Her time on MasterChef has been sweet, but Chelsea Fammartino’s dream of cooking in the final turned sour last night after becoming the fourth contestant to be eliminated.
Chelsea bowed out of MasterChef after failing to impress the judges with a sweet and sour pork and fried rice against contestants Ellie Paxton-Hall and Rachel McSweeney.
The Pressure Test saw the contestants taste the classic dish and then replicate it in a 75 minute cook-off – without a recipe and without being told what the type of meat used.
“Sweet and sour is not something that I had cooked before from scratch,” confesses Chelsea. “I haven’t tried a sweet and sour dish since I left MasterChef – it left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth and I don’t want to go back there at the moment!”
Chelsea looked shaky from the start when she chose the wrong cut of pork – she chose tender loin instead of shoulder – and basmati rice instead of long grain for her fried rice. She then relied heavily on advice from other contestants watching on.
“All I can say is that if Dani wasn’t helping me from upstairs, then the judges would’ve got risotto, not fried rice!” she laughs. “I don’t eat pork regularly; it’s not one of my favourite meats and I took a guess at the kind of cut it was. My sauce wasn’t as sweet as it should have been.”
Before the challenge began, the three close contestants made a pact not to look at each other during the cooking to keep the competitive spirit alive.
“Competing against my two roommates was probably the hardest thing about going through the elimination process,” she says. “We knew that we all had to stay focused so we tried to avoid looking at each other so we wouldn’t help one another.”
In the end, Chelsea’s dish just didn’t stack up against Ellie and Rachel’s offerings, with her sauce too reduced and unbalanced, and her meat was tough because she didn’t choose the shoulder cut.
“It definitely feels my time in the competition was too short and I feel I didn’t show enough of the Italian cuisine that I love to cook,” she says. “I’ve had a great time though and my favourite moment was the team challenge at the Mean Fiddler pub.”
Indeed, it’s fitting that she loved the team challenge working in commercial kitchen because since leaving the competition, Chelsea has found la dolce vita in a Melbourne restaurant.
“I’m working at an Italian restaurant called Donnini’s in Carlton, where I come in to the kitchen in the morning and make pasta and work the floor during the night time,” she says excitedly. “I’ve also started my own company where I cater small events. Life is great at the moment.”
Now that Chelsea has headed home, will she be reuniting with rumoured kitchen romance, fellow Top 24 contestant Alex Glasson?
Alex said after his MasterChef elimination that he hoped to move to Melbourne to follow his food dream, which has increased the speculation that the two were more than just friends.