It was a tearful day for Masterchef Karlie Verkerk in the finals week of Masterchef. Something about a service challenge that always gets Karlie running like a headless chook. Her parting words were,

I had a feeling it was my day.

Pretty shocking how things turned out in this service challenge. It was really hard for the judges to make their decision.


The Service Challenge

Right off the bat the episode start with everyone keen and energetic to get cooking. They are given 4 hours to prep before they start serving their dishes. Everyone was cooking well until Karlie burnt her prawn oil, starts to get flustered and loses the plot.

masterchef karlie verkerk


While Karlie is having a mental breakdown, Ben struggles with his dessert. He seemed to have fell in love with the idea of his dishes which is a tribute to his Oma. He never really thought out how tricky and time consuming the dishes demanded. The dish required more time than what he originally thought. He had to cut some corners and sacrificed the baby beets in his main.


Meanwhile, in Diana’s bench, everything is in perfect harmony. She have not put a foot wrong in this challenge. Eliminated contestants up in the gantry called her the machine. 



Diana put out the first 4 plates out to the guests and judges. Diana’s plate of Wagyu beef was beautiful and certainly wowed all three judges. It was delicious and very pretty to look at. The judges described it as a very excellent, well thought out dish.

masterchef karlie verkerk


Just after Diana put out her first 4 plates, Ben ask for service and puts out his first 4 plates. The judges really loved the burning of the dehydrated onion, which made it very exciting. Ben’s dish included a tulip bulb but all three judges have never eaten a tulip bulb before. They were quite excited to try it and they loved it. Overall, the judges thought it was a very good dish.


Both Ben and Diana have already put out their first 4 plates but Karlie struggles on her bench. With Shannon at the helm, shouting and asking how long, how long, while willing her on. 

-Karlie burst out in tears.

With the amount of pressure she was on, it was very understandable. Not putting up a dish will automatically send her packing. Diana givers her a long consoling hug and told her, it’s all about the taste, you know that…..

masterchef karlie verkerk


Whatever else Diana whispered in Karlie’s ear must’ve help because she composed herself and pushed on. After a long wait, she puts out her first 4 plates. Karlie made Crayfish with Ginger broth.


The key to Karlie’s dish is the broth which packs a lot of umami goodness and that Crayfish was cooked to perfection. The judges said it was amazing and it was worth all that wait.


At this stage the judges favorite dish are Diana’s Wagyu beef. Karlie’s cray Crayfish is a distant runner up. Ben is obviously the least favorite with the judges saying it was only very good. I was sitting on the couch thinking, wow that’s it for Ben. Ben was struggling with his dessert all night, he won’t be able to put up a great dessert. The grand finale is going to be between Karlie and Diana.



With Diana pushing out the first 4 plates of her desserts and the judges again labeling it amazing, at this point, Diana is through to the Grand Finale.

masterchef diana chan


Kylie has now caught up and she put up a beautiful black sesame ice cream with mandarin and ginger. The judges liked it, soft, light and has a beautiful texture. But when mixed with the mandarin syrup, it was somewhat bitter.

masterchef karlie verkerk


All through the prep, Ben was wrestling with his dessert and he was coming off second best. His hero of the dish, the pumpkin galettes, was giving him a whopping. When he tried taking it out of the baking tray, they break apart into mush.


He left it for a bit to cool, then proceeded to take them out of the baking tray. My golly, it succeeded. The galettes came out inform and not mushy. The judges loved Ben’s dessert more than Karlie, noting how tasty and the spice balance was so clever.

He needed a ripper dessert and he gave us one didn’t he?

-By George Calombaris

masterchef ben ungermann


After struggling from the start and almost defeating him, all that hard work and persistence have certainly paid of. It gave him a great chance of joining Diana in the Grand Final.



It was a good night for Diana, putting out a great main and dessert. Impressing the judges, announcing it the best dishes out of the service challenge. Her main course was ambitious, contained many elements, apparently so delicious and it’s the most complete dish this year. While her dessert was full of texture, inventive and flavorsome.


Masterchef Karlie Verkerk bows out

Ben served a very good dessert but karlie’s mandarin sauce was bitter, hence, she is going home.

masterchef karlie verkerk


Oh my golly gosh, Ben is freaking safe! Ben scraped through and it’s Ben Vs Diana in the Final. Get ready for the Grand Finale which involves the longest pressure test of all time. It’s going to be a doozy. DING DING!


But before the battle, a little bit of celebration in the garden. This will make some people jelly! 




Tonight is Karlie’s first time in black, how good is she to have not gone to elimination yet. Unlike Karlie, Diana and Sarah are very familiar with what’s involve in the elimination round, giving them, I guess, a little advantage.

masterchef sarah tiong
Image by Channel Ten


They had to cook this pearly dish made by Shaun Quade from Lume. It looks intricate, beautiful, and looks super hard, just like any other dish in the elimination round. The time they are given is 3 1/2 hours, which sound a lot but with so much to do in that recipe, it will go so fast for the contestants.


Sarah might have it easy

Sarah started by drawing every little detail on how it was plated. This is smart as she can have a reference when it comes to plating up. She should be fine in this pressure test as she loves eating seafood with her family and she goes out fishing. 


Everyone started well except for Diana who have missed a step. She didn’t put the wood chips in the oven. This has set her back a lot and it frazzled her for some time. She really looked defeated when George was giving her advice. Compared to Sarah and Karlie who seemed like they will not ever make a mistake.


As soon as I thought that they won’t make a mistake, lo and behold, Sarah had trouble with the mussel foam, while Karlie burnt her marmalade. At this point, everyone made a mistake that set them back. Karlie remade her marmalade and Sarah is going to have to thicken her foam at the last minute or seconds. Diana finally caught up and was keeping up with the others.


Mistakes abound

Everyone made a sphere which looks as good as what the original. Sarah thought her sphere was a little imperfect and tried to fix it by using the power drill they used to make the hole. She kept drilling and the sphere broke.

-Everyone gasps in the gantry.

At this point i’m thinking, she is going home. Sarah quickly remade a sphere and made it even better than the first.


Then Diana plated up but her marmalade was overcooked and it was hard like a rock. Now I think she is going home instead of Sarah. But, with Sarah breaking the sphere and remaking it, she has lost considerable time. The time she needs to thicken up the mussel foam.


Karlie was sweet, she hasn’t missed a beat. She remade her marmalade and had no hiccups afterwards. The one going home will either be Sarah who doesn’t have a mussel foam or Diana without a marmalade.



The determining factor for the winner will come down to whether a mussel foam is more relevant than a marmalade. Everyone thought Karlie’s dish was an Umami bomb, flavorsome and looked almost like the original. 

“So much love was in that food.”

by: George Calombaris


When it came to announcing the one going home, the judges all praised Karlie’s dish. Sarah’s ice cream was lacking flavor and intensity. There was no foam and those were the reasons why, Sarah was eliminated.


Sarah now works with Australia Pork and plans to have pop up dinners for the coming months. Watch the episode here in Channel Ten’s Masterchef, episode 57, season 9.


About us

“Exploring Sydney for the cheap but tasty eats. Eating the best doesn’t have to involve having a silver spoon. A bit of travel and fitness to shed those calories from over indulging.”

What did you guys think?

Who else thought that Sarah was going to go all the way? Leave a comment.

Who would have thought that Arum Nixon would be in the Final’s week in Masterchef?

No one.

Masterchef Arum Nixon
Image by Dailytelegraph

Seriously, I didn’t even know he existed before the top 12. 

Arum Nixon, 35, a former ballet dancer, loves pub food and makes hearty meals. 

“This dish could not have been further from what I do.” Referring to the dish he made in Masterchef.

Masterchef dishes are a feast for the eyes, nose and mouth. This is why hatted restaurants charge an arm and a leg for a 100 gram piece of dish that look like an art on a plate.

This is what you are essentially paying for, the eye candy dish and flavorful taste.

As some people say, they eat with their eyes. 

Arum Nixon 2017 Masterchef winner?

He could possibly be one of the top three, after tonight’s episode. 

Arum, Tamara and Eliza competed for a guaranteed spot in the finals week.

They had to make the perfect souffle and the winner of that challenge will have the chance to go up against a professional Chef. 

After beating that Chef, they will receive the guaranteed spot in the finals week.

Tamara made a cheese base souffle, Eliza made berry while Arum made vanilla. It was suppose to be something else but he forgot to add it in the end.

When it came to judging, there was no clear winner in taste, there was in the appearance.

That one goes to Arum, whose souffle has rose to great heights, coming straight out of the oven.

All judges were excited about the way the souffle looked. Giving Arum the chance to go straight to finals week.

He has to cook against a professional Chef and win first.

Arum had to choose 10 ingredients out of 20 leaving the professional Chef to use whatever is left. 

Arum played it smart and chose all the best ingredients leaving the Chef with ingredients that doesn’t really go well together.

In the end the Chef produced a “simple dish” declaring Arum the winner and a place in the finals week.

Arum’s Chances

I’d say he has a lot of chance to go all the way. What he needs to do is to cook consistently and better than the rest. Not a very easy thing to do. 

You have Tamara who produces art on a plate. Ben who only gone into one pressure test. Sarah who gives bold flavors. These are strong cooks.

I never really looked at Arum as the one to take it out. Then again, I thought Michelle was going to take it. Anything can happen in the Masterchef kitchen.

With a place in the finals week already, Arum can be the one holding the trophy. 

Just have to wait and see. Watch more at Channel 10’s Masterchef.


Oh man, Tamara is up for elimination again! This time she is cooking against Callan and Sarah. Two of the best cooks in the competition, at this point, everyone is a good cook.

Callan being inventive and out of the box while Sarah gives so much flavor in all her cooking. With Sarah having an immunity pin, Tamara could just be up against Callan.

Lo and behold! Sarah did not use her immunity pin to save herself. Is this going to be a first in Masterchef? For someone to go home without using their hard earned immunity pin? 

Sarah, not using her immunity pin, put her confidence in her modern hot pot. 

Masterchef Sarah Tiong
Image by Daily Telegraph

Tamara cooked a Dumpling with quail egg.

Callan invented a sushi dessert and man did the judges love it

It was genius, tasty and had everyone fishing some more.

They thought it was bonkers, how can a sushi be a dessert? All through the cook they were questioning Callan. 

Their concern is the balance of the dish. Very hard to make a fish taste like a dessert. With it’s subtle fishy taste, slimy texture and just the thought of eating a fish for dessert? It’s mind boggling. 

Innovative or stupid?


After tasting Tamara’s dish after Sarah’s, they all agreed that Tamara’s dish was so much better. They mentioned that this could be the first in Masterchef’s history that someone exited without using their immunity pin.

They all did a great job but the best dish chosen was Tamara. Her best dish so far in the competition and it was delicious. 

Quails perfectly cooked, dumpling was on another level. Tamara almost teared up, while mentioning that the dish was something she shares with her husband a lot. But man, it was close but no tears, she’s one tough cookie.

-It is now between Sarah and Callan.

Sarah went white and is most likely regretting not using her immunity pin and looks really nervous after hearing Tamara took out the best dish.

The judges thought that Sarah’s dish was really bold and tasty. They had never tasted anything like it and it’s a great modernization of the classic Hot Pot.

Callan’s dish was very innovative and makes you curious. Salmon? Dessert? Huh?

They never tasted anything like it, lots of stuff on the plate to make the dish really tasty.

George was bamboozled by the salmon but agreed that it tastes like a dessert.

Gary had a bit of criticism about the roasting of the nori rice and needed to be taken further.

The roasted rice was not as tasty as promised.


That is why, Callan, you are out of the competition.

Masterchef Sarah Tiong has dodged a bullet!

Bye bye Callan Smith, watch out for that name, he is 19, gonna be big one day. Heston Blumenthal big perhaps.

Always with a big smile on his face, he exited Masterchef.

Watch what happened in Channel 10’s Masterchef.

tamara dumpling

She exited the competition yesterday after failing to deliver Deniz Karaca’s beautiful dark and yellow caramel tart.

The Tamara Graffen Controversy

Twitter fans were in an uproar after Gary Menighan had given Tamara plentiful of advice about her caramelize peanut. I too was surprised as to how much Gary advised Tamara. 

I guess she captured Gary’s heart with her gorgeous smile as she did mine.

She is one of the strongest cooks, has a bubbly personality and a pretty face. She is also a Engineering officer, so you know she has the brains. Can’t blame Gary for playing favorites. 

It is still a competition though and it’s not fair to other competitors. 

Battle Royale

Tonight, we watch Tamara fight for her place back in the competition, along with the 11 previously eliminated participants.

The challenge is to hero the same single ingredient in both their savory and dessert dish. 

Other contestants produced good dishes but they didn’t make quite an impact as Tamara’s dishes. Bryan’s dessert was just so strong that made the battle royale become a 1 v 1 between him and Tamara. 

Dumpling Off

She got frazzled at the start when she found out that Bryan Zhu was making the same dish as her, which was, dumplings.

tamara graffen

She shouldn’t, because her savory skills are so much stronger than Bryan’s. 

Bryan on the other hand is really strong at desserts. Tamara has to really bring her A+ game tonight if she really wants to get back in the competition.

After a brief moment of self doubt, she got her composure back  and produced a wonderful, well presented, sticky chili dumplings.

Comparing to Bryan’s dish, Tamara presented her dumplings very well. 

This is Bryan’s dumplings.

bryan zhu's dumplings

This is Tamara’s.

tamara dumpling

The judges loved both dumplings, to me, without being bias, the better presentation has to go with Tamara. There was just no comparison.

Bryan’s KOI Experience

We know that Bryan’s strength is in his desserts and he delivered a great one. It almost reminds me of Reynold Poernomo’s dessert. Maybe Bryan’s work experience in KOI have rubbed off on him.

Tamara did well too with her dessert and it would come down to how well they presented their dishes to the judges.


bryan zhu


tamara masterchef

Personally, I would give the presentation to Bryan, seeing as the judges thought that both Bryan and Tamara’s dessert tasted beautiful, it would’ve came down to their presentation. 

So it’s 1 to 1, Bryan winning the dessert battle and Tamara, the savory. Judges had to pick who had the strongest cook in both rounds. 

After the judges announced Tamara as the winner, she could not contain her excitement and screamed for joy. 

Did the Judges pick the right winner or playing favorites again? I will leave it up to you to decide. 

Mad Mex Burrito Challenge has been issued. For anyone who finishes this monster 1kg of a Burrito will get a free wrestlers mask. Wow! A wrestlers mask! Seriously, it’s not something for me to be excited about. The eating of the actual monster Burrito is more exciting.

mad mex burrito challenge

From marketing point of view, this is clever. People gets excited about challenges and when it involves monster food, it will go viral. It’s like man vs food but man vs food challenges are extremely extreme. I mean that guy can eat!

Challengers must eat the 1kg Burrito in one sitting inside the establishment without the help of anyone. 

I honestly can say that it’s not a very hard challenge, if you are hungry enough. Eating that after 4 hours of a big breakfast won’t be easy. I’d say fast the whole day ’till the challenge or just eat light.

Mad Mex Burrito Challenge History

Mad Mex has been doing the challenge since 2012 and it has been a hit. People flock to Mad Mex for that 1kg Burrito challenge. It’s either for bragging rights, for fun, for the love of food or because two burrito is not enough. I guess the mask is just a bonus and proof that you actually accomplished it.

I am guessing that you will have to pay for this Burrito. If you think that the mask will counter the amount of money you spent on the Burrito, well think again. The mask probably only cost them a dollar. It’s a good way for Mad Mex to start a buzz, like I said it’s good marketing.

There isn’t any time limit for this challenge but challengers have posted a best time of 1 minute and 13 seconds. Wow that is quick, that guy must have a big mouth and downed it like a shot of vodka.

What you get in that Burrito is rice, beans, pico de gallo and slow-cooked or freshly grilled meats or vegetables. It is also pack with cheese, house-made salsas, sour cream and lettuce. The cost of this massive Mad Mex Burrito challenge is $22. 

This challenge is held in celebration of Cinco de Mayo which is Mexican’s victory over the French Army on May 5th 1862.

Enter your interest and challenge your friend in this link.


bbking restaurant

Oh I miss it so. The spicy and healthy Kimchi. The distinct flavor of that Korean Marinade in that pork. Also missing some Korean pancakes. You know what I’m talking about, Korean BBQ!

Waiting for Yen to finish work so we can go to Lidcombe for some Korean. Can’t believe how Lidcombe is becoming another Strathfield. Which is a city filled with Koreans, another little Korea.

Worked out a little bit so I can negate some calories later. I know I will be eating a lot come lunch time. Can’t wait to eat some spice with beautiful bulgogi pork.

Original plan was to go to our usual spot which is called the Palbok House. Great Korean BBQ in Lidcombe.

To my dismay, my sister in law calls us up frantically saying that the Palbok House is close. “What are we going to do?” she says. I was disappointed but we are here already so lets just pick and choose. 

Deciding where to eat can be a pain.

Took us 15 minutes walking back and forth the street to decide which one to lunch in. Do you know how hard it is to decide which one to eat in? You don’t know if the service is bad, too expensive or worst disgusting food. Finally someone made up their minds and settled on BB KING Restaurant. Not really sure if their exact name includes Restaurant or just BB KING. Their Facebook page name is BB KINGLidcombe. Let’s just go with BB KING to make things easier.

bb king restaurant

BB KING so dim.

We got there almost 1:30 PM and there wasn’t much people seated. Maybe the lunch rush was over, so we were seated quite quickly. It was quite dim, a little bit more lighting could have brighten up the mood. It’s a great sunny day outside, once you enter, the mood change. So going in, coming from outside was a bit dramatic.

As we sat down, there were dirty dishes next to our table. I thought maybe the customers just left. One hour later, they still have not cleaned up the table. I don’t know why, there were three of them and no one packed up those dishes. Not like they were swamped with orders that they didn’t have spare time. 

Going in, you can definitely feel like you are in a Korean restaurant. The photos of Bimimbap, Korean rice wines and Korean writing, apparently called Hangul. Definitely feel like we are in a Korean restaurant. 

After ordering two different proteins, one pork and one beef, we were given these side dishes.

bb king review

There were shredded daikon or radish. Some beansprout with sauce I didn’t like. There were also an eggplant and of course kimchi. There are two sauces that was given to us as dips. The red one is made up of soybean paste with Korean chili sauce. Also topped with pistachio nuts and maple syrup. Maple syrup? What!?! That’s what I said. The other one was Sesame oil and some kind of Pepper.

bb king review

The best is when you double dip that marinated meat in both sauces. Tangy, chili and oily. Great dips to have with Korean BBQ. 

Unusual Korean BBQ like what the?

There was also a canal made on the BBQ plate right in the middle. Didn’t know what it was for ’till the staff started pouring beaten eggs and cheese in it. The egg and cheese is then melted and cooked once the BBQ gets hot.

I had never seen anything like this BBQ. I go to Korean BBQ often and this one is different. It had us questioning where to put the charcoal as there was just a massive hole. 

bb king restaurant

The charcoal is contained in a vertical charcoal holder and placed vertically in the middle of those BBQ plates. Somehow the canal in the middle and the top plates gets hot. The meat gets squished in using a BBQ grill clamp. Then vertically hanged next to the burning charcoal. They do all this for you.

Every time they insert those meat in the grill, a timer is pressed and counts down. Once the timer is up, alarm goes off signifying that timer has reached zero and the meat is done. So one of the wait staff would come over and takes out the meat. Cuts it into pieces and tells you to hurry up and eat it. 

I didn’t appreciate how she sounded but I think she just lacked practice in English. She really sounded rude. What they could have done is put the meat pieces she just cut in an empty plate as to not rush the customers and overcook the meat.

But this BBQ system has  no smoke at all!. I could not smell or see any smoke at all. I could not believe it, I don’t know how it works but say goodbye to a smoky smell after Korean barbecues. 

To me, I missed that smell, I longed it actually. Somehow the experience of going to a Korean BBQ is not complete without that post BBQ smoke smell that Yen hates.

Korean marinade is the shizniz.

The meat, specially the pork was well marinated and have satisfied my palate. That kimchi added some nice spice and those sauces heightened the flavor of the the meat. 

Bulgogi is the marinade used with our pork and it was delish. This marinade is probably the most popular out of all the Korean marinades. It is a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper, garlic, sugar and pepper. Mix this with the charcoal flavor and you get an awesome Korean barbecue.

Korean pancake is also shizniz.

bb king lidcombe

This pancake is made perfectly. There was a right amount of flour, vegetables and protein. There were crusty bits which I love, the prawns were a little bit over but nothing wrong with a bit over prawn at all. I have to say this pancake is way better than mine and I make a mean one, so my nephew says anyway. I take “mean”, means good.

Prices steep but worth.

A Korean buffet normally costs $35 per person. There were 10 of us and it costed us $216 for everything. We ordered a pork and beef set which cost $55 and $75 respectively. A bowl of rice costs $2 and we ordered four of those. We also ordered seafood pancake which was $15, a deep fried dumpling $12 and all sorts of dishes. We were still still hungry so ordered some marinated beef ribs which cost $23.

bbqking review
Share and comment below for my amazing photography skills.

After all we ordered it worked out cheaper compared to a Korean BBQ buffet. The food was quite good specially the Korean pancake. It really rocked the house. I could have demolished it if I wasn’t sharing with everyone else. Sharing is caring guys!

BB KING Restaurant in Lidcombe.

Yep that’s where it’s at. There are plenty of Korean BBQ restaurants in this area. I suggest you try them all! But here is the info for BBKING Restaurant.


14 Joseph St, Lidcombe NSW 2141

(02) 8041 5081




Josh and Amy have since split since the MKR show and have been living separately. Amy went to live with her friend while Josh stayed at their house. Josh announces that the split was to clear their heads. He also stated that the show was like a pressure cooker. Being together, seeing each other everyday was too much for them. 

mkr josh and amy

Josh MKR’s Villain

You might wonder why Josh is labelled the “Villain”. If you watch MKR religiously, you will know that his antics aren’t funny at all. His jokes are more for bullying than being fun. In his head is probably funny but not to everyone else. Just watch his reaction when he called someone a slut on National TV. 

This is not the only time Josh is being his usual self. The spat between Josh and Court (Court and Duncan) was one of the most awkward moments in MKR history. Josh has no filter on things he says. One of Josh’s comments towards Court was ‘You can’t wait to go back to your job, you shouldn’t even be here.’ You might be wondering why the hatred? New Idea revealed that Josh found, Duncan taking his wife’s name, when they married, very offensive. Apparently they share the same hyphenated surname. Josh took it to heart and said that his family would be so offended.

I would say that the split was inevitable when Amy stood away from her husband after making fun of the contestants, Court and Duncan, in a cook off. Amy was so embarrassed that she couldn’t stand next to him. 

They were always fighting in the kitchen and it showed in their cooking. One of their better cooks was when Amy and Josh were cooking separately. There was no tension, no arguing and bickering. It was quiet, it was head down and just cook scenario.

I think everyone is behind Amy and kind of feel sorry for her. In my opinion, she is better off without him. But we can’t really tell how they are together. It could be normal for them to be arguing all the time. Who knows. They might even get back together. 

One thing for sure though, Josh is sort of a nobhead. 

MKR airs back in Easter Monday, 17th April 2017. Follow My Kitchen Rules.