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Posts from — June 2009

The Apprentice Boss In A Stoush Over A Dog

Mark Bouris

Channel 9 must not be real happy today with news that their new star the host of the upcoming reality TV show The Apprentice Mark Bouris has had an application to have an AVO taken out on him.

Bouris allegedly roughed up his next door neighbour after he complained about Bouris’s girlfriend barking dog.

The matter is set for hearing in October.

Full story here in the Daily Telegraph.

June 30, 2009   6 Comments

MasterChef Australia – Andre v Emmanuel Stroobant

“I knew he was hard core and when he was standing next to me, I felt him draining my power.”  No this was not a comment from a 4 year old boy to friend whilst pretending to be super heroes, but Andre talking about the Chef he was about to compete against, Emmanuel Stroobant from Singapore restaurant Saint Pierre.

Andre does have a boy like quality about him, which means he tends to be treated with kid gloves by the judges and tonight that was no exception.

He had to cook an Emmanuel Stroobant signature dish of Scampi with Pine Mushrooms and Potato. It was a classic highly technical french dish. He looked like he was about to have a anxiety attack as he was tasting it. Also I thought the producer’s were continuing with the mindfuck by only giving Andre a 15 minute head start. In fact all up he only had 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete it.

One task forAndre was to make a potato tuilleout of potato juice, which every second foodie in Australia will now be making on the weekend. His first attempt was a disaster and he had to do it again. But the time finished before he could get the tuille and the sauce on the plate. He was then given an extra 30 seconds to plate up. I thought that was unfair. I mean it is at the serious end of the competition this cossetting should not happen.

Emmanuel’s was plate one. The judges thought he was a bit scabby with the sauce but gushed over the execution and technique.

If the execution of plate one did not give away whose plate two was the fact that Andre left the intestinal tract in the scampi in one of George’s would have alerted whose it was.

But Gary gave Andre  8/10 points he said he added in points for effort – what is that all about? Did he give points for effort for Julie’s difficult pigeon dish in Hong Kong? I mean seriously I thought this was a cooking competition – not a place to build someone’s self esteem. Speaking of cooking, it was great to see Emmanuel’s smoking hot knife skills in action.

Oh and by the way Andre did not win the challenge.

June 30, 2009   9 Comments

MasterChef Australia – It Was Time To Put Up Or Shut Up

“I can’t stand right now in front of you Gary and say I am ready to be an owner and head chef of a restaurant that is not where I am at yet,” Sam said.

Then cue to Sam’s voiceover “That may cost me the competition.” No Sam your uninspired cooking will.

Tonight’s challenge was for the four contestants to make a three course meal which would showcase the type of food they would like to cook in their eating establishments. They had 2 and half hours, and the pantry was open to them.

Now before I get back to Sam’s ineptitude I just want to float a couple of theories which indicates the show is a bit rigged.

1. Tonight’s episode explains why Andre won last night challenge over Chris. They did not want Chris to win two night’s in a row, and the prize of meeting with three top chefs would be very beneficial to him.

2. That the contestants are told about the challenge prior to the time it is meant to occur. You cannot tell me that pigs head has been their standard pantry fare? Or that there just happened to be a razor there for him to shave it. Nor that Youngs Chocolate Stout was there gathering dust on the shelves. Methinks they get to order in specific ingredients.

Anyway back to Sam’s straight from Stephanie Alexander’s cookbook menu of duck salad, lamb shanks with mash potato, and summer pudding.  He has no vision or originality, it is a travesty that he got this far. The nail in the coffin for me was putting the cream inside the Summer Pudding “a Sam touch”. I am surprised he was not roasted for that.

Someone who got a roasting from George about dish costs and did not deserve it was Julie. She made Lobster Bisque, and  was criticised for what her dish would have cost. If she had given them a skinny medallion she would have been criticised for being ungenorous.

I suspect this dish would not be on her cafe/restaurant because it would be a to high price point. As would be the case with Sam’s out of season berry dessert.

Julie’s steak with baby vegetables was criticised because of lack of sauce, but her dessert of ginger syrup cake looked delicious.

She also won the prize for best speech when asked about her future cooking plans. She said “Preparing food for my family is the heart of my day, and my cooking is one of the greatest gifts I give to my family.” I have to confess I got a bit of a tear in my eye, and a fair amount of guilt that I can not wait to get out of the kitchen.

Now speaking of emotions did anyone else think Andre had a touch of the crazys tonight when he was revealing his obsession with gnocchi, and then giving a kind of maniacal laugh. Even the judges looked confused and wondered what he was raving on about.

Having said that I thought his walnut gnocchi looked delicious, but agree with judge Matt Preston that the percorino chees basket he served it with was a  “hangover from a time where people over garnished”. His main of confit of rainbow trout with caponata look nice, and his semi freddo dessert looked super yummy.

Also Matt Preston asked where the passionate Andre had been hiding (Matt thought passionate, I  thought crazy) Andre said he “Reserved my passion and decided not to extend it to the others.” Was he one of the ones who Geni was talking about, who is not wanting showcase what they can do?  

From the beginning of the episode you knew Chris was going to win this challenge. His vision was clear about what sort of menu he would serve and also the ingredients he was using was exciting to judges.

He cooked a stuffed duck neck sausage which was judged to be delicious. Followed by a pigs head roasted which surprisingly once he carved it up the meat did look quite tasty. The judges were in raptures and George had a religious experience eating it, screaming out “Hallejulah”. Lastly his beerimisu was described as  “brilliant.”

Chris got to meet with Sean Connolly of Astral and Seans Kitchen, Justin North of Becasse and Etch, and Katrina Kanetani from Pier.

Chris said that Justin had the same cooking philosophy as him, which is the nose to tail approach. Something I can confirm as I once accidentally ate stuffed pigs ear at Becasse, and once I realised I was queasy and had to discreetly throw up. So chances of me ording the pigs head a Chris’s Beer Tavern is low.

June 29, 2009   18 Comments

MasterChef Australia – Contestant’s Say It’s Not Fair

TV Week has an article about what the remaining contestants think of the re-entry of contestant’s that had previously been eliminated, and it appears they are not happy.

This is what the article said:

The last four contestants in the house – Chris, Julie, Sam and Andre – thought they were on  the final stretch to becoming the country’s first MasterChef winer. But they were rocked by the show’s latest twist, which will see several eliminated contestants reinstated in the competition.

During the team challenge on the HMAS Kanimbla that airs on Wednesday, a handful of former competitors are brought in as reinforcements – and told they’re back in the game, no cook-offs required!

“It’s really irritating,” Chris says. “They just got a ‘get out of jail free’ card – they didn’t have to fight for that right to come back.”

Andre agrees: “I queried  it a little bit that they all get second chances because I’m sure I’m not going to get one,” he tells us. “I’d have liked to see them battle for it. Just a random wild card is a bit unfortunate,”

Judge Gary Mehigan says the decision to bring the contestants back was made in an effort to ensure the competition remained fair. “We had to sit down and ask ourselves whether or not any contestants that belong in this competition had been eliminated by no fault of their own,” he explains. “The last thing we want to see is somebody who, just by pure luck or however the dice rolled, ended up taking out the title. We all felt that there were competitors who were great cooks that deserved another chance.”

But Andre says the judges have got it wrong on at least one count. “I was little bit peeved that one of them was back, even though I really like them,” he admits. “I think that person was here just for the competition, the money and the book deal.”

According to one of the returning cooks, everyone suspected a comeback like this would be staged at some point.

“There were a lot of rumours about people coming back into the competition,” the contestant says, “but I just never thought it would be me – and I didn’t think it would be a second chance.”

It is bound to create even more drama in what’s becoming an increasingly tense race to the finale. Although the contestants reckon the twist hasn’t caused any tension in the house, the returning chefs are aware of the stir they’ve created. “They all seemed really happy to see us, but I suppose in the aftermath they sort of feel they went three steps backwards,” says one. “It’s a massive shock to them. On a strategic level, they’re not happy at all!”

The final four are also concerned that their competition may have an upper hand from having left the show – and one contestant definitely agrees that the break is an advantage. “I’ve had time to refresh myself,” they admit. “They’ve been through the wringer, to Hong Kong and back!”

But for another, the possibility of being eliminated again could prove to be a greater worry. “I’m more nervy because I know once I’m gone, I’m gone for good this time,” they reveal.

Now this gives us food for thought. Chances are high that Poh is back as her elimination was a tad unfair with her saying barley was the ingredient instead of faro. But does this also mean some of the ones that were eliminated on the Thursday night peer votes will be back. Possibly Trevor or Brent?

I love how Andre is complaining he will be getting no second chances, but I thought he has had more then enough chances particularly after strawberry and champagne risotto.

June 29, 2009   19 Comments

MasterChef Australia – Final Four Romance Invention Test

Did the judges tonight take pity on Andre and let him win the invention test so he would get a go at participating in Beat the Chef challenge? He is the only one of the four left who has not faced off a professional chef.  I thought Chris’s three course romantic themed meal was by far the best of the meals produced.

Andre’s main of bugs on polenta did look delicious, but his oysters looked dried out, and the crepe was something that you would have gotten out of the Women’s Weekly Dinner Party Cookbook in the ’70s.

Whereas Chris’s oysters three ways, gave the meal a frisky start both in name and flavour, served with champagne, not some drooping hothoused rose hanging from his lips. Also his main of bugs in a bag looked fresh and elegant, and the dessert just looked devine.

I thought Chris’s comment of “It is good to see Andre getting some credit for the great dishes he has cooked.” really meant “my meal was the best tonight, but they wanted to give to Andre as he had never won one.”.

Also why did Andre take oysters out of shell cook them and then put them back in the shell? I would have thought it was easier to cook them in the shell, and he would  have avoided setting the paper on fire.

Sam’s entree of overcooked crostini and oysters looked foul, but I disagree with Gary Mehigan about a salad not being a main meal. Sam knows that women like to keep it light on the main so they can have a calorie packed dessert.

Matt Preston was right to not even bother trying Sam’s puff pastry (which he did not make) ,cream and strawberry stack. Sorry I am not going to call it a mille fueille.  In fact he should have been eliminated on the spot for such a uncreative dish.

However it would appear that even though Sam was in the bottom two, he gets to stay around for another week, as the judges said there would be no elimination this week. I presume that means there is not a peer elimination either on Thursday. Did anyone else think this?

I am unable to make any intelligent comment on the mystery box challenge as my Fox IQ had a recording malfunction and I only got the last 30 minutes. Hopefully Injera(who I frantically emailed after I realised the f**kup) will give her thoughts about what happened in the comments section.

As we all guessed there is a judges wildcard re-entry, they don’t say how many will be let back in. I saw Poh’s picture, are Channel Ten the master’s of non-suspense suggesting she is one to get let back in? I would have thought Justine would get a wildcard ahead of Poh considering she is actually considering a career in the food industry.

June 28, 2009   15 Comments