MasterChef Top 20 contestant TK Nguyen.
MasterChef Top 20 contestant TK Nguyen. Stuart Bryce

Tricky turkey sends TK home

SHE earned her spot in the competition by cooking duck, but poultry proved to be TK Nguyen's MasterChef downfall.

The 22-year-old law student found herself staring at 10 different types of poultry alongside her fellow red team members in tonight's elimination challenge.

"I'm confident with cooking with some types of poultry but you never know what twists they'll have in store for you," she said.

Ironically, after impressing the judges with her audition-winning roast duck breast with orange sauce, Nguyen wrongly identified duck as pheasant.

"I don't know what happened," she said.

"I just thought it looked bigger than normal. It was the biggest duck I'd ever seen. I guess that's where I tripped up and made my mistake."

Nguyen, Julia Taylor, Tregan Borg, Debra Sederlan and Alice Zaslavsky all moved on to the second round of the elimination where they had to cook with one of five types of poultry.

"Because I was the first out of five to name the poultry wrong I was the last out of five to choose what poultry I wanted to cook with," she said.

"All the girls chose the more common, popular ones. I had all the weird stuff."

Nguyen chose American Thanksgiving staple turkey but her plan to steam the meat came undone.

"I had about 15 minutes left on the clock and it wasn't steaming right. It was quite tough, really dry," she said.

Scrambling to plate up something else, Nguyen managed to whip up a tasty Japanese stir fry but it wasn't special enough to impress the judges.

"They told me my poultry was cooked to perfection and it looked great on the plate, but it just reminded them of food court food," she said.

Nguyen is currently finishing her law degree and hopes to then go on to a cooking apprenticeship.

"I'm the type of person who likes to finish what I start," she said.

"I've been in it (law degree) for five years, so the least I can do is finish.

"After that I'm planning on signing up for a culinary institute. I don't want to walk into a restaurant with less than a year's experience. I want to have those basics and then ask for an apprenticeship."

She tips Amina Elshafei and immunity pin winner Mindy Woods as possible frontrunners in the competition.

"I think Amina will definitely have her own time to shine," she said.

"She's a really interesting cook. Her cultural background will make her dishes really different to everyone else."

Tomorrow night, special guest chef Jason Jones teaches the contestants how to serve up the Mexican feast of pork and mushroom tortillas, corn ice cream and champagne savarin with poached autumn fruits.

MasterChef airs Sundays at 7.30pm and week days at 7pm on Ten.

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