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Masterchef – the red team dons the black aprons

Ah, the Masterchef kitchen, once again! Matt is praising the red team for their effort in the French challenge, but reminds them that the blues “knocked it out of the ballpark”. If you don’t count their creme brulee or champagne course. He sends the reds to wait out some nerves upstairs – for no reason that I can discern – and they perch on the couches, each declaring that he/she is not ready to go home. I agree with those who say they still have a lot to learn, but perhaps that means they are likely to be at risk.

We don’t want to spend all our time with the losers, do we? Let’s see what winners do. Claire catches us up with the news that the blues won last night – no, really! – so are enjoying a meal at Pilu. Aaron demonstrates that he has a future in children’s television with his enthusiastic miming of the feast of the senses. Fiona pretends that they are thinking of the red team, but really they are thinking of suckling pig (or should be).

Back to the losers. The elimination challenge is two rounds of basic skills. The worst three performers in round one go onto round two, and the worst in round two will go home. Test one? The reds have ten minutes to make a pesto, using mortar and pestle. Contestants have a taste of the sample dish and are given the go to rush at the ingredients bench. “It’s worse than the boxing day sale” according to Alvin.

Sharnee pops in loads of pine nuts – too many? – and Jake is hoping that some cashews with his pine nuts will give it a creaminess that will beat the others. He admits to hoping the judges haven’t seen him with the cashews, as it’s a textural rather than flavour choice, but the Gs are onto him. This is a pity – and a reason that I don’t think the judges should be watching them during this – since they both wince at his decision and you can bet they’ll be doing their darndest to pick out that flavour when they taste his.

As we come back from commercials, Adam is there to helpfully remind those of us who have short-term memory problems that they have ten minutes to make pesto.

Courtney feels that her pesto is not going to meet the size requirement, so decides that garlic is the right choice for volume building. Seems like a strange decision. Sharnee thinks that hers is too thick and Daniel realises that his has too much parmesan. Courtney’s taste test has revealed that hers tastes garlicky. Wow, who’d have thought? And what are the chances that we’ve just seen our bottom three?


George asks Jake if “there’s cashews in there”. That really shits me, since he KNOWS there are cashews in there so is clearly trying to catch Jake in a lie.

  • Courtney’s is deemed green and vibrant but the judges’ expressions show that the garlic is overwhelming.
  • Skye’s has too much lemon and Gary can’t taste the basil.
  • Matt finds Marion’s balanced.
  • As for the others? Who knows, but clearly Adam and Peter are safe, since we’ve seen nothing of their efforts.

The bottom three are Daniel, Sharnee and the fireball. I hope to god they didn’t have to use Perfect Italiano cheese in their pesto; there’d be no chance of it being edible (although that would explain how having too much cheese – Daniel – would have been worse than too much lemon and no basil – Skye). After the ads, we find out that the fireball obscured the garlicky Courtney. The safe ones must say goodbye to the bottom three, and we must watch their “dream/journey” clips. I think Sharnee’s sad because she’s told the nation that she doesn’t want to be a lawyer, but it seems she might not be a cook, either.

Now it’s time to play Name! That! Herb! The first one is basil, but Courtney thinks it might be a trick. Fortunately none of them tries to second guess it, and they all go on to the second herb. The second herb is mint, but Courtney is trying to be more specific, which worries Daniel, who an hears more scribbling than a four-letter word warrants. She’s got spearmint, whilst the other two have “mint”. Let’s see how long Gary can drag it out. Wow – there’s been at least 90 seconds of running through the options (come ON Gary, there are only TWO!) and now we go to ads. Seriously. Growing OLD here, Ten.

The herb, once the ads are over, is revealed as mint, so goodbye Courtney. She doesn’t see herself as one of the best cooks, but didn’t see herself as number nineteen. Don’t worry, Courtney, I don’t see you as the nineteenth best cook in the country, either.

Sharnee voices over that everyone will be devastated to see her go. Back in the house, we see Carrie musing over who’s gone home while she’s still in the house despite not being able to cook (she leaves the last part of that sentence unsaid). The lift door opens to reveal…. Daniel and Sharnee. Jo and Carrie look shocked (possibly because they’ve never seen this “Daniel” before), and Claire reveals that she didn’t think Courtney would be anywhere near the top of the list. I’m not sure whether she realises that even being at the bottom of a three person list is still fairly close to the “top”.

Ah, Courtney, you’re home. Pouring beers is a thing of the past, she says. She’s now in the process of launching a catering company.

Other notes

  • I’d have hoped that basic skills would have been tested before these people were touted as the country’s best amateur chefs.
  • I’m not sure who it was who drew my attention to Kate in the credits, but thatnks to whoever you are. It always gives me a giggle.
  • Also thanks to whoever pointed out Aaron’s resemblance to Kirk Pengilly!

I’ll be putting up an open post for the Masterclass tomorrow, so you can feel free to drop by and post your thoughts as it’s underway.  Hopefully your commentary will be so detailed that I won’t have to watch the recording, and can catch up on American Idol, Celebrity Apprentice and Jersey Shore, instead!


1 Muru { 05.13.10 at 10:09 pm }

Why is it that whenever somebody lands in an elimination challenge, they’re touted by just about every other contestant as “one of the strongest chefs in the house”? I don’t think I’ve seen Sharnee cook one appetising thing yet on the show. And who’s Daniel again?

It’s funny, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody say that somebody deserved to be in an elimination challenge. I’m sure it’s not all butterflies and rainbows all the time like it’s made out to be.

I wasn’t fussed with Courtney leaving. I would’ve eliminated all three if it were up to me.

2 kate (not THAT Kate!) { 05.13.10 at 10:17 pm }

I didn’t watch it (my comments on the previous epi refrancophilia may have been somewhat tongue in cheek and my capacity for pretentiousness milked for excessive drama quotient already used up for the week), so thanks for your commentary, makes it feel like I did watch.

I’m all for testing food knowledge and skills of the contestants, but so far the tests they’ve come up with have been hopelessly poor ones in a very badly designed format. Pesto making I can almost come at (on the if they can’t even manage that then they certainly shouldn’t be there), but a lot of it seems to be more intelligence tests then anything else (mint vs spearmint) or guessing games (does a chef really need to be able to know the difference on sight between an ostrich egg and an emu egg?). At the very least, they shouldn’t made these challenges sudden death, but highest number of correct answers out of six or whatever.

3 Rusty { 05.13.10 at 10:21 pm }

I swear that was spearmint. Even if it wasn’t – and I c’ant think what else it could be, and I ‘ve grown loads of different mints – at least give her credence for KNOWing that there are different mints.

Obviously, George and Co. don’t know there are different types of mint, either.

Two nonentities going on . While a reasonable cook has to leave on a technicality! ( I know she put too much garlic in the pesto, but in the panic of 10 minutes, one lapse?

Seems like it’s safer to be a nonentity average cook in this comp. and stay out of the camera

4 Wurstsemmel { 05.13.10 at 10:24 pm }

Agree with Kate. No sudden death. I want to see the remaining herbs, much more than I want to see the non-deserving blue team enjoying their lunch. Again, annoyed we didn’t see all the pestos – too many recaps of fiveinutes before I guess. This series is beginning to turn into Masterstruggle in terms of my viewing

5 Reality Raver { 05.13.10 at 10:31 pm }

Carrie look shocked (possibly because they’ve never seen this “Daniel” before – LMAO.

I hate these elimination challenges, it can all be a bit fluky with the taste testing. Having said that she did stuff up her pesto in a major way. The bottom three confirmed to me that Sharnee is still very lucky to be there. Is she the Sam of 2010?

Agree with Kate (but not that kate) should be best of six not sudden death.

6 Laura { 05.13.10 at 10:36 pm }

Lame. Courtney was the best cook of the three.

7 Pollywaffle { 05.13.10 at 10:52 pm }

oops. speared by the mint

Im with you rusty, that mint did look a bit tricky, a rare genus perhaps, it could in fact be spearmint as I dont count those chefs as anything near herbologists. In fact if we are getting picky, and why not everyone else is in the show, arent there different types of basil, ie Italian. Thai etc ergo “basil’ as an answer in my Mastechef world isnt going to cut it…..FAIL all three if you are going to be that smart!

[Injera – forget tuning into Celeb Apprentice tomorrow night unless you are into Brett Michaels totally milking a ‘personal’ situation for the entire episode, he’s put the Diabetes public information campaign he is supposed to be championing back at least 60 years}

8 wallah { 05.13.10 at 10:56 pm }

Am now officially in shitted off mode with this show. Not because of the lousy drawn out non-drama, but because of the ads. Honestly, five minutes of people saying that they hoped it was basil followed by 5 minutes of crappy commercials. Will now watch the Colbert Report on ABC2 full time again, and watch this show on the website. Thank you Ten.

9 Pollywaffle { 05.13.10 at 11:09 pm }
10 seepi { 05.13.10 at 11:28 pm }

Twas very pointy looking mint- I might have thought it was vietnamese mint if I’d thought about it (much) too much – I think the editors must have regretted that she went out that early – I imagine they thought they’d have a fair few more herbs to get thru.

11 Injera { 05.13.10 at 11:35 pm }

Muru – that’s so true. It’s a good indication that Ten is not adhering to the “show, don’t tell” adage, isn’t it? It would be good if the viewers were able to say “Oh, what a pity such a good cook went home!”, rather than “what did she do, again?”.

Kate (NTK) – totally agree that the sudden death nature of the eliminations is a flawed way of weeding out the weak. A person who knew one of six could very well get through if their opponent, despite knowing five of six, didn’t know the first one.

Rusty – you’re right. I don’t think she was given enough credit for trying to be specific. Of course, we saw that last year when “stock” was an acceptable ingredient to list! Still, I think adding garlic to bulk up a pesto was a pretty strange decision.

Wurstsemmel – it’s starting to resemble American Idol, where they struggle to fit 5 songs into an hour of TV. Did we even see Alvin’s pesto?

RR – god save us from the Sam of 2010!

Laura – as RR said, Sharnee should probably be taking out lottery tickets by the truckload right now.

Pollywaffle – speared by the mint, indeed! Whenever I have to buy herbs from the supermarket I choose my checkout person based on who I think will wrongly identify coriander as parsley…

Wallah – ah, Colbert! I keep forgetting that it’s on ABC2 and am still watching it on the Comedy Channel. I wonder what the Colbert Nation would make of Masterchef.

12 sourkraut { 05.13.10 at 11:47 pm }

Aaah the masterclass reward Blues get taught to cook ravioli. How many more times must i rant about this? Is there no other cuisine in the world worthy of learning?
And then of course there’s pesto…. nuff said. why not give them a go at Tabouli, to do it properly can be quite difficult as the various flavourings are quite subtle and overdosing of any one ingredient can lead to disasters, like putting in too much garlic to Boost up the volume to a cup full…. Yes you Courtney! ( i have not seen enuff eps of this to establish her pedigrees as a chef but at the end game when the others were waiting to see who had been given the bottom they were all surprised to see it was Courtney as they all said she was such a god cook). Why be surprised if the garlic was an indicator? Maybe she thought someone who shall remain nameless was a vampire and was to be warded off
I Digress
How do you judge 8 pestos and in what order and do you choose them and do you skull a schooner of doctor Jurd|s jungle juice to “cleanse the palate”? between each one?
Gary your body langwidge (haughty disdain to Danie, l Sharnee Jake & Courtney) gave the game away again!
And to contestants who claim to be extremely passionate about food please dive into the nearest 44 gallon drum of tutti fruiti ice cream! (Thank you)
Herbs. They all got Basil DUH what a waste of time.
Now the interesting bit!!! When herb 2 appeared i immediately said spearmint, as i have been growing herbs for years and I recognised it, and it also looked like the picture of spearmint i had seen in Hemphill’s herb book. I guess without tasting it you cant tell, but it did not look like Lower Lithuanian “farrow” Mint and I always thought common ordinary garden (to coin a phrase) mint was a slightly rounded leaf. well there ya go, the kraut’s wrong again and bye bye Courtney. PITY. well at least Alvin survived. I like his humour!
Gary Please don’t try to suck up to the losers with some inane comments after they get the arse. It makes this old Kraut cringe ( a bit like watching some of the efforts on Getaway)
Finally..tomorrow Geo is going to show us how to cook curried prawns , no not Geo, a proper Indian chef at last. Hoo distant male monarch ray! I will certainly look forward to that.
Mrs kraut just said stop grumbling mr k so gotta go!

13 Anonymous { 05.14.10 at 12:21 am }

Channel ten for god’s sake, stop giving us MC during ads!

14 akris { 05.14.10 at 12:27 am }

“they’ve never seen this “Daniel” before” – too funny! I had a literal LOL moment..

disappointed that Sharnee didn’t go… unfair that it was Courtney as she definitely did a good job in the last challenge..

The “cashews” comment made by the judges really annoyed me too.. we already know you know.. why state the obvious

anyone notice Carrie and Joanne were sitting w/ each other at the end.. i guess no drama then.

15 sourkraut { 05.14.10 at 12:28 am }

Eureka! I’ve got it! (no not the pox)
This is going to be 10s excuse for bringing back the blonde later in the comp (concession pass on the mint) a la the MC1 ImPOHster (for mis- naming farrow) and the other MC1 blonde (whose name i forget and cant be bothered looking up) for just being blonde. (cant recall that there was any other reason but there may have been)
There, the cat’s out of the bag.

16 Kyvyny { 05.14.10 at 2:20 am }

Sad to see Courtney go. She had spunk, she had gusto, but shame about the pesto. Plus that whole Debbie Harry thing was totally off the charts.

And where was Sharnee doing her talking head from? It was like she was already back at home base. Sneaky editing thar.

17 CG { 05.14.10 at 2:51 am }

With the pestos, my recollection is we didn’t see them taste Alvin’s, Adam’s or Sky’s. And I agree, how can you taste 9 pestos in a row without a palate cleanse, esp if many were overly-garlicky or over-lemon-y.

Given CH10s penchant for editing and apparent manipulation of the contests, I wish they had taken the herb game further. Starting with Basil! Really, after they just made pesto? And then only getting to one more before Courtney was eliminated. If these are the top 24 amateur cooks in the country (and better than last year’s batch as they keep telling us at every opportunity), surely we should have started with some more exotic herbs and gotten down to at least #6 of the 12 they had ready to go?

Sour: I agree we might be looking at a late-season return after the “spear’ mint classification is called into question: sure looked like Spearmint to me…but at any rate, like the Basil – was some kind of mint – not just “mint”…

RR: agree Sharnee seems to be this season’s Sam. Has she cooked anything that has garnered praise since the season started?

18 dmc { 05.14.10 at 11:05 am }

Spearmint? You’ve got to be kidding!

I felt dudded that we didn’t see the other herbs.

19 Paul { 05.14.10 at 11:56 am }

I don’t mind people complaining about the ads but lets keep it realistic. Its about 3 minutes worth of ads maximum (not 5).

As for Courtney – if she didn’t stuff up the pesto, she wouldn’t be in the bottom 3.

She reaped what she sowed.

20 Fides { 05.14.10 at 12:30 pm }

Bet Courtney wishes Donna Hay had been there yesterday. I’ve just checked in a cookbook of hers in a section on mint and basil. Definitely what they showed last night matches the photo of spearmint, which she says is the most common mint commercially available.

The other mint, common mint, has rounder leaves and I’ve actually seen that labelled as spearmint at the greengrocers. And it so happened that yesterday I bought a mint plant with those similar pointy, serrated leaves, and its little pot plant tag said it was peppermint. The spearmint tag was in a pot which had the rounder leaves. So it’s confusion all round!

Oh if only it had been rosemary as the second herb, at least we hopefully would have seen more, as long as no one did an Eamon Sullivan and called it thyme.

21 Injera { 05.14.10 at 2:21 pm }

Sourkraut – good call on the palate cleanser. I guess they wouldn’t be going for Jonathan’s champagne course to do that! I think you can rest easy that you won’t see this blonde again as she’s been eliminated too early in the comp. Weren’t the second chancers at least top ten last year?

Akris – ah, I didn’t notice the Joanna/Carrie proximity. Well spotted.

Kyvyny – I think Masterchef should contact you to write a new theme song: “She had spunk, she had gusto, but shame about the pesto” is awesome!

CG and DMC – are we looking at mint-gate, do you think?

Paul – I don’t know about others’ objections to the ads, but for me the placement is just annoying… and the fact that there are time-wasting recaps after the break. Agree that Courtney’s garlic decision was a loser.

Fides – did Eamon Sullivan seriously call ‘rosemary’ ‘thyme’? Wow. I guess he was in the Scarborough Fair ballpark, though! Must check out the mint at the market tomorrow…

22 Kaylen { 05.14.10 at 2:40 pm }

I was pretty sure that was spearmint, also.

But then I doubt the Gs’ would be able to tell the difference between the herb and the bowl it was in. 😛

Either way, Courtney was the stronger cook out of the three. I mean, there’s whosadoodle and whatsaname, who so far haven’t really cooked anything spectacular (or good).

23 rusty { 05.14.10 at 2:41 pm }

Peppermint usually has rounder leaves. Vietnamese mint has a purplish marking on it, though it is a similiar shape to spearmint. I think I saw Courtney smelling the leaves, unlike that guy with her. She made more effort than him – she should have staaayed, despite the pesto.

God, I was furious Sharnee got through on doing sweet f-all again.

24 Fides { 05.14.10 at 3:21 pm }

Over on the MC forums, there are commercial mint growers who are saying it was definitely spearmint. So Courtney should feel hard done by. It obviously has spooked the others, thinking if she’s gone, everyone is at risk.

Problem is that MC loses credibility everytime something like this happens. Not just that they manufacture all this drama, but if these judges can’t get it right how can we believe anything they tell us?

Injera, in the CMC final, Eamon said thyme and then you could practically hear the “d’oh” when he realised that he’d blurted out the wrong thing.

Rusty, yes I wouldn’t be surprised if someone had switched the tags in the pots just to confuse me.

25 Paul { 05.14.10 at 3:29 pm }

The fact is if Courtney had got her pesto right she wouldn’t have been in the predicament that she was.

She got the mint wrong. People need to learn how to deal with it.

I’m sure it was not in the MC producers interests to let a reasonably attractive lesbian leave the series so early.

26 injera { 05.14.10 at 4:29 pm }

That’s true – perhaps she should have taken a leaf out of Jake’s book and bulked it up with cashews!

27 sourkraut { 05.14.10 at 5:59 pm }

Paul what has her sexual preference got to do with anything??????????????????????????????
As for the ads I dont care how long you have accurately timed them to last, They seem to last longer than normal and there are certainly more of them. Go back and count them. either way as others have said they are tres annoying and their timing sucks.

28 Whipcrackaway! { 05.14.10 at 6:31 pm }

Please, Paul, tell us more. It wouldn’t be in our best interests to have a minimally intelligent straight man stop posting so early.

29 Paul { 05.15.10 at 9:10 pm }

Of course there are more ads than last year. Thats what happens when shows become ratings hits. They are annoying I agree, but thats how commercial television works.

As for Courtney, I personally couldn’t care less what her sexual preferences are but again the fact is, attractive lesbians ‘sell’. Its not PC I know, but I was just stating the reality.