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Masterchef – everybody loves a wedding

There are all sorts of people in the world.  Well, duh.  Some differences arise when people air their attitudes towards marriage.  There are people who go weak at the knees over the mere thought of a wedding; people for whom their wedding is the most memorable event in their lives; those who celebrate their commitment in quirky ways; those who marry for practical reasons; those who never marry… and then, I guess, there are those who mouth all the clichés about the “specialness” of their day, but who then invite in a TV crew and a group of amateur caterers.

So, on the basis that I really do not understand the premise of this Masterchef challenge, here goes.

At the end of Justine’s pear battle with Matt Moran (sigh!), a couple of strangers wandered onto the set.  When it was announced that they were getting married – the very next day! – and that our little crew of cooks was catering, there were expressions of excitement.  The WTF? moment did not come until they were told that they were also required to make the cake.  At this news, Julie came over all “who leaves organising their cake to the last minute?” and, as many have observed, the answer is clearly “the loonies who’d leave the food at their wedding up to you guys”.  Julie obviously has a talent for holding what appear to be conflicting beliefs.   To wit: she believes that weddings are super-duper special occasions; she does not feel that this is cheapened by the incursion of a reality TV crew.  She believes that the food at a wedding is what people remember;  she accepts the idea that an untried group of cooks should be responsible for this.

Anyway, the group learned that they would work as a team, but be evaluated on their individual performance.  The menu, which had been devised by the bride and groom, was divvied up between the contestants.  Julie and Poh each took a canopy… sorry, canapé… and an entree.  Justine and Andre each took a main, and Sam and Chris – oddly – took desserts.  From this point on, we got a lot of footage of Poh saying that she shouldn’t have chosen two dishes that went out first.  Julie had the same courses and seemingly none of the same panic, so this episode goes straight to the “shut up, Poh” file.

Before the team could even hit the kitchen, there was the small matter of the cake to sort out.  The Masterchef kitchen had been stocked with ingredients, recipes and a pastry chef from the bakers of Sydney’s finest wedding cakes.  My provincial nature means that, not only had I not heard of them, but I didn’t bother to catch their name.  Sorry, marketing people.  The cake, we were repeatedly told, would take seven hours.  They started at nine pm.  This seems like an arbitrary challenge just to tire people out and – oh, I dunno – hope that drama is created through the sorts of mistakes overly tired people make.  But, of course, I’m just being cynical.

The previewed drama of Justine prophesying that her team would kill her over a mistake she’d made turned out to be a confection of hype.  The cakes were turned out, everything seemed okay, and Chris and Poh stayed on to decorate whilst the others got some sleep.  Poh did a sterling job on the piping and you’d think this experience would bond them.  You’d be wrong.

Wedding day!  Poh started on the canopies… sorry, canapés… and made me question why I ever created a macro for “Julie panics”.  She got the usual attention from Gary and George, and a time-out in the cool room with Chris, who stepped up (that’s for anyone playing reality cliché bingo) to take on the role of leader.  We saw everybody chipping in to help everybody else and when, at the end, Chris realised that his leaderiness might have got in the way of his cookeriness it seems like there might be a surprise upset.  Poh interviewed that she’d be really pissed off if Chris got the credit for a dish that so many people helped on.  She didn’t acknowledge any of the help she’s benefited from over the past few weeks.

In fact, this was the only real drama in the kitchen, apart from the injuries Sam sustained.  Now, I’m one of those viewers who greets every appearance of Sam with the question “Why is he still here?”, based on the complete lack of skill he’s demonstrated to date.  Some might think I would be relieved to have my opinion confirmed by his performance in this challenge, but no.  Okay, I think sticking your hand in the blender is a pretty daft thing to do.  Doing it twice is particularly moronic.  Why wasn’t I railing at the TV, then?  Because this is exactly what would happen to me if I’d been up all night, and recently married myself and a professed believer in the importance of the wedding day.  And this must have been what was intended when the cake challenge was on, because the cake? Didn’t figure at all in the judges reckoning of their performances.  Badly done, Ten, badly done.

Sarah got a starring role in this episode, being Matt’s arm candy and an official taster.  Yay, Sarah!  I loved the way she gazed at Matt while he was eating and brought all her editing skills to bear on slightly rewording his opinion every time she was called on to evaluate.  Actually, it was good to see another opinion on the food, and both judges seemed to accord with the general opinion of the guests.

So, how did it all turn out?  Poh’s canopy… sorry, canapé… was tasty, but the pastry was too thick.  Julie’s was good.  Poh’s entree had nice flavours, but the chicken was dry.  Julie’s was lovely.  Mains: Andre seemed to be getting away with serving meat that had bled into the potato and Justine’s generous salmon portions were spot on.  Sam’s lemon tart pastry was too thick, and many guests left the crust on their plates.  Chris’ fondant was superb.

Back in the Masterchef kitchen, the contestants were told how their dishes went, and there was potential for drama when Matt waxed lyrical about Chris’ perfect fondant.  Chris did’t string out the drama and immediately gave credit to the others for helping out.  Poh looked pissed off.  Who’s safe?  Julie, Justine, Chris and… Andre.  Meaning that Poh and Sam will go head-to-head (drink!) in an elimination battle the likes of which we’ve never seen before!

A coupla things:

  • Sam had a rough day.  He was given credit for helping turn out perfect fondants, but he is up for elimination.  I felt sorry for him, especially since Gary was all “uh, der” when he asked if he had to make the pastry.  Guys, you’ve given the contestants packaged pastry every other time, so it wasn’t that much of an assumption.
  • Poh has been getting the judge-love all season so I did feel sorry for her last night.  It’s one thing to have a melt-down; it’s completely another to be pasted for it having been nurtured and babied through them before.
  • Why didn’t Julie just use gluten free flour for all the potato cakes?  Would have saved having a stingy looking six set aside.  What if some of the guests also needed gluten free and assumed that the menu would be tailored for them, knowing the bride’s needs?

22 comments

1 Wurstsemmel { 06.18.09 at 8:53 am }

Excellent recap.

I don’t know why they didn’t do the whole menu gluten free either. As a coeliac myself, you can make food tasty and, often, people wouldn’t even know the difference. Better that than slip the bride glutinous fare and have her spend her wedding night barfing and fixed on the toilet.

What I didn’t understand was that Poh was criticised for having the pastry too thick for her ‘canopy’ but at the final roundup Gary said it was good that it was so thick. Maybe I’m thick but that seems like a conflicting opinion to me.

I’m not as benign as you, Injera, I was quite happy to see her get pulled up for once. It must have been a shock for her to cop the ‘in my restaurant, I’d throw that out’ comment from George who has cosseted her for so long. Maybe they’ve had a lover’s tiff?

And poor Sam. So tired and emotional. Maybe he’s just realising that he really doesn’t cut the proverbial mustard.

2 Mary { 06.18.09 at 10:12 am }

Did I see the clock in the kitchen at 5:50 as they were plating up dessert? Who would have the 4th course out of 5 come out so early? Or was the editing just so strange? Or did it read 10:30?

3 Sooty { 06.18.09 at 10:38 am }

Ok. Am I going nuts, or am I recalling a preview for Project Runway Australia where the challenge is to make a frock out of wedding cake icing…in the previews I swear I recall seeing Julie flap the big circle of icing over the cake. Someone, I’m sure, even said well Geni must be going home (this Tuesday) or she’d have been doing the wedding cake, and Julie’s in the promos. (So I spent the entire episode awaiting the great wedding cake disaster that required Julie to step in and re-ice it or something. Which gave an added suspense, but really.)

Glad to see cute but can’t cook much where’s my hat Sam and entitled pink-cheeked Poh compete, after their very basic pastry probs. How hard is pastry?!? I don’t cook much of that sort of thing anymore but get out the commonsense cookbook and follow the instructions – it’s not rocketscience.

4 Injera { 06.18.09 at 10:39 am }

Wurstsemmel – good pickup on the pastry critique. I thought I must have just imagined that Matt was negative about it when it came to the final analysis and it was deemed “good”. Maybe they were just doing the old compliment sandwich to soften the blow of the real criticism.

I’m not usually benign on Poh, but did think it was a bit tough to go from can-do-no-wrong to you’re-a-mess!

Mary – you’re paying closer attention than I was. That does seem early to send out dessert. Then again, I’m usually hanging out for food at weddings, to soak up the booze, so the early appearance of dessert would usually be welcome.

I was quite distracted by the continuity leaps of a clean-shaven Sam in interviews, talking about the challenge in the present tense, and the whiskered Sam in the kitchen and facing the judges the next day!

5 sourkraut { 06.18.09 at 11:11 am }

loved the show. some human interest at last.
wish they’d stop making mountains outta mole hills. Wots so hard about baking a chocolate cake whipping ubp a bit of cream mixed with molten chocolate etc and why would it normally take two days to prepare. Even if only one person is doing it? Anyhoo they did a good job in the end although it looked pretty plain .(BTW Pohs decorations were quite pretty what there were of them)
Canapes can a peas can a peas……. I was expecting Larry moe and Curly to turn up with a can a peas, but which brand? can’t use pre packed products here!
JUlie HOORAY HOORAH THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU at last someone told george off (sorta) ie I’ve only got one pair of hands. Well done Julie. My suggested revenge on George would be to throw in about thirty or more (too taste he he) of those delightful little mexican chilis, (a la the ones tasted by fatty vautin two years ago onthe footy show), into the next invention dish. then see if there’s enough BODY in it for gary. I’d pay a weeks savings to see that one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sam sam sam Where has that finger been b4 entering the food processor. SIGH I felt sorry for you but it just goes to show you cant put brains in a pumpkin. I did feel sorry for you the way the camera and the judges highlighted your emotions at the end. I didn’t think that was cricket, and wonder how the judges would like it if the boot was on the other foot.
Chris Julie Justine, well done indeed. good on you. nice to see you trying to make the wedding meal a success.
Poh opoh poh the judges must be reading all the acidic comments on the web as they abandoned you, but you deserved that, and is there a hint of cattiness coming out in the open. Any hoo the next rigged taste off will get you through so dont worry about it (its very easy to throw in a whole lot of ingredients that one contestant would recognise and the other not…….We’ll see.
Andre’s meat bled into the complex mashed spuds. Wot do you expect? if you keep telling them to cook it raw. I would have loved to see someone send a steak back for it not being well done (instead of some clown in a beard waffling about sending it back if overcooked) but we know that wont happen because only uncultured yobs such as i like steak well done (as I wasnt brain washed as a child into thinking the only way to go is raw because it supposedly tastes better) BAH Humbug.
Finally please tell our esteemed judges to stop blathering to the contestants that the pressure is really on. I thought for a moment iwas going to see Jiffy Jeffy Anal probe come waddling out and start blathering abou fire is life life is fire blah blah blah.
Finally Finally, had to laugh at Matt’s attempts to turn Sarah into a food critic. Just to make sure she got it right he tastes first, gives his learned opinion and ………over to you sarah Dont you think the chicken was too dry well doncha punk huh doncha stare Stare
In the end the judges got it right. Hooray

6 CG { 06.18.09 at 11:19 am }

Injera, I agree with your comments about the whole premise and wonder why the couple chose to participate in the show. Obviously, Channel 10 would have paid for the entire wedding but what is the cost of loss of privacy,the invasion of televison crews and essentially amateur cooks handling all the food. Although it was interesting there was a chef there from the yacht/catering company and I assume they had systems in place so there would not be a major disaster. Still pretty tacky. Then again, I’m not one for traditional weddings and taking things too seriously. I got married hundreds of feet up in the air in a hot air balloon!

I know it all comes down to the editing but Chris came off as quite impressive running the kitchen. Of course, I was pleased that Poh finally got honest criticism for stuffing up and Gary even rebuffed her when she tried to make some excuses! The look on her face was priceless.

I’d like to know if they were using recipes to cook the various dishes or not? If they were using recipes, I thought all of Matt’s review-speak about the flavours was a bit heavy. I mean especially if they were following recipes those “canopy-s” and entrees were really pretty basic stuff, as were the mains and even the desserts.

Was interesting to see Sarah in a different / expanded role. She seemed very nervous and very tentative. I don’t think she added anything and only repeated or mirrored Matt’s comments.

As for the elimination, of course Sam should have gone a long time ago. But I have a hunch Poh will go and Sam will live to see yet another day. I understand the Hong Kong trip is next week. Poh will be really pissed if she doesn’t go.

From Sarah’s Twitters there would seem to be another 5-6 weeks of shows left, so I think we will see some twists and turns and some contestants coming back if not to compete, to be part of the teams (just like on The Apprentice). So Poh will probably be back in some form.

7 A { 06.18.09 at 11:44 am }

Perhaps it was also because it was up to Matt Preston and Sarah in terms of who did well that Poh was in the bottom… I actually think Andre deserved to be in the bottom more than Poh.. his main did not look delicious and was too bloody plus Po stayed up to do the cake, then did canape AND entree.. she definitely did more… But with that said Poh has been chef’s pet since the very beginning and it was starting to grate me.. i’m glad she’s at the bottom 2.

8 Reality Raver { 06.18.09 at 1:05 pm }

Great recap Injera observant as usual.

One thing I did notice was how sober were the bride and groom at the end of their wedding, when they talking to camera at the end there was not even a hint of a slur.

I did not think it was a bad thing them getting wed on camera, if it was all getting paid for. Sydney prices are just incredible and the food looked above average for normal wedding function fare.

By the way CG getting married in an air balloon that is so cool. Love it.

Couple of thoughts on the episode:
I thought it would have been fairer that the people who did dessert also did canapes;
Terribly unfair for both Julie and Poh as the canapes were fiddly,
Agree with A about the lack of acknowledgement that Poh got for doing the cake and being up for over 24 hours without sleep, I would have been having mega meltdowns;
Next time I would not volunteer to do the cake decorating if it is not counted in the following days judging;
I think this could have been editing, but I did not see Justine or Andre’ help much with the entrees or canapes as the others.
I suspect there must have been help as there is not way Julie or Poh could have done all they did, especially Poh, having to make onion marmalade, pastry, chop up brie, then cook and chop up chicken, then put on dressing,
Also I did not see Julie make the crab stuff that went in the middle of her salmon entree….
Chris two thumbs up for putting his hand up to take the lead role, particularly after being up all night,
One thumb up for Julie for just getting on with it in a cool calm collected manner,
Also agree with everyone above why not make all the smoked salmon canapes gluten free. Rice flour anyone?

Mary – yes editing did appear wobbly cutting back and forth,
Sooty – Do you think Sam is cute? I am so not a cougar – even if I was stuck on a deserted island with Sam for 5 years I still would not want to shag him.

9 Anonymous { 06.18.09 at 1:52 pm }

Andre should be in the bottom with Sam. I’m sorry, but I would rather eat somewhat dry chicken than blood-drenched potatoes.

Poh had to end up doing all of Chris’ work on the cake with the icing, plus her own work in the piping, and she didn’t get ANY credit.

I don’t feel sorry for Sam in the slightest. He can’t cook and was WAY more stressed out than Poh was – he lost it multiple times, was emotional, stuck his damn hand into the blender thing twice. But it’s all boohoo, poor Sammy is hurt, from the judges, yet for Poh, it’s no excuses and we’ll convenientally ignore the fact that the cake would be fucked if you didn’t stay up all night working on it?

So sick of the favouritism on this show.

10 Wurstsemmel { 06.18.09 at 3:02 pm }

It’s funny you say that Anonymous because I think most people believe Poh has had more than her fair share of favouritism. She wouldn’t have even been here if she hadn’t been given a second chance way back at audition time and she’s seemingly been helped far more than some of the others (although this impression could result from the editing of this show).

Poh’s always been a particular favourite of George. Quite odd and probably quite confusing for Poh how he did an about turn last night. If he’s back into his Poh-loving mode tonight, she should be safe. In either case, one of the judges little pets will be gone.

Or will they? They could have another non-elimination……

11 Anonymous { 06.18.09 at 3:24 pm }

Eh, I’m not saying that Poh hasn’t had some favouritism – I agree that she has, but I think people over-react to it.

At least Poh has potential and talent. Based on her skills I still think that she should outlast Andre, Julie, and Sam. But not go any further than Justine and Chris (I hate Chris and think he’s a smug twat, but at least he is talented). Sam, on the other hand, does not show much talent at all.

All favouritism on reality tv bothers me. But what pisses me off the most is that people are favourited for hardly any talent at all, at the exspense of others. I would place Sam in this category. I would not place Poh.

12 Sooty { 06.18.09 at 3:30 pm }

Reality raver – no, I don’t find him cute – I meant he’s cute, that’s his schtick, he is genuinely endearing at times and probably quite a nice little guy etc, but so not my type it’s not funny. Not at any age… If I had to, for the good of my country, I would prefer Matt the cravat!

13 Anonymous { 06.18.09 at 3:34 pm }

I’d go for Matt and his cravats regardless of the good of my country. 😉

14 Wurstsemmel { 06.18.09 at 4:43 pm }

Anonymous, it was the stroking of the paella crust that did it, wasn”t it? 😉

15 Injera { 06.18.09 at 7:12 pm }

Sooty – yes, I was wondering when Julie was going to save the icing day, too. I hadn’t seen the previews, but had read the same comment you had. Well, I guess it’s good that we can make our own drama!

Sourkraut – they were trying to amp up the dramz, weren’t they? When they left the cakes outside to cool, I was expecting them to go out to find them possum-nibbled or something. Every step Chris took with the completed cake, I was anticipating a big fall. And I’d love to see George take a big mouthful of chilli. He seems to have a lot of food dislikes for a chef. It will be interesting to see what the taste test is, although Sam might be as good as Andre – we might see him chowing down on a whole clove and wondering why he can’t taste anything else.

Ha – who sends food back at a wedding? If I sent back every crap dish I’d been served at weddings, I’d have gone hungry.

CG – wow! Wedding in a balloon – awesome! I’d forgotten that Gary stepped in and told Poh to take responsibility. That was a long-earned ticking off. Gary also needs to take responsibility for her not taking responsibility until now – by sheltering her so much, the judges created what we saw yesterday.

Raver – I’ve never been at such a sober wedding! Well spotted. As for choosing the courses, were the canapes/entrees combined, or did they choose them that way? I kind of drifted at that point, overwhelmed as I was by Julie’s effusive speechifying to the happy couple.

Anon – sure, some of Andre’s beef wasn’t properly rested, but we did see many plates go out that were ok, whereas all of Poh’s chicken was overcooked. Poh was stressed out by having to cook; Sam was stressed out because he’d cut himself and was frustrated that he was letting the team down. Both deserved to end up in the bottom two, but the cause of Sam’s stress was more deserving of sympathy than Poh having yet another meltdown.

Wurstsemmel – I don’t think I could cope with another non-elim!

All of you – settle down over Matt’s cravats! You’re reminding me of the Black Books episode where Fran listens to the Shipping News…

16 Mary { 06.18.09 at 8:02 pm }

Ha! The Shipping News! I thought Matt sounded exactly like that guy last night with his husky voice!

17 Anthony { 06.18.09 at 8:49 pm }

OMFG! Sam still in the competition.
that is pathetic.

18 Anonymous { 06.19.09 at 1:30 am }

“the cause of Sam’s stress was more deserving of sympathy than Poh having yet another meltdown.”

What? The reason why he was melting down – more than Poh, as evident by sticking his hand in a blender more than once – was because he was stressed about the situation. Poh sacrificed sleep to

I get that you guys think Poh is the most evil contestant EVAR!!!1 and she certainly isn’t my favourite on the show, but come on. How exactly is Sam’s cause of stress worthy of more sympathy than Poh?

19 Anonymous { 06.19.09 at 1:38 am }

Ugh, I hit submit before I finished typing. I meant to say – Sam’s cause of stress wasn’t his injuries. He was injured because he was stressed. His cause of stress was nothing different to the others, or Julie or Poh who had two dishes to do (three, if you include the extra work Poh did on the cake). His injuries weren’t the first thing to stress him out. If he wasn’t so stressed then he wouldn’t have been a dick and blended his hand twice.

Also: did we see all the chicken? Did it all look dry? I didn’t see it all. And I still think that dry chicken looks more attractive than blood drenched potato.

20 Peter Wilton { 06.19.09 at 10:06 am }

I have searched for the recipe for the Salmon and Crab meat entree,
can you help as I wish to try the dish for lunch next week.
Your help would be appreciated.Your show is a must view by all our family.

21 injera { 06.19.09 at 7:05 pm }

Peter – you might want to try the official Masterchef site for the recipe. If it’s there, and you try it, please come back here to let us know how it went!

22 Kyvyny { 06.19.09 at 9:52 pm }

Loved the extra Sarah screen time, shame she really only parroted back The Cravat’s taste on the food.

Expecting some kind of drama with something like bugs stuck in the cakes cooling outside.

Really well done piping from Poh on the cake. Did so look like George and Gary were out with the vile. Then again she does break easy under pressure. At least not so much as to stick her hand into a blender.