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Cake challenge too much for MasterChef's Big Dave

24/04/2012 10:00:00 PM
MasterChef contestant Dave McKinnon
MasterChef contestant Dave McKinnon

A tough physical cooking task proved too much for MasterChef contestant Dave McKinnon, who last night became the ninth finalist to leave the show.

The MasterChef wannabes were asked to make a hamburger cake and a milkshake for baking maestro Mathew Metcalfe.

Dave who admits he is embarrassed by his size, found that the lengthy, highly physical challenge pushed him to his limits.

Struggling at times to keep up with the unrelenting pace, he had difficulty focussing on the basics, initially omitting four eggs from his cake mix, then dropping fondant icing to the floor.

But the hardest part for 32-year-old was the process of kneading the fondant, extremely physical work which required all his strength and endurance.

“The physicality of the job is catching him out,” commented Metcalfe. “He needs to go faster.”

By the final 45 minutes of the challenge, Dave admitted the pressure was becoming too much.

“I’m really getting to the end of my fortitude – both physically and mentally,” he confessed.

Worn out and exhausted, he fronted up for the judging.

Guest judge Matthew Metcalfe told him his cake was undercooked, while Ray McVinnie said it was a poor effort.

Lined up the bottom three alongside Tony Price and Matt Gilray, Dave took the bad news well.

“I’m disappointed,” he said, “but in saying that I have two top blokes standing beside me who will go far. I hope they do very well.”

We asked him about his time on the show. p>

What was your biggest success on MasterChef?
Creating friendships with the other contestants and, of course, the Golden Apron.

What was your worst or most embarrassing moment on the show?
To be honest with you, just being overweight. I can handle me being silly, excited, screwing up, saying funny things to the camera. But seeing “Big Dave” reminds me that it’s not healthy to be overweight and that getting down to the right size for my height and exercising is the way to go.

What did you learn from being on MasterChef?
That cooking at home is where the best food really is. Put 16 people in a house together that all love food and you will learn a lot. I probably learnt more about food in two weeks than I have cooking at home for 12 months. It’s all those tricks and tips we pick up from each other. It makes me want to put a cooking-at-home guide together.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’d give up my focus and concentration while on a task and give way more to the camera.

Who has inspired your passion for cooking?
My Gran, and as I develop, anyone that has a passion for food. I just want to learn as much as possible and not waste a week.

If you were having any three people, alive or dead, over for dinner, who would they be and what would you cook for them?
Avinash Kaushik, Jamie Oliver and Ricky Gervais and I would cook them an epic Kiwi barbecue with local beers.

What’s your favourite dish to cook?
West Indian street food, and I’m working on a special dish you find at Maracas Beach in Trinidad.

Who do you think will be New Zealand's next MasterChef?
Tony Price. He seems to know a lot about food but is keeping it very quiet. I have asked him a lot of questions about food and often he says he doesn’t know.

Who was your favourite MasterChef contestant?
Tony Price. I have never met a fiend like him. He was able to make everyone fizz on a daily basis and he drove like an absolute madman.

What’s your top tip for aspiring chefs?
Always use an oven thermometer and timer and take it with you when you cook in different kitchens. Grow herbs on your kitchen window sill all year round!

What's next for you?
I’m going to put together a series of e-learning resources for cooking and build a website to host the content. Over the next six months I will experiment with filming food preparation at home and work out how to best capture the magic of home cooking in HD. My goal will be to have an iPad app showcasing the best of Kiwi home cooking. If you want to get involved please get hold of me at - #Tasteit.

MasterChef screens on TV One at 7.30pm on Tuesdays.

Read more from the MasterChef kitchen

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