THE Kumanator finally met his match in a blind taste test last night on MasterChef.
Kumar Pereira, the show’s oldest ever Top 24 contestant at 62, earned his nickname early on in the competition after surviving a string of pressure tests.
But trying to guess the ingredients of a terrine while blindfolded threw the usually cool, calm and collected Sri Lankan cook off his game.
“I’m a designer. I’m a very visual person,” he said.
“Having to be blindfolded and taste something just threw me completely. I just froze.”
The design teacher from Sydney was then forced to cook a dish with the four ingredients he guessed correctly.
His herb-crusted pork with apple sauce failed to impress the judges.
“I thought I’d done pretty well considering the limited ingredients I had to work with,” he said.
“I’m really pleased with what I did, but not pleased with the way I presented it.”
Pereira just narrowly missed out on the Top 10 and an upcoming overseas trip to New York City.
“I’m pretty optimistic. I don’t have any regrets,” he said.
Back at home, Pereira is continuing his work on a handwritten and hand-illustrated cook book which he started working on in the MasterChef house.
“It’s about all the things I like cooking and all of my experiences in cooking,” he said.
“It’s a bit more personal, a bit more me. I just think it shows what I do.”
He will also be leading two food tours through Sri Lanka next year, an exciting prospect considering he has not visited his home country in a decade.
On top of that, the father of two is also teaching local primary school students how to grow their own food.
“It’s the school my kids went to,” he said.
“I love growing veggies and being a teacher, I love to teach people the joys and pleasures of growing your own food.”
Pereira said he learned from each of his MasterChef challenges, even that massive ostrich egg in the Western Australia vineyard cook-off, and relished the chance to pick the brains of the best in the industry.
“Meeting all those chefs from the world over, I still can’t get over it,” he said.
“It was like a dream - talking to them, getting advice from them.”
With only 10 amateur chefs left in the competition, Pereira said it could be anyone’s game.
“I have my favourites, but it’s really hard to predict,” he said.
“Things change depending on the challenge. I had lots of people who picked out who have since not made it. From those who are left, I really think Billy (Law) and Michael (Weldon) will go a long way.”
Tonight, judges Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris are joined by guest chefs Fleur Sullivan, Simon Gault, Martin Bolsey and Al Brown for a MasterClass crash course in seafood chowder, honey feijea cake and crayfish tails.
Two of the contestants will fly to Wellington, New Zealand for a private MasterClass with Brown, Bolsey and Justin North.
MasterChef Australia airs Sundays to Fridays at 7.30pm on Ten.
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