, Elise has showcased her skills with sweets throughout the competition. She excelled during guest chef Anna Polyviou’s Anna’s Mess pressure test and impressed Luke Nguyen so much with her caramel cricket parfait that she became the first winner of the power apron. Captaining her team to victory in the Chinese New Year challenge, Elise also won praise for her seashell inspired dish.

Harry Foster, 22, Queensland

Having survived an early elimination in week two, Harry impressed Nigella Lawson and Matt Preston with his chocolate “brookies”, before taking on professional chef Lachlan Colwill and narrowly missing out on an immunity pin. Having won his Masterchef Australia apron with a lobster dish, Harry is regarded as the competition’s resident seafood specialist. But it was his inventive way of serving up Korean fried chicken to his idol Luke Nguyen that saw him come very close to winning a power apron.

Heather Day, 32, South Australia

With a track record of mystery box success, Heather impressed Nigella Lawson so much that she won the chance to influence her invention test. Her success in Nigella Week continued when she captained her team to victory during the fete challenge. She was also thrilled to have her dish tasted by her hero Luke Nguyen. Nailing her first pressure test with celebrity chef Flynn McGarry’s beet wellington this week, Heather has shown herself to be both focused and determined to stay in the game.

Matt Sinclair, 27, Queensland

Matt, a coffee roaster from Noosa, has come close to going home on five occasions. It is when fighting to stay that he has produced some of his best dishes, impressing both Marco Pierre White and Nigella Lawson during elimination cooks. Nigella commenting that his carrot cake was everything a home-baked cake should be. When Matt’s hot and sour prawn head broth attracted three scores of nine from the judges, he and Chloe walked away with immunity pins. Cooking for his idol Luke Nguyen was a highlight and he showed the judges even more versatility when his carrot tortellini wowed to secure his Top 10 spot.

Mimi Baines, 26, Victoria

The product manager from Melbourne has been a consistent performer, impressing equally with sweet and savoury dishes. A kiss on the cheek from her food hero Nigella Lawson for her chocolate tart was a highlight, as was having the chance to cook Nigella a midnight snack. Having only faced elimination on four occasions, each time she has grown in confidence and pulled out a dish to impress, in particular, her beetroot parfait, which delighted the judges.

Theresa Visintin, 44, New South Wales

Having survived two early eliminations, Theresa bowed out of the competition in week five, undone by Jason Atherton’s intricate quail afternoon tea dish. By keeping her head in the game and gaining work experience, this mum of three won a spot back into the competition, wowing the judges with her winter dessert. Since returning, she has taking possession of the power apron and then teamed with Elena to create the dish of the day during Curtis Stone’s degustation challenge. She impressed with a seafood dish using the ugly box ingredients and in her first pressure test since re-joining the competition, she nailed Flynn McGarry’s beet wellington dish.

Trent Harvey, 29, New South Wales

A team player who has been on the winning team four times over, Trent has been a regular in mystery box tastings and has battled it out in round one for immunity on two occasions. While a pumpkin rotolo secured his spot in the Top 10, it was his seared beef fillet which drew him the highest praise so far, with Matt Preston saying that the dish was one of the 10 best things he has eaten all year.

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