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Celebrity Masterchef – Service At The Shangri-La


It is a bit of a “let down” when your two minutes into the episode and you know you have just seen the highlight of this week’s show. Thank you Fremantle and Channel Ten for the gratuitous shot of Eamon Sullivan shirtless. I note you did not give us the same shots of Kirk Pengilly or God forbid Alex Lloyd. But really the contestants would have to put out some well plated dishes to compete with that.

The celebrities were staying at the Shangri-La Hotel, and the challenge was to work in the kitchen of Altitude restaurant. Each contestant had to take control of one dish from the menu, and they would be cooking it for the lunch crowd. I am presuming they were all “invited” guests, not real customers. If you want to know what Altitude is like see this blog post on Not Quite Nigella

Rachael Finch quickly grabbed the dessert, which was very smart, as some of the dishes looked pretty complex.

Kirk Pengilly had to make Scallop and Crab Tortellini with Butternut Pumpkin Puree and Spanakota mousse. He only had two hours make it all including the pasta. He was in his own little one on one pressure test.

Michelle Bridges was a bit easier. It was a chilli and basil Hiramiasa kingfish with olive oil sorbet. The difficulty was having to debone the fish.

They did appear to have a sous chef helping them.

Eamon had a main dish to prepare, it was a butter poached angus beef with madeira braised beef and cepe velout. By the way does anyone else think that angus beef is now not so posh since MacDonald’s has started serving up Angus burgers?

Alex’s dish was a Macleay Valley suckling pig with Fondant Potato, garden peas. Alex was a bit shocked when he realised the pork was actually a full pig to be carved up.

Rachael was cooking warm chocolate fondant with full milk ice cream.

Kirk was slow on the tortellini and he said he was responsible for the service being half an hour behind.  Lucky for him the head chef, Steve, plates up his dish, but he has to put the components together. He butchered the first lot of scallops but the head chef let them through.

He burnt a few more scallops which had the carry on effect of stuffing up Michelle’s dish as it meant her sorbet on her entree was melting.

A table sent back some entrees the reason being the tortellini was cold, and Michelle’s entree was a “little bit wilted”. I wondered if that was a set up for a bit of drama.

Poor Eamon had a tough one with the beef as he had to cook the beef to order ie rare etc. 

The head chef Steve looked over the show, by the time burnt fondants were sent back.

After going through the stress of service they then had to present their dishes to the judges.

Gary thought Michelle’s dish that she had cut the fish too thick. George found a lemon pip on the plate. At this point she welled up saying “I am so pumped I wanted it to be perfect,”.

Kirk was up next with his tortellini. Gary gave it a positive review. George acknowledged that Kirk was under the most pressure in the kitchen with the difficulty of his dish.

Alex’s pork dish was told that it was a great flavour, but criticised the pork belly for not being crispy enough. Matt Preston concurred with George on this issue.

Eamon’s beef was criticised by Matt Preston as he thought the sauce had been reduced too far. However George liked it, apart from the meet being over cooked.

Rachael’s chocolate fondant looked a  tad overcooked for the judges, as there did not seem to be that much ooze, but George Calombaris loved it.

I am glad the judging did not just include the dish that was presented to the them. They also took into account what the customers thought, as well as what Steve thought in the kitchen.

Kirk’s pain and suffering with the scallops and the homemade tortellini was worth it in the end for him as it was voted best dish by the diners. Rachael’s smart to move to do desserts got her through to the next round.

Alex’s got the chef’s highest accolade of being the person who Steve would invite back to do dinner service.

The bottom two were Eamon, and Michelle. Michelle was eliminated, which was the right decision considering she had the easiest dish of the day.

By the way if you are wondering how long filming a reality TV show takes, please note by the time the judges delivered their verdict it was getting dark outside. Considering lunch service apparently finished before three the judging must have taken nearly four hours if you take day light saving into account.

Next week the Zumbo croquembouche challenge – this should be compulsory viewing for all Masterchef fans.

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1 Claire { 11.18.09 at 10:46 pm }

Not quite show related, but am I the only one that thinks that george’s roast pineapple thing on the coles ad looks a bit like bodily waste (to put it nicely)

2 Wurstsemmel { 11.19.09 at 12:46 am }

Doesn’t look good that’s for sure but the ad that’s really bugging me is the Matt Preston ad. From the cheesy winks to the smarmy voice. I was loving Matt but this ad has undone that.

Show is passage viewing but no more

3 lydal { 11.19.09 at 8:03 am }

From the start you could see that Michelle was going to be eliminated. I’m not sure if Rachel is really good with cooking or just with desserts as that is what she is always doing.
Obviously Alex was not attractive from a producer’s point of view as he hardly got air time in this episode.
Btw, I thought that the lady who said that she would give the angus beef to her dog was or reading a script or just being really “stupid”. Probably producers arrange some of the critics to make it good for a show.

4 seepi { 11.19.09 at 11:14 am }

I’m glad Michelle is gone. Her glowing botox forehead and blank expression really bothers me. She has to actually narrate her emotions all the time, because we just can’t tell what she is thinking. “I’m pumped” “I’m gutted” etc. With blank face and big staring eyes the whole time.

I wonder if Swimming Australia are upset about Eamon’s burn injury.

5 Reality Raver { 11.20.09 at 12:36 pm }

Claire – Just channelling my inner Neil Perry, but if the ingredients are fresh and tasty enough, all those other ingredients and tricks are really not necessary.

Seepi – I think you have nailed it on the head about Michelle, Iwas trying to work out what was annoying me about her, and you described it to a tee.

Lydal – I have thought that Rachael is not a bad cook, and was particularly smart in grabbing the desserts, however it will be interesting to see her cope with some savoury challenges, something she won’t get next week as it is the croquembouche challenge.

Wurstsemmel – Agree the ad does detract from the Matt Preston “brand”, however I reckon he should milk his 15 minutes.

6 TDK { 11.20.09 at 12:40 pm }

Glad to know I’m not the only one disliking Michelle.
Get over yourself Michelle.
Not everything needs to be about how you feel.