He’s fought against tradition all the way through MasterChef, but in the end, it was another man’s tradition that cost Matthew Caldicott a place in the show…
Matthew, a third generation accountant who rebelled against his family’s tradition of following the number crunching career, met his match when he had to taste test a carrot cake that has been passed down from one generation to another in George Calombaris’ family.
“I guess it is a little ironic,” says Matthew. “I was shattered when the judges told me I was eliminated and I knew it was all over, red rover. All those months of hard work came to an end all because of one word.”
Matthew – who was in his second elimination challenge in one week – found himself battling against four other contestants in his Blue Team after their food in the Qantas A380 challenge failed to take off.
“I had the dish of the day – a spiced chocolate and macadamia fudge cake – but my team had a couple of bad dishes and as it was a whole team elimination, which didn’t feel good,” says Matthew, who names Adam as a potential winner of the series. “You have to take the good with the bad I guess.
“It was daunting going into an elimination against Marion, Jonathan, Alvin and Claire but I still thought I had a good chance. This was my fifth elimination challenge, but I love desserts so when I saw the cake I thought that everything will be cool.”
The contestants all had good reason to fear the taste test. The carrot cake, containing 16 ingredients, was made by George from a recipe that his mother used to make when he was a little boy. And when it comes down to childhood favourite recipes
that are passed from generation to generation, everything relies on tradition – getting one ingredient wrong is just not an option.
Being a cake, not all the ingredients are obvious or can be tasted.
“I knew eggs were in it as I’m sure nearly every cake has eggs in it,” explains Matthew. “I then said apricots as there were little
slithers on top of the cake. When the judges asked me to specify I freaked out and said the first thing in my head which was dried apricots, but it was apricot jam.”
The full impact of his wrong guess soon became apparent with the judges informing he was out of the competition.
“I was pretty shattered as I knew a few ingredients that I was keeping up my sleeve,” he says. “After I got one wrong I was reeling off the other ingredients I thought were in the cake, and I knew something like 13 of the 16 ingredients.”
The experience of being on MasterChef has ignited Matthew’s desire to crack into the food industry.
“I’ve been doing some work experience at Spice Temple in Sydney, which has been great, and setting up some catering work,”
he says, adding that he hasn’t gone back to accounting. “My parents have been really supportive and they’re really happy for me. They want to see me do something with this now, whether it’s me trying to become a chef – which they’re all for – or getting into another part of the industry.”