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MasterChef Australia – It Was Time To Put Up Or Shut Up

“I can’t stand right now in front of you Gary and say I am ready to be an owner and head chef of a restaurant that is not where I am at yet,” Sam said.

Then cue to Sam’s voiceover “That may cost me the competition.” No Sam your uninspired cooking will.

Tonight’s challenge was for the four contestants to make a three course meal which would showcase the type of food they would like to cook in their eating establishments. They had 2 and half hours, and the pantry was open to them.

Now before I get back to Sam’s ineptitude I just want to float a couple of theories which indicates the show is a bit rigged.

1. Tonight’s episode explains why Andre won last night challenge over Chris. They did not want Chris to win two night’s in a row, and the prize of meeting with three top chefs would be very beneficial to him.

2. That the contestants are told about the challenge prior to the time it is meant to occur. You cannot tell me that pigs head has been their standard pantry fare? Or that there just happened to be a razor there for him to shave it. Nor that Youngs Chocolate Stout was there gathering dust on the shelves. Methinks they get to order in specific ingredients.

Anyway back to Sam’s straight from Stephanie Alexander’s cookbook menu of duck salad, lamb shanks with mash potato, and summer pudding.  He has no vision or originality, it is a travesty that he got this far. The nail in the coffin for me was putting the cream inside the Summer Pudding “a Sam touch”. I am surprised he was not roasted for that.

Someone who got a roasting from George about dish costs and did not deserve it was Julie. She made Lobster Bisque, and  was criticised for what her dish would have cost. If she had given them a skinny medallion she would have been criticised for being ungenorous.

I suspect this dish would not be on her cafe/restaurant because it would be a to high price point. As would be the case with Sam’s out of season berry dessert.

Julie’s steak with baby vegetables was criticised because of lack of sauce, but her dessert of ginger syrup cake looked delicious.

She also won the prize for best speech when asked about her future cooking plans. She said “Preparing food for my family is the heart of my day, and my cooking is one of the greatest gifts I give to my family.” I have to confess I got a bit of a tear in my eye, and a fair amount of guilt that I can not wait to get out of the kitchen.

Now speaking of emotions did anyone else think Andre had a touch of the crazys tonight when he was revealing his obsession with gnocchi, and then giving a kind of maniacal laugh. Even the judges looked confused and wondered what he was raving on about.

Having said that I thought his walnut gnocchi looked delicious, but agree with judge Matt Preston that the percorino chees basket he served it with was a  “hangover from a time where people over garnished”. His main of confit of rainbow trout with caponata look nice, and his semi freddo dessert looked super yummy.

Also Matt Preston asked where the passionate Andre had been hiding (Matt thought passionate, I  thought crazy) Andre said he “Reserved my passion and decided not to extend it to the others.” Was he one of the ones who Geni was talking about, who is not wanting showcase what they can do?  

From the beginning of the episode you knew Chris was going to win this challenge. His vision was clear about what sort of menu he would serve and also the ingredients he was using was exciting to judges.

He cooked a stuffed duck neck sausage which was judged to be delicious. Followed by a pigs head roasted which surprisingly once he carved it up the meat did look quite tasty. The judges were in raptures and George had a religious experience eating it, screaming out “Hallejulah”. Lastly his beerimisu was described as  “brilliant.”

Chris got to meet with Sean Connolly of Astral and Seans Kitchen, Justin North of Becasse and Etch, and Katrina Kanetani from Pier.

Chris said that Justin had the same cooking philosophy as him, which is the nose to tail approach. Something I can confirm as I once accidentally ate stuffed pigs ear at Becasse, and once I realised I was queasy and had to discreetly throw up. So chances of me ording the pigs head a Chris’s Beer Tavern is low.


1 Gabriel { 06.29.09 at 11:23 pm }

I loved that Andre was a gnocchi nerd – you gotta love anyone with a passion; even if it is for stodgy blobs!

2 abc { 06.29.09 at 11:37 pm }

Glad someone is agreeing with me that Andre is a little crazy. Although it could be that he was a little nervous and awestruck after finally getting the attention of the judges.

3 sourkraut { 06.29.09 at 11:54 pm }

You’re right Potato balls Whoopee
Anyhoo tonights show was INTERESTING
your weird food dream is probably a nightmare from Geo’s constant carping criticism ang grumpy scowl every time he comes near you. And geo don’t talk about people being messy when you’ve left vegemite smeared all over your dial Sex simple Yeah right, I’m Jealous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Chris by definition you are unable to give 10 mega %
JUlie You’ve one me i love the idea of your fair dinkum honest restaurant. If you ever open up I’ll visit it. When i go out for a meal I want it to taste good not be the venus de milo and I want it to fill me up so i dont walk out and have to immediately dine at the golden arches
George we know Andre’s hopeless but next time you grab his whisk to help I wouldn’t be surprised to see him surgically implant it in part of your anatomy where………..
Sam tut tut, pre packed berries. Hope they were no name to save money for Geo.
Julie thanks again for subtly telling g &; G to get knotted(“Course it will”)
Andre I still dont think italian food is sexy I like it but dont love it and Boiled trout and spud balls DONT convince me
George you blinking hypocrite!!!! You waffle on about classy dishes, then when Julie cooks one you whinge about the price of lobster (and since when is it $75 / kilo ?) This is typical of some chefs, Tightarses. My son just completed a TAFE chefs course and he told me that they get taught to put as little on a plate as possible and then sauce it up to look like there’s Kneaps (new technical term) on the plate. Bah Humbug! Anyhoo wot about the wretched truffles at $450 a meal? Did ten run out of budget on that lot and now has to cut back??????????????
Andre DONT bullshit to a bullshitter. ( I dont care about TV etc)
Geo Dont wink (ah spelled that one right) at your new pet.
Sam CONGRATULATIONS although many dont like you (i’m not one of them but I just think your not much of a cook) I think it took a lot of guts to give GG&M an HONEST answer.
Chris well done you deserved that! Where do i get the recipe for making double chocolate stout YUMMMM. as i was a home brewer for years until the bottle artillery under the house in the middle of the night discouraged the better half.
FINALLY (HOORAY YOU SAY) thank you ten for a very interesting hour. and thanks for buggereing it up with the news of the return of Laurel and Hardy to the so-called competition. Wot next celebrity chefs larry moe and curly joining the action for a bake and toss pie throwing comp?
Gnight too tired to edit sorry bout the typos

4 sourkraut { 06.30.09 at 12:02 am }

Too much ale to reasd straight! I’ll catch wot you wrote at work tomorrow. (more fun that way) Thanks for all your efforts and I love reading ALL the contributors offerings

5 Wurstsemmel { 06.30.09 at 11:07 am }

I share your suspicions about how set up this competition is. The pig’s head thing? I don’t buy that lying around on the off-chance someone might use it at all. Unless, of course, it fell off the proverbially flying pig…..

I felt the criticism of Julie for the bisque was simply a matter of having to find something to criticise and hypocritical given the truffles used in an earlier episode. The comment re. the steak dinner was valid…it looked like it was just missing something.

Sorry, Sam, your talent might be simply restricted to being able to follow a recipe. There’s no originality, nothing standout and while you were being honest with your lack of direction, I think that for someone competing for Masterchef, it’s quite valid to expect a competitor to have a firm idea of where they want to go.
I have a clue for you. Sam, it’s time to GO. False stop. Beats me how you are still around.

Chris’s cuisine is not my thing at all but he certainly pulls it off. I just wish he’d lose the hat and tidy himself up a little. There’s just something a little dirty about him that makes me want send him a care parcel.

I love gnocchi and the walnut gnocchi looked delicious. Bit concerned about Andre’s gnocchi obsession though. Wierd.

Still, maybe that episode was set off by exposure to Matt’s bright orange pants.
My eyes are still burning.

As a footnote, can wardrobe please supply Matt a jacket one size larger?

6 Grace { 06.30.09 at 12:23 pm }


As someone who has a family member in the know, I can confidently state that the show is scripted, that contestants are given two hours in the pantry and are aware of all contents prior to them being “unmasked”.

The winner was determined about a month ago.

The show is strategically set up to keep on weak links so that the audience can empathise with their ineptitude and not feel left out. All contestants receive intensive tuition before and during the show. They are also made aware of eliminations prior to filming – watch the clothing on prior episodes (it’s a clue as to who goes).

Chris is a slob. Period. He doesn’t win the competition either.

Justine didn’t “lose” – her leaving was orchestrated as she’s landed a very, very good opportunity.

Come on, this isn’t a cooking show. It’s entertainment disguised as a cooking show. These guys aren’t nearly near the standard required in a professional kitchen.

7 Injera { 06.30.09 at 12:24 pm }

Finally sat down and watched this – great to have read the recap and comments before doing so: made the experience more enjoyable, strangely enough!

RR – If it helps Sam’s deluded sense of self to believe that it was his answer that “cost him the competition” and not the fact that he is, at best, a very average cook, then I guess he can have that. Andre shows self-awareness with his comment that “I managed to sneak a win in there”.

Eeeeeew, Sam brushing his teeth with all that foamy, saliva-y drool.

“Today we find out who’s truly serious about becoming Australia’s first Masterchef.” Mother fuuuuuuuuuckah! Why have I watched all those previous episodes with the dilettantes, then?

Wurstsemmel: agree that Matt’s orange-pants-with-not-quite-matching-hanky ensemble was scary. I’ll be watching for blazer-size from now on.

With the questioning, they didn’t ask Sam if he was ready to become a chef, they asked him what his dream menu was. Probably all of us here could answer that question, without having any desire to become chefs. Shoulda been easy, particularly given that it seems that they had a heads-up on this challenge (i.e. that they’d already designed their menus and ordered ingredients ahead, as those here have noted).

Agree, RR, Julie’s answer to the question was fab. I’m buying elasticised waisted pants in anticipation of her bistro!

Why so much recapping? Sam looks as though he was nodding off during the first big recap, but – of course – it was live for him…

Gary during pointless judge walkaround: “Are you doing three courses?” Well, der, that’s the challenge.

Did anybody else think that Chris was musing that he was surprised to see Sam go so far “without any clear erection”? Nope? Probably just me, then…

Sam “Two and a half hours – I would love eight hours to cook lamb shanks.” Then, why’d you choose this dish, moron?

Chris has a future in acting judging from his ability to convince in his interviews, after he’s won a challenge, that he might not get his dish ready. Andre’s “served in a true Tuscan way” post-hoc interview was a pre-emptive smackdown to the judges who criticised the tacky presentation.

Andre: “Always a spanner in my work”. I thought George was the appointed language-mangler. Actually, with Andre isn’t it usually a fish bone?

Possibly, Sam, the best meals the judges have had in the competition might have been those prepared by, say, Manu, Guy, Matt (Moran)… not your frozen berry pudding.

How can the food really stand up to judging when it’s been either sitting around, cooling; under warmers; or, having sat around, while others were judged, then sat around some more while the judges ask questions of the cook.

Good call, Sourkruat, that Andre’s George’s new pet. His interview with the judges was so badly edited – it really didn’t flow together at all. Makes me think they stopped the cameras, told him what he needed to be saying, and then tried to draw that out of him with unshown loaded questions.

Oh. My. God. It’s 10.00 in the morning and I WANT pig’s head. And duck neck sausage stuffed with duck, pork and black pudding. Love that Chris did the Moe menu. I was disappointed that he didn’t serve it by throwing it through Matt’s window.

Great prize, but I kept hearing “Sean Connery” and can’t help but think that he would have been a fab addition to the lunch group.

If Andre beats the chef I will be most put out.

8 Mary { 06.30.09 at 4:00 pm }

RR – congrats on this blog – check out how many people have voted in your poll! More than 150!
Quick question about the poll – how does Linda have -1% of the vote?? I know she was bad, but negative %? Ha ha!

9 kyxzil { 06.30.09 at 4:25 pm }

Re: Grace { 06.30.09 at 12:23 pm }

Dang it! I wish I hadn’t read your post. How ’bout a spoiler alert next time? Just saying.

10 Culinary Boner { 06.30.09 at 5:14 pm }

Last night’s show confirmed that, unfortunately, most of the remaining contestants – and this includes the winners of the celeb challenge Julia and Lucas – fall into three clear categories. Those that could become good restaurant employees on their way to moderately successful cheffing careers – Julia (and, should she come back, Justine). Outright duds who would have trouble stumping up consistent fare for a good dinner party – Sam and Andre – and who should stick to their day jobs. And two who could, perhaps, make a go of it with a successful suburban cafe – Julie and Lucas. This leaves Chris as the only remaining contestant who could conceivably establish and run a successful restaurant, as was shown last night. As a beer and offal lover I’d be walking through the door of his restaurant quicker than you can down a James Squire Porter. The problem is I don’t think that the producers will let him win.

11 sourkraut { 06.30.09 at 5:49 pm }

You’re absolutely right, it is cook-ertainment and the way the show is run it doesn’t seem to know what it’s trying to be (maybe the show does not have a DREAM) its a bit like some movies that don’t know if they’re serious or if they’re comedies, then try to be both and succeed with neither.

I suspected what you say about the contestants being given buckets of coaching during the show (cunningly edited out) and time before to choose the ingredients and time to have trial run are correct. However that saddens me a little as I thought at least some of the contestants had some vague modicum of culinary talent, but if what you say is true then I can only comment that 85% of these buffoons are probably no better at cheffing than my good humble self. (note to self: don’t try a crock in bush. you might get your fingers burnt)
How to make the show truly entertaining?
1 Plant a secret MOLE (my fave reality show…..that’s why the bastards cancelled it!)among the contestants and see if they can work it out (should be plenty of entertaining chili moments etc
2 do the contesting in the Big brother slum sorry i meant house with the big brother contestants vying for camera time
3 get a regular celebrity guest from hell
4 change the location at random
5 give them a set amount of megadollars each to buy ingredients and when they run out they’re out
6 change the name from Masterfarce to mastershit as Wurstsemmel suggested.
Well there are some starters. Any advances on how to help out dear old ten for the next season.
Best suggestion gets a free night out at Poh’s arty fartydumplings for the gentry cafe.

12 sourkraut { 06.30.09 at 5:51 pm }

Culinary Boner
Egg White Egree

13 sourkraut { 06.30.09 at 5:53 pm }

the negative % works the same way as the ten million % of Chris, just think of it in the opposite direction

14 reality raver { 06.30.09 at 6:03 pm }

Sourkraut – your comments crack me up keep them coming, and get your son to apply for MasterChef Australia next year….

Injera and Sourkraut – I agree out of the four that cooked last night I would only eat at Julie’s and Chri’s. However I will leave the pigs head to Injera and Culinary Boner. Hopefully his tavern will serve Belgian fruit beer, and a nice schnitzel (something i suspect he would think was far too boring.)

Werstsemmel – yes Matt’s jacket was looking a tad tight, but maybe he is just putting on weight with all the food or he is getting carried away with his culinary sex god status.

Injera – I always think Andre talks like he is on valium.

Grace – I thought filming only finished last week. They were definitely filming last week.

Mary – thanks for your congrats. I too thought the -1% now -3% was weird but I have no idea about maths. Probably a sign that Melissa never stood a chance.

Culinary Boner – agree with what you are saying re: post career synopsis.

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18 brain dead dave { 08.02.12 at 10:35 pm }

What a weak blog~not worth the trouble going there.