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MasterChef Australia – The Mini Iron Chef Challenge

I am no disciple of June Dally-Watkins but I was completely gobsmacked and slightly revolted when judge George Columbaris licked his knife tonight while tasting Sam and Manu Feidel’s dishes. I mean doesn’t he realise he is on national TV? What next picking his nose or belching after he eats?

Anyway tonight it turned into a mini iron chef cook off between last nights winner Sam, and Bilson’s chef Manu Feidel. However on the line was an opportunity to leap straight into the last week of the series. However why would you want to do that? You would miss out on all the fun and learning experience of being on the series.

Sam and Manu had to produce a boudin of whiting with beurre blanc sauce. Sam was given a 30 minute head start, and Manu was helpful in giving pointers, but Sam was never going to get to rejoin his honeymoon.

Even though it was obvious to the judges who had cooked each plate, I thought it was good it was a blind tasting. Something that I think should be introduced when all the contestants are cooking, as it would stop any biases the judges may have.

Sam lost on points to Manu but it was a good effort.

The only other Masterchef contestant to speak today is Chris Badenoch the beer merchant. Does this mean he was the only one saying anything intelligent on the Manu V Sam showdown? For those who were wondering what a beer merchant actually does check out his site  It seems like a pretty good career. I bet he could tax write off a trip to Germany or Belgium or in fact anywhere except Saudi Arabia the lucky sod.

After watching tomorrow night’s preview I am concerned about the team members being involved in some voting off scenario. Could this turn into some Survivor type fiasco where the strongest cooks are voted off first?


1 Laura { 05.05.09 at 11:37 pm }

I think it was a bit humiliating for poor Manu to be graded by the judges, and compared with a novice. To be given 8/10 for his signature dish? Seriously?
I think that, in order to be more respectful toward Manu, they should have changed the competition so that he was not rated like that, maybe 2/3 judges had to think that Sam’s dish was cooked by Manu or something like that. I don’t know but I didn’t like how they did it & I don’t think Manu did either.
Imagine if Manu was one of the judges, that would make the show 100000 times better! :) He is so divine.

2 KC { 05.06.09 at 12:07 am }

OMG I AGREE!! I kept squealing MANU and my mum was like … no comment. Just watch Ready Steady Cook 😀 He’s SO cute 😀 Like a huge teddy bear who can cook crazily.

You know I reckon they definitely knew whose dish was whose. It was so obvious that they knew even by looking at it. And Manu tied Sam’s white thingy sausage so you have to credit Many for Sam’s sausage (Sorry I just let out a giggle am I being immature 😀 HAHAHAHAHA)

3 Reality Raver { 05.06.09 at 12:20 am }

KC – no not immature your comment made me smile.
Laura – I totally agree about the scoring of points for the meals and how humiliating it is for manu. There is three of them a show of hands would do.

4 Culinary Boner { 05.06.09 at 11:06 am }

In all fairness, if they are to score the guest celebrity chefs, then the current judges must be compelled to also participate in one of these overly staged cook-offs. This should include Matt the Fat. Then we will be given a much better handle on just how good these guys really are.

While last night’s show was watchable, made so by Sam’s understated but professional approach in taking on the challenge and doing a super job – the premise of the cook-off is flawed. In a competition sense, it creates a seriously negative incentive for coming first on Sunday night.

You win, then as a reward you have to fight a ‘culinary gladiator’ in front of your opposition who then get the chance to see your weaknesses? What gives?

And this is all for the chance of being out of the competition for several months, so that you can leave your opposition to instead hone their skills in the show’s environment under the constant critique of the all-important judges. Talk about wining the booby prize!

Best strategy instead is to fly under the radar, especially if they are going to allow contestants to dumb down the competition by voting off the better cooks.

5 Reality Raver { 05.06.09 at 11:42 am }

Culinary Boner you are right regarding the fly under the radar strategy. It appears if you cook good quality fairly “simple” fare that is within your comfort zone you will get through.

But if you go outside that zone and experiment chances are you are going to get targetted for elimination.

Props to both Aaron and Linda Kowalski for actually being a bit more daring. However I suspect this strategy will see them both not win MasterChef Australia.

6 eskimojo { 05.06.09 at 12:24 pm }

Ahh I can’t stand Aaron.

I think it was disrespectful to be grading Manu on his signature dish. It doesn’t make sense to bring a chef in as a culinary heavyweight for the novice to go up against and then give him a mark out of ten. Laura’s idea of the judges guessing which dish is the novice’s, or maybe having the guest chef also judge, and if they all give the challenger more than 7 or 8 out of ten then they are successful is a better idea.

Agree as well that the idea of winning that challenge then being out of the game for 3 months is a poisoned chalice… wonder if you could refuse it.

It is a shame that the elimination process has the teams voting, I wonder if it will move to public voting later on? I wish the old school reality tv idea of the judges doing the judging was still used.

7 Laura { 05.06.09 at 12:54 pm }

To be honest I think that the prize of going home for 3 months was specifically designed for Sam. He is the only contestant who would benefit from it as he could go on his honeymoon. Everyone else wants to be there so they can learn more and hone their culinary skills.
I am not usually a conspiracy theorist but I think it was a bit convenient that Sam won the challenge – esp. since he didn’t seem to get the best feedback on his dish anyway.

8 Injera { 05.06.09 at 7:03 pm }

Just as some others here are, I’m left wondering what the last two nights’ shows were for… Monday night – everyone cooks and some front-runners are identified. A couple of others are pointlessly punished. Tuesday night – everyone else watches the identified “best” novice cook against a pro.

Why? So that average competitors can vote out the strongest now that the judges have so kindly identified them?

Survivor really started to go downhill when Jeff stopped being a host and started being an “activist” at tribal council. Seems these “judges” are playing a similar role.

9 Reality Raver { 05.06.09 at 11:48 pm }

EskimoJo – I agree winning could become a poison chalice. Why would you want to miss the experience of the show. I suppose they put it in know that no one at this stage would be able to beat a chef making one of his signature dishes.

Laura – Agreee it did cross my mind that it was a bit of set up for Sam.

Injera – still laughing atthe Jeff Probst activist comment.

10 MasterChef Australia Judge George Calombaris Apparently Hates Bloggers | reality ravings { 07.04.09 at 9:37 pm }

[…] my blog to find out if I was one of the culprits it would appear that I am. I found this blog post here which started with: I am no disciple of June Dally-Watkins but I was completely gobsmacked and […]