Being noble will win you friends, but it won’t necessarily keep you in the MasterChef Canada kitchen. Alisha Sood learned that the hard way on Thursday night when her blue team (along with the red team) failed to sell as many burgers to a group of hungry bikers as the green team did. As a result, Alisha and five other remaining chefs had to face off in a pressure cooker challenge.
When captains Alisha and Aaron were given the chance to save themselves from cooking, only Aaron took the judges up on their offer; Alisha named Barrie safe instead and opted to go down with the ship.
She then made the epic mistake of adding an egg to her mille-feuille pastry during the actual pressure cooker test. Her tropical flavours, although deemed delicious by the judges, weren’t enough to save her and she was sent packing.
We caught up with the home cook and make-up artist fresh from her elimination to find out the secret to a great mille-feuille pastry, how to grill up the perfect burger and why tropical flavours are her go-to flavour profile.
Talk about nice guys finishing last!
Like I said on the show, the whole reason I was there was to become a better person. I’m really not sad about it — it is unfortunate, but at the end of the day I did what I set out to do.
What was the biggest thing you learned in the kitchen?
How important it is to have your own cooking style. It’s really easy to get lost in doing things that please other people, but I basically learned to just find my own style. That takes experience and a lot of time. You can’t always be perfect so you have to just keep with the trial and error.
So we guess you know now not to put an egg in a puff pastry?
That’s probably one of the biggest mistakes of my life; I’ll never put egg in a puff pastry ever again. That was my first time making it.
Have you attempted to make mille-feuille since then?
One hundred per cent. After I was eliminated I went home and into the kitchen and I had to attempt to perfect it.
So what are your tips on the perfect incarnation of that dish?
Make sure you have all your steps in order with all of your ingredients. Do a nice mise en place (assembling of the ingredients) so that all your ingredients are in front of you and you don’t miss a step and put an egg in your mille-feuille.
It’s also important to set it in the fridge.
If there’s one thing I can do it’s bring flavours to the kitchen, so I’m really thankful the judges acknowledged my flavour abilities and technique. Technique is something you constantly learn, but flavour knowledge is something that’s embedded — you can’t teach that.
How did you develop your own knowledge of flavours?
I do come from an Indian background, so tropical flavours and exotic flavours are something that I love cooking with. For me, it was a given to use pineapple in that particular challenge. I love to cook with fresh, tropical flavours. I’ve also travelled a lot; I’ve travelled all over South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia. I take all those influences and try to incorporate that into my cooking profile.
You guys whipped up quite a few burgers in that episode; what’s your secret for making the perfect burger?
Get the perfect blend of meats. The thing is that you don’t necessarily have to just have a beef burger. You can mix the patty with pork or sausage and get a really nice, tender burger.
What about the cooking process; what’s your go-to method?
I know a lot of people favour charbroiled burgers, but I love burgers that are done on the flattop. A cast iron pan, or anything with a flat surface gives you that really nice crust on the burger. I would still put cheese in the burger though — no regrets on that one!
Which judge did you find to be the most intimidating?
Claudio. He was super intimidating… to me, at least! It’s his feedback, his stern look… a mix of everything.
Who are you rooting for to win?
Aaron, all the way. I love his palate, his food philosophy and I think he has the technique.