MasterChef love story ends
First the judges said her dessert was inedible, then her beau said she should be eliminated before he was - it's no wonder Masterchef contestant Andrea Bathgate is relieved to be out of the cut-throat cooking show.
"It was pretty intense and at the end, to have me and Matt standing there, it was just horrible."
Bathgate, an Auckland nurse who was eliminated last night after disappointing judges with her salted caramel and chocolate tart, had turned up the heat in recent weeks after love blossomed between her and Matt Gilray, a Christchurch butcher.
Gilray said he thought she was "an amazing, bubbly person" but in the end he stuck the knife in to save his own skin when the judges asked him if he thought he should be going home.
"Not me," he replied, as Bathgate turned away from him in shock.
The loved-up pair had turned up the heat in the MasterChef house in recent weeks but both failed to fire in last night's "invention'' challenge.
The 10 remaining contestants were given 90 minutes to create a dish from whatever tinned, packaged or frozen goods they found in the pantry.
Bathgate decided to make a salted caramel and chocolate tart, accompanied by pears poached in red wine and crystallised ginger ice-cream, after predicting it would find favour with judge Simon Gault.
"I think it will appeal to Simon as he looks like he likes desserts," she said.
Bathgate struggled from the beginning with her pudding, at one point admitting to "having a little freakout" after it got stuck in the tin. She finally freed it, but the chewy caramel proved too much for judge Ray McVinnie, who dismissed it as too sticky and inedible.
Gilray earned his place in the bottom two after an experimental "surf and turf" involving steak and prawns accompanied by Guinness and black liquorice sauce brought horror to the judges' faces.
Bathgate wept and embraced Gilray as the judges told her it was time to go.
"I will really miss you," he said.
Bathgate has returned to working in the emergency department at Starship Children's Hospital and was coy when asked if the pair's blossoming relationship had cooled as a result of her elimination, even though they were spotted together in Christchurch last weekend.
"We are really good friends," she giggled. "I'm in Auckland and he's in Christchurch, but we stay in touch and see each other from time to time."
Bathgate has been accepted to study for a diplome de cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu in Wellington later this year and said she was looking forward to pursuing a career in food. She said she found MasterChef less taxing than her day job.
"I love being under pressure and I thrive in stressful situations. MasterChef was intense, but it was a different kind of stress."
The remaining contestants are Matt Gilray (Christchurch), Charlene McGechan (Rotorua), Dave McKinnon (Christchurch), Chantelle O'Brien (Ashburton), Tony Price (Auckland), Ana Schwarz (Waiheke), Zee Tana (Auckland), Brenton Thornton (Auckland) and Chelsea Winter (Auckland).
Did you think Andrea deserved to go, or should Matt have gotten the MasterChef kiss-off?