MasterChef Australia – The Croquembouche Pressure Test
“There is about a million things that could go wrong with it.” said Andre tonight when he was talking about the pressure test. It was about the only intelligent thing he has said in awhile and almost makes up for him chomping on a piece of star anise last night. Almost.
Tonight’s episode of MasterChef Australia had more suspense then a Hitchcock movie, even right at the end I had no idea which of the four was going to be eliminated. As Gary Mehigan might say it was a cracker hour of TV.
Tonight the bottom four of Tom, Julie, Poh and Chris had to cook a croquembouche, and not just any croquembouche but an Adrian Zumbo one. Now when you look up the meaning of food porn in the dictionary it is normally defined as Adrian Zumbo. Here is a post by by one of my favourite food bloggers Grab Your Fork which outlines his brilliance in both photos and words.
They had 2 hours and 15 minutes to produce something that takes Mr Zumbo himself 1 and 1/2 hours to do.
To say it was complicated was an understatement, and anyone who has tried to cook choux pastry and failed would be feeling for them. Let alone having to back up and cook creme patisserie, and caramel toffee as well.
For someone who normally looks like she needs a Xanax before a pressure test even starts, Julie was calm and quick out of the blocks.
Tom was his usual methodical self but can someone get him a Richard Simmons headband as the amount of sweat that must have gone into his food would almost merit a visit from a health inspector.
Chris was calm, clean and clinical. But would his first mistake of the nouvelle cuisine quail be his last?
Poh was having a disaster, she did not leave her choux pastry on the stove long enough before putting them in the oven. She was trying everything putting the heat up to 300 degrees it looked like she was down and out. Luckily she put in a second batch, which were not quite as bad. George Calombaris was trying to be of assistance and give advice, but at this stage she was flipping out. Points to Poh for not just standing there and weeping. Minus points to George who looked like he was perving on her.
My heart nearly broke for Julie who had been going so well and then her ‘bouche would not come out, and it ended up being the worst presented of the four. The judges however thought her profiteroles were close to perfect.
However tonight there were only two judges Gary Mehigan, and George Colambaris. Who knew where Matt Preston was? But why not put in a special guest judge? Adrian Zumbo brought the cake in why not let him sit on the panel? Or host Sarah Wilson – though I did read somewhere she does not eat sugar due to her illness.
Tom’s which looked good at the beginning, was going like the Leaning Tower of Pisa with its tilt. Gary Mehigan said “Really good job but not an exceptional job.”
“Flavour nice, presentation not quite there. Did let himself down with the colour of the profiteroles.” said George Colambaris.
Chris managed to salvage what looked like was going to be a disaster when he took it out of his cone. In fact in the last five minutes he must have been working very quickly as it was the best presented of the four. The judges however thought the profiteroles were a bit soft and his caramel a bit light.
He said it would take him quite some time to get over getting eliminated if he was to go tonight. I think he thinks he is a good chance of taking out the title.
Poh who had a Lazarus like revival actually presented a croquembouche and quite a nice one at that. The judges said the caramel was absolutely bang on.
Even when all four were sitting there to find out who was going to be eliminated. I had no idea.
Poh and Julie were the first two to be told they were safe. The girls probably got the sympathy vote due to the amount of burns they sustained on their fingers. This also meant the editors/producers could not pretend the interviews were being done in “real time” due to the amount of bandages on Julie and Poh’s fingers.
At this point I thought holy toledo the beer man is going to be gone. But it was Tom that was eliminated. He was philosophical and said he was going to miss Julie and the friendship they have developed. He was a sweetie.
This challenge did raise the issue on whether the judges Gary and George should be observing the contestants when they are doing a pressure test. What they see during that time must influence their decision making process either consciously or subconsciously. Also I think they should blind taste it, which would mean they would have to judge on the dish alone and not past endeavours or personality type.