THE odds of who will take out this year’s MasterChef crown have changed after favourite Hayden Quinn was eliminated last night.
The 24-year-old professional lifeguard has long been an audience favourite since winning the first immunity pin of the third series.
His good looks and sports background also made him one of the most widely appealing contestants for both male and female viewers.
But he’s still a bit shy when asked about being a favourite.
“Because we don’t have that connection with the outside world we don’t hear much about this happening or this person’s a favourite or that person’s a favourite,” he said.
“It’s quite encouraging knowing they (viewers) think you can do well.
“It’s great when you have little kids come up and want to have a photo. It’s good to see kids are getting excited about food.”
Quinn wiped out after “a few bad days” in the competition which saw him and his blue team mates Kate Bracks and Michael Weldon in a pressure test.
His sesame-encrusted coral trout with tapioca pearls and garlic cream just didn’t stand muster against the other two dishes.
“Being in that elimination with Kate and Michael was really tough,” he said.
“And standing there at the end next to Michael was situation both of us had never planned. We were hoping it was both of us standing at the finale.”
Even though he could return to his local surf break, going home after nearly six months in the MasterChef bubble was difficult for Quinn.
“The whole MasterChef experience is so exciting and full on and bizarre in a way,” he said.
“We did some pretty special things (on the show) and to no longer be part of it so suddenly was definitely hard to take. But I’m getting myself sorted for some excited things.”
Those exciting things include a website, which will feature a blog, recipes and updates on Quinn’s latest food adventures, and some work experience at Ormeggio restaurant with chef Alessandro Pavoni, whose apprentice Quinn beat to win his immunity pin.
“I’m looking forward to getting down there and learning things from both of them,” he said.
“We’re talking about putting together a dinner where we face off against each other.”
His dream of being in the final with his good mate might be dashed, but he still tips Weldon, the last man standing in the competition, to take out the title.
“I think Michael will be there at the end for sure,” he said.
“It’s a bit sad he’s been left in that house with those girls (laughs). He needs some help, some support. The girls will be going out to get him.”
Tonight, judges Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris take the reigns of another MasterClass.
MasterChef Australia airs Sundays to Fridays at 7.30pm on Ten.
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