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Masterchef – and the winner for most overwrought dramatic pauses goes to…

As always, the elimination show starts off with a clip package of almost all of the previous episode. This means I tune out and start thinking about more important things: have I fed the cats? Is there any more cat litter? Did we use the last of the Spray’n’Wipe? Are there any garbage bags left? Did Poh only hug Andre? Oh, okay, we’re back to the show. I didn’t see Poh hugging anybody else, but I was going through my shopping list and might have missed it. Sam and Chris share a big hug, which shows that they got over all the kiddie mafia bitterness. That, or there was no KM bitterness in the first place and it was all an editing beat up. Surely not…

As the top four head off with Matt to enjoy lunch, Poh and Sam retire to the upper level of the House of Blue Leaves to debate the options for their challenge. Sam thinks they’ll cook off against each other, which is different to what normally happens how? Poh thinks it’s going to be a taste test.

As they wait it out, we get the usual pre-emptive eulogising of clip packages and interviews. Poh tells us she’s learned about people and human nature. As she confides this, we see her cackling again over the croquembouche with no base. Oh, Poh, it would be such a tragedy if you were to go home tonight. You only stuffed up about 95% of the time, after all.

Sam’s happy to have come so far but would still like to stay to continue the learning. His clip package underscored the fact that his contribution to the show was negligible. Either that, or there wasn’t a clip package.

Let’s cast off the stench of the losers for a moment. The glorious top four are at est with Matt Preston, who gives them tips about fine dining and the difference between fine dining and bistro food. They meet Peter Doyle and he takes them into the kitchen for some of that valuable professional kitchen experienceTM. As they learn stuff, Julie interviews that Poh and Sam aren’t far from their minds. I hope she’s not wasting the lesson worrying about them.

Back at Masterchef HQ we discover that Sam’s spidey senses are all out of whack. There will be no cook-off! It’s taste-buds at dawn. Sam’s initial reaction is to deflate, somewhat, as he acknowledges Poh’s superior palate. He brightens when the dish is revealed. A minestrone – no matter how much of a special secret my mate Steve recipe it is – will be easy! He has an Italian background!

Gary and George explain the rules. There are 18 ingredients, yeah? Each person will take it in turns to identify an ingredient, yeah? The first person to incorrectly identify an ingredient is out. Immediately. Yeah? They tell us it’s a penalty shootout situation. I know less than nothing about soccer, but the reluctant TV viewer (RTVV) snorted that this in no way resembled a penalty shoot-out. Apparently penalty shoot-outs (shoots-out?) are not sudden death. Or something. I muttered “golden minute” but was really clutching at straws.

Things start off as you would expect. Celery? Dramatic pause. “Are you saying you think there’s celery in here?” Incredulous eyebrow pop. “Do you want to taste it again?” Slow walk towards a covered plate to reveal… celery. Poh’s turn: Carrot? Dramatic pause. “Are you saying you think there’s carrot in here?” Incredulous eyebrow pop. “Do you want to taste it again?” Slow walk towards a covered plate to reveal… carrot. Sam: onion? Dramatic pause. (At this point, the RTVV reached for the remote and we were almost launched into the early screening of Colbert until I yelped “the blog!”).

Poh obviously believes that she does, indeed, have a superior palate as she guesses “parmesan” without even tasting again. George seems to be a bit pissed off that she’s not going through the proper process, and he queries her confidence. He is not reassured when she tells him that she puts parmesan in her minestrone at home. Doesn’t she get that this is his mate Steve’s super special minestrone? All the histrionics are for nothing – parmesan is revealed as one of the eighteen ingredients.

This does make me question Poh’s strategic intelligence, though. At this stage, neither has identified salt, pepper or garlic and they are down to the last five or so ingredients. Parmesan is something you wouldn’t see in the soup and the other person might overlook it, so I’d think it would be best keeping something like that up your sleeve (not literally, of course).

Sam guesses something – cabbage, I think, that you could see floating in the soup – and then it’s Poh’s turn again. Unless the editors have decided to be particularly unkind to Poh tonight, she has another guess without a taste. Barley. Remember: salt, pepper and garlic are still up for grabs.

George and Gary are sorry, Poh, but your time as a Masterchef contestant is over.

Poh misses painting. Painting misses you too, Poh. Buh-bye.

Back at the house, four of the final five are waiting. They discuss the possible Poh vs Sam results. It takes them longer than you’d expect, given that there are – realistically – only two options. Justine has a soft spot for Sam, but it’s a tad patronising for a 23 year old to refer to a 24 year old as a “kid”. Julie loves them both. Julie loves everyone! Chris accuses the others of fence sitting and says he thinks Poh should stay. He obviously hasn’t read the Daily Tele. Or he has, and he knows that it’s all part of the game and respect for a competitor’s skill is more important to him than sheer likeability. That would be novel.

There are footsteps. “Sam walks in and I get surprised, because he walks like a girl.” (Julie)

Was it a good result? Sam has certainly outlasted what looks to be a fairly weak skill set, but Poh was becoming a regular in bottom three, and seemed to be out of her depth on the big challenges. The overwhelming sense that she’d received favoured treatment from the judges also probably damaged potential book sales.

Tomorrow night? George will over-enunciate his way through yet another masterclass. God help us all.


1 Anthony { 06.18.09 at 9:55 pm }

MasterClass on Friday is always skippable. Yeah?

2 Jacqui { 06.18.09 at 9:56 pm }

This episode was quite a let down! I have learnt how to make George’s friends soup- guess its not so secret now that everyone knows the ingredients! They could have at least got them to make something difficult instead. I mean really, did we need a 30 minute episode for this? They could have squashed it into 5 minutes and stuck it at the end of the wedding episode! It might not have been as bad then!

3 CG { 06.18.09 at 10:12 pm }

Ding dong Poh is gone!

Injera, agree Poh’s ego got in way of having a strategy. She (and Sam) should have covered obvious ingredients first and Poh should have kept the Parmesan cheese up her sleeve.

But overall challenge was way too easy. They had done a soup taste challenge before so they both knew basic ingredients like oil, salt, pepper that you could overlook under pressure. They should not have done another soup.

Also with the ingredient of stock were they just going to accept “stock” as suggested? Surely that should have been one of the key items in the challenge: beef stock, chicken stock, vege stock?

I’m happy Poh is gone because the bias towards here was really starting to piss me off. That said, Sam shouldn’t be there. Tom should probably still be there of those eliminated to date, if not Brett.

Anyhoo, as I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 10 years I’m looking forward to next week to see what they get up to, where they go and how authentic their experience is.

4 CG { 06.18.09 at 10:19 pm }

ETA: I mean Brent (bj_parkerjones on Twitter!) not Brett.

5 Ange { 06.18.09 at 10:29 pm }

w00t! The Poh is “goin’ howm”. Thanks for that comment Sarah. Well maybe you didn’t actually say that tonight, but you dropped a few more “ings” tonight and last night which really upset me. A television hostess should at least be able to enunciate properly. It is obvious Sarah has had a couple of elocution lessons recently, but she still slips up and speaks all bogan. Slapping on a pretty frock and hairdresser hair doesn’t cover up the bogan. One also needs to be able to speak, like speakin all proper and nowrmal like, yeah?

I like Chris. Drink more ingredients Chris. Whenever you drink the ingredients from the mystery box or just take an extra from the pantry to sup after you finish your dish first, we cheer and salute you!

That soup taste test thing was easy peasy. I cannot believe neither of them said stock or garlic or salt or pepper. Hello? Those ingredients should have been their first choices.

6 Wurstsemmel { 06.18.09 at 10:41 pm }

What a souper episode. Not. Love your recap, RR. You captured those nailbiting moments perfectly. The hype and the rhetoric are killing my appetite for this show. I can hardly wait for George’s motivational book deal. “Cook like the world is watching…” Gawd.

Still Poh has gone and George needs a new pet. Perhaps Sam? There’s a cat with nine lives.

7 CG { 06.18.09 at 10:51 pm }

Forgot to mention an observation on product placement. Have y’all noticed that everytime they show one of the guys in their bed there is a bottle of James Squire beer on the nightstand? I don’t think it has been on any of the girls’ nightstands. Although they all had a James Squire together in the kitchne after the wedding task. At least product placement isn’t as obnoxious as on Top Chef with stacks of “Glad Wrap” products in every shot.

8 Injera { 06.18.09 at 11:29 pm }

CG, Jacqui and Ange – you’re right. The soup was way too easy, but – hey – result, right?

Having “stock” as an ingredient is ridiculous – I hadn’t picked that up. Perhaps they would have accepted “herbs” and “spices” too. Maybe “vegies”!

Ange – I love it when Chris chooses an ingredient just for a drink. Definitely want to see more of that.

CG – the product placement is out of control if there are empties on the bedside tables. I wonder if George and Gary resent having to use Real Stock? I guess integrity is cheap.

I’ll be lining up for “Cook Like The World Is Watching”, Wurstsemmel. And I think George has already replaced Poh with Andre. He’s also still got Aaron, for when he actually gets back to his restaurants…

9 sourkraut { 06.18.09 at 11:47 pm }

the fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, the fArrow followed free….oops that’s fUrrow!!!!!!!!! apologies to the ancient mariner
What in the distant male monarch heck is farrow? I guess I know now.
good thing for sam it wasnt his turn to guess, I mean who would ever expect Italian food to contain garlic. let alone salt. which as another special ingredient was probably Moroccan camel sweat salt and you had to identify it exactly
Well my cynicism was for nothing. I thought it was going to be rigged for Poh to win but I was wrrrruuu……. I just cant say that word.
Chris fergawsake smile for once!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!especially when you get to swipe a squires for entertainment (of us viewers) but peel the lable off it first.
Shoulda used the mexican chilies in the minestrone instead, would have been interesting.
Anyhoo who to dislike now? I dont know, I suppose it will have to be Sam on demerit, but without poh for me to bitch about the show has lost a bit of its interest.
Good thing I can look forward to the cooking demo tomorrow, the items sounded so interesting I’ve already forgotten what they are. Smoked elephant balls on toast ? (But they ran out of toast or lost the recipe?)
I think I’ll barrack for julie now

10 Anonymous { 06.19.09 at 1:32 am }

Of course it’s not a good result, Sam should be gone, and has received more favouritism than Poh – he should have been in the bottom three more than he was, yet he wasn’t. Because of favouritism and a celebration of mediocrity. Oh wait, I missed the memo, Poh is the only contestant on the show to have ANY favouritism… *rolls eyes*

11 Anonymous { 06.19.09 at 1:34 am }

PS – If Sam and Andre aren’t the next to go, I’m gonna be so disillusioned with this show. Brent, Tom, and yes, even Evil Heinous Demon Poh should be there over both of those two.

12 Kitt { 06.19.09 at 2:13 am }

phooey… poh is gone.. now the show is totally ho hum to me….she was an inventive cook.. and had charisma…can’t believe they let her go over a doosh bag that clearly has no culinary talent.. however, now that no one interesting i left, I might actually notice the host.. whats her name again? I hope they bring Tom, Poh and Brent back for a cook off to shake things up in the last week… and maybe introduce a double or nothing bracelet… whoops wrong show..

13 Laura { 06.19.09 at 3:36 am }

After all those weeks of hating on Poh I finally started liking her in the ‘wedding episode’ (after the beautiful job she did on that wedding cake & her – although self-sustained – predicament in making two dishes consecutively). She is obviously a better chef than Sam. I feel bad now, I think George’s sleazy crush on her clouded my judgment!

14 Aussie-Chinese Home Cook { 06.19.09 at 9:53 am }

From a competition to a game show, now a circus! If it’s about marketing and selling a cookbook, what title would you buy and at what price?

1. Quick and Easy Bistro Meals by Mr and Mrs Sam, $10

I’ll be publishing 2-minute noodle recipes to make money!


2. My Art, My Cooking and My Stories by Poh (with introduction by Kylie Kwong, Neil Perry or Chui Lee Luk), $50-$80

I’ll gladly exchange my American dim sum book “The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch” by water colourist Ellen Blonder Leong for the Australian edition by Poh written with metric measurements.


3. Family Favourites by Julie, $30

The most successful cookbooks are for home style meals like Donna Hay or Women’s Weekly…

15 U. R. D. Heads { 06.19.09 at 10:31 am }

this forum is a joke

16 Injera { 06.19.09 at 11:05 am }

sourkraut – I’ll be heading to my local providore to seek out some of that Moroccan camel sweat of which you speak. Sounds as though it would add a certain je ne sais quoi to any dish, sweet or savoury. I think you’ve hit on a business idea there – I can picture the packaging now, with a folksy label and a tale of how it was harvested…

I think Chris was probably still getting over the embarrassment of that little high-pitched breaking-the-nervous-tension giggle he gave when he was declared safe.

Kitt – I wouldn’t be surprised if Ten brought back some contestants. They put a lot of effort into editing certain people for maximum effect, so it would be odd if they failed to capitalise on it.

Anon – Sam and Andre show up the limitations of the set-up. There are always contestants who try the under-the-radar game – I’m not sure if either of them is strategic enough to be doing that on purpose, or whether the fact that neither of them have a strong TV persona has allowed them to slide through. I’m with you – if either is still there after the next two weeks, I’ll be cross. Still, who am I kidding? I started watching this show in a funk because I was looking forward to Masterchef and we got this…! Now I’m watching it as a “reality show” not a cooking show, it’s a lot more fun.

Laura – absolutely can’t let the way the judges acted/editors off the hook for creating the “characters” we’re watching! George needs to dial it back to 5 or 6.

Aussie-Chinese Home Cook – unfortunately I think Mr & Mrs Sam’s Quick and Easy Bistro Meals will probably still be priced at $50!

17 Wurstsemmel { 06.19.09 at 1:21 pm }

I see George finally discovered the blog! 😉

18 Reality Raver { 06.19.09 at 2:19 pm }

I thought the episode reminded me of Eddie Maguire on How To Be A Millionaire – so drawn out.

Great recap Injera – Thank you.

19 Kyvyny { 06.19.09 at 9:31 pm }

They keep talking about making it to the final whatever number is on screen minus one. So that means they’ve either forgotten to account for Julia and Lucas or that they’re not going to be part of the finals.

Watching the recap on the Ch10 site made skipping this ep a good thing. Just jumped to the final segment and we’re on for today’s masterclass.

20 tiff { 06.19.09 at 11:29 pm }

oh, Poh and her hooker cheeks will be dearly missed!

21 sourkraut { 06.20.09 at 2:30 pm }

U R D heads
Isn’t that wot it’s supposed to be????????
Actually, to paraphrase Andrew Peacock (there’s a clue to my ancientness) this is SERIOUS, verra, verra serious indeed!!!!!!!!!

22 sourkraut { 06.20.09 at 2:35 pm }

How dare you!( Mock indignation dribbles down the side of this page.)
Don’t you know that we can’t use pre packed products???????//
It has to be FRESH!
So I suggest a trip to Marrakesh with a big fridge.

23 Injera { 06.20.09 at 4:40 pm }

Sourkraut – forgive me! That’s why my food is always such a disaster: always trying to cut corners. Would it be acceptable if I rounded up a couple of camels from the original ‘ghan and harvested it fresh at home, or would that violate DOC rules?

24 sourkraut { 06.21.09 at 2:29 pm }

No worries, BUT
Make sure you cut along the dotted line and only one slice, DONT saw it

25 zoey { 07.19.09 at 8:03 pm }

julie huney really whant u 2 win u do every thing perfect but its the cornes that killing u l guees but dont worry try ur best allways try ur best in anything dosent matter if u dont win but atleast u went into the competion and tryed ur best and had a great time with others goodlukee!!!!!!!****

26 Bob { 07.19.09 at 10:31 pm }

Julie has win

27 10 Anonymous { 07.19.09 at 10:41 pm }

I’m not happy Poh is back again after being eliminated. They should let the other entire have a second go at it. It might make the show a lot better than what it is now. All we have to watch is someone who cooks home meals and another that blames every body than her for her screw ups. The last person who had a chance for master chef was eliminated and left the two wannabes.

28 dont no { 07.19.09 at 10:53 pm }

i hate julie she should not have won shes a sweating pig piss of julie