‘MasterChef Australia’ Recap: A Farewell To Arms

Tonight, dumpling Derek, master of arms and aspiring Timelord, had his last cook in the MasterChef Australia kitchen. Twitter is gutted.

MasterChef Australia Season 11

Tonight, the moment we have all been dreading finally arrived on MasterChef Australia. Dumpling Derek, master of arms and aspiring Time Lord, has had his last cook in the MasterChef kitchen. Twitter and I are gutted.

Like a Shakespearean hero, Derek’s downfall was brought about by his fatal flaws: His eternally optimistic aspirations and his inability to read clocks.

Dropped off by the Q-Train at the infamous Time Auction Elimination, Derek, Tessa, Simon and Prince Harry were each given 120 minutes to spend bidding on ingredients.

They were to buy a protein, a selection of fruit or vegetables, and a box of miscellaneous ingredients such as spices, then use what time they had left to cook.

It was a challenge perfectly designed to strike at Derek’s weaknesses. And like Paris’ arrow to Achilles’ heel, it struck hard and it struck true.

Derek got off to a poor start when, caught up in the excitement of his first ever auction, he bid 10 minutes for eggs despite not wanting them. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but not unsalvageable. 

However, instead of then aiming for the citrus and relying on his widely recognised strength as a dessert cook, Derek paid 30 minutes for alliums and picked up the leftover box of sauces.

Rather than make a meringue, or a cake, or literally any dessert in the world, my sweet, naive boy had decided to use his eggs in a savoury dish. Not only that, he was going to attempt a fiddly, delicate dish he had never cooked before: Quail’s egg yolk ravioli.

I love Derek, but he makes some terrible choices.

Though 80 minutes is a reasonable amount of time to cook a dish, it becomes much, much less reasonable if you’re attempting to replicate something you’ve only ever seen others do. Still Derek soldiered on, giggling as always and cheerfully oblivious in the face of certain death.

To his credit, Derek successfully made both ricotta and a dough. But sure enough, he ran into trouble filling his pasta, accidentally breaking several of his quail yolks. Eventually George broke the news to him that this whole ravioli idea was a bust, leaving Derek with nothing but the scraps of a dish and a dream.

MasterChef Australia Season 11

By this time Derek only had 20 minutes left to get something up. He quickly turned his pasta dough into fettuccine and threw together an onion sauce, topping it with a sous vide duck egg he’d cooked as a backup. It was something. However, though he rushed so much that he burnt his hand, it wasn’t enough.

The judges loved Simon’s carrots and lamb. Tessa cooked her John Dory with citrus and herbs perfectly despite lack of time and unfamiliarity with the fish. And though Prince Harry’s crispy pork belly wasn’t quite crispy, his glazed pork rib and potato mash offset it.

This time around, the cold finger of fate landed upon everyone’s favourite 26-year-old financial analyst. Derek was never one to play it safe, and constantly pushed himself in every cook. Unfortunately, tonight he finally pushed himself all the way out of the MasterChef kitchen.

Viewers are distraught.

“Go hard or go home. It’s kind of my philosophy, right?” said Derek upon his elimination, blessing us with his smile one last time. Sadly, this time he went both hard and home.

Derek is planning to open a nice big restaurant in Perth, where he will have all the time he desires, as many ingredients as his improbable arms can carry, and a big, sunny kitchen where he can spend all day running around with other chefs.

Goodnight, sweet, muscular prince. And clutches of quail eggs sing thee to thy rest.

Amanda Yeo is a Sydney-based writer, lawyer and MasterChef enthusiast who still thinks Reynold should have gotten an immunity pin for his 30/30 dessert in season seven. Follow her on Twitter: @amandamyeo.