Berwick’s Lorna Robertson is through to the last seven of BBC One's MasterChef, while Northumberland's other contestant Faye Dodwell made an exit.
Lorna, the 22-year-old former Berwick Advertiser and Berwickshire News reporter, demonstrated her prowess in the kitchen once again in last night’s episode.
The remaining eight semi-finalists were split into two teams and tasked with catering for the cast and crew of the BBC drama Holby City.
Lorna was given the task of making a dessert and she came up trumps with a chocolate and hazelbut torte, amaretti crumb and vanilla custard with hot salted toffee sauce.
Before she began, she joked: “I’ve cooked for about 12 people for Christmas dinner but 12 is a bit different to 120!”
One of her first problems was melting the butter in the outdoor tent with temperatures hovering just above freezing. The next was needing a bigger bowl to make such a large quantity.
“It’s a mixture that’s tried and tested, it’s the scaling up that’s the challenge,” she told presenter Gregg Wallace.
As the torte emerged from the oven, Lorna said she was ‘really happy with them’.
She also told Gregg to ‘have faith’ when he questioned whether there were sufficient portions. She turned out to be right.
“I think it’s good,” said fellow presenter John Torode. “It doesn’t have a lot of elegance but it’s good.”
Gregg added: “It may be the most basic looking but it’s great. What’s not to like.”
It was a change in fortunes for Lorna who had received some criticism of her rhubarb-based dish in Monday’s episode.
Her efforts helped her team to victory, with the losing team cooking again in a special invention test, which led to Faye Dodwell, from Hexham, exiting the competition. Her dish, a savoury mille-feuille made with layers of thyme-infused puff pastry piped with a Stilton bechamel sauce, confit tomatoes and onion jam, received a mixed response from the presenters, who found it too acidic.
Lorna is back on MasterChef tonight (Wednesday) on BBC One at 8pm.
In the third of four semi-final programmes, the remaining amateurs create a three-course fish lunch, sourcing their ingredients at 4am from Billingsgate Fish Market before getting to work in the kitchens of the Fishmongers’ Company headquarters. Adding to the pressure, the diners are all experts in the fish industry, so expectations will be high. The diners’ two most popular contestants are exempt from the studio cook-off, which sees the rest creating one last dish in a bid to stay in the competition.