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Posts from — May 2009

MasterChef Australia – Is Winning The Mystery Box A Curse?

I cracked up when I saw Lucas for the english theme food challenge had cooked a curry as I thought that was the height of  english cuisine when I was living there some years ago. The way the english anglicised the dish was to served it with chips. Thankfully all that has changed now and there is some great food in the UK now.

Tonight’s episode started off with a cupcake challenge. It surprises me so many of the contestants freak out when they have to bake or cook a dessert. But they are not alone in this Top Chef contestant’s also have these issues. Is there some sort of snobbery which means they think real chefs don’t bake?

It was great that Chris said that there was an opportunity with the mystery box challenge to cook more adventurously as there was no elimination attached to it. He  took the opportunity to mix beer in with chocolate and this got his cake to be one of the three the judges would taste.

The other two were Poh’s Hazelnut and lime punch cup cake, and Julie’s lemon diva cupcake. Julie won and for this she got the supposed advantage of picking the ingredient for the main challenge, but this is turning into a poison chalice? Tom who won last week landed in the bottom three, as did Julie did tonight.

She had the choice between blue eyed trevalla, strawberries and a leg of lamb. She was not to pleased with any of them. The lamb because she said every challenge which had involved filleting has tripped her up, the strawberries because she said she is not a dessert chef, and the trevalla she had never cooked before.

So she went for the lesser of the evils and picked the leg of lamb. They were given 90 minutes to cook the dish so if they would have the time to roast if they decided to.

From a strategic viewpoint I would have picked the strawberries, I think there is an opportunity to knock some of the “stronger” chefs into the bottom three with dessert challenges. Sam has no clue on how to cook anything sweet, and Trevor and Justine also look nervous when the sugar and flour appears. At this stage you don’t have to shine but just keep on getting through with the group.

Anyway back to Julie, I like her but can someone give her a paper bag she appears to have an anxiety issue, she needs to calm down. This is affecting the amount of time she is taking to prep. She was going to do a stuffed and rolled lamb but ended up having to use the stuffing as a crust but it was still served up rawer than I have seen some beef carpaccio.

Sandra pushed the boundaries by stuffing the lamb in a potato wrapping, this resulted in being in the bottom three. Also Aaron needs to get over his obsession  with pastry, it was totally unnecessary for his Shepherds Pie. But that wasn’t his only sin he also over seasoned the pie filling. Has he cooked an edible dish since being on the show? He also will be fighting it out in the elimination challenge tomorrow with Julie and Sandra.

The special guest judge tonight was from UK’s MasterChef John Torode a chef who was born in Australia but has lived in England since he was 25 years of age (source wikipedia). He gave the Australian judges Gary Mehigan, George Colombaris, and Matt Preston a masterclass in how to be a judge on the show, with his zippy one liners and warm charm. I hope he is on tomorrow night as well.

The top three dishes were Chris who is shaping up to be a favourite with his confident and innovative cooking.  Justine who prepared a beautifully rolled roast, serving it with spinach and mint, potatoes with tarragon and some mushrooms, this girl can cook. Tom also picked himself up and dusted himself off to climb back to the top, and his dish was pronounced the best he had cooked in the competition thus far.

Justine deservedly won the challenge and will cook against Guy Grossi on the Tuesday night episode.

The unfortunate thing about the editing is you don’t get to see much of the dishes that are not in the top or bottom three, so it is hard to formulate an opinion or who should or should not be there. This type of editing was also seen in the cupcake challenge, which meant it was easy to pick whose cakes were going to get tasted.

However I think Geni should have been penalised by being in the bottom three  for producing a dish that was so outside the english theme. Her roast lamb with a garlic tomato sauce was pure mediterranean. For the sharp eyed readers out there who noticed bruises on her back when she was filmed in the bathroom at the beginning of the episode, they look like the result of a cupping therapy where glass cups are suctioned onto your back to remove toxins.

I think Aaron will be the one to go tomorrow night, he has had too many chances. As much as I like that he takes risks you do have to deliver with a decent dish sooner or later.

May 31, 2009   13 Comments

Reality Tidbits – Sunday Papers

MasterChef Host Sarah Wilson Turns Down A Men’s Magazine Offer.

Sarah Wilson has turned down an offer to pose for Ralph Magazine. One of the reasons she gives is that a lot of the readers a much younger than her, and she would have felt like too much of a cougar, and also says her 17 year old brother counselled her against it.

However it must have been flattering to be asked, especially in a week where news broke her ex-boyfriend Adam Zammit is now engaged to former Schapelle Corby prison mate Michelle Leslie. Sarah’s latest tweet say “Filming on Sunday. It hurts.” I presume she is talking about having to perform for the camera’s when everyone else is relaxing.

Jason Gilkison’ s Burn The Floor  Will Perform On Broadway.

 Can Jason Gilkison’s career highlights get any better with news his show Burn the Floor will start an open season in July on Broadway. This must also mean that Jason will be a choreographer on the US version of  So You Think You Can Dance this season. His profile in the tough US market will continue to sky rocket. Congratulations it could not happen to a nicer talented guy. However Australian’s will have a last chance to see the show before it heads overseas. More information here.

Project Runway Australia Looks Like There Is Going To Be Drama, And Yes That Is A Good Thing

Shelly Horton’s gossip column in the Sun Herald states that Project Runway Australia are having a hard time keeping up with design diva Amber Renae’s demands.

The article states:

Renae is already vying to be the one we love to hate before an episode’s even gone to air.

Whispers from the set are that the bronzed goddess has issues with being filmed first thing in the morning. She wants to always have a face of fake-up and blow-dried hair. So to stop being filmed before she’s ready, she flashed her boobs at the camera. Legally the producers can’t film her topless. Ooh, we bet Arena is wishing it had a Project Runway Up Late show.

Meanwhile, Renae lost even more friends in the TRESemme hair salon when she foolishly tried to take on super snipper Joh Bailey.

In a previous challenge the judges complained about the way her model’s hairstyles didn’t work with the outfit she designed. She stormed down to Bailey and demanded he spend more time on her model’s hair. He simply stared her down and said: “Well, whose fault’s that honey? Your’re the one giving the orders!” Bailey is the perfect person to cut her down to size.

Memo to producers why don’t you just pixelate the naughty bits?

May 31, 2009   Comments Off on Reality Tidbits – Sunday Papers

Australian Idol – John Foreman Leaving As Well

Australian Idol is starting to look like rats abandoning a sinking ship. First host James Mathieson left, but now the news that really sents a shiver down my spine is the news uber talent musical arranger John Foreman has said he will not be doing the show this year.

In the Sunday Telegraph his biggest achievement was introducing an orchestra, something that was copied by other Idol shows in the worldwide franchise. Also he cites as a great moment Guy Sebastian’s performance of Climb Every Mountain.

He apparently told Channel Ten this week he would not being doing the show. The big question is who is going to replace him, as the music is the most important thing on the show. Yes I hear sniggers from you dear readers but it is true.

Let’s hope some interesting contestants turn up, like Australia’s version of Adam Lambert, otherwise it could be a very dull season of Idol indeed.

May 31, 2009   Comments Off on Australian Idol – John Foreman Leaving As Well

Reality Tidbits

American Idol Denies The Votes Were Rigged For Kris Allen

In a previous reality tidbits I wrote about the speculation regarding  whether Glambert aka Adam Lambert had been robbed of the American Idol title due to AT&T showing people at Kris Allen parties how to power text. Now American Idol have come out to say this was not the case. They still won’t say what the difference in votes were, but they say everything has been third party verified. Full story here.

Kara DioGuardi Outs Adam Lambert

Yes we knew Adam Lambert was probably gay we have seen the photos etc. But Kara DioGuardi must not have realised that Adam had not confimed it at this stage, as she has announced that he is “out” on The View. I wonder what he thinks about that. Full story here.

Speaking of Adam I don’t usually watch video interviews on the web but this interview with of his by Michael Sleazk of EW is really good. So if you are a fan, and you have a spare 20 mins, this interview here is worth checking out.

So You Think You Can Dance Tour Starts In July.

So You Think You Can Dance Australia’s top ten will kick of their nationwide tour at the beginning of July. For more details go Perth Now

Interview With Stacey From HomeMADE

TV Week have an elimination  interview with Stacey from HomeMADE, she siad she should have thought about her rooms more rather then worry about how the house was coming together as a whole.

May 30, 2009   Comments Off on Reality Tidbits

Masterchef – Masterclass, or George and Gary go to the Easter Show)

“Tonight, it’s a change of pace,” the narrator intones.  He’s not exactly misrepresenting the Masterclass – it is a change of pace, insofar as slooooooow can be described as “pace”.

Aaron gets the first VO and says nothing of note. George hasn’t got the clueless-judge memo – unlike Gary, he states upfront that Kate’s missing. Sam is spokesperson for Kate and eulogises her appropriately. George seems to have replaced saying “yeah” at the end of sentences with “so” at the beginning.

First, Gary and George are making a snapper “en papillote”. Aaron puts his hand up for the filleting lesson. Maybe the reason he did so badly in the challenge was that he wasn’t wearing glasses. As a full-time glasses-wearer, I am always pissed off with people who selectively wear glasses. Perhaps I’m just envious of their contacts-wearing ability. Aaron returns to the contestants and jumps onto his stool – he nearly misses. I am falling in love with him. Maybe not to the erotic dreams level, but …

As Gordon Ramsay would say “Fuck me – chunky chips”. Anybody who has watched any British TV food show has seen more Chunky Chips in the past couple of years than they need to, yet George tries to sell them as special. In fact, he says “best chips in the world” as though that cute little Brookside starlet Jennifer Ellison hadn’t mastered them on the UK Hell’s Kitchen in 2004.

Eeek – when Andre tastes the fish, he lets some fall off the fork, back onto the fish. I feel sorry for the person who has to taste next. Sandra comes up for a chip and has a good old flirt with Georgy boy.

Risotto time!  And George is making up for the narrator’s slack pronunciation by going completely La Traviata on this.  Some tips: Never buy your rice cryovac-ed. Don’t stir a risotto, agitate it. Never get involved in a land war in Asia.  Okay, only two of these are pieces of advice from tonight’s show.  I’ll let you guess which ones.  George demonstrates “agitate” and that is SO not how I make my risotto. Will try on Sunday. (Wow – Masterchef is giving me something I can use!) Gary’s making “baby food” to stir into the risotto. The risotto is done and it’s time for tasting: Sandra’s voice says “beautiful”; her face says “meh”.

Gary would’ve done hotcakes with caramelised apples at the show. He doesn’t mention the fact that the Blue team offered no sweet at all. He adds some eggs to his batter for that “luxury” feel. He doesn’t acknowledge that eggs weren’t available to the contestants at the show. I notice that the contestants are all taking notes… except Sam. He’s probably confident of being able to live on the profits of Mrs Sam’s wedding dress sale. Trev looks extremely bored. Tom and Justine look enraptured. Poh tastes the hotcakes and George has the temerity to criticise the size and elegance of the mouthful she takes. George – review the tapes!

Poh reminds us in an interview that they’ve been “doing work experience every week” as though we really should have known that before today, if we’d been paying attention. Seriously, is this the first time we’ve heard about it? The lack of pro experience has been one of my problems with this version of Masterchef – you’d think they’d know better than to hide that light under the bushel of ridiculous weeping.

Revisiting the mystery box. Gary and George are going to demonstrate cooking a steak (these are *cough*allegedly*cough* Australia’s best amateur chefs, but they need to be taught how to cook a steak?) and a red wine sauce. These poor contestants – some weeks they have to “think outside the [mystery] box” and other weeks they’re slammed for not just “respecting the ingredients” and doing a straight-up steak. Who’s to know?

God – George and his bloody underwear fetish! Who’d wear VELVET knickers? Is George a 30 year old virgin? (And, on that, I just googled to find George’s age and had to extrapolate – 27 in 2006 = 30 in 2009. How does Matt Preston have a Wikipedia page and George doesn’t? Please, have a look at Matt’s page. It reads as though it was written by someone channelling Mr Micawber.  Thanks to Ed for tipping me off to this.)

Anyway, the steak rests, Sam tastes and is suitably humble about how it compares to his, and everybody is happy (apart from Trevor, who continues to look bored).

Next week! John Torode, from the REAL Masterchef, will try to overcome his shock that such a bunch of rank losers have made it to a final of a show bearing the MC brand.

  • Did anybody else notice that the narrator’s plummy tones falter when it came to saying “rasoddo”?
  • Lucas either asks lots of questions or he’s the only contestant who asks questions that are intelligent enough to make it through to final edit.
  • Anything that grows below the ground goes into cold water. Anything that grows above the ground goes into boiling water. I knew this implicitly, but what a catchy rule!
  • Justine is gorgeous. I’m more likely to have sexy dreams about her than about Aaron. She distracted me from George’s rhapsody on peanut oil.
  • Is this the first time we’re hearing about the weekly work experience the chefs get? This should be a bigger part of the show than a little bit of interim filler in the Masterclass. We hear that Sandra and Julie would be great chefs, but we don’t see it. Show, don’t tell, Ten!

May 29, 2009   11 Comments