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An international challenge has the contestants in a hot panic.

Kelly was fortunate to escape elimination after cooking Vietnamese chicken pho.

One of the joys of good food is that the flavours can transport you anywhere in the world. But in last week’s MasterChef challenge, in which the contestants had

to cook an iconic dish from one of nine countries including Australia, the US, Singapore and Thailand, it quickly became clear that Dana’s journey was about to come to a swift end.

“Dana had to make Japanese buckwheat noodle soup. And although it was unfortunate for her that she’d never eaten it, so didn’t know what the dish should taste like, the fact is it’s not that hard to make a good broth,” says Simon.

“Everyone should be able to create a decent stock, which is the basis of a broth – that’s what makes a chef. Also, you must always, always taste your food – it’s the golden rule.

“But to be honest, I think she was done – while some contestants like Paula would have done well no matter which of the countries she had picked, I think Dana would have struggled with all of them. That being said, I’d love to go and have dinner at Dana’s flat, as I’m pretty sure she’d take good, simple food like mince and do some amazing things with it.”

But while Dana said farewell to her friends, Brenton reckons Kelly was lucky her Vietnamese chicken pho didn’t send her packing too.

“She ran away from the pressure cooker – that’s never a good idea!” he laughs. “She got her timings all wrong from the beginning. When you’re doing a challenge, you have to pull your finger out and go crazy from the start to get your dish finished on time. As a contestant I figured out that to execute my plan properly, I needed to set a timer for every 15 or 30 minutes. That way I did what was needed and didn’t have to panic.”

“Knowing how to get the right flavours from your food is the difference between a MasterChef and a non-MasterChef, no matter where

in the world the dishes come from,” adds Simon. “We didn’t give the contestants quantities, just the ingredients, and the good chefs knew instinctively how much of each to use.

“I know some of them say they haven’t tried certain cuisines before, but I’m not sure that’s true. If you’re top nine on MasterChef, I reckon you’ve done your homework and know about the different types. Maybe claiming you don’t know is meant to get our sympathy – but if that’s the case, it isn’t working!”

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