Well, he's gone but he certainly won't be forgotten.
Mayfield's Reece Hignell, who attended Whitebridge High back in the day, was eliminated from the MasterChef Australia kitchen on Sunday night.
His vegetable entree - a "classic" beetroot dish inspired by a Margan Restaurant starter Hignell once enjoyed - was criticised for being too "safe" by judges.
The decision sparked an uproar online, with MasterChef viewers debating why Hignell's classic dish was deemed too safe when fellow contestant Laura plated up a lamb, pea and mint dish and Emelia, a fish and fennel dish.
Hignell's many, many fans paid tribute to him online and thanked him for bringing some fun and personality into the MasterChef kitchen. And let's not forget his talent. Hignell finished fifth in the all-star Back to Win season. An incredible achievement.
Hignell is busy with his Cakeboi business however wanted to share another recipe with Newcastle Herald readers - along with his heartfelt thanks for the support he has received from his home town.
Here it is.
Moroccan Lamb Shanks
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lamb shanks
1 onion - finally diced
2 garlic cloves - crushed
1 chilli - diced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 cinnamon quill
1 pinch saffron threads
1/2 cup white wine
1 can chickpeas
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
500ml chicken stock
1/2 cup sliced apricots
1. Pre-heat oven to 130°C.
2. In a flame-proof casserole dish cook heat olive oil on high then cook lamb shanks, turning frequently for 5-8 minutes or until evenly brown. Remove lamb shanks from the dish then add onions, garlic and chilli and cook until soft, however not caramelised. Add smoked paprika, cinnamon, saffron and wine then reduce by half.
3. Add remaining ingredients to casserole dish then bring to the boil. Once boiled, carefully transfer dish to the oven and cook for 3 hours with lid off.
4. Serve with toasted almonds and fresh coriander. Perfect accompanied with soft polenta or a creamy root vegetable mash.
Bocados Spanish Kitchen will open its doors on July 22.
"We're really excited, fresh and ready to start for the rest of 2020," owner and chef Raul Cabrera told Food & Wine.
"At this stage we are limited to 50 diners over the two levels and I am really looking forward to welcoming our customers back.
"We will have a few new dishes on the menu and some specials like the squid ink paella, a warm octopus and avocado ceviche, and chicharron de pollo - a Peruvian-style fried chicken offered on most street corners of Peru."
Bookings are now being taken. Phone 02 4023 5903 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The restaurant's new website is still under construction but should be live any day now: bocadosspanishkitchen.com.au
Bocados Spanish Kitchen, 25 King Street, Newcastle, will be open 5.30pm until late, Tuesday to Saturday.
Welcome back, Raul. You've been missed.
The secret's out
The White Cottage 163 opened quietly at Whitebridge recently and locals are raving about it already. It's a cafe by day and a Thai restaurant by night. Food & Wine will have more to share about the venture in the coming weeks.
Lake Mac crawl
The Lake Macquarie Food Truck Crawl continues its journey around the lake each Friday through to Sunday. Different food trucks visit certain locations each week, weather permitting: Toronto Lions Park, Speers Point Park, Cooranbong Playground, Blacksmiths Boat Ramp and Rathmines Playground. Belmont South and Croudace Bay also make the cut occasionally. The Tangerine Events Facebook page has all the details.
Food fight cancelled
Sadly, Hunter Culinary Association has had to cancel this year's Food Fight.
"We had considered postponing this important event until October, however we do not believe that the environment, both financially nor perhaps regulatory, will be conducive to the event proceeding," chairman Gus Maher said.
Discussions are taking place about the feasibility of a larger than usual Spring Seasonal lunch being held. Watch this space.
Now for some good news. The Brett Graham Scholarship and First Creek Front of House Scholarship will proceed.
"I recently had a long conversation with Brett and firstly, both Brett and his family are all well and in good spirits," Maher said.
"It has been well documented that The Ledbury has closed down, however Brett made it very clear that the Brett Graham Scholarship would proceed regardless.
"Brett noted that the scholarship actually commenced prior to The Ledbury's existence, and whilst The Ledbury has played a big part in the development and finessing of some of our great Hunter chefs, Brett stressed his absolute commitment to the scholarship."
Shoal Bay Country Club's Mermaids Cafe has a new breakfast menu. It was designed by Sian Redgrave, winner of The Great Australian Bake Off, and includes new items like sweet potato and corn fritters, a vegetarian breakfast bowl and buttermilk waffles.
Coalies Cafe has opened at The Coalface Gym (6-8 Hall Street, Newcastle West) with coffee from Floozy.
Freebie of the week
Cauliflower has been humble for far too long. Author and professional chef Leanne Kitchen has decided it is time for this versatile vegetable to shine.
In Cauliflower is King, she shares 70 cauliflower recipes - roasted, barbecued, stir-fried, baked whole or in a pizza crust. Cauliflower is even a carb-friendly alternative to rice. Kitchen's recipes cover snacks, starters and soups, salads, mains, baked meals and accompaniments.
Cauliflower is King is out now through Murdoch Books, RRP $19.99. Food & Wine has a copy to give away. To enter, send the word "Cauliflower is King" with your name, address and number to email@example.com. Entries close on Monday at 9am.