POPULAR young MasterChef contestant Reynold Poernomo made an emotional exit from MasterChef on Thursday night as the competition heats up towards the season finale next week.
His "arch nemesis" ingredient fish proved his undoing in a pressure test against Jessica Arnott and Billie McKay to earn a spot next to Georgia Barnes in the semi finals on Sunday night.
He had hoped for a dessert - his speciality - but it wasn't to be with guest chef Brett Graham setting a difficult recipe of flame grilled bonito with pickled cucumber, celtic mustard and shiso instead.
"Before it was revealed I thought it was about due time for a dessert to come up but my arch nemesis the fish came back instead. I was happy with the [fish filleting] skills I had learnt the day before at the service challenge but it was just so tough to plate it up in such a short amount of time," he told APN.
"I was devastated to leave, having been in that position so close to the finale, but I was really happy to have made the top four - I never expected to get that far and I'm happy enough to come fourth and get a chance at fulfilling my dreams."
He said he was grateful for the experiences and opportunities that the show provided him and thanked his supporters.
"I think the biggest thing that I got from it all was learning about how to push the boundaries and think outside of the box, handle pressure and think on your feet."
All skills that he has been building on since leaving the show.
"I've been doing work experience at Gastro Park with Grant King so that has been pretty tough but it's been good fun as well and I'm learning heaps and trying to absorb as much as I can."
"Later this year my brother is opening a dessert bar and he's asked me to design the menu for that... and hopefully next month I can do a little pop-up as well," he said.
He described both Billie and Georgia as very creative but tipped Billie as a potential winner for her ability to remain calm under pressure.
The MasterChef Australia semi-final airs Sunday at 7.30pm on Ten with the season finale at the same time on Monday.