MasterChef Australia Farewells Daniel In Semi-Final As Billie & Sarah Secure Grand Finale Spots

The MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites semi-final was like no other on Monday night, where Sarah Todd, Billie McKay and Daniel Lamble went head-to-head for a spot in the grand finale.
The final three contestants were tasked with a service challenge where they each had to prepare their own three-course menu for 20 diners plus the judges Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen.
Image courtesy of Channel 10
Time is of the essence, especially this close to the end, with the contenders having four hours until their entrées needed to start leaving the kitchen. From there, they had 45 minutes per course to send out all their plates.
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Celebrity chef Shannon Bennett returned to the reality TV franchise as a guest mentor to provide advice and moral support throughout the intense cook. Plus, all of the previous contestants — a combination of fans and favourites — returned to watch from the gantry.

What did the contestants cook?

Entrees:

Billie McKay cooked Mussels with Pea & Horseradish Soup. Daniel Lamble cooked Lemon Myrtle Cured Kingfish with Coconut Emulsion, Charred and Pickled Red Onion and Paperbark Oil. Sarah Todd cooked Scampi with Curry Consommé, Salsa.

Mains:

While Billie managed to get her main courses out in a timely manner, Sarah and Daniel didn't serve anything until half an hour after they were meant to.
Billie cooked Apricot Duck with Roasted Radicchio. The judges weren't so impressed with the duck being overcooked, but Melissa complimented the apricot element, saying, "I love the freshness and the tartness in her apricot puree.
"It sort of has this sharpness that it needs and it almost gives the dish its fresh element that kind of brings everything together."
Daniel whipped up BBQ Coral Trout with Coastal Curry Sauce.
"It's sort of somewhere in the middle for me," said judge Mel. "The curry sauce is not perfectly balanced. The fish, the skin, not an overly pleasing thing. I'm a little bit disappointed, I'm a little bit left wanting here."
Sarah made Lamb, Saag and Spiced Jus which incorporated Indian flavours and French cooking techniques.
"It was worth the wait," said Andy. "The lamb is cooked perfectly. But for me, the stars — weirdly —is not the lamb loin at all. I really enjoyed that saag and pairing that with that spiced jus, it is genius."
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Desserts:

Billie put her stunning dessert skills to great use with her own version of a lamington.
"That was a cracking dish, I absolutely loved it," said Jock. "A really, really different take on a lamington. The chocolate mousse [has] great flavour, really nice aeration through the mousse. Beautiful little centre to that cherry. And then round the outside, that feuilletine all crumbled up with the coconut snow. I mean, there's nothing to complain about here."
Sarah served Masala Chai Pears with Chocolate Mousse and Ginger Crumb for dessert. The judges noted some positives and negatives to the sweet treat.
"This is a great dessert," said Jock. "I loved the spice combination that's going on in it — tastes fantastic. It's got that touch of Sarah that she does.... that spice. It's really good, but the pear, it's undercooked."
Daniel cooked Pineapple Tarte Tatin with Rum Caramel. Unfortunately he wasn't able to nail his coconut sorbet after leaving it in the blast chiller too long.
"It's a dessert that kind of exemplifies his cook," said Andy. "It's great on paper and a great idea, but the execution just isn't there."

The Verdict:

The judges made it clear that because it was a service challenge, it was disappointing that Sarah and Daniel's mains were served late. Then they provided feedback on the food itself.
Daniel and Sarah's entrees were a hit but Billie's fell short. When it came to the mains, "unfortunately, none of your dishes were flawless" said Andy. And as for the desserts, Melissa said Billie's lamington was perfect. Unfortunately Sarah's pears were undercooked and Daniel's dessert was not his "finest cook" according to Mel.
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Ultimately, it was Daniel who was sent packing and it came down to his dessert. "While the flavours were good, the execution was well off the mark," said Mel.
"This, combined with the fact that two of your dishes were served late is the reason why, I'm so sorry Daniel, you're going home."
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Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia: Fans and Favourites grand finalists Billie McKay and Sarah Todd
Going through to the grand finale is Billie McKay (Season 5) and Sarah Todd (Season 6) where the winner will be announced.
The previously eliminated contestants are Julie Goodwin (Season 1), Alvin Quah (Season 2) Sashi Cheliah (Season 10), Michael Weldon (Season 3), Christina Batista (Season 5), John Carasig (Season 7), Aldo Ortado (Season 10), Mindy Woods (Season 4), Minoli De Silva (Season 13), Tommy Pham (Season 13), Ali Stoner, Jenn Lee, Chris Tran, Keyma Vasquez Montero, Dulan Hapuarachchi, Harry Tomlinson, Matt Landmark, Max Krapivsky, Melanie PerssonMontana Hughes and Steph Woon.
The MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites finale will air on Tuesday, July 12 at 7:30pm on Channel 10 and 10 Play.
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