MasterChef: Dessert Masters

He always looked either really pissed or super depressed on most of the shows he’s appeared in. He might be a big name in the cooking circles but he’s otherwise a bore on TV.

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The show will make its NZ debut on TVNZ 2 on Monday, December 4 at 7.30pm.

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Jingle Bells, Contestant Farewells.

Anna Polyviou and Andy Bowdy Eliminated From Dessert Masters.

Tonight, the contestants entered the kitchen to find a Christmas wonderland and as Mel and Amaury welcomed the contestants, Curtis Stone walked in with a sack full of presents. Playing Santa, Cutis gifted each contestant a fruit that had to feature in their Christmas inspired dish.

It wasn’t all tidings of comfort and joy through, as it was revealed that two contestants would soon be eliminated.

Kay-Lene was gifted bananas and stepped way out of her comfort zone by baking a cake. Despite a precarious moment when it nearly collapsed, Amaury said her cake visually captured Christmas and praised her speed and skill. Curtis acknowledged how hard it was to add banana into a Christmas dessert.

Reynold had to highlight passionfruit and decided to make a Christmas bauble that required a perfect sugar glass sphere. The decision to play his pin or not was based entirely on the success of this element and while the first two failed, the third looked great, keeping the pin in place. He went on to coat the sphere in chocolate and began filling it with cream which proved much too thick, splitting it in two. Not letting his pride get in the way, he immediately pulled the pin from his chest in the last moments of the cook and retreated to the safety of the gantry.

Gifted strawberries, Andy took on a family-sized traditional trifle that reflected what Christmas meant to him. The risk, however, was in the presentation, or lack thereof. In recent cooks, Amaury has pushed Andy to elevate his presentation to show mastery of more than one skill set but Andy still presented his trifle in the traditional way. Upon tasting, Mel noted that the dish looked like a festive good time, but with so much going on and in comparison to the other desserts presented, Andy created one of the two bottom desserts.

With blackberries to highlight, Anna wanted to show the judges her softer side by creating a trifle with a Greek twist that represented her family. While it looked festive and the judges enjoyed the flavour of olive oil sorbet, the frozen gel element was not enjoyed by any of the judges. Plus, on a day when the judges were expecting festive generosity, Anna fell short by serving just one champagne glass of dessert to be shared by the three, resulting in a lack of consistency in the eating experience.

Dessert Masters. Continues Tomorrow At 7.30pm On 10 And 10 Play.

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Faaaaaaaaaaark that was really hard to watch :sob:

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Kirsten Tibbals bird cage collapsing tonight was one of the most devastating moments I’ve seen on MasterChef. What a shame as I think she would’ve otherwise taken out this competition. She is incredible.

A Nature Challenge That Saw Two Contestants Leaf.

Kay-Lene Tan And Kirsten Tibballs Eliminated From Dessert Masters.

Tonight, contestants entered a beautiful forest scene in the Dessert Masters kitchen for a semi-final that would leave only three grand finalists remaining. The contestants had to take inspiration from the forest around them and bring the judges a sweet dish inspired by nature in only three hours.

Reynold chose to create a chocolate log in a rainforest. He knew his biggest challenge was balancing the fragrant flavours he was working with and courageously, he recreated the sugar tuilles from the Martin Benn pressure test that sent him home from the semi-final in MasterChef season 12. At tasting, Amaury thought Reynold hit the visual and flavour brief.

Jess’s ambitious concept was a realistic looking bonsai tree with flavours that reflected the Japanese theme: matcha, yuzu and black sesame. She worked at a frantic pace and the final dish was nothing short of incredible. The judges complimented the light sponge and the contrast of texture with the black sesame and the yuzu mousse.

Gareth chose to create a riverbed scene with stones, twigs and soil. He took a significant risk with the flavour profile using two savoury ingredients, truffle and Jerusalem artichoke. Amaury wasn’t sold on the flavours but Gareth was confident his sweet elements would offset the earthiness. Upon tasting, Amaury liked the visual impact of the dish, but both he and Mel felt it was still very savoury, leaving Gareth at risk of elimination.

Kay-Lene made a dish inspired by the changing seasons playing on the imagery of white snow melting away. Not wanting to take any risks tonight, she worked hard to get all her elements perfectly finished. When tasting, Amaury thought the dish was beautifully crafted, but looked and tasted dry. As delicious as the elements were, the ratios of dry to moist weren’t right, which ultimately led to Kay-Lene’s elimination from the competition.

Kirsten set out to create her most ambitious dish yet; involving a chocolate and passionfruit entremet surrounded by a chocolate birdcage sculpture. With just two minutes to go she moved her assembled birdcage onto the plate, but it hit the side of the bench and collapsed before her eyes. All contestants ran to comfort an understandably emotional Kirsten who knew that this mistake could cost her a place in the competition. Tasting the entremets, the judges complemented her perfect glaze and neat, stacked layers. The flavours were well balanced but given the three-hour challenge, the entremet without the birdcage was not enough, unfortunately sending the chocolate queen home.

Dessert Masters. Continues Tomorrow At 7.30pm On 10 And 10 Play.

I was absolutely devastated for her. Such a kind and loving lady.

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Apparently there were former MasterChef contestants among the 45 diners in tonight’s service challenge (each contestant had to serve 15 diners plus Melissa and Amaury).

EDIT: I saw Alice Zaslavsky and Dani Venn.

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From Season 11, Tim (Prince Harry look a like)

Anonymous No More.

Gareth Whitton From Tarts Anon Is Crowned The First Ever Dessert Master.

Tonight, Gareth Whitton was crowned the first ever winner of Dessert Masters, walking away with the inaugural title and a sweet, sweet $100,000.

The night saw three finalists - Jess Liemantara, Gareth Whitton and Reynold Poernomo - battle it out in a two-course sweet service challenge, feeding 15 diners and the judges in four hours.

Gareth decided to create harmonious flavours between his two courses by incorporating indigenous ingredients into both of his dishes. For course one, he made an elevated ‘Rhubarb Tart’ with lemon verbena and pepperberry. For his second course, Gareth created a ‘Wattleseed and Chocolate Mousse’ entremet. During the rush of the cook, he cut his finger which cost him precious time, but he rushed to catch up.

Jess decided to lead with a berry theme for her menu. For her first course she created ‘Not So Strawberries and Cream’, which featured a coconut sorbet, strawberry chiboust with a strawberry gel insert and balsamic strawberries. Worry struck when her chiboust texture wasn’t quite right, but she had no time to remake it. For her second course, Jess wanted to show how far she had come since her first appearance on MasterChef, recreating the ‘Pink Petal’ dish from season 12. The judges were concerned at her plan to prepare 50 petals for each dessert – 850 in total, but she was determined. Eventually, she resigned to scale each dish back to a more achievable 20 petals per plate. Upon plating her blackberry sorbet, Jess realised that she left it in the blast freezer for too long, putting its texture at risk.

Reynold finally made it to a grand finale after coming so close in season 12. He decided to elevate two of his best desserts from his restaurant, KOI Experiential. His first course, ‘Floral’, featured a feijoa cremeaux, strawberries, jasmine gelato, with a delicate sugar flower and yuzu jelly on top, as well as two types of snow: elderflower sake and strawberry. For his second course, Reynold made ‘Milk and Honey’, including citrus crème fraiche in a honeycomb mould, and orange blossom gelato. Throughout the cook Reynold struggled to unmould his crème fraiche element without them breaking and settled on a batch with a thicker layer, compromising on his vision.

At tasting, the theatre of Jess’ ‘Not So Strawberries and Cream’ was complimented, however Mel sensed a bit of haste in the plating. Amaury’s dish was missing the strawberry gel insert inside the chiboust, so while the coconut sorbet was refreshing, he did not have the same eating experience as Melissa. Jess’ ‘Pink Petal’ was stunning despite the reduced number of petals. For Amaury, the mousse was light, fruity and not overly sweet and he admired the chocolate cake, but noted the texture of the sorbet was a little grainy. Mel thought the dish delivered Jess the redemption she was seeking. Jess earned herself a strong 27/40 for her incredible effort.

Reynold’s ‘Floral’ was highly complimented. Mel and Amaury loved the look of his dish and thought the flavours were very clever, however Amaury noted that overall the dish was a bit too cold. Melissa loved Reynold’s ‘Milk and Honey’ dish, praising him for creating a beautifully fragrant dessert that was not overly sweet. Amaury unfortunately didn’t find the dessert to his liking as all the elements were frozen; noting he would have liked to see contrast in both temperature and texture. Reynold achieved an admirable 28/40 from the judges.

Gareth’s ‘Rhubarb Tart’ was what Amaury called his favourite type of dessert, and Mel referred to it as almost faultless, noting it was smart, solid cooking. In course two, Gareth’s ‘Wattleseed and Chocolate Mousse’ was instantly celebrated. Amaury could tell just how much work had gone into this dish. Mel agreed, noting that while his mix of flavours seemed odd, it just worked. Gareth was awarded an incredible 35/40, earning him the title of Australia’s first ever Dessert Master.

Reflecting on the win, Gareth said: "I couldn’t be happier to have been asked to be involved in the very first Dessert Masters, and to come out the other side with the chocolates makes it that much sweeter. I always knew that I was somewhat of an underdog coming into this competition, however I knew that a few unique skills and years of tough restaurant work could be enough to shake things up.

“The relationships that I have made in this competition will stay with me forever. I have forged some professional and personal connections that have made this experience one of the most enjoyable and constructive in my career, and the inspiration and friendship my fellow contestants and the judges provided, has motivated me in ways that words can’t describe.”

I was very surprised with the result. I thought Reynold had a good chance to win given he owns KOI dessert bar, so he has extensive experience of serving so many customers at the same time. But he and Jess made mistakes during preparation which cost them valuable points. I hope Reynold and Jess will come back next year.

Did anyone notice that every episode of this season was filmed at night? Was it due to some contestants having to work during the day? The late finish meant the contestants were not able to leave the MC kitchen until early hours of the morning.

Thankfully he didnt.

Gareth was a very worthy winner. Great series all round. More please!

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Good ratings for the grand final with the Winner Announced breaking through the 500k mark. This series shows that viewers will tune in for new (even if derived) reality formats despite several recent failures from all networks.

The show had high production values, but also a clearly defined format that is easy to understand without any producer contrived trickery. It was also clearly not afraid to boot out favourite contestants despite their reputation or viewer appeal.


Jess and Reynold both made long posts on Instagram after the finale aired last night. In particular, Reynold stated the reason he took part in the show.

It has been quite challenging to even gain the attention of the food media in Australia. Going 8 years of never being reviewed or winning an award, is the reason why I’ve chosen to come back on and put myself out there for the world to see as well as challenge myself amongst peers.

Jess’s post

Reynold’s post

Winner interview

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I liked Reynold but man, what a baby. How pathetic. Don’t let the plane door hit you on your way out!

Oh dang, I really liked Reynold and Jess too. I think he’s becoming a bit of a diva. Lol

I think maybe his comment has been taken out of context, sure he’s upset about coming runner up and having not won previously, but he conceded

"it was still a great opportunity for me to showcase my craft on Dessert Masters because it’s the biggest platform to showcase what my family and I have built.”

But didn’t he showcase it already on MasterChef Australia.
Regardless if he was a contestant.