She was pipped by cherries and an unfamiliar partner - Liam Hyslop meets the first M-Chef eliminee ...
She may have the unwanted tag of first to be eliminated from Masterchef New Zealand but it won't stop Janaina Mendes from having another crack next year.
Mendes and her cooking partner Tiago de Almeida Schaich produced watery black forest cakes, missing the cherries and kirsch in last night's episode, and were dumped from the competition.
They were lucky to have even made it that far, having scraped through a tie-breaker taste test of Sunday night by one point.
Mendes said she had high hopes going into the competition.
"I was expecting top win, I was not thinking I was going to be eliminated and especially not in the first round," she said.
A combination of nerves and an unfamiliar partner were her undoing.
"I didn't know Tiago before the competition," Mendes said.
"I was trying to take my daughter with me but she was too shy."
Her daughter pulled out two weeks before the competition and a frantic call went out to friends and family for a suitable partner.
Tiago stepped up but the pair had only five opportunities to cook together before entering the Masterchef cauldron.
Tiago was a good chef but their styles conflicted, Mendes said.
"I like to work things faster than we were so it was quite hard."
English was her second language so it often made it hard to understand some of the instructions from the judges, she said.
But despite all of that she was still eager to give it another crack if there was another show in the future.
"I enjoyed it and this won't stop me from coming back again," she said.
"It pushed me to want to make my dreams come true and make a cookbook in the future."
The people on the show were all nice and were supportive.
THE SHOW PLAY-BY-PLAY BY STUFF'S RESIDENT TV NUT MIKE KILPATRICK
If Sunday's dose of cooking duos wasn't enough, Masterchef New Zealand now hits our screen on Monday nights too.
Will the second episode of the season, with the top 15 moving into the house, have a bit more... well, disaster and shouting than Sunday night's love-in?
The excitement of the hot-tub and pool is quickly forgotten about when the housemates see the bunk beds but, thankfully, we're quickly back in the Masterchef kitchen.
And just to make it interesting the guest judge this week is Donna Hay and she's asking the contestants to make desserts.
The pudding episodes are my favourite because it always ends in trouble for some of the good chefs. Who's going to deliver a Black Forest disaster instead of beautiful cakes?
An added twist is that the duos will be split up - one will cook for the first hour, the second will cook in the second hour so communication is going to be absolutely crucial.
Everyone has a recipe to follow so it's going to come down to who can deal with instructions best - that would rule me out of being a Masterchef.
Josh is doing the rounds and tells them all to "pull the finger out" [ouch] as Donna gets covered trying to save some chocolate which has been wasted.
And it's Thiago, one half of the Brazilian pair, who appears most in trouble. With just eight minutes of his hour left his cakes aren't in the oven yet.
How's his partner Janaina going to get the chocolate to stick to the sides if it's too hot and just melts?
And Sam is even further behind - he's still putting the cherries into the bottom of the cake tin. Collette is going to have a heck of a last hour to save their hopes.
All the partners come back into the kitchen and the insanity starts. People are trying to tell each other what's been done and no-one seems to be listening.
Brigitte isn't happy with Paul, the man with the apparently unfeasibly long arms, who has done everything wrong.
But it's Glynn and James who are first to crack - literally - as their cake is out of the oven and isn't cooked so has more gaps in it than Madonna's teeth.
There's a fair bit of trimming going on with extra cake all over the place and everyone is off to the freezer to try and cool them down enough.
It's clear, however, that not everyone is going to make it and I'm licking my lips in anticipation of the messy desserts to come.
Bec even has time to set the recipe sheet on fire as she tried to create her chocolate shards for the outside of the cake, sending Simon into fits.
We're heading into disaster territory - Jon is looking for his shards but they're nowhere to be found. Oops, turns out Glynn and James had taken them.
No-one seems concerned but that should be an automatic disqualification, surely? But perhaps their cakes will make that unnecessary.
Some of these cakes look amazing, some look like a dog left a present on a table top - and that leaves Donna surely wondering what she got herself in for.
And it's on to the tasting.
Jenn and Elizabeth try and claim cheekily they were going for the rustic look and the judges have mixed views of the flavour profile.
Trudie and Shelley appear to have done a good job, which sets up Glynn and James for an even bigger fail when they appear with their plates.
"It's like I can almost taste raw flour," says Ray. Uh oh, that's not going to help. Will someone have done a worse job or are they destined to be the first finalists out?
Kasey and Karena earn praise from Donna for being the most organised, and the balance is good, says Simon. "They've done a great job," says Donna. That's the first duo guaranteed to be through, I think.
"Chocolate hell," complains Ray of Bronwyn and Fiona's efforts - split cream mixed in with ganache just isn't going to be good enough. Do we have the second pair for out bottom two this week?
Perhaps not, because here comes Sam and Collette's efforts which look... well, let's just say I've seen better looking cow pats. But the taste? Simon positively froths at the mouth with excitement so they'll be back next week.
Our Brazilian duo are definitely in trouble, though. No kirsch flavour, the cherries were left out and they're "watery" says Josh. They only got in by the skin of their teeth last night and are heading for the bottom again.
The rest all have some small issues, but there's something about them all which pleases the judging quartet - and now we're just moments away from finding out who's going to have to hang up their aprons.
The last duo, Nikki and Jordan, get the highest praise for cake of the day - well it wouldn't be Masterchef New Zealand if we didn't finish on a positive, would it?
There's no surprise that Karena and Kasey and Trudie and Shelley are called alongside Nikki and Jordan for having the best three cakes of the day - but it's the latter pair which earn top spot this week.
The mother and daughter pair are delighted with the praise and will get an advantage in next Sunday's episode. I can't handle the anticipation!
Next, those which have done enough to progress are called out, leaving five pairs fighting it out to stay.
Fiona and Bronwyn left out the baking powder, Jenn and Elizabeth didn't put the cherries in their cake - but they have done enough to last another week. Tears are shed and the bottom three is as expected.
Matt and Courtney's were the worst looking but tasted okay and they "scrape through" says Simon, leaving Janaina and Thiago and Glynn and James scrapping over the final spot.
The only way the boys could escape, Simon says, is if another team had done worse. And luckily for them Janaina and Thiago did.
They're shocked but they delivered poor chocolate cakes with no cherries or kirsch and, on reflection, will realise they didn't deserve to stay.
The boys will need to improve dramatically if they have any hopes of winning the title, though. Can they hit back on Sunday?
Next week it's all meat (which is hard viewing for a vegetarian) - so join us then for an offally interesting show and recap!
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