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Masterchef Australia – Team Challenge -Another person leaves

Ok before we get into a lather over Matt Preston’s comment “If you delay it long enough they will love anything” lets talk about the selection of the teams for tonight’s challenge.

It was extremely interesting to see who was being picked first, and who was left until last.

Alvin was automatically made a captain of the red team because he won the challenge this week, and he was told to pick the blue teams captain. He picked Johnathan, and when asked for the reason for that, he was not diplomatic and said “I don’t want him on my team”. And then revealed to camera he was not Mr Popularity in the house.

I was surprised that Alvin picked Adele first, but he said because it was an italian challenge. Johnathan confirmed my theory that young Callum can cook by picking him first.

Also interesting that Jimmy was not picked early and was left until at least half had been selected. However the humiliation of being left until last had to occur to some of them. Clearly neither captains rate Dominic, Kate or Fiona as cooks. Now we know about Kate’s culinary taste, but I had thought Dominic and Fiona were ok.

Twenty-Four year old Fiona was a bit teary when she was the last person standing, and she had expected to get picked earlier as she was mates with Johnathan in the house. I doubt they are anymore.

The challenge was each team was to take over a restaurant for a night in Leichhardt (Sydney’s Little Italy) and the team that made the most money in the 2 1/2 hour of service won lunch at Luke Mangan’s restaurant Glass.

The red team decided to go for a simple pizza and pasta menu, Adele was appointed as head chef, and Jimmy was appointed front of house.  The Blue team went for a much more upmarket menu which was more technically difficult, hence slower to prep. Johnathan was head chef, and Dominic was head of front of house. The rationale that Dominic was a bit of a sales person.

The challenge had some positives and negatives,here are some thoughts on the red teams performance:

  • Adele who has appeared flakey and emotional in previous episodes was excellent in taking the lead in the kitchen, and produced some really good food;
  • Alvin needed to be a bit more of a control freak in the kitchen and front of house;
  • Jimmy was very flakey as front of house, major stuff up with a mis-print of the menu, with the sides dishes being printed in the pizza section, hence a rocket and parmasen pizza was born, this ended up being a positive thing.
  • The other issue were prawns not listed as being an ingredient in the fettucini dish which was serious but the judges WERE beating it up a bit. The prawns were pretty easy to spot if you were allergic to them.
  • Kate was very good front of house, maybe that is where her talents lie.

The blue team was also having their ups and downs:

  • Sarah the police officer was not writing the dockets properly. After being told about it, and she cracked up and left the floor. “And I feel like I let the team down,”  she said. So she walked off the floor.  I am not sure she got the irony of that.
  • I thought Dominic rocked at front of house he was assertive and was in control even when things were getting hairy;
  • Johnathan was having trouble with the dockets, as they were pouring through all at once. Also why weren’t the zuchhini flowers already stuffed.

To be fair on both teams few restaurants are full as soon as the doors are open. And my things are so different from last year, as the teams in season one in the sushi train challenge had to go out and market to get people to come in. Here a blackboard on street and word of mouth and it was full house.

Skye appeared to perform well also.

I think the people in the blue kitchen need to watch Hell’s Kitchen to be shown how to cook more then one dish at a time. However the food coming out of both kitchens looked great, even though it appeared to take a long time.

The judges liked the pasta dish with prawns of Adele’s  “the pasta is king – an ideal dish” said Matt Preston. They also liked the pizza as well.

They thought the pasta of the blue team was good, but Matt Preston thought the zucchini flower was better.

Back at the Masterchef studio where they were waiting to find out the results, Claire started bawling saying she let them down, to think we thought she was a bit cool.

Sharnee dissed Dominic’s effort of running front of house, and Sarah left to go back home to her young family.

This is the third person to have left the show of their own volition since it started. Meaning people who really wanted to be on the show are missing out. Also I think the women with families did not realise what a time commitment it is away.

The show is not filmed in real time. The first episode of the top 50 took three days to shoot. They obviously still need to eliminate someone otherwise they would not have had an episode for tomorrow night.

The Blue team made $1253 and the red team over $1400.

The judges by putting Johnathan up for the elimination challenge are indicating that if it is a team challenge and you lose some responsibility must fall on the captain, and Devon is also up for elimination for letting people in early. A bit unfair but really there was no one else to take the fall, Sarah had already gone.

Anyway back to Matt’s “If you delay it long enough they will love anything” comment, it would have sound hotter coming from Gary Mehigan’s mouth.


1 Kyvyny { 04.29.10 at 2:39 am }

Alvin looked like he had things come undone from him. Excellent thinking (from Marion?) on creating that Rocket pizza from a menu with a need of some proofing.

Quite a lot of crying and wiping of tears at the debrief. It was going to be a chain reaction waterfall. They sure do love crying it up early and plenty in this series.

And Courtney kind of resembles Deborah Harry.

2 Mac { 04.29.10 at 3:32 am }

I sense that Jonathan is jealous of Alvin’s praises from the judges and contestants. Who could not forget that smug look during that beef wellington challenge and the face he made when the judges criticised it and lost.

3 I like food { 04.29.10 at 7:39 am }

Last night confirmed two things. Alvin is a dick, I thought his comments were bang out of order and Claire can turn on the water works at will. Well played Claire…..well played.
Also great call Kyvyny…..Courtney is a dead ringer for Ol’ Debbie….is it the eyebrows ?
I put the tear count last night over 5…….still on pace for 5 plus per episode.

4 CG { 04.29.10 at 7:39 am }

Ok, I’m not going to comment again about the crying because clearly nothing can be done as the series is pretty much in the can. I strongly agree with RR that having persons leave once they are in the top 50 is really unfair as they have taken the spot of someone else who really wanted it and thought thru the commitment. Seriously, why would a woman with a 6 month old apply to go on this type of reality show? And to finish my comments on Sarah, I’m more than a little concerned that a woman who is a police officer by profession can’t take the pressure of working as a waitress and stuffing up some dockets!

Now, as for the challenge. I was distracted the entire time by how STUPID the challenge was. How can you “win” based on how much money you take in…if there is no accounting for what costs you incurred??? If I had been running a team, I would have loaded all the customers up on free booze and picked a few simple but very expensive dishes – ie lots of seafood, for example. Another way of looking at it is that Alvin’s team won huge if they took in more money and had a low “pizza and pasta” cost base.

Finally, RR I blame you for the disturbing images contemplating the alternative meanings of “if you delay it long enough they will love anything” and whether the words would be hotter if muttered by Matt or Gary. Thanks, heaps. These images will now be with me all day.

5 dmc { 04.29.10 at 8:01 am }

Yes, how can they let someone with a 6 month old on the show?

And if she has already had her third child, just when was this filmed? And does that imply she was pregnant at the time of filming?

6 TDK { 04.29.10 at 8:47 am }

Here are my observations:
– annoying crying moms leaving the show, urgh!! Next year, moms need not apply!!
– the whole “customer pay for what they think” is all BS, otherwise why would the bill have a figures on it?!!
– I thought the blue team getting the $150 to fast track one table’s meals was unfair on the other paticipants (sorry, I mean customers) – not very cool. Hah, karma ensured the lost!!
– Incompetent people can’t multitask or work together getting menus wrong so many times – this is all Australia’s best amateur can offer!!

7 akris { 04.29.10 at 10:30 am }

“Claire started bawling saying she let them down, to think we thought she was a bit cool” — My thoughts exactly!

Heroes of last night’s challenge would’ve been Adele and Marion. I want to try that Rocket Pizza and there was also a chilli pasta from the blue team that looked delicious. Alvin and Jimmy got notch downs for me. I felt like Alvin didn’t take on any kind of leadership and Jimmy just made too many errors.

TDK: Agree.. uncool about the $150 fast track.

I actually thought the end of it where they were asking for the money in a hurry wasn’t too cool either.

8 lydal { 04.29.10 at 10:45 am }

I think neither of both teams had done well on this challenge. If Fiona had given her last dockets before stopping the clock maybe the red team had won. So probably at the end they were having similar figures.
I agree about Alvin. He didn’t act as a captain at all. It looks like Adele (who would think that?!) did the job. Marion great as always.
Jonathan obviously had to be in the chopping line as a captain and who lets anybody in at a restaurant before it’s open? though this isn’t a cooking fail so it will be sad if Devon goes home for this mistake.
Elimination challenges look interesting.
Btw, I did wonder too how a police officer cannot handle this kind of pressure. And also… she said she had a 6months old baby. At her home, we ‘ve seen two toddlers and at the end they said she is pregnant with the third. Or I missed something or editing timing isn’t right. And agree too that it’s unfair that people that could really be in the program is out meanwhile some contestants are leaving it.

9 TDK { 04.29.10 at 10:50 am }

Alright, you guys triggered a can of worms for me now:
– what is with all the recaps after the commercial?! I don’t need to waste another 20 seconds when I just saw it just before the ads!! Is that how you dragged it out to 1.5 hour?
– more bloody stupid crazy fake suspense.. Matt about to announce the figure and guess what?! Ads!! I rolled my eyes, and nearly chucked my control at my LCD..

10 Jo { 04.29.10 at 10:57 am }

Reality Raver, this comment is wrong, “Johnathan confirmed my theory that young Callum can cook by picking him first”. Matthew got picked first by Jonathan.

11 akris { 04.29.10 at 11:02 am }

Did anyone else find it weird that Sarah’s husband was pixelated whilst the children was not? Even in the return home scenes they didn’t show the husbands face.. (or did they?)

12 Reality Raver { 04.29.10 at 11:37 am }

Jo, your right apologies I will change it. Put it down to tiredness. Thanks for pointing it out.

Kyvyny – “Quite a lot of crying and wiping of tears at the debrief. It was going to be a chain reaction waterfall.” Too funny.

Mac – I think Johnathan will be safe tonight because due to is potential for creating friction.

I Like Food – Yes clearly we were all abit hasty with the show some emotion comments re: Claire. I find her very interesting as she has a complex persona. Apparently she is very shy if mag articles are any indication.

CG – At least you didn’t dream about Matt and Gary and delayed gratification… Oh vey. But seriously I agree with you, there should have been some accounting for costs of ingredients, ie zuchhini flowers, and tuna, compared to rocket and pasta. But then it probably becomes so much more stressful and complex at such an early stage of the competition.
What both teams needed was table turn over something that was not achieved. Oh and the form guide is coming right up, just drafting now.
DMC – I think the producers need to be hard line with these mums and say you do realise this is what being in the 24 will involve.

TDK – I didn’t have a prob with the $150 for fast tracking of meals. The aim of the challenge was to make money. Really it did not matter what the food tasted like or whether the food arrived at the same time.
I reckon any mothers with kids under 2 years old won’t get a look in next year.

DMC – If she was pregnant she is about the only one allowed to be in tears.

Akris – I presume the customers were all briefed about the challenge before they went in. So were told that they may or may not get fed, and that they would be paying what they want.

Lydal – I agree re: Devon, however he does get the opportunity to prove himself in the elimination challenge tonight. However I think JOhnathan will stay. But hell I have been wrong so many times before.

13 Wurstsemmel { 04.29.10 at 11:43 am }

May be that Sarah’s husband is also a police officer.

I was disappointed with Alvin in this challenge. He really didn’t take charge and I didn’t think it too smart to be so blunt in his comments as to why he chose Jonathon to lead the other team.
Hopefully, his performance is but a minor blip on the landscape.

That said, I hope Johnathon goes home tonight. I can quite imagine that what Alvin said is quite factual.

Clare, Clare, Clare. From Ice Queen to Resident Waterfeature.

Annoyed at people who haven’t thought out what participation in Masterchef will require. Who could seriously consider leaving very young children for what will necessarily be a long time commitment? If Masterchef are happy to entertain the idea of taking on parents with young children, they ought to at least spend some time counselling them on what involvement is really going to mean so we don’t get these annoying drop outs.

RR, I’m glad I read this post of yours this morning. I think I would have had nightmares all night after your comments about Matt and his comments.

14 Mama'sMilk { 04.29.10 at 11:52 am }

I had wondered whether the time commitments and desire to “change direction and dedicate their life to food” was the reason that all 3 doctors in the top 50 were eliminated. Maybe the two younger doctors were looking for a career challenge and could take a leave of absence but there was never going to be any way that Graeme was going to get that much time off.

15 Culinary Boner { 04.29.10 at 12:36 pm }

Well at least this year the producers choose not to feature any of the really appalling restaurants that reside inside the courtyard area of the ugly tourist trap that is the ‘Italian Forum’. Thought Adele’s comment about how she felt she was in Italy was hilarious. Good to see her cooking quality pasta from scratch. Perhaps she can consult to the lazy non-Italians who run most of the so-called Italian restaurants in Leichhardt.

16 Fides { 04.29.10 at 1:15 pm }

I know this episode was filmed towards the end of last year. Maybe November? I do recall an announcement on the radio that day that Masterchef was filming at the Italian Forum and would be taking over two restaurants there.

I was disappointed with Alvin too. He’s one of those back foot leaders (like Sabrina from Apprentice) who delegated all the responsibilities away. I mean, whether they showed the red team’s kitchen, you saw Adele giving orders to Daniel or Adam ( yay – go Adele!) and Alvin with a pen in his hand. I thought Adele did so well – it was great to see her so assertive and I hope it gives her more confidence.

Claire Claire Claire – Masterchef has turned her into an emotional wreck! I will reserve further criticism of her (cos I still like her and I don’t want to be so fickle!) until further challenges. I guess it’s overwhelming and she would be so critical of her own performance, perfectionist that she is.

Dom – interesting that he admits that he has been accused of being aggressive in the past. I took that as being from his job and I read he was a high flying CEO of several different companies before his redundancy. I thought he handled himself and Jonathon, who seemed paralysed by indecision, well. The $150 to fast track food – well if they then had to also pay for the meal at the end, that would be a bit ridiculous, but the way I saw it, they made an upfront payment for their meal on the condition that it would be delivered pronto.

On another note, on those opening credits, I’m finding Joanne chomping down on the strawberry and Kate goofing around with the mortar and pestle so annoying. Joanne looks scary and Kate just looks like an idiot that I have to look away.

17 kate { 04.29.10 at 1:21 pm }

Apart from the tears and excessive emoting, I think the worst part of this epi (and of the series so far) was the apparent lack of solidarity (at least to the camera) of the contestants (with the exception of within the small clearly emerging cliques). Alvin’s comment started it (surely he could have phrased – or been allowed to rephrase it later – a little more tactfully, notwithstanding that he appears to have been accurate in his diagnosis), and it went downhill from there.

It’s one thing (and a good thing) for the judges to do a strengths and weaknesses assessment. But it might have been nice to hear Alvin and others give a bit more of an (hopefully humble) assessment of their own learnings from the process.

Sure show the obvious moments of tension. And of course we know they are competing against each other in the end, and trying to protect themselves from elimination.

But still, the relative lack of sniping (except by the token bad boy), and perhaps more importantly shows of mutual comforting and support, was one of the strengths of last year’s show (whatever might have been going on behind the scenes!). And I would have thought one of the reasons for getting rid of the votes by the contestants was to eliminate the need for this kind of sniping.

Marion’s quick thinking and ingenuity was certainly the highlight of the night – it would have been nice to see more such moments, even if they were less dramatic than that save.

I’m mourning the loss of the ‘niceness’ and attempt to laud virtues. Even the constant message about the virtue of perseverance is being undermined by the early departures.

18 Culinary Boner { 04.29.10 at 3:29 pm }

In response to Kate’s comments about the strengths of last year’s show – in her view the “mutual comforting” of the contestants (and I presume she isn’t referring to Chris B and Julia shagging the shit out of each other) – I want to add my two-bobs worth.

Last year’s highlights for me included: Matt’s cravatt and his bon vivant enthusiasm. I especially remember him lustily stroking the paella crust. Another highlight was George’s constant puppy-like slobbering over Po. Chris B’s hat and 5-day-growth are also firmly embedded as the sort of alarming memories my brain can’t seem to bin. Add to this the two young blokes – can’t remember their names, but neither of them could cook – getting wood while on massage tables. Was this in Honkers?

All of above are not particularly virtuous in either a Christian or Confucian sense – but they did make bloody good tele in my opinion.

The low-light was of course Julie winning.

19 wallah { 04.29.10 at 4:50 pm }

Wow….got home from hospital nicely doped up in time to watch the show. The last two nights have summed up my dining experiences in Sydney almost perfectly. The first time I went out with my girlfriend was to Red Lantern. That was two years ago and every time we’re in Sydney we try and make sure we get there. Superb. We took my mum there last month and she was amazed at how good the place is.
My mum insisted we go out to the Italian Forum in Leichardt for her birthday early in January. Awful place, never go back. Cheesy rip off joints, all claiming the usual “just like mamma used to make” blah blah. The irony? She’s Italian herself. Next night we went to Fratelli Fresh and had a superb meal at half the price. Also, did they manage to film there at the only daylight hour a giant fucking 747 isn’t flying directly 300 feet overhead?
Anyway, the dope is still flowing through my veins, so I’ll say this. Dominic has some serious crazy eyes, and when he said being called aggressive often happens, I wasn’t surprised. However, copying and pasting a menu shouldn’t be that difficult? And ‘I’ve run front of house before’ should mean you know what you’re doing as well.
Thank you, time for a nap.

20 Reality Raver { 04.29.10 at 5:24 pm }

Wallah – I hope they gave you a repeat, because what ever you are on I like it. Especially the comment about the 747. Maybe there are some interesting outtakes.

Culinary Boner – I think Wallah will concur with you about Agnes consulting with the restaurants in the Forum

Kate – Your comment really got me thinking, and it will be interesting to see if they will be introducing more personality based stuff in the show. I thought it was interesting that they did show some cliques so early. It made me wonder why Fiona was picked last maybe it was the strawberry champagne.

Fides – I wish I had heard the call re: the Masterchef in Leichhardt as I live near there.

Wurstsemmel – I thought Sarah’s hubbie could be an under cover cop b/c he was pixelated.

Mama Milk – interesting point I wonder if it was a factor. Barely saw Lacey, Henry’s or Graeme’s food.

21 Injera { 04.29.10 at 6:03 pm }

I was really impressed by Adele last night – she ticked off the Masterchef Bingo box “stepped up”, rather unexpectedly. It was also good to see Marion really thinking on her feet with the menu screw-up, but – as others have said – it was the kind of rookie error she really shouldn’t have had to deal with.

The team-choosing thing was awful last year and it’s awful this year. I’m also not a fan of the fact that a person who did well in a challenge – in this case Alvin – is given team captain status, and that the captains are therefore in the firing line if the team fails. It makes no real sense and reinforces to me that middle-of-the-pack is the place to be in this show.

I’m thinking I must have misheard the introduction to the challenge, since I thought I heard Matt say that it was something they’ve never done on Masterchef before, which… really? Because it looked very similar to the Japanese resto challenge from last year, with a few mods.

Sarah’s departure was covered in some spoilers months ago – probably November, the time of taping – so I was expecting it from the moment I first saw her on screen. Disappointing, particularly since we’ve already seen some strong cooks miss out due to eccentric casting.

22 akris { 04.29.10 at 6:17 pm }

From the previews it looks like they are taking a lot of challenge ideas from Top Chef in the US. Channel 10 should also note that Top Chef doesn’t rely on over dramatising/personalising anything and everything in order to incite tears.

23 KC { 04.29.10 at 7:59 pm }

I don’t know why people keep criticizing Sarah’s choice to go on the show and then ditch. You never really know how something is until you do it and everyone is different so maybe some mums’ can handle being away from their children for the sake of their dream but other’s can’t you never know until you actually do it. So I don’t think anyone should be criticizing Sarah’s choice. She wanted to think of the future for her kids but wasn’t able to get over the short term sacrifices which isn’t something wrong. Why is her leaving annoying? I’m sorry I don’t really understand.

And also that thing about her being a police detective and not being able to handle those dockets. Being a waitress is not as easy as it looks especially when restaurants are that full, no one is getting their food and you’ve never done it before. I don’t think that being a police detective would help you handle that kind of stress especially if you’ve got all these people yelling at you to do things from everywhere around you. So cut her some slack about that.

I’m not a fan of Sarah but I don’t think she deserves the criticism she got for her decision. People might say she should have known that she couldn’t handle it but when you have a dream to do something, it does blind your judgement and maybe she thought she could handle it. I might be taking it a bit too seriously but some people seem to get so ansted up by these things…

24 seepi { 04.29.10 at 10:36 pm }

I couldn’t really understand why Sarah left the floor. Why didn’t they just get her delivering food, rather than taking orders? Or did they really have no food to deliver until right near the end?

Being a waitress is not easy, I agree with that. Especially in a whole room full of hungry grumpy customers, with no food even close to ready.

There did seem to be some obvious mess-ups. Not having the antipasto ready to go for the start of service was a bit hopeless.

The food did look nice though.

25 TDK { 04.30.10 at 8:18 am }

KC – I disagree. When you join MC I am pretty sure that they have laid down the timeline to her how long it can potentially take, and this time is most likely be away from her family.
She would have signed a contract that states all this.
I am pretty sure they would have a few warning that it is not an easy thing to do – so she is well aware of what she is getting into.
To agree to that and then to find out that she can’t take it, is the annoying part – that she is weak and have costed someone else a place to be in the top 24!!
It’s annoying because principally it’s unfair – and guess what? It happened twice already!! Double annoying!!
So for the mums wanna be chefs out there, please try leaving your kids for at least a week before you try MC next time – at least it’ll confirm how emotionally strong / weak you are.
If you are passionate enough about your culinary career then I’m sure it can be strong force to push you through missing your family – otherwise it’s really not your passion is it?

26 seepi { 04.30.10 at 9:21 am }

Or else – pretend half-heartedly that you want to stay, then stuff up the challenge! (I was going to say ask the others to vote you out – wrong show!)

27 TDK { 04.30.10 at 9:32 am }

seepi – exactly, so that Jonathan nor Devon had to leave!!
They must be pissed at her.

28 Wurstsemmel { 04.30.10 at 2:14 pm }

I tihnk the ‘not coping with the dockets’ thing really probably was the last straw. If someone already isn’t coping, minor things can suddenly become major. I think it reflects more that she was struggling with being away from her family.

In terms of leaving her family, even without advice from MCA, anyone who watched MCA last year would have to know that the time and absence commitment is going to be considerable. With young babies like Sarah had, you’d really have to question your timing for making such a move. In fact, now she’s having number 3, so really was she in the headspace for the MCA challenge anyway.

I think the annoyance comes from the fact that these early dropper outers have taken the opportunity away from others. Where it’s because of an unforeseen event, that’s one thing, but when it’s something people should have really foreseen, another thing altogether.

I hope she gets the chance to revisit her dream at a more appropriate time for her.

29 Reality check { 05.01.10 at 9:15 pm }

Why do people think that the late withdraws weren’t anticipated in the early stages of filming?

30 TDK { 05.01.10 at 9:44 pm }

Reality check: may be because they were the top 24 of the many thousands who applied.

31 Reality check { 05.01.10 at 10:04 pm }

Don’t actively screen people who have major occupational or domestic commitments.