'MasterChef': Why George Gave Derek A Heartfelt Pep Talk

Derek knew he was going to have problems cooking with yams from the very beginning.

Chef Jock Zonfrillo -- from restaurant Orana in Adelaide -- divvied up some of his favourite native Australian ingredients to the 'MasterChef' contestants, but Derek was saddled with a root vegetable that he'd rather not have crossed paths with.

"From eating yam in Asia, I'm definitely not the biggest fan of yam," he laughed as his produce was revealed, adding that it's an ingredient he always shies away from.

The troublesome long yam. Photo: Network 10.

As the cook began, Jock went to check how Derek was going in "yam land" and things seemed to be going well until Gary and George questioned why he was cooking a huge piece of beef as the centrepiece of the dish.

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Derek changed his entire plan at the last minute and eventually plated up a beef tartare dish with long yam and a red wine sauce, experimenting with different ways he could cook the tricky veg.

Yam land. Photo: Network 10.

But unfortunately, the judges had a few issues with the inventive dish plated up by Derek, who perpetually pushes himself to his limits in the 'MasterChef' kitchen.

"Today is all about the best dish, luckily for you, it's not about the worst," Matt Preston said after tasting his meal.

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"You've got some massive problems with the dish but the best bit about it is the yams, you've used the yams brilliantly and they're kind of exciting and they're a nice counterpoint to the rest of the dish which is problem upon problem upon problem," said Matt.

George and Jock agreed, praising Derek for his treatment of the yam and urging him to look on the bright side.

Photo: Network 10.

"You knew it was going to be a difficult ingredient but you got something really nice out of it by crisping them up, that was what you had to hero, that's it, hang your hat on that, be proud of it and go, 'yum!'" said George.

Matt added that Derek had definitely drawn the toughest ingredient of the challenge and would have a head start the next time he finds himself facing off against a long yam.

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But the feedback hit a nerve with Derek, who seemed to be giving himself a hard time over the stressful cook, with George then taking him aside.

"Don't beat yourself up, man, you're in the top ten of 'MasterChef Australia' and I'm glad you're angry about this, yeah," said George.

"You've gotta go write some things down and work it out," he said, adding that most chefs don't cook with the types of ingredients that Jock brought in.

"It's only a handful of them that cook with it in Australia and they get months to develop it and work it out," he said, before giving Derek a massive bear hug.

Photo: Network 10.

Derek later confessed that he got into trouble during the cook because he doubted himself.

"And that definitely showed when I panicked and put something on the plate that wasn't tasty, so I've got to back myself in my next cook and just say that I'm confident that I can put up a good dish and make it delicious," he said.

We believe in you, Derek!

MasterChef Australia airs Sunday to Thursday nights at 7.30pm. Only On 10 And WIN Network. Missed an episode? Catch up on 10 Play or 10 All Access!