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.


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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. 

‚ÄúThis 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.