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MasterChef Australia – In Hong Kong It Must Be Dim Sum

“So lets crack on” said Gary Mehigan which got me excited for about two seconds before I came to the reality that he was not actually talking to me. He was in fact in the Ming Court in Hong Kong a michelin star Chinese restaurant in the Langham Place Hotel.

MasterChef Australia was adding extra excitement  into the show this week by sending the final five overseas to grapple with great culinary questions like should you braise, stir-fry or fry a turtle, what are the best accompaniments to go with sea snail squirts, and if you were going to make assiette of durian for dessert what three dishes would you make?

But as George Calombaris said “Not only are your representing MasterChef, but you are representing Australia.” So we had the contestant’s perfecting their cooking skills on the Australian yum cha classics of spring rolls, pork buns, and shu mie (or dim sim in Australia).

Ok the fillings did look far superior to the spring rolls and shu mie that gets flung around the lazy susans in Australia.

I loved the way Sam said to camera “We have two hours to prepare all the dimsum”, says Sam pretending they were catering for whole restaurant. If you are wanting a pork bun you would be waiting awhile as Sam’s were a disaster, with pork bun filling cascading out of his buns.

I still cannot believe Sam is still in the competition ahead of Poh. I am sure the other contestants are bemused about this as well.

Tonight there was only the 30 minute challenge with no loser but a winner who would get to go on an old fashioned junk to watch the nightly light show on Hong Kong harbour.

The challenge was to make four pieces of each dim sum of the three dishes above plus “cue in drum roll”  as Matt Preston breathlessly advised them they would also have to make the most difficult dumpling – the zhiu zhou. The zhiu zhou is a pork and prawn dumpling with water chestnuts and peanuts – delicious. 

Considering in this challenge they would not have to make the filling, the challenge was all about the dim sum technique. They were not even required to cook them.

Chris finished first and also got to present it first to the three judges, plus chef John and chef Patrick from the restaurant.

They said “The shape was too varied, spring roll pastry to thick sucking up juices,”, and ” pork bun shape is terrible”.

Sam was up next and Sam’s  pork bun has better balance, but looked dirty. “Overall a commendable effort,” said Matt Preston.

Julie who really is the quiet achiever in this competition did not get great reviews with a “All you can taste is dough there is no filling “. 

Andre’  won the prize for best shaped zhiu zhou with a  “Dumpling has best shape of all so far, however edges to thick.”

Justine standout was the pork bun said Gary Mehigan.  However her zhiu zhou was criticised.

Much to my chargrin Sam won. I was wondering if the judges gave this to him as they know he will be the next one to be eliminated. He interestingly chose Justine to go on the boat with him. .

Justine is a bit of the golden girl at the moment, maybe Sam wanted to ingratiate himself with her. Also I note today in the Sunday Telegraph Justine was on the cover of the TV guide with Sarah Wilson, and I wondered whether they are keen to promote her as she is one of the red hot favourites to win.

The guide also revealed that Julia and Lucas were also given tickets to Hong Kong so we should see them pop up at some stage in the week. Just as well as it would have been particularly unfair for Julia to miss out.

Also a prize of a coffee at Lucas’s cafe in Randwick (sorry non-Sydney readers) will go to anyone who spots Gary Mehigan’s bare arms this week – I note he went to the steaming Hong Kong wet markets in a long sleeve black shirt. Will he uncover himself in the tropics – I hope so.


1 Injera { 06.21.09 at 10:59 pm }

Ha! Crack on, indeed… I think Gary’s been taking lessons in slang from our dear Prime Minister.

I can’t believe Sam is still there – and neither can he, by the comment he made at the beginning of the show. Or perhaps he’s pre-auditioning for “The Castle 2” with his If someone’d told me I’d be in the final five of Masterchef, I’d’ve said they were dreamin’. Oh, and Sam? Final seven, k? Also, Sam, you made better “dim sims” than the other four, in the kitchen of a restaurant that has a Michelin star. You didn’t make “Michelin quality” anything. Totally agree that the Sam win was a plan – a plan to quell all the disquiet from viewers who can’t remember him doing anything halfway decent since the first top 20 show.

When he was told to choose somebody to go on the boat, I was hanging out for him to choose… T Pain.

All the “food capital of Asia” stuff was getting me down. Of course, then they revealed that it’s Hong Kong 2009 Food Year, or something, and I was able to relax in the knowledge that it was just more shameless plugging. Which is not to say that the food in Hong Kong isn’t great, it’s just that Asia is… vast and there’s a lot of competition for “best”.

George seemed a little over-excited by the oxtail. It was the least exotic ingredient we saw in the entire wet market, yet he was all “Look! D’ya know what this is? Oxtail!”. And as for “representing Australia”, that’s booshit, George.

2 Anonymous { 06.21.09 at 11:43 pm }

I’m so glad Julia (and Lucas) get to go to Hong Kong, too. It annoys me that the show keeps on referring to the current contestants as Top 5 or last week, Top 7. It’s not! There are clearly two other contestants in the running! I really wish they would have given us more than a couple of 60 seconds updates on Julia. Perhaps I am biased, because she is most definitely my fave, but if she is a finalist, she deserves way more airtime.

3 dee longe { 06.21.09 at 11:59 pm }

where is the cook off in Hong Kong? as an expat living here, I ‘d like to see if we could go and support the team.

4 Anonymous { 06.22.09 at 12:21 am }

dee longe, I’m pretty sure that the Hong Kong episodes have already been filmed.

5 sourkraut { 06.22.09 at 12:32 am }

Just a question or two
Where are we?
Are we excitedf?
Isnt this awesome
Repeat above recipe 37 times in show. First prize for correct answer is a night of conversation with George at his restaurant dining high off the hog on kingfish skewers etc
George……… You’re all representing orstraya……. wot in? I didnt vote for you?
liked the look of the food, but the spring rolls looked pretty easy. the dumplings were a little more complicated ….Knead , knead, knit, pearl, stitch, repeat ooops thats the crappy rolled beef I whomped up for din dins tonite….. another disaster.. guesss i,ll have to apply for MC2 to learn how to cook gooder.

George please stop the countdown/ ie….you’re really under pressure now crap. We as viewers dumb as we are get the picture so give it a b….dy rest (like the semi cooked meat) Fire is life life is fire, oh crap wrong set.
one question, did anyone see the food prepared by the famous five (apologies Enid Blyton) actually GO OUT INTO THE RESTAURANT or was the emergency backup of spring roles prepared in advance by the restaurant chefs sent out surreptiosly instead?
Last comment…..if the head chef of this monumentally impressive ONE WHOLE STAR cafe thought the FF’s food was so bad why would he have allowed his one star to be threatened with sub standard food???? OR was the food easier to prepare than George’s blatherings indicated
Hope Andre is next to go, something about him irritates me, with super sam not far behind
Gnight all

6 Kyvyny { 06.22.09 at 1:10 am }

Chagrin at Sam’s win? More like utter astonishment. Justine or Andre could have won that, but yet again Sam manages to somehow do something to not burn his eyebrows off.

George sounds like he’s never been outside of Australia with constantly reminding everyone that, hey, they’re in Hong Kong. Yeah?

Wonder what they thought when they sniffed the durian in the markets. Foul smell, great taste, good dessert if other people in the room don’t mind the smell.

Where’s the chicken’s feet? Rest of the week remains.

The zhiu zhou looks like a flatter more delicate kind of har gau but without the prawn. Thems good eats.

7 paul { 06.22.09 at 1:38 am }

I think you mean chagrin.

8 CG { 06.22.09 at 8:20 am }

Hmmm. Getting all a little too cutesy for me at this stage in the competition. Seems more like a big marketing scheme for Hong Kong and I imagine the Hong Kong tourism board is probably paying for the whole trip. As the group became smaller I was hoping the challenges would get more serious and more comprehensive: creating a menu, multi-day tasks to prepare a multi-course meal on their own, etc. Mey.

9 Injera { 06.22.09 at 9:38 am }

It’s probably just as well this was recorded a few weeks back. If they went there now, from H1N1 infested Australia, they might have been locked up in quarantine. Now that would make for some interesting challenges. Mystery box: dairy creamer, sugar packets, moccona, tea bags, and a budget of $10 to spend at the mini-bar.

10 Wurstsemmel { 06.22.09 at 10:02 am }

Ha. Injera. A good point and rather ironic one for me as I’m sitting here in bed, awaiting my swine flu swab results. Don’t forget the Tamiflu in the mystery box. 1001 ways with Tamiflu might just be my cook book.

I was a bit disappointed with this episode. I’d expected something a little more exotic than your usual yum-cha suspects given the exotic location, which George couldn’t help reminding us about. HK, George, yeah yeah.

I have a theory that Gary won’t bear his arms because he’s sporting some kind of monstrous tattoo. If he were George, I might suspect that it was Poh’s face but, for Gary, maybe ‘I’m with stupid?’ Yeah, yeah?

11 Leon { 06.22.09 at 10:38 am }

Representing Australia, representing Australia, representing Australia, representing Australia. Save me Jesus. They must have played that 40 times. Also, as someone in the booze trade I often wake up feeling a tad dusty, and looking at Chris in the morning, I’d say that someone had a hangover of EPIC proportions, possibly succumbing to the 1 litre of duty free single malt 12 am mystery box challenge.

12 Sooty { 06.22.09 at 10:54 am }

Leon – ‘a tad dusty’ !- that is good.

I’ve seen Gary’s tat or one of them peeking out on his right hand when he does friday night’s classes. I remember being quite surprised.

It’s going to be very funny one day when all of orstraya’s senior citizens are sporting sleeved arms…

I burnt my finger with boiling water emptying pasta awkwardly so found it hard to concentrate – chef’s injury. The ep was a bit dull though and I am worried about Sam’s wife’s feelings the way he hooks up just to hang of course with all the pretty young women. I was sending him telepathic instrustions, don’t pick Justine, don’t pick Justine. Chagrin indeed…

13 Reality Raver { 06.22.09 at 11:20 am }

Wurstsemmel – Hope you are feeling better, and please update if you do have the dreaded swine flu as you would be the first person I know (even only by cyberspace) to have it….

Wurstsemmel and Sooty – A tattoo might explain it -just thought a black (?satiny) shirt looked so hot to be wearing in the tropics.

CG – Agree I hope it hots up a bit with the food tasks.

Kyvyny – Oh yes a chicken feet cooking task would be fabulous.

Paul – Sorry your right chagrin it is.

Injera – I think George is excitable full stop. I hope they make them cook with an oxtail or some of the exotic ingredients that they saw.

Leon – I think you are right Chris did look a bit dusty indeed. Maybe also recovering from knocking back a few to many on the flight as well?

14 Observer { 06.22.09 at 1:19 pm }

Well we have the token, Housewife, Model, Aussie Bloke, Academic and Cheesy annoying guy. All makes interesting TV. What some of you thought it was a real cooking show.. all said and done I have enjoyed the show but trust in the show producers that they will not leave us with a winning disaster. Time to go Sam…

15 Anonymous { 06.22.09 at 6:05 pm }

I think Chris looks hungover/wasted in every single episode. It’s shallow of me, I know, but I’d never eat something cooked by him – he looks so greasy and disgusting, ugh.

16 Alice { 06.23.09 at 12:57 pm }

HELLO, it was a unanimous decision. This challenge was obviously one of the ONLY fair ones since it had an independent judge. To claim otherwise is just sour grapes. The judges favourites are quite obviously Chris (the arrogant, mean-spirited and hawk eyed one) and Andre (the self-absorbed ego). The rest seem humble and likeable.