Shannon Smyth may have seduced her fiancé with food, but her love affair with the MasterChef kitchen came to an end tonight, with the cook becoming the tenth contestant to be eliminated from the show.
The Gold Coast receptionist failed to win the hearts of the MasterChef judges during a three round cook-off, which saw seven contestants cook in the first round, four in the second round and, finally, two in the elimination round.
With all three rounds having a 15 minute time limit and a cap on how many ingredients the contestants could use, Shannon found herself in the final round against Craig Young.
“It was a very tough challenge and I can honestly say I’ve never cooked dinner at home in 15 minutes,” says Shannon, who had been in three eliminations in a row.
“The timeframe was pushing it, especially the first round where we all had three ingredients to cook with. That was the worst round for me and it was a real struggle.
“At least I had no time to get myself wound up in any mind games!”
After failing to impress in the first round with her grilled prawns and saffron infused honey, Shannon cooked seared scallop salad with fennel and orange in the second round, which enabled the contestants to cook with six ingredients.
“I was confident that I would avoid the final round when going into the first round, but once that first 15 minutes were up I wasn’t so confident,” says Shannon, who ended up in the elimination round after being in the seven-member red team who lost the previous night’s Waste Not Want Not team challenge.
“I didn’t think for a second that I would be going home after this challenge.”
The final round was a closely fought battle between Shannon and Craig, with both looking strong as they cooked with nine ingredients of their choosing in 15 minutes. Shannon decided to cook French toast with grilled figs, orange syrup and candied pistachios against Craig’s prawns in a Thai chilli sauce.
“It could have gone either way,” says Shannon, who lost out because her syrup was too thick. “I wasn’t uncomfortable cooking against him, but I wish I’d toasted the pistachios because I would have focused on the syrup, which was the element that sent me home.”
Now back at home on the Gold Coast with her fiancé Shane, Shannon is wasting no time following her food dream of working in a commercial kitchen.
“I’m starting an apprenticeship at Absynthe Restaurant,” she says excitedly. “I’ve warned Shane that as an apprentice I’ll be working long hours for no money, but it’s all been worth it. Being in MasterChef has been great and it’s been fantastic being able to step out of real life for a while and concentrate on food.”