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MasterChef Australia – Confirmed Winning The Mystery Box Is a Poisoned Chalice

So Poh gets more sympathy for failing in her attempt to make fried meringues than Geni got for slicing her finger? I know it was probably in the editing but seriously. More on that later.

The first five minutes of the program we get the spiel of voiceovers from the contestants on how important it is to win the mystery box test because of the significant advantage it gives you in the invention test challenge. I cannot wait for one of the contestant to look straightfaced to the camera and say “Are you fucking kidding me there is no way I want to win it – it’s a frigging poisoned chalice.” 

Has anyone who has won the mystery box NOT landed in the bottom three and have to cook for their life on the Monday night?

Tonight was no exception.

Anyway first the mystery box challenge there was the usual mismatch of ingredients including kingfish, pineapple, rum (was this not sponored, why did they not call it Bacardi?), coconut, and baby zucchini. Also they said basic ingredients are available “that can be found in any pantry”. Ordinary items include coconut milk and medium curry powder.  I have them in mine, but I would have thought rice, pasta and onions to be much more day to day items.

I thought Chris might whip up his own version of a pina colada to drink whilst cooking but he probably wanted to keep a clear head for the invention test that followed. I note that he took out two beers with his ingredients for the invention test. Considering he was making middle eastern inspired food it was rather an unusual ingredient, so maybe he was drinking it as is his habit. Cheeky bugger.

The three dishes they tasted were Sam’s pineapple crumble, Geni’s kingfish with a sweet curry sauce, and Poh’s dishes of kingfish and pineapple based on a Pacific Islander’s cuisine. She also did a dessert of sweet potato and coconut milk.

Poh’s Kingfish dish did look delicious and she did deserve to win the mystery box test.

Today Poh had to make the decision between the pairings of food which were pork and pears, prawn and nuts, and eggplant and chocolate. She picked prawns and nuts.

They had to cook two courses in one and half hours. There was no theme so it could be anything they wanted.

Gary was critical of people trying new and different things he said  they were “chancing their arm”. Now I am of a different view I think they should be moved outside their comfort zone and cook things that they have not tried before. But then again I am not tasting the food, and it would appear Andre’s strawberry and champagne risotto was not pleasant.

Poh was another contestant trying something new by frying meringue. It was a bold decision that did not come off. This was the point where Gary Mehigan was all sympathetic and said “Poor Poh”, but no obvious sympathy for Geni who was dripping blood everywhere.

The other thing I noticed for the first time tonight was the judges actually tasting some of their sauces whilst they were still cooking. I saw Gary take a taste of Justine’s sauce. I don’t think it is right. What happens if they don’t like it, it means they have time to salvage it. And do they taste everyones?

Sam’s choclate fondants did not work out but he plated it up. I thought at one stage he was going to plate it like Gary and George did to the lemon cupcake in the Masterclass the other week crumbled up on the plate. His chocolate pudding drew compliments but not his prawns with vegetable broth.  “Not gutsy enough for me” said Gary Mehigan.  

Geni who was playing it safe with prawn saganaki and baklava rolls copped criticism with “Nothing in there that leaps out and says wow”.

Justine  and Chris were by far the best in this challenge. Justine with her prawn and zucchini terrine, and frangipane tart and raspberries, and Chris with his middle eastern prawns and chocolate fudge cake.

Julie drew both criticism for her ginger prawns, and praise for her walnut meringue. I wondered why she was not told off for baking stuff she would just do at home, as the prawns like ones you see at every BBQ in Australia.

Poh cooked prawn dumplings in a prawn broth, and meringue which must have been baked. She was heavily criticised for the dessert which must have been what landed her into the bottom three. The mystery box poison chalice striking again.

Clearly the worst dish of the night was Andre’s strawberry and champagne risotto. Matt Preston said “Because I like you Andre I swallowed it.”, and Gary just said “Horrible”.

Andre’ teared up and George Calombaris looked surprised and said are you upset by what they said? Andre’ said no “I want to be a chef, it is not the criticism, I did not want to do anything cliched”. Isn’t risotto the biggest cliche there is? Anyway it did look hideous, but at least he was outside his comfort zone.

The bottom three were Andre and Poh for cooking outside their comfort zone, and Geni for cooking within hers. Confused? Yes I am too, talk about mixed messages.

 I think Geni is going to be the one to go, they give her no loving what so ever. Has she ever been team captain?

I was shocked as Sam was that he avoided the bottom three.

And the winner of the challenge was Justine who was told by Matt Preston “At this point your leading the race.”. Confirming my view that it is a disadvantage for Lucas and Julia to be shunted off into the work experience abyss.

Justine will challenge Aria chef and owner Matt Moran. If Matt is appearing on a Channel Ten show does that mean he is no longer contracted to Nine and there will be not be a season three of The Chopping Block? I hope not as I loved that show.


1 abc { 06.15.09 at 12:23 am }

Thanks for the recap!

Did you notice that the bottom three are the blue team from last week’s challenge?
I also think Geni will go – Poh is too much of the judge’s favourite even if she does stuff up (cough *no base” coughcough). Andre doesn’t seem to be one to give into pressure, but who knows?

And as for Geni being team captain, she has during the Curtis Stone episode where Brent got eliminated.

2 Anonymous { 06.15.09 at 12:30 am }

I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that Sam avoided the bottom three. The judges said that it wasn’t good enough for Geni to cook something that she would make at home. I’m sorry, but Sam made bloody STEW and PUDDING. How much more home-like can you get than that? I know it’s popular to complain about Poh being the show’s pet, but honestly, at least she has potential. The free passes they give Sam really amaze me. I just don’t see what’s so great about him at all. This has bugged me since the very start of the comp. Boo.

They’ll probably send Geni home, but I think Andre deserves to go home the most out of that bottom three.

3 CG { 06.15.09 at 1:14 am }

Ah, Matt is back and so is the sex talk! “…because I like you, I swallowed” LOL, this sounds like a line Samantha would say on Sex and the City. I like Matt. The show is much better when he is part of the panel.

Sam should have been in bottom 3 over Geni. Did you see the prawn and stew dish. What the hell was that? Never mind the failed desert with very marginal use of the nuts!

I was very happy to hear Justine declared the winner because it helped me believe the show isn’t totaly rigged. I was sure Chris was going to win over Justine because he has never faced off against a professional chef (or has he?).

I think Geni will go because Poh and Andre are “pets” of George and Gary. They will face cries of ageism from a relatively small group of viewers but they will rationalise they have kept her on long enough and allowed her to fly under the radar.

I didn’t pay too close attention to the preview of the wedding challenge. Any clues as to who goes on Monday?

Tuesday with Matt Moran will be interesting but I can’t see him agreeing to lose to an amateur. He has such a massive ego.

As a final observation, I reckon Justine may have peaked too soon. Calling her the leader / one to beat at this stage 3-4 weeks out must be the kiss of death?

RR: do you know what the delay is between taping and airing MC episodes. Sarah Wilson’s twitter from earlier today: “only a few weeks left of filming #masterchef. twists in plots + bizarre turnings on heads ahoy”

4 Wurstsemmel { 06.15.09 at 1:41 am }

I normally love the Sunday night show but I just found myself getting increasingly irritated tonight. You knew the moment George opened his mouth exactly what was going to come out of it. I think he must suffer from pohsopagnosia – it’s not that he can”t recognize familiar faces, more that he doesn’t seem to recognize anyone other than Poh.

Matt’s back with his culinary erotica again. “Because I like you Andre, I swallowed”. Well, at least Matt lifts the entertainment value.

I don’ think any of the food stood out tonight. The risotto looked to be the worst though and I’m really beginning to think there’s something quite unpleasant about Andre. So on the basis of his dish and his attitude, I hope he goes tomorrow,

5 Culinary Boner { 06.15.09 at 11:07 am }

Matt the Cravatt’s commentary certainly ‘stiffened up’ this episode. Yes, I know, bad pun. Matt is just about the best thing about the show and I hope he keeps the double entendres flying. I agree with Wurstsemmel regarding Andre needing to go.

Seriously, the concept of a strawberry rissotto is a culinary abomination, although I have deeply suppressed memories that crap like this was being dished up in the mid 1980s.

Whether true or not, it fits with an era when home design chic was combining salmon and grey, women had floppy perms that made them look like Afghan hounds and George Michael was a considered a fucking superstar.

6 Reality Raver { 06.15.09 at 12:20 pm }

CG – LOL if there is ever a reality TV show about writing a script for a porn flick you have got to apply, Wurstsemmel could probably assist. The Sex and The City Comment is so true and cracked me up.

It was good to see Matt back.
I think Geni is being badly done by I don’t think she has ever produced a bad dish it is good quality home cooking style food. Something I would definately eat if she had a restaurant or cafe.

Sam’s food looked like it lacked any flavour at all. For Geni it is damned if you do damned if you don’t.

I will be surprised if she survives tonight. They will think Andre’ has more potential.

Channel Ten gave nothing away on the wedding episode so no spoilers this week with Poh or Andre’ running around in the background. Hurrah.

CG: Chris challenged Chef Alex Hubert on the Gnocchi and lost.
I think Justine won because both her dishes were good, but also more technically difficult. Also Justine better be careful if she is up for elimination on the Thursday night, because I know if I was in there I would be voting for her.

RR: I am not sure about time lapse. I think it is about 2 to 3 weeks. At the Melbourne Food and Wine Show Matt Moran said he had already filmed it, and that was 2 weeks ago. So must be 3 weeks.

ABC – extremely observant re: all the blue team. Thanks re: telling me Geni was capt. How did she go? Her team obviously lost. I will re-read Injera’s recap.

Anon – I thought Sam should have been there ahead of Geni or even Poh. I mean was her prawn dumplings bad?

Culinary Boner – Agree Matt Preston is fabulous on TV. Hopefully he will be back Celebrity MasterChef. Andre’ is not very good with flavours.

7 CG { 06.15.09 at 2:21 pm }

RR: Good point about Justine being a target for elimination in the Survivor-type vote. Do we think Chris is up to it? Or, if Chris sponsored a vote-out Justine effort, he would still be vulnerable given there are 3-4 weeks left. I can definitely see Poh trying to turn Andre and Sam against Justine in a vote-off.

8 abc { 06.15.09 at 3:01 pm }

RR: nah, Geni lost. It was the week where Brent won the Invention test and became captain, then promptly booted off by the kiddie mafia.

I am also confused to the continuation of the celeb challenge. I mean, how many spots are left in the final week?

9 Reality Raver { 06.15.09 at 3:02 pm }

Apparently Poh and Andre’ are tight, and Andre’ wants Sam out. So I don’t know however if I was one of the weaker players I would trying to use the fact that justine is so strong to save my own skin.

10 I like food { 06.15.09 at 3:21 pm }

Sam is a pub cook and like many of you, I’m constantly amazed at how he keeps getting through to the next round. I understand if he was a character in the show but I find him quite the opposite. I think there is no doubt about who will go tonight although Andre will need to do something special after the what looked like spew, he dished out yesterday. I’m pretty sure Poh could serve a rat and the judges will praise her for how unique it is. I played a drinking game where I had to shot on every ridiculous ‘cook like you’re saving the world’ comment George made. It’s fair to say this morning was a struggle..

11 Injera { 06.15.09 at 3:45 pm }

Finally watched it and, overall, on this episode, I completely agree with Wurstsemmel – my irritation levels were beyond!

RR, it’s so true about the mystery box win being the poisoned chalice! Chris, saying “it sets you up for the whole week if you win this” made me revise my opinion of him. Sam briefly rose in my estimation by acknowledging that the whole challenge “doesn’t have too much consequence”.

As for product placement, Ten’s greediness knows no bounds. They even branded the goddam kingfish, but clearly Bacardi wouldn’t stump up with $$$. Sam described his dish as a “Bacardi and lime” syrup, but it was captioned “rum and lime syrup”. I guess we should be thankful they didn’t censor Sam’s unauthorised use of a brand name. Oh, and Sam? A crumble is not a risk. It really pisses me off that the “desserts are for girls” attitude has such a strong hold on the contestants and the judges. If one of the women presents a dessert, it can be “meh”, but if one of the guys so much as adds a teaspoon of sugar to a dish, it’s compliment-central.

I was also irritated by the fact that, even though we’re down to only seven contestants, we only saw four of them getting the judge-chat during prep for mystery box, and still didn’t see all judge comments on the invention test. Maybe cut the increasingly irrelevant narration and host comments – sorry, Sarah, not your fault, but your role in the show adds nothing – and show the food and judging.

I know the Pohvouritism isn’t Poh’s fault, and it probably works against her in the eyes of the viewers, but she certainly plays the game. She mustered all her acting experience in her “surprised” reaction to the judges favour, and also managed to work in a reference to the “world’s best food journalist”. Spew. She does join Chris as one of the thickies for the episode, since she doesn’t respond to all the hints and outright assistance George and Gary so desperately try to give her from the moment she describes her dessert. There’s just no helping some people!

How does Geni get a telling-off for her presentation of the saganaki/prawns dish, yet Sam continues to reap praise for his bland, boring offerings? I know, Pavlov’s dog wouldn’t be expecting consistency from Masterchef by this stage…

Oh, and on Sam, he clearly didn’t do even the most basic research before going on Masterchef. Even if he didn’t want to commit a couple of half hours of viewing to watching real Masterchef, a quick google would have alerted him to the folly of trying to make a fondant. What a moron. Wish he was bottom three – his two course offering didn’t even look like reasonable dinner party fare. Boring. At least he shows some self-awareness with his reaction to getting through – “scraped through… yet again”. No kidding.

Loved the dramatic sound FX and cut to Andre when George said to Sam “don’t wing it”!

– did anyone else notice that Justine and Julie just had “to cameras” during the invention test, while all the others had judge chats? Is this telling?
– can Julie please shut up about Poh’s choice of mushrooms, weeks ago? You’re supposed to be one of the country’s seven best amateur chefs and you fall apart when faced with mushrooms? Grrr.
– it’s well into the competition, people! Being expected to cook two dishes in 90 minutes is not a massive ask.

12 Kyvyny (RIP: Batterly) { 06.15.09 at 8:45 pm }

Tuned in late, just as Matt was finishing eating Andre’s dish and thought that that was the golden moment of the night, of the show, of the week.

And then came the realisation that Sam once again gets the softly softly treatment. More so than Poh even.

13 Reality Raver { 06.15.09 at 10:56 pm }

Kyvyny (RIP:Batterly) – It was pure gold, pity we couldn’t taste it. What a waste of a nice bottle on Chandon.
Yes the Sam loving is tedious. Especially as I was reading today that he was addicted to junk food prior to coming into the competition, and his friends would have been surprised he applied for a cooking show. He cannot have to much of a palate then.