MasterChef Australia – Quail, Quail and More Quail
“Standing before me are the ten best amateur cooks in the country” said Sarah Wilson, host of MasterChef Australia, with a straight face. Fast forward five minutes to seeing one of these “best” cooks munching on a piece of star anise.
Andre deserves to go for this major lack of knowlege. This is the culinary equivalent of nibbling on a cinamon stick or munching on a bay leaf. Amateur all right but not in a complimentary way.
No surprise that he came last in the taste test challenge. The challenge was to identify as many of the seventeen ingredients in Kakavier which is a greek fisherman soup. They had two minutes to identify and write down as many flavours as they could. Judge Gary Mehigan helpfully pointed out there were four types of seafood in it.
Also Geni who is Greek should be walking the hall of shame for coming in second last and only identifying nine ingredients.
Chris and Tom were equal first with twelve out of the possible seventeen. The tie-breaker winner was the person who could shout out the main ingredient of taramasalata. Chris was the first to shout out mullet roe and won. He obviously buys a more upmarket brand then I do as most of the time the main ingredient is canola oil,with the roe being about 12% of the dish. Maybe the tie-breaker question should have been what is the the key ingredient in taramasalata?
Now this was a great challenge to win as the invention test was to work in pairs to cook a two course meal in an hour, and the winner got to pick who he cooked with and allocate the other pairs.
Chris picked Poh which surprised me as I thought he would pick Justine. The other pairs were Sam and Sandra, Tom and Julie, Lucas and Justine, and Geni and Andre.
They had 7 mins to decide the menu. Also they were not restricted by just 10 ingredients, but they did have a one hour time limit.
By the way did anyone else think Matt Preston looked like a dandy tonight as he strode into the room wearing two cravats? Now before I get flamed for being homophobic I am using the word in the strictest sense whic is a man who is excessively concerned about clothes and appearance.
Also I figured the contestants must have been told some of the ingredients in the pantry as four of the teams included quail in their menu.
Andre’s cuttlefish filled bon bon with zucchini cream did not look very good. In fact he had to make the pasta twice as the first batch was a bit dry. However I will give him points for being inventive. Surprisingly he got postive feedback with just some criticism on how it looked on the plate. Geni’s quail dish which Matt Preston called the kama sutra of quail did indeed look sexy. Out of all the quail dishes this one looked the most appealing to me. However I get the feeling she has probably made that dish many times before. Gary Mehigan did criticise her for leaving the back bones in.
Justine and Lucas’s salmon ceviche with crab remoulade was called cracker entree by judge George Calombaris. And their main of quail with port and eschallot reduction was received positively as well.
I thought Poh cooking a dessert particularly a clafoutis was not a great idea, as it does not stretch your culinary skills.She did not cook it well – she was told the batter was heavy at the bottom. Also she apologised for her presentation saying it was clumsy. However if I was in a restaurant I would have been pretty happy to get that many raspberries on a plate.
Chris who was feeling confident with his quail done a few ways including stuffing the quail legs with blood sausage. The judges particularly Matt Preston thought his was a bit diffused and lacked generousity. Indeed it did look like an entree.
Sandra and Sam were not communicating, and I thought the flavours they had put together were unoriginal. Scallops, with blood sausage and caramalised apples, and ocean trout with potato and mussel sauce.
Sandra’s entree looked disgusting. She was criticised for having way to much apple therefore to much sweetness so the flavours were unbalanced.
Sam’s main was praised for being a well cooked piece of fish, but shouldn’t that be a given at this stage of the competition? I thought his main looked boring and just standard pub bistro food. Even the type of fish he cooked was mainstream. I was bitterly disappointed that this pair were safe this week.
Julie and Tom did warm duck and quail salad the judges said they thought the salad was sharp underneath. Gary said it was a bit of a disappointment. Julie did the crab lasagne with bisque which looked and tasted great.
Justine and Lucas who are the best mates in the house won. They had to decide which one of them would do the cook off on Tuesday night. Justine quickly offered it to Lucas as she had done it last week.
The bottom two team were Chris and Poh, and Tom and Julie. I felt sorry for Julie as she was there through no fault of her own this time, and they were inquisitioning her about whether she was good enough to stay in the competition.
Tomorrow night a good cook is going to go, it would appear the judges prematurely ejaculated with the all are safe week a fortnight ago as they will not be able to do it again. And it looks like a huge challenge of making and decorating a croquembouche.
Chris was a bitter about his lack of strategy in this challenge and was a bit peeved that he had been beaten by simple dishes. But as Gary confirmed “It only matters what it tastes like.”