Masterchef – Jonathan’s first pork
The episode begins with Callum bringing Jonathan breakfast in bed to pep him up for the challenge. He seems to have recovered from Matt’s smackdown on Sunday. Jonathan interviews that he’s been in two eliminations so far, but refrains from calling himself either “the Eliminator” or “the Terminator”, which is a huge relief.
George bounces around while he tells Jonathan about what winning the challenge represents. Next to bounce around is Gary, who tells Jonathan about the very special guest judge. Jonathan and the other contestants all look surprised when Donna Hay walks in, presumably because they hadn’t just watched her being interviewed on the 7pm Project. Gary’s already gone through Donna’s resume, so all that’s left for her to reveal is that she’s a “food science nerd”, so I guess it’s not all about the brown. Matt chips in (bounceless) to talk about the prize – immunity – but doesn’t explain how it will work.
Justin North’s caramelised confit and roasted cutlet of suckling pig. With marron tail. Wow – I really want this.
The unlikely revelation
Jonathan has never cooked pork. WTF? He looks as though he’s about to pass out when Justin tells him about cutting up the pig.
Justin gives Jonathan a few tips on butchering the suckling pig. Once 15 minutes are up, he heads off to start cooking his own dish. Marion, Adam and Skye are in awe. “He’s moving really fast, without seeming to move fast”. Matthew and Peter (see? I paid attention to the captions today!) both notice that Jonathan has used ALL the salt where Justin used half. There’s cheering, but no helping from the peanut gallery tonight.
The marron is on, as is all the meat. Jonathan burns the rack, and Justin comes around to talk him through scraping it “like burnt toast”.
The last few minutes are a blur of activity, particularly for Jonathan who interviews that: “I kicked it into turbot”? Turbot? I thought he was using marron…
Judging – plate 1
- Donna: “it’s a tiny bit messy”.
- Matt: “a wonderfully balanced dish” (is that due to the cook or the creator of the dish?), “the pork is very tender”.
- George: notes the saltiness of the belly and doesn’t really like it.
Judging – plate 2
- Donna: likes the plating – “it’s really neat”.
- George: points out that it comes down to the taste (so, not like the mystery box challenges).
- Matt: thinks the cutlet is a little bit over (weird, given that it was Jonathan who burnt his rack).
- Donna: had to chew her meat.
- George: found his a “little bit more juicier”.
- Matt: likes the overall milkiness. Milky marron, milky suckling pig and milky puree.
Jonathan gets 7 from Donna, who criticises the naive plating, but praises the “sensational cutlet”, 7 from Matt and 7 from George, who again notes that the pork belly was salty but “wow”. I’m pleased to report that I’ve been focussing on the 7 times table this week, and that it took me almost no time to calculate that the score to beat is 21.
Justin gets a good start on the target with 8 from Donna, who says it was a “food stylist’s dream”. Matt gives him 9, as does George. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I figure that’s 26 and, therefore, a winning score.
Justin gets to hold his head high and Jonathan has had an insight into how much they’ll have to pick up their games to get to that level.
- How has Jonathan never cooked pork? And, yes, I know that there are many people who don’t prepare or eat pork for religious and cultural reasons, but if that were the case for Jonathan, surely he wouldn’t put himself in a position where he’d have to do it, which means that he could (should) have given it some practice prior to the competition.
- At least we got to see Adam, Alvin, Marion and Skye tonight. I guess we’ll see wotsisname and watsername tomorrow?
- I’m totally over those practiced exchanges-of-looks between the judges when the contestant’s dish is revealed. It’s all so we’re-giving-nothing-away so therefore pointless.
- Did I miss when they told us how immunity would work? Can a person with immunity play it right at the point that they’re eliminated, or must they gamble and bust it out to exempt themselves from the immunity challenge? Inquiring minds and all that…
- Did the recipe state the wrong amount of salt? If so, it seems a bit crappy for Jonathan to have to judge the correct amount the first time he’s ever cooked a dish (completely leaving aside the fact that this was the first time he’d ever cooked the meat).