News

MasterChef’s oldest contestant out after prawn dish disaster

BENITA Orwell is the latest to be eliminated from MasterChef Australia in the most emotional exit so far this season.

The 57-year-old Brisbane mother-of-two stumbled in a challenge against Arum Nixon, Nicole Stevenson, Pete Morgan and Ben Ungermann last night.

Orwell was the oldest contestant on this year's season of MasterChef Australia. Earlier this week the second oldest, 49-year-old Pia Gava, was sent home.

Orwell's elimination had 18-year-old Callan Smith as well as Stevenson in tears. The end was a blow for Orwell who had auditioned four times to be on the Channel 10 cooking show.

"I'm really upset and absolutely gutted," Orwell said. "I don't want to go home. I'm cranky with myself."

The elimination cook-off was set for 90 minutes but contestants had to sacrifice time to buy ingredients.

Chocolate, prawns, john dory, duck and lamb backstraps cost 20 minutes. Artichokes, coriander, ginger, cherries, lemongrass and chillis cost 10 minutes.

Other ingredients including vanilla, pistachios, sugar and chardonnay cost five minutes.

MasterChef contestant Benita with daughters Brienne and Dominique.
MasterChef contestant Benita with daughters Brienne and Dominique.

Nixon was first to choose and he picked ginger, sugar and pistachios for 20 minutes. That left him 70 minutes on the clock.

Stevenson was next and selected the same ingredients. Ungermann chose john dory, artichokes and vanilla beans which meant a 55 minute cook.

>>Two Ipswich cooks impress Masterchef judges

Morgan selected cherries, vanilla beans, sugar and pistachios and had 65 minutes.

Orwell had to spend a whopping 45 minutes on the sidelines by choosing prawns, ginger, coriander and kecap manis (sweet soy sauce). That decision proved costly.

Nixon's cook went seamlessly.

Arum Nixon, Benita Orwell, Ben Ungermann, Pete Morgan and Nicole Stevenson faced elimination tonight. Picture: Channel 10Source:Supplied
Arum Nixon, Benita Orwell, Ben Ungermann, Pete Morgan and Nicole Stevenson faced elimination tonight. Picture: Channel 10Source:Supplied

Judges Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan thought the 34-year-old advertising strategist's ginger caramel cake with ginger ice cream was delicious.

"I might even ask him for the recipe," Mehigan said.

Morgan had less luck with his vanilla cherry layer cake with Greek yoghurt mousse and pistachio praline. The yoghurt didn't set properly and the cake collapsed.

Preston was baffled why Morgan didn't create a lamb dish and play to his strengths. Fortunately the flavour was there.

"It ain't a cake," Preston said. "Call it a Greek cherry trifle and you've got an absolute smash on your hands."

Orwell's biggest error came late in her cook of prawn wontons with prawn broth. Orwell took her eye off the broth and it burnt. She quickly had to create a sauce.

The judges praised Orwell's ability to think on her feet but the dish was underwhelming. Preston couldn't taste the kecap manis.

Benita has the look of disaster as she tries to rescue her prawn broth. Picture: Channel 10Source:Supplied
Benita has the look of disaster as she tries to rescue her prawn broth. Picture: Channel 10Source:Supplied

Ungermann's dory fillet, crispy skin shards, artichoke three ways and vanilla bean hollandaise was a hit.

Stevenson's ginger steamed pudding, Greek yoghurt sorbet and pistachio praline was a fail. The syrup had soaked into the top of the pudding leaving the rest dry.

"You can taste cake batter," Calombaris said.

Contestant Callan Smith was visibly upset by Benita's elimination. Picture: Channel 10 Source:Supplied
Contestant Callan Smith was visibly upset by Benita's elimination. Picture: Channel 10 Source:Supplied

It was clear that Nixon had created the best dish of the night. Orwell and Stevenson had plated up the two worst.

In the end, the judges sent Orwell packing, saying "your emergency replacement sauce showed great initiative but on a day with some really good cooking it just didn't cut it."

Smith was clearly upset by Orwell's exit. The tears started flowing and he said he had a lot of laughs with the former Qantas customer service supervisor.

Since her elimination, Orwell has done work experience at the Putia Pure Food Kitchen in Brisbane. Her food dream is to create a Ladies Long Lunch event business.

"Don't think that you're too old," Orwell told the contestants as she departed. "If you've always had a dream and you still haven't achieved it, go and do it."

Topics:  ipswich masterchef reality tv



GALLERY: Rocky's party people pack the clubs and pubs

L-R Nate Newman, Josh Hennig, Renee Harrison, Kirsten Doyle and Lindsey Hornagold at Zodiac Nightclub.

All the action from Rocky's pubs and clubs over the weekend.

He's 93, has dementia and makes love with a sex worker

People with dementia can experience massive changes in their libidos.

Meet the escort who helps men with dementia enjoy sex

Rocky council's $125K splash for new environment role

Division 6 councillor Drew Wickerson was driven by his own passion for the environment in pushing for council to create a $125K position.

Councillor pushes for big move to fill a de-amalgamation void

Local Partners

St Ursula's College students win with the power of words

The students debated their way to victory in the Rockhampton District Secondary School Debating Competition Grand Final this week.


Get Set for Summer

Win One of Ten Prize Packs
Learn More

Machine Gun Preacher heading to Rocky to give Hope

SAVING LIVES: Sam Childers, aka the Machine Gun Preacher, at Angels of East Africa's orphanage in Nimule, South Sudan.

Former bad boy biker turned preacher and humanitarian on road

What's on this weekend in Rockhampton and the Cap Coast

Head trackside this weekend for the Yeppoon Races at Keppel Park.

We've got the gossip of what's happening this weekend.

The world's best in things that roll embark on Rocky

AUSTRALIAN FIRST: Colin Cole from CQUniversity with Sebastian Stichell from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden at the 25th International Symposium on Dynamics of Vehicles on Roads and Tracks.

International symposium held in Australia for the first time

RECAP: Game of Thrones s7 e6 - Beyond the Wall

*Warning this story contains spoilers about today's new episode*

Paul Kelly announces massive Australian tour

Paul Kelly is going on a 16-date national tour in November.

Music legend thrills fans with the announcement of a massive tour.

Truth behind Whitney Houston’s ‘fairytale’ life

Documentary reveals the 'truth' behind Whitney Houston's life.

IT MIGHT be the greatest myth in modern pop music.

Survivor twist bound to shock

Sunshine Coast mum-of-three Tara Pitt.

TARA Pitt benefited from a shock twist on Australian Survivor.

The Block goes back to school with gorgeous kids rooms

Ronnie and Georgia's winning kids bedroom in a scene from The Block.

ONE magical bedroom received the first perfect score of the season.

What's on the small screen this week

Rob Collins and Jessica Marais in a scene from season two of The Wrong Girl.

JESSICA Marais returns in The Wrong Girl.

Playing Tom Cruise's wife was a dream for Sarah Wright

Tom Cruise and Sarah Wright in American Made.

The actress stars opposite Cruise in the action comedy

Investors quick to snap up property in key growth corridor

High-profile commercial site sells at auction for $4.920m

Rocky in top-10 fastest growing areas for residential units

CBD FRAMEWORK: Artist impression of the $14 million combined residential and commercial high-rise on the corner of William and Bolsover streets, Rockhampton.

Development approvals align with bold inner-city living vision

EXPLAINED: What the 'Costco effect' means for Ipswich

PRICE WARS: A Costco store similar to this one in Canberra, is planned for Ipswich.

Exclusive 'cult' about to change how families do grocery shopping

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South