The final night of superstar week on MasterChef Australia 2021 features creative genius Heston Blumenthal, who is famous, among his many other achievements, for creating bacon and egg ice cream.
It’s no surprise then that the contestants competing in Blumenthal’s immunity challenge are tasked with taking ingredients typically associated with the first meal of the day and turning them into something dessert worthy.
For Pete, that means bacon, while for Linda — it’s tea. Depinder gets avocado, Aaron ends up with cornflake and Conor has perhaps the trickiest ingredient with Vegemite. In just 75 minutes, the MasterChef hopefuls must turn these staples of the morning into a dessert that renders them safe from elimination.
The challenge is perfectly fitting for Blumenthal, a Brit who is well-known for his innovation, quirkiness and, at times, downright weird flavour combinations.
The famed chef — who carries an OBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) — owns the three Michelin star restaurant The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire as well as Dinner in London which boasts two Michelin stars.
54-year-old Blumenthal is considered a pioneer of molecular gastronomy and multi-sensory dining and is a huge proponent of a scientific approach to food and cooking. In fact, the intriguing celebrity chef has received honorary degrees from Reading, London and Bristol universities and is an honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
He has written eight books and is passionate about the relationship between food and the different senses, particularly sound. One of the signature dishes one might enjoy at The Fat Duck is “Sounds Of The Sea” which involves the diner listening to crashing waves through an iPod hidden inside a conch shell as they munch on cured fillets of yellowfin tuna in bergamot zest, on a ‘sand’ bed of tapioca, miso oil, panko breadcrumbs and grape nuts. That dish, just FYI, is served atop a glass box containing actual sand.
The Fat Duck was named the World’s Best Restaurant in 2005, and over the years has served up unique dishes such as Snail Porridge, Crab Ice Cream and Aerated Beetroot.
In 2012 Blumenthal, who is self-taught and never had any formal culinary training, told CNN, “The thing I would say to anybody who wants to go into this industry is that you have to want to cook. It has to be in your blood. You have to go to bed at night and eat, drink, sleep, breathe food.”
Of course, this is sage advice and words that will no doubt inspire the MasterChef contestants as they strive to plate up a dish that would make the world-renowned cultural icon proud.