MasterChef favourite goes home
MASTERCHEF favourite Amina Elshafei's elimination tonight sent shockwaves through the Top 10.
The 27-year-old nurse was a front runner in the competition, cooking in several immunity challenges and receiving praise for her fusion of Asian and Mediterranean flavours.
"Going into the elimination, there were two people I thought would be safe no matter what and that was Audra and Amina," said Jules Pike, who was also sent home in the double elimination.
"The fact she was eliminated beside me, I think it shocked everyone."
After losing the pop-up restaurant challenge, Elshafei and Pike found themselves on the chopping block alongside blue team mates Andy Allen, Audra Morrice, Debra Sederlan and Wade Drummond.
The pressure of the double elimination weighed heavily on Pike.
"I don't think I was really in the right frame of mind," she said.
"I think I just went in there doubting myself. In previous eliminations I've always gone in there fully with confidence."
Elshafei was surprised to lose the first round with her carapace of ocean trout,topped with tabouli and pomegranate and sumac dressing.
"For me it was a shock in the sense that I thought the dishes were okay but obviously not too okay for the judges."
Both amateur cooks were grateful for the chance to work with special guest chef Marco Pierre White, even if he was a tad intimidating.
"As slightly scary as it was, it was still an amazing experience," Pike said.
"You can see why he's made a name for himself," Elshafei added.
"To be in the same arena as him felt really, not intimidating but like you want to make sure you do your absolute best for him."
Pike is already gaining valuable experience in the kitchen of one of Darwin's top restaurants.
"It's really hard work, but that's what I need," she said.
"I need that hands-on stuff. It's completely different in the real world.
"Ultimately I want to open my own food and wine bar."
Elshafei has gone back to nursing for the moment, but will be launching her own cooking classes in September.
"That's my short-term goal. My long-term goal is still to do that mezze restaurant or tea room with my sister."
In tomorrow night's master class, Gary Mehigan and Matt Moran congratulate the Top 10 and cook up an Italian feast.
MasterChef's Italy Week starts on Sunday at 7.30pm.