Elimination Interview: Sam
The popular contestant discusses his Elimination, thriving on 'Pressure' Tests and his pick for this year's MasterChef winner.
Contesting his Elimination Challenge against one of the game’s strongest cooks in Amina, and a Pressure Test veteran in Andrew, Sam always faced a tough battle for survival. Yet as evidenced by his comparably laid back demeanour, he greeted the task with positivity and relish.
“Going into the Pressure Test, I was quite confident,” he says. “Amina is a great cook, who has showed some good form to date, but I held high hopes of progressing. I think the name Pressure Test is a slight misnomer – getting to cook a beautiful recipe from an esteemed chef, all ingredients at the ready, to me was so enjoyable. It seems strange, but looking back I really wish I had more opportunity to be tested under the ‘Pressure Test’ conditions.”
Seeing and tasting guest judge Christine Manfield’s creation only fuelled Sam’s enthusiasm further. “I just couldn’t wait to get stuck in to it. Filleting and smoking beautiful trout – it seemed right up my alley, though the turmeric broth was always going to be tricky for us. Such a balanced yet clean broth would be difficult to adjust during the cook.”
Throughout the challenge Sam displayed an assurance rarely matched by Amina or Andrew. While his peers were rueing their lack of experience in cold smoking, Sam was busy getting on with it. “I detest hearing a contestant say that they have ‘never attempted this before’, so I have been reticent to tread that path,” he says candidly.
“I don’t think many people have used a cold smoking gun before, but as far as I could tell the only real demons in cold smoking relate to the amount of time the fillets are exposed to the smoke, and the resulting intensity of flavour. Filleting the trout is the real skill test and I was very happy to have done justice to a beautiful fish. By this stage of the competition I thought that this skill would be a must.”
Plating up a dish so close in presentation to Christine’s, Sam fancied his chances of staying in the game: “I went into the judging with no regrets, knowing that an objective appraisal should see me safely though to cook another day,” he shares.
Though the judges may have ruled in Amina and Andrew’s favour, Sam’s understandably proud of how far he came in the competition, and what he learnt during it. “I have taken a lot from MasterChef – mainly that the thrill cooking brings me can’t be worn down by the restraints of such an intense and gruelling competition, or the ego that can drive it.”
Ready now to sit back and enjoy what remains of MasterChef 2012, Sam hopes that a couple of guys he knows will be the last contestants standing: “I would be really happy if the winner turns out to be Ben or Andy.”
Involved in some of the most thrilling MasterChef moments of the season so far, including a show-first dead heat against Andy, Sam Davis will be sorely missed from the competition.