MasterChef fans stunned by ‘devastating’ moment
"Sweet Queen" Jess Liemantara made her exit from the MasterChef: All Stars kitchen on Sunday night, despite impressing the judges with a daring chocolate, licorice ice-cream.
And to add insult to injury, social distancing rules freshly implemented on the show meant Jess couldn't even get a hug from her fellow contstants as she was sent packing.
The harsh reality of life in a pandemic intruding into MasterChef made for strange scenes, as one of the season's best-loved contestants suffered through an awkward goodbye:
Jess crying by herself with nobody being able to hug her is a weirdly devastating portrait of this moment in history. #MasterchefAU— Dan Hall (@danieljohnhall) May 31, 2020
All of the contestants standing apart crying individually and watching Jess leave is some sort of sick metaphor for 2020 tbh #MasterChefAU— Lan (@thatslantastic) May 31, 2020
Eliminating Jess when she’s not allowed to hug anyone should be a CRIME #MasterChefAU— Lan (@thatslantastic) May 31, 2020
Frig that was the most heart wrenching elimination. If anyone deserves a HUGE hug it’s Jess. The kindest soul.— Ooh Lah Lah (@oohlahlah09) May 31, 2020
Watching her having to cry on her own was the WORSF. 😭😭😭💔💔💔
Damn #MasterChefAU got me bawling this week. #MasterChef pic.twitter.com/KbuNIqnaAE
The hardest thing about that was the inability to give Jess the hug she needed and deserved. 😭 #MasterChefAU— Vin Rouge (@Red_V) May 31, 2020
Earlier, in a two-round elimination challenge, contestants first tried to hit the judges' sweet spot with ice cream dishes.
The brief was a dish of two different flavoured ice-creams that only work when they are eaten together.
While Jess' "velvety" chocolate and licorice ice cream left the judges screaming for more, her basil ice-cream landed her in the second round.
"Great on paper, but I feel like it just needed to be a little bit more pronounced on the plate," said Mel.
The first challenge saw Brendan, Jess, Callum, Simon and Poh fall short of the brief, forced to work with some wacky flavour combinations chosen by the judges in the second round.
Contestants had an hour to make a dish that "tames these wild pairs", turning them into something delicious while keeping the flavour pairings front and centre.
Saddled with carrots and raspberries - a combo that Jock instantly deemed "the most difficult pairing" - Jess stuck to what she knows best: desserts.
Opting for a shiraz berry sorbet, with a chocolate mousse and some carrot gels, Jess took a risk and hoped it would pay off.
"The red wine in the raspberry sorbet is super strong," said Jock after tasting the dessert.
"It was actually quite unpleasant for me."
Mel also noted that the carrot and the raspberry were meant to be the key flavours in the dish, but "didn't stand out like they should."
Narrowing it down to Jess and Simon, the judges broke the news to a devastated Jess.
"While your concept was strong, the dish tasted more of red wine and orange than carrot and raspberry," Jock explained.
At just 19 years old, Jess appeared in Season 10 of MasterChef in 2019, making top 5 that season.
Proving she's the reigning Sweet Queen, she recently self-published her first cookbook, A Zest of Jess.
"I'm devastated that I only made it halfway into the competition, but I'm thankful for all of you guys," she said tearfully. "And I'm going to miss you so much."
"I am leaving sad, but I'm also leaving very thankful and grateful. I've done so much in my time and now, I feel like I've got more capabilities to go further in the industry and really make my dreams come true."
MasterChef: All Stars continues Monday night from 7.30 on Channel 10.
Originally published as MasterChef fans stunned by 'devastating' moment