'I Feel Like An Absolute Amateur': The Pressure Test Twist That Absolutely Rattled Reynold
You know it's Twists Week when you see one of the most confident and accomplished pastry chefs in the competition losing his nerve.
After the Grey team lost last night's challenge by a wafer-thin whisker, they landed in a Pressure Test presided over by one of MasterChef's most feared (although incredibly lovely) guest chefs, Darren Purchese.
The architect of structural masterpieces that taste just like heaven walked through the doors of the kitchen and revealed that the contestants would be making his pavlova.
Looking rather simple at first, Darren then demonstrated just how complex the dessert really was, lifting a meringue cloche to reveal what was hiding underneath: a complex symphony of elements including mousse, dacquois, tempered chocolate and panna cotta.
But while the majority of the contestants nearly fainted after learning what they'd be cooking, the dish was right in Reynold's wheelhouse -- after all, he makes this kind of thing every day at his dessert bar, Koi.
"I won't be going home today," Reynold cheerfully told Jock and Darren when they stopped by his bench early on in the cook, adding that his confidence levels were sitting comfortably at a 10.
That level was about to drop with the judges about to reveal the cruel twist -- the contestants' recipes were about to be snatched away.
Desserts are generally less instinctive than feeling, tasting and smelling your way through a savoury cook -- especially Darren's creations that involve elements of both science and art as well as very precise measurements.
So for Reynold, who is well aware that you can't just sloppily wing it with a Purchese dish, the pressure started to build.
"I've been relying on Darren's recipe because any cake and any recipe is very different," he said.
After over-filling his moulds, and taking a handy hint from Hayden to scoop some mixture out, Reynold was visibly rattled and not his usual cool, calm, collected self.
"My stress levels are insanely high right now, I'm feeling so much pressure and I'm really annoyed at myself," he said.
"I just wish I'd worked faster and cleaner, I just feel like an absolute amateur right now," he said.
The cook was getting to everyone with both Amina and Poh nearly buckling under the pressure, but with support from the gantry, everyone kept working solidly to plate up the best dish they could manage.
For Reynold, it was clear that he doesn't compare himself to anyone else in the competition, his standards are high because he expects the best from himself.
"I feel a little bit embarrassed, to be honest -- I don't know, it's just not my day today," he said at the end of the three-hour cook.
"It was a rough cook for me, I think I did okay but okay is not good enough because I feel like it's too early for me to go."
After assembling all the final elements to present to the judges, he sat down in front of Melissa, Jock, Andy and Darren.
"I think that's the first time I've seen you physically shaken," said Jock with Reynold replying that he was hopeful he'd done enough.
Reynold's impossibly high standards he sets for himself ended up being beyond what the judges were expecting from the cook, marvelling at his near-perfect dish.
"He was full of confidence at the start and he's backed it up -- that was definitely one of the best dishes today."
While Reynold ended up delivering a dish worthy of making the top three (with Jess and Laura) the cook showed that Back To Win isn't a race between competitors, it's a solo marathon the cooks are running to reach their personal best.