MasterChef contestant Jess Liemantara's dish being tasted by Matt Preston. Picture: Supplied
MasterChef contestant Jess Liemantara's dish being tasted by Matt Preston. Picture: Supplied

Preston’s MasterChef tasting upsets fans

THE challenge was to take an everyday loaf of bread and turn it into the best thing since sliced bread.

In this mystery box challenge, MasterChef judges Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston were only going to taste the top three dishes they saw in the kitchen.

The contestants had 60 minutes to create their dish and the best one would enable the contestant to progress through to the immunity challenge where they'd cook for an immunity pin.

MasterChef Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston during the mystery box challenge. Picture: Supplied
MasterChef Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston during the mystery box challenge. Picture: Supplied

Mehigan said: "Are you ready for the rules? Nice and simple. Bring us one delicious dish using your loaf of bread. You've got an open pantry. And the garden is in play. We will only be tasting the three most appealing dishes."

But MasterChef fans were more than surprised when they saw Preston take a cheeky taste of contestant Jess Liemantara's Indonesian fried bread sandwich with plum sauce before the dish was completed.

Usually the judges go around and talk to the contestants while they cook their dishes. They give constructive verbal feedback but they are not seen tasting them early.

Preston described it as a "crazy kind of fried bread … fried bread sandwich".

Jess replied: "It's a fried bread sandwich, yes. It's got a kind of chicken filling. It's got a nice plum sauce, which I've got here …"

He added: "I'm loving it. It's unlike anything else you've cooked before. And I think that's brilliant. And I think it's exciting. Should we have a look? Let's have a look."

Preston then said: "Let's just taste it together. Let's see."

He gave her his approval.

"It's great. That's brilliant. It's exciting," he said. "And I'm so proud that you're doing something totally different from what you normally do. That's really good. And it tastes delicious."

MasterChef contestant Jess Liemantara during the mystery box challenge. Picture: Supplied
MasterChef contestant Jess Liemantara during the mystery box challenge. Picture: Supplied

Jess was thrilled, and said: "Matt's reaction is basically what I want people to have, you know, that experience of, you know, you don't need to say anything when the food is good. And I'm hoping that it's enough to get me to the top three."

But it wasn't meant to be for Jess.

MasterChef viewers took to social media to vent after they saw Preston taste the dish, saying it was unfair.

One fan posted on Twitter: "When we finally have our Royal Commission into #MasterChefAU judging, Matt pre-tasting Jess' dish and giving advance feedback is going to be the first cab off the rank."

Another wrote: "Isn't Matt tasting Jess food before cheating? #MasterChefAU"

Another viewer said: "Matt beat the system, he couldn't choose between Jess' or Ben's dishes so he tried Jess' beforehand (and played her)"

While her dish didn't get chosen as one of the top three dishes, viewers were furious when they saw the dishes that were picked.

They final three dishes chosen for tasting were Aldo Otardo's Nonna's meatballs, Gina Ottaway's chicken schnitzel with Italian potato salad and Ben Borsht's crumbed lamb cutlets with caramelised onion and a dipping gravy.

After seeing these dishes, many viewers were confused, saying it should've been called the "breadcrumb challenge" instead. They didn't see how the loaf of bread they were originally given was the hero of each dish.

One Twitter user wrote: "Halfway through the competition and we have meatballs, schnitzel and cutlets in a challenge where bread should be the 'hero'."

Another posted: "So basically all u had to do was crumb something and u hit the brief with making the bread the star of the dish #MasterChefAU"

Others made suggestions more bread-focused dishes. One viewer wrote: "There is so many things they could have made French toast or even bread and butter pudding #MasterchefAU"

In the end, Gina's schnitzel won the challenge, letting her be the first one to go through to the next immunity challenge.

The rest of the contestants faced another 60 minute challenge where they had to cook something inspired by the ingredients in spaghetti bolognese.

The three least impressive dishes in the invention test put threecontestants including Sarah Clare, Hoda Kobeissi and Lisa Diep into a pressure test where they will fight for their place to stay in the competition.

The best three dishes put contestants Reece Hignall, Sashi Cheliah and Khan Nguyen alongside Gina, where they get the chance to cook for immunity.


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