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Masterchef – the three amigos

Another week, another round of competitive cooking with – hopefully – fewer tears. The narrator tells us that there are still 18 hopefuls. I recognise about two of them. As they arrive in the kitchen, Matt bellows “You are the eighteen best amateur cooks in Australia”. Luckily for you people I’m not having a shot every time Masterchef lies to me.

Mystery box

This week the judges are only tasting three dishes. This is getting ridiculous. Three dishes? Our 18 open their crates to reveal mud crab, mushrooms, chilli, finger limes, pasta, coconut cream, gorgonzola, radicchio. Matt thinks it’s the yummiest mystery box yet. Adam has no idea what a finger lime is, but he sure as hell knows what 25 minutes looks like and he’s worried.

Marion is roasting the crab and will be using finger lime with the coconut cream. Judging by her expression, Joanne is finding dealing with the crab pretty unpleasant. Given that she only has a one in six chance of them even tasting her dish, I think she should just step down and take it easy for the next few minutes. Peter is making crab with a tomato chilli sauce and Fiona is making open ravioli with mushrooms and gorgonzola with a poached egg. Open ravioli seems a cop out. Jake is aiming for two dishes in his 25 minutes. Courageous move – he must’ve had his cup of concrete this morning.

Jimmy is stuffing paratha with crab and he’s trying to get a presentation thing happening to get the judges to taste his bloody dish for once. The Gs come past and give him a bit of a pasting for his neatly trimmed paratha discs and seem sceptical about his explanation, leaving him looking mighty confused. His confusion deepens when he is called up for tasting. Gary moans about the circles, but he likes the runny egg and the toasty bread, so basically we are left with the impression that Jimmy has used a mud crab to make egg on unnecessarily round toast. George tells him that the circles were pointless. I wish I could “Sliding Doors” this, have Jimmy leave the parathas as they were and see the Gs NOT taste the un-circled dish.

Marion’s up next and Matt crunches his way through the lettuce and praises her combination of sweetness and the bold flavours.

Peter wants to be called; Jake thinks he should be called… so it’s Peter. The eternal commentator no more – finally we get to see some results. George asks “where ya been?” and Peter is good enough not to thrust a fork in his eye. Matt loves the dish, too. Peter’s happy just to be nominated. Bless.

Gary tells us that they’ve tasted the three top dishes (drink! three RANDOM dishes, Gary) and announces that Peter is the winner. Everyone seems genuinely happy for him, which is a good sign. He is about to get two “stonkingly huge” advantages. He is able to choose the core ingredient, choose the trios that will team up for the invention test and have first choice of the cuisine for the challenge. Peter chooses Marion and Adam. Matt nods approvingly. Peter chooses the Chinese flag and waves it happily.

The trios

  • Skye, Jake and Carrie choose American.
  • Alvin, Daniel and Fiona choose UK, and George tries to psyche him out with the Brit judges.
  • Matthew, Aaron and Joanne choose Mexico and Aaron dances around happily.
  • Jimmy, Callum and Sharnee choose Thai, which excites Jonathan as it means he’ll be cooking Moroccan, which is his background.
  • Jonathan is left with Phillip and Claire as his team.

Each trio must produce three identical plates. All three on the winning team will face the celebrity chef. All three losers will face the pressure test.

Core ingredient

Chicken, beef, fish – what will it be? Peter reveals… the chicken. Teams can choose ten ingredients from the pantry and have what seems like the world’s longest two minutes in there.

Cooking

Skye helpfully recaps the rules of the pressure test and there is a lot of chopping, grinding, roasting, seasoning and cooking going on. George’s senses tell him that he’s at the cooking Olympics.

The Chinese team is smoking chicken and making dumplings for a soup.

Gary gives the UK team a grilling about the simplicity of their pie’n’peas dish and leaves them to panic over what else they should be doing. They briefly discuss a gravy, but then seem to discard that idea. Alvin is interviewing that their dish isn’t inventive enough for an invention test and I wonder how the team came to make the decision to cook it.

Gary tells the Thai team that they have to stop for a minute while he asks them about their dish. Really? That’s part of the deal? George is concerned that their Quay-inspired dish won’t cook in time but seems to miss the irony of taking precious time out to tell them this.

Jonathan’s team looks pretty under control with their Moroccan chicken.

Aaron is getting team Mexico fired up with the chillies and they seem to be having fun. I hope he’s taking the Gs’ chilli wussiness into consideration.

Plating up

Team Thai is pan-frying their raw chicken, Claire is focussed on consistency, Adam is pleased with the look and flavours of his, Matthew is motoring to complete the dish, Alvin is still fretting about the fact that they’ve invented NOTHING with their pie’n’peas and the US team is piling lots of food onto their plates.

Tasting

  • Team China: Looks gorgeous and Peter is happy to have used his opportunities “to the max”. Gary loves it. George bounces thoughtfully before declaring his appreciation of the team’s balletic work in the kitchen. Matt gives it an A.
  • Team Morocco: Ras el hanout chicken with a tagine of chickpeas. Gary would be happy to tuck into it in a bistro.
  • Team Thai: Twice cooked chicken with nahm jin sauce (heh, twice cooked! Or raw?). George thinks they’ve really pushed themselves with
  • Team USA: Gary doesn’t like the inconsistent portioning of the cajun chicken and vegies. He’s also unhappy with the lack of depth in the flavours.
  • Team UK: Pie’n’peas. Alvin seems to be disowning the dish – he chose the flag; I wonder tho. Matt asks if they’ve used their time properly and they admit that they didn’t, nor did they use any acid on the peas. After tasting, he doesn’t think they’ve done enough.
  • Team Mexico (or, as Gary calls them, the gringos): Five star taco with tomato salsa and jalapeno granita. Gary gives it the thumbs up, mostly because he’s coughing so much on the chilli that he can’t speak. George approaches the dish tentatively and Matthew interviews that he was hoping the spice wouldn’t set him off. George mops his brow dramatically before declaring that he’s proud of them.

Judging

The winning team is… Team Mexico! Aaron is stunned at this turn of events. Facing the pressure test? Not Team USA, who just scraped through. Team UK hang their heads and think shoulda coulda.

Random thoughts

  • I wonder if the book publishing deal this year specifies that the winner must put a recipe on every page.
  • Aaron has hair!
  • Curtis is finally cooking something other than fettucine bolognese for under a tenner in the Coles ads!
  • The winners will compete as a team for immunity – did the producers start to worry that nobody would get close after the first couple of challenges and that the immunity idol would remain an unsolved mystery?
  • I really don’t like it when people refer to women as “females”, and I like it less when a woman says it. Joanne – don’t do it again.

24 comments

1 KC { 05.16.10 at 10:23 pm }

I was so heartbroken to audience-ly choose between Team China for Marion or Team Mexico for Aaron but I’m SO glad Aaron won so that he gets the recognition he deserves and because he’s SO excited 😀 HE’S AWESOME!!!

Oh dear I’m so emotionally invested in this show…*sigh* I hope they don’t throw a curveball at me…

2 seepi { 05.16.10 at 10:53 pm }

Oh I hate the ‘female’ lable too. It always reminds me of bug specimens pinned to a page and labelled ‘female christmas beetle’ etc. More points off for Joanne!

3 sourkraut { 05.16.10 at 11:15 pm }

First the ads. On my recorder they went from minutes 9to13, 19to23, 31to35, 42to46, and 55to59. ie 20 minutes out of 60.
next the crabby challenge. Jimmy dont cook Indian for gary. he cant judge it properly. peter’s chilli looked dodgey but must have tasted great as he won.
International food comp LMAO
They could have made it fantastic but picked 2 options which noone in their right mind would rank in the top cuisines of the world!
Alvin, no wonder you ended up with the losers after your comment what do I do with chicken? That’s as bad as the impohster’s comment about slabs of meat. Don’t do it again. naughty boy!
Matt’s handee wipe ad. “its “thick”and strong like me”.. I loved the irony!
NOW Why would anyone with 3rd pick go for UK cuisine???????????????? sorry , I just cant help myself here. It’s Revenge for last years ashes debacle! They should have done the other classic… toad in the hole with a chicken sausage. And mushy peas for crap sake This is supposed to be Masterchef, not pub grub. Would have been better to have the other old fave, chips and gravy on a roll. I can feel the ashes returning.

Why wouldn’t MC go for say Lebanese or Greek or Malay or Indonesian or Spanish or Portuguese etc etc instead . At least give everyone an even chance, especially those who get last pick.
Presumably the teams picked were strategic especially Daniel’s, but I felt really sorry for Alvin. I hope he survives tomorrow.
No more comments from Johnno, only a superior smug smirk when he coincidentally?????????????? got the Morroccan menu. Ho Ho
Still no evidence of any Masterchef among this lot. Come back Julie, all is forgiven.

4 TDK { 05.16.10 at 11:21 pm }

Joanne – you stupid woman.
That is all from me.

5 Muru { 05.16.10 at 11:34 pm }

The episode wasn’t all that exciting. I’m slowly becoming an Aaron fan though.

I’m hoping Daniel is finally eliminated tomorrow night. He bores me to tears.

6 Rusty { 05.17.10 at 12:02 am }

British cuisine? The two words are mutually exclusive.

Anyone silly enough to choose that flag (Alvin!) had little chance against all the others, especially with chicken. You’d have to be Heston Blumenthal to pull that one off.

7 Fides { 05.17.10 at 12:07 am }

Joanne’s comment irritated me much more than it should. The smugness of “I’m the first female to win invention test” therefore the best female cook in the house .. how clueless is she? Mind you, if the Gs were really suffering with that jalepeno sorbet, I’m sure she’d be the first to say “hey that wasn’t me!”. Now they’ll all probably win immunity with the three of them against one celeb chef, and if that is the case, I don’t think I can watch anymore.

Overall I found the challenge really interesting and watchable, unlike the previous Sunday nights to date. I suppose because there were only 6 dishes made, it meant they could show all the dishes being prepared and we couldn’t immediately work out who had won, though the bottom teams were pretty easy to spot. Hard to believe that it took three people to make a chicken pie and mushy peas in 45 minutes. No wonder the Gs were not impressed.

Loved Skye’s comment about worrying whether their dish looked enough like American trash. Too funny. Like Adam’s worried expressions much more than Adele’s. And Peter seems lovely and smiley too, bit like Marion. Now if only we’d see Phillip do any cooking, then I think that would cover everyone …

Great recap too Injera

8 Pollywaffle { 05.17.10 at 12:54 am }

boy oh boy the pressure test ingredients pushed the envelope tonight…. beef, chicken or fish …..thought I was at a Greek wedding

Also want to know how many OMGs are edited out of the show – strange we never hear that phrase a lot, especially since Joanne has been heavy in the VOs. Cant think of many other reality shows so low on the OMG index.

Getting annoyed by the superlatives – Bewt-ti-ful by George really gets up my nose, though could be a good name if he ever decides to launch that parfum range.

Was very distracted tonight (and come to think of it on Friday too) by Garys hair – he’s got the Kewpie doll hairstyle happening!

9 AnnyB { 05.17.10 at 8:48 am }

Poor Alvin…..didn’t stand a chance with his choice, though if he had been a bit more imaginative he may have been able to pull it off. Googling British cuisine chicken I came across all the usual suspects, curry, curry and curry and casseroles. However, one casserole with the quintessential Stilton cheese, brown ale & bacon, three ingredients which could have been used in the pie. Not ncessarily ingredients that I would like with chicken but a little more imaginative that what was offered.

And did I hear Daniel(?) say he hasn’t tasted veal? I now don’t eat veal but I have at one time. Where have these people been.

10 Wurstsemmel { 05.17.10 at 10:20 am }

As a Brit myself, of course there was more that Team Brit could do that chicken pie and mushy peas (which didn’t actually look that mushy, more trampled). I admit, British cuisine doesn’t rank right up there but team effort might as well have cracked a can of Marks and Spencers Chunky Chicken into a bowl for all the culinary excellence involved here.

I hope Alvin doesn’t go but he does seeem to have faded a little.

I personally don’t get how Team Mexico won. I thought Team China outdid the lot.

25 mintes for the mystery box and George and co. coming around questions. I’m surprised no one’s told them to bugger off yet…bnt, then, of course, we all now know about the Masterchef magic clock so what does it matter?

Great recap, Injera.

11 Rosie { 05.17.10 at 12:19 pm }

I felt rather sorry for Jake last night. Poor little bloke was so desperate to be in the top three.
I thought it was rather cruel of the producers to show his hopeful little face.

I did assume that one of the US team would go home. The choice of those three did seem to signal that they are being seen in the house as the three worst cooks. And they surely lived up to my assumption, not even managing to get three plates that looked alike. Why, oh why do they choose such crap cooks when there are so many really good ones to choose from?

Oops, I was forgetting for a moment there that they are among the “eighteen best amateur cooks in Australia.”

12 wallah { 05.17.10 at 2:02 pm }

If I recall properly Alvin chose the British flag because it was the only one that he recognised? He probably paid more attention to physics in school.

13 sourkraut { 05.17.10 at 3:02 pm }

Wurstsemmel
Yes it was amazing that noone told the geegees to F$&k off out of it during the 25 minutes, although one of the women (cant remember who) was rushing away basically politely saying it.
And why just 25 minutes anyway, surely they can only fit 8 minutes worth of ads into that time.
Fides
I was expecting Skye to say something like “i’m into stodge” and then surreptiously racing of fto KFC for a quick bucket of finger-lickin good stuff to plate up.

14 skye { 05.17.10 at 3:27 pm }

The winning mexican thing looked like a canape. Like Jonathon’s winning curry last week with the ridiculous sorbets or whatever they were – make a “granita” or something and you are on a winner. Bleurgh.

15 TDK { 05.17.10 at 3:33 pm }

Here’s my theory regarding winning dishes:
Your chances of being favoured by a tasting judge is correlative to the number of dipping sides you add to the dish. The more parts for the judges to test the better your chances of your dish being liked.
My theory behinds this is we naturally avoid the bad part of the dish and go back to the yummy part of the dish – simple.
Well, that’s what I’d think.
In normal social outings, you would go for the better tasting food, and ignore the bad ones.

16 Pollywaffle { 05.17.10 at 4:02 pm }

TDK
Good theoretical model. I would add a simultaneous equation alongside that to the effect of ‘ if one of the variables is done ‘ 3 ways the G2 force resulting is increased by a power of 10’.

Did I just hear someone at Harvard scream Noooooooooo! as their lifetime works on a close but not close enough theory of quantam plating dynamics is swiftly kicked aside…

17 TDK { 05.17.10 at 4:07 pm }

LMAO, good one waffles!!

18 Kaylen { 05.17.10 at 4:32 pm }

I’m disappointed that Jake wasn’t given a go in the mystery box challenge. Two dishes in 25 minutes? I would have thought that would rank up in the top three random dishes to taste. 😉

The rest of the challenge was alright. Nothing spectacular, though.

With British food – there is a lot more to British food than what people think. They had their chance to wonderful things with that chicken, but didn’t. Pie ‘n’ peas? Er, no. My local Vietnamese bakers make better looking pie ‘n’ peas than that.

You have to give it to Alvin, though, that if it were any ingredient other than chicken he probably would have done alright. As he said, he had recipes for other meats, but not chicken. But then, that’s his fault too. You need to be prepared. 😉

US food is such a mix of cultures, unless you go to the deep southern food that even we know about. But then, they had Carrie as the “expert” on US food on their team… yeah, not surprised they didn’t do well. 😉

Overall? Eh. Gave me something to do for an hour.

19 saffronlie { 05.17.10 at 5:16 pm }

sourkraut — about the Handee Wipe ad — I always laugh/cringe when Matt adds, “and two ply!” as if he’s saying that his own body is made of two sheets put together. Whoever wrote that ad should be shot.

20 CG { 05.17.10 at 5:40 pm }

A few very random thoughts and this week’s conspiracy theories:

– How bloody insulting is it that Peter (guy who won mystery box challenge) doesn’t distinguish between countries and cultures from Asia – he picked Marion and Adam and then said with these guys he couldn’t lose by picking China for the invention challenge? WTF??????????? Ya, sure, all Asians are the same. If you have brown skin and squinty eyes you can cook Chinese food..surprised he didn’t serve up sweet & sour chicken balls? Good grief. Marion’s mother is Thai, isn’t she? So if Peter was trying to leverage his team’s expertise, he should have picked the Thai flag? If this type of ignorance continues, I will be tuning out.

– Carrie is an absolute disaster and MUST GO NOW. Is she Canadian or American or ?? I guess I should go to the MC website and check it out. How does someline like Carrie (and Kate, and Fiona) get through? And how bloody insulting that MC marketing has been telling us that this year’s contestants are far superior to last year’s lot!

– I reckon that this will be the week that the celebrity chef loses. If I understand correctly, all three will together go up against the celeb chef? If this is the format, this provides an “excuse” for a celeb chef to lose with some (cough, cough) dignity. Having three persons with immunity will also provide more interest down the road.

– I reckon Fiona will be put out of our/her misery in the elimination this week. Thank Christ. But wish we were doing a triple elimination of Fiona, Carrie and Daniel.

– When Matt says “two ply” in the Handee wipe adverts, I think he must be referring to the fact he is not circumcised? Yikes.

I stayed up late Sunday and watched four episodes of UK Masterchef. No pounding music, no bad puns, no constant recapping, no overt commercial placement, it was all about the cooking and the contestants (quarter finalists) were 10x better than the best cook on Aus MC. Lets get back to the cooking.

And before I sign off, recommended reading: piece on MC in “The Punch” by David Penberthy entitled “Sometimes when I cook, I weep”… he pretty much sums up the gripes we here on RR’s blog have been making for weeks. Check it out (and check out the reader’s comments) here:

http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/masterchef-sometimes-when-i-cook-i-weep/

21 Pollywaffle { 05.17.10 at 6:39 pm }

CG – great article and incisive feedback from readers. Main thrust of which is why are these ‘passionate’ cooks not already in the industry following their hearts dream. That could well be a worthy essay topic for this years VCE ( year 12) English exam – 25 minutes to answer.

Also see there is a piece on Matts new wanker status

22 bella vita { 05.17.10 at 6:41 pm }

Hi All

My fav parts of the night

George clicking his fingers above his head and doing the Mexican Ole’!

and Georgie again screaming…”Its like the cooking Olympics in here”

Love this show!

23 Angel86 { 05.17.10 at 7:20 pm }

The new TV Week spoils at least one of the people that go through tonight. The person is in a photo of the next team challenge, which also has Curtis Stone.

24 injera { 05.17.10 at 10:40 pm }

KC – agree that it was good to see Aaron getting some love. I did think Team China’s noodles looked scrumptious, though.

Seepi – exactly. I also get that “the female of the species is more deadlier than the male” lyric in my head.

Sourkraut – good pickup on the inclusion of both US and UK cuisines. The variety did seem random.

Muru – Having watched the elimination, I’m a bit sorry to see Daniel go, if only because he had such a small amount of screen time. Daniel – we hardly knew ya!

Rusty – I would love them to do a Heston feast!

Fides – I missed Skye’s comment about trying to make it look trashy enough. Gold!

Pollywaffle – the way George enunciates bew-ti-ful is starting to aggravate, now that I’ve noticed it. You nailed the choice of meat with the wedding reception comment…

AnnyB – Mmm, stilton.

Wurstsemmel – Contestants could do a lot worse than watch Mario P-W’s Great British Feast and the always fabulous Great British Menu. Shows that their food knowledge is based on old stereotypes that they went for the pie’n’peas.

Rosie – that was cruel to focus on Jake. He was so confident, too!

Wallah – I thought I heard Alvin saying that he only recognised that flag, too. I still don’t understand why the flag picking fell on his shoulders, though.

Skye – the Mexican probably caught the imagination because it avoided the whole Old El Paso “soft or hard taco?” predictability.

TDK – awesome theory. I’ll be practicing my sides for my audition!

Pollywaffle – the G2 force! I think you need to get T-shirts made with that equation.

Kaylen – interesting that the teams doing US/UK food went with the “obvious” whereas Team China and Team Mexico didn’t. Greater knowledge in those two teams, perhaps?

CG – They revealed tonight that it’s three against three for the celeb chef challenge, but I still think your theory is sound. Having three with immunity would certainly bring the dramz, and we know MC isn’t short on milking that! As for the REAL Masterchef… this is a completely different beast, isn’t it? I love UK Masterchef SO MUCH that I was devastated to read that UK audiences are enjoying our version. I hope they don’t try to tart theirs up to compete.

bella vita – can’t believe I missed George’s “Ole!”.

Angel86 – glad I missed the TV Week before watching tonight. Who was in the picture?