Mackay's Tamara Graffen has already gained valuable work experience since her elimination from MasterChef.
Mackay's Tamara Graffen has already gained valuable work experience since her elimination from MasterChef. Channel 10

Tamara's bittersweet MasterChef exit (take two)

TAMARA Graffen has narrowly missed out on a spot in MasterChef's semi-final, but her elimination is only the beginning of her new career in food.

The 28-year-old, who grew up in Mackay, had the grand final in her sights but an undercooked brownie sent her packing for the second time from the MasterChef kitchen tonight.

Asked to make a dish worthy of a top three berth, Tamara served up a Chinese-inspired take on her campfire brownie baked inside an orange.

To give the dish a bit of theatre, she whipped up a salted caramel sauce, five-spice ice cream and served the dessert under smoke-filled dome.

"It's something I do every time I go camping… and I want to give that to the judges," she said.

While judge Gary Mehigan was worried about the dish being kitsch, he was pleasantly surprised by Tamara's sophisticated combination of flavours.

Tamara's campfire brownie.
Tamara's campfire brownie. Channel 10

"That sauce and that ice cream is sensational," he said.

"There's a mixture of spice and then chili that is just absolutely intoxicating. If you put a litre tub of that ice cream in front of me with that sauce I don't think I could stop."

Even though they were transported to an outback campfire, the judges couldn't overlook Tamara's undercooked brownie.

"I've tried to make the most of every single minute since I came back," she said, referring to her second-chance comeback last month.

"I keep thinking about my food dream… It's not the Michelin-starred, refined food. It's the fun, simple and delicious."

The judges even surprised her with a sample menu from the café she hopes to open, listing some of her stand-out dishes from her time on the show.

The MasterChef judges list Tamara's highlights from the show.
The MasterChef judges list Tamara's highlights from the show. Channel 10

"Just to be part of the final four and to have met the three of you - you have been so generous with your time - I have loved absolutely every single second of this massive roller-coaster ride," she said.

Since her elimination was filmed, Tamara has undertaken work experience at Om Nom Dessert Bar and Lune Croissanterie in Melbourne and Quay restaurant in Sydney.

Tamara and her husband Tim are considering a move from Broome to Melbourne and she still plans to open her own boutique café.

"I'd love to be able to continue to share recipes and inspire other people to cook," she said.

Ipswich's Ben Ungermann is now the only Queenslander remaining on the show.

MasterChef's semi-final and grand final air Sunday and Monday at 7.30pm on Channel 10.



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