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Masterchef – jump-the-shark pasta

We start the week with a look back on Aaron’s rollercoaster ride from last week. He reminds us that he missed his anniversary and we see a clip of him being bollocked by George over his tardiness with the oysters. All this doom and gloom is about to be brightened, though, as Peter accepts a delivery for him and it’s a “care package” from the fiancee. He weeps happily.

Once our contestants reach the kitchen, Matt tells them that they “came of age” as cooks in Melbourne. Gary repeats the fiction that winning the mystery box is a massive advantage for the invention test. Fiona won last week, right? And now? She’s… gone. Yup.

Mystery box

Brains, pears, white anchovies, bacon, paprika, hazelnuts, sugar-snap peas and a bread roll. The contestants look pretty unhappy about this turn of events. They are quite possibly pre-emptively nauseous about the barrage of brain-related jokes Gary is about to make.

“Show some heart! And use your brains!”

Callum blanches his brains and is in the process of getting ready for the deep-frying when the Gs approach to ask what he’s cooking. Um, brains? Aaron’s doing deep fried anchovies and is thinking about slicing his brains and deep frying them, a process which the Gs are not at all convinced by. Marion is pulling her fried brains out of the pot as the Gs approach and they look very impressed with her effort. Peter has also crumbed his brains and is crisping up some bacon and grilling the pears. And I’ve now typed “brains” more frequently than if I’d gone ahead and cashed in on the zombie craze with a hasty novel.

Gary reminds us that they’re only tasting the three best and I don’t get to moan about is this week, since Mr Injera gets in first with the “how do they know they’re tasting the best if they’re only tasting three?”.


  • Marion: Matt tells her that her brains are mushy, but the vinaigrette is lovely. George thinks the whole dish is gorgeous and well-balanced. He’s loyal to the girl who wore his apron!
  • Peter: He interviews that he’s happy to be called up, but that Marion is a tough act to follow. He’s wrapped his brains in bacon, which is how I’l like to go. Gary likes the caramelisation of the pear – good that Peter took his advice on the colour – but finds the bacon a bit thick.
  • Callum: Matt tells him that his brains are perfectly cooked, but undermines the compliment by suggesting that it might have been pure luck.

“We’ve tasted the top three dishes!” Oh, shut up, Gary.

Marion wins.

Invention test

Joanne wins my heart a little when she interrupts Gary’s portentous, drawn-out lead up to what the challenge is by whispering “pasta” before he gets to the “exciting” reveal. That’ll teach you, Gary.

Aaron reminds us that he’d love to open a pasta restaurant, so realises that the pressure will be on him today.

15 ingredients per contestant, 2 minutes in the pantry and 45 minutes to cook, which is NOT enough time to rest a pasta dough, is it?

Marion decides to choose the ingredient that’s best for her, rather than one that will stymie her competitors. She has a choice of seafood, beef and mushrooms. She loves mushrooms! She goes mushrooming! She chooses… seafood. Aaron will be happy.

Sharnee spills her salmon roe on the floor as she leaves the pantry, giving Matt the opportunity to come to the rescue with his ever-ready Handee Ultra. Bleagh.

  • Joanne is making fennel and prawn mousse ravioli.
  • Jake was planning on a gorgonzola and smoked salmon pasta with smoked mussels but he forgot the gorgonzola and the smoke mix.
  • The Gs get together to moan about overly creamy pasta and then head over to see what Jimmy’s making. It’s a pasta with a creamy sauce. And he cops to never having made pasta before. Oh, Jimmy.
  • Aaron has thrown a lot at his dish, including truffle oil and chipotle.
  • Matthew is making something he’s done before, which surprises me. It seems to surprise the Gs as well, who remember his solid ravioli from the Yarra Valley.
  • Marion is making scorched prawn and ricotta tortellini, which Jonathan thinks will be foul. He obviously hasn’t read the memo telling him that Marion has a YOOGE advantage due to her mystery box win. Her scorching makes for the perfect fireball segue.
  • Alvin is first up after the ads and is making a ravioli in a brodo, the details of which I miss as I’m violently gagging over the salmon roe Handee Ultra ad at the end of the break.
  • Sharnee is making fettucine with garlic prawns which could be okay if she manages to get her water on in time.
  • Jonathan is doing prawn canneloni with a prawn and saffron bisque sauce. George is impressed by the number of processes he’ll be undertaking.


  • Sharnee: She’s not “overly confident” with her dish. Matt decrees that it is “wonderful” pasta. Gary likes the lemon zest flavour and admires how well she’s laminated, cut and cooked the pasta.
  • Matthew: His ravioli with the sage butter is let down by the leathery pasta. Redemption is out of reach.
  • Jimmy: Matt says it looks like two-minute noodles and Jimmy agrees.
  • Alvin: His tortellini with prawn and celery brodo earns him a “welcome back” from Matt, who praises the way he’s lifted a “shop bought” stock.
  • Jake: Dog’s breakfast, says Gary.
  • Aaron: Gary reminds him that he cooks pasta four to five times a week and wants to open a pasta restaurant. Should Aaron give up on his dream? Not yet – Gary LOVES it. LOVES IT! Aaron looks really relieved, but he’s really worried about what Matt will think. He flings it on the floor telling Aaron that it’s disgusting. What a prick. And what does that say of his opinion of Gary’s palate? I guess he’s giving himself another chance to shill those paper towels – I wonder if they’re strong enough to protect against piercing shards of broken porcelain?


Just in case we missed it, we get to see Matt’s disrespectful arrogance again.

And then… the reveal. It’s a fakeout! He was going on to say “disgustingly good!”. The shark? It has been jumped.

  • Marion’s dish is apparently brilliant, but I don’t care anymore.
  • Jonathan’s dish: commended for being clever and interesting but doesn’t quite work.


Top six

Alvin, Jonathan, Marion, Aaron, Sharnee, Joanne
Joanne? Did we even SEE her dish? Apparently it was great?

Aaron. Hopefully it was worth the stress.

Bottom Three
Jimmy, Jake, Matthew

The rest are told to breathe a sigh of relief and go home. I wonder if they are going to spend their down-time wondering whether they want to continue participating in this ritualised bullying-only-joking! Hahahahaha! It’s all about the food, no really!

Other points

  • Once the judges have announced the first two of the top three for the Mystery Box challenge, how is it exciting that there is one spot left? There’s only one winner and no advantage for the other two.
  • Tortured alliterative wordplay of the evening: “Pasta perfection or past it’s use-by date”
  • I have to go back to that fakeout on Aaron. The guy seems to have been having a rough time. We began the episode seeing how fragile he was and how much the parcel from his partner cheered him up, but he was clearly feeling the pressure given that the expectation was so high for him with pasta. Matt’s comment was not one that could be spotted from a distance as a typical fakeout (and I’ve seen some fakeouts in my time of watching reality TV): he said “That’s disgusting”. It wasn’t sneaky editing that cut off the -ly – he said “that’s disgusting”. He roared. He flung the plate down. And that kind of blatant manipulation? Is disgusting.


1 Mama'sMilk { 05.31.10 at 1:45 pm }

Librarygirl, you wanted a parent’s reaction to this show? Here is a snapshot of my internal monologue while watching the last week or so:

Gary; if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all. And no, you can’t have any more pizza and rice-pudding. I think its time you went outside and ran around with a ball for a while.

George (during restaurant challenge); inside voices please. We speak nicely to others, we don’t yell. And stand still and quit jumping around. Or do you need to go wee-wees, is that the problem?

Matt; NO! We DO NOT throw food in this household. Do you hear me?! If you are finished, you say so nicely and ask mummy if you can leave the table … now show me how you can be polite….

Quite frankly, I’m pleased my kids are in bed by the time this programme is on. They don’t need to see that kind of behaviour on screen (and they probably don’t need to witness their parents throwing things at the TV either!)

I have to say, I’m down to 1-2 nights a week now since the actual programme itself is almost too painful to watch (this blog however, is my saving grace and keeps me awake for overnight baby feeding!)

The whole reason I watched this programme last year was that the judges spent their time talking about the food and didn’t waste time on sob-stories and staged fake-outs to create “tension” If I wanted that kind of show, I would have watched Idol.

2 anon { 05.31.10 at 1:49 pm }

Golly gosh, but your comments are mediocre, Paul.

Can’t you think of any other line than “Marion’s wonderful, you’re all just sad, jealous, mediocre, blah, blah, blah … ” and adding a few caps for xcitment?

I don’t mind the “condescending tone” from you, but could you at least apply a blow torch to it occasionally?

Or find a sense of humour?

3 Paul { 05.31.10 at 2:02 pm }

anon, all I see from some posters is bitterness – not humour.

Its ironic that people complained last year that the winner was a ‘mediocre home cook’ yet when someone comes along who is the antitheses of that, then people still complain.

What the hell do some of you want ????????

4 akris { 05.31.10 at 2:04 pm }

Reminds Paul.. Tall Poppy Syndrome.


I do dislike the blatant favouritism tho

5 librarygirl { 05.31.10 at 2:10 pm }

Mama’s Milk – thanks! my kids are 12 and 16 and weren’t watching but I WAS concerned about the reaction a young primary school child may have.
What would have been much better, and more amusing, is if he had proceeded to eat the whole plate of food himself, rather than the idiotic plate smash.

6 Reality Check { 05.31.10 at 2:25 pm }

Paul – same blog, different people – those who complain about the mediocre cook aren’t also complaining about the good one. You have made a logical error called the fallacy of division.

7 Suzanne { 05.31.10 at 2:46 pm }

So does that mean that Matt was going to do a plate-dropping anyway, it’s just that he had to choose the dish to do it with? Too funny if someone else’s dish had actually been better!

I personally doubt that the overpowering flavours of chipotle and truffle oil would have featured the pasta in the best light.

8 Anonymous { 05.31.10 at 3:32 pm }

Aarons missing his girlfriend…here she is:
And Masterchef has jumped the shark and think it is killing itself: be lucky to be successful in its fourth year if it doesn’t stop this pantomine, at first I thought last night: they have listened and are showing us everyones food but no Matt had to spoil it and we missed out on seeing everyones
I think its the editing not the people we should dislike(I like Marion but yes she knows what she is doing as she is media trained and she does accesorise well)

9 pollywaffle { 05.31.10 at 5:19 pm }

Mama’s Milk – funeee, they definitely all act like they didnt solve some infantile issues. Maybe George didnt get a trampoline ? Matt had Noddy wallpaper in his nursery? Gary had to split his birthday eclair with his 10 brothers and sisters

10 Anonymous { 05.31.10 at 5:49 pm }

Bet this will be better than the crap e have to endure from Fonzie in a cravat

11 Anonymous { 05.31.10 at 5:59 pm }

Check out Aarons girlfriend:(who else paused and read the letter?)
I keep watching in the hope it will get better but I think its all too late now, its swallowed itself up after believing its own success. Shame.
Anyone see this article?

12 Sooty { 05.31.10 at 7:11 pm }

As we’ve yet to see half of them cook yet, it’s a bit hard to judge who is ‘the best cook’.

I don’t think it is Marion – maybe it will be – but there are lots of trials ahead and some good cooks who haven’t had their ideas or execution even shown lately.

Paul – re “What the hell do some of you want ????????”

To see the other people’s food, good bad and indifferent! And for Marion to speak like an adult/enlarge her vocab. But I’ll settle for the cameras whizzing past the dishes of the other contestants.

13 TDK { 05.31.10 at 10:23 pm }

librarygirl – what a great idea, that would be most amusing and an appropriate compliment!!

14 LD { 06.01.10 at 7:30 am }

Wrong about the editing of the “ly”. He said “That’s disgusting” before the fireball. Then he said “Disgustingly good”. How did you get that so wrong??? Get over it people. If you don’t want theatrics, watch SBS Weatherwatch. Sheesh.

15 Injera { 06.01.10 at 8:05 am }

Mama’s Milk: That was fabulous! I referred back to it last night as well with the bouncing and the “outside voices”. Thanks for that!

LD: Not quite:

I don’t want theatrics. I want to see a decent cooking competition. Now I am second guessing every little discovery of fish bone, crab cartilage, poo chute… y’know, for the theatrics.

16 LD { 06.01.10 at 8:09 am }

Yes quite! There is NO editing of any word. He says “disgusting” first, and then he says “disgustingly”. Simple. Here’s a transcript for you:

“Quite frankly, that ……… is disgusting”. (Plate drops)
then he says “Disgustingly good”. The “ly” at the end of disgustingly is very short, but it is there. Have another look. I stand by what I said above. Your summation above was incorrect.

17 Injera { 06.01.10 at 8:16 am }

LD: I never said it was editing – it was the fact that it so clearly wasn’t in editing that made it more hideous in my view. From the original post:

“Matt’s comment was not one that could be spotted from a distance as a typical fakeout (and I’ve seen some fakeouts in my time of watching reality TV): he said “That’s disgusting”. It wasn’t sneaky editing that cut off the -ly – he said “that’s disgusting”. He roared. He flung the plate down. And that kind of blatant manipulation? Is disgusting.”

18 LD { 06.01.10 at 8:54 am }

Yes, and after the break they showed him to say “Disgustingly good”. Why didn’t you focus on that? Why do people choose to dwell on the negative and fail to see the positive? He loved the dish. How can that be bad? I can think of numerous other things in this world and on TV that are actually “disgusting”, and the plate episode doesn’t even come close. It’s called “perspective”. Put it in perspective and you’ll find it’s not worth elevating your blood pressure over. “Manipulation”? Where have you been? Reality programs thrive on this sort of thing.

19 LD { 06.01.10 at 8:57 am }

So then, you’ve never said anything like … “That’s terrible! Terribly wicked!”. Or that’s weird. Weirdly fascinating”. Or That’s horrible! Horribly disgusting!”. Matt used the word “Disgusting”, and then he clarified it by using the word “disgustingly”, followed by the word good. It is CLARIFICATION, not manipulation. We all do it, and you would have to expect it in a reality TV show. I do.

20 TDK { 06.01.10 at 9:15 am }

LD – I thought we’re over this.

Well here’s reality for you:
– my mother in law who is visiting us from Vietnam happened to be watching this episode with us. Now she understand zero of what’s said on TV was horrified that Matt P. put on such an act. Mind you, Vietnam is not a place for the faint hearted, and I’m sure she’s seen many things in her life before. The reaction from her was one of disgust.
– my wife, who is also not very well versed in English, also saw Matt P. as a prick, and she’s usually a placid person.

Regardless whether it was manipulation or not, editing or not, it was a stupid move with no real gain – and I really do think Matt P. thinks that he can pull off this stunt to hype up his new found fame.

I know that TV is manipulation in one way or another.
Watch TV and it’ll dumb you down – but being aware of it will make you see it more clearly and less affected, and as you put “expect” it.
I wasn’t shock at all by Matt P.’s move, just shock at his stupidity!!

21 LD { 06.01.10 at 9:37 am }

Talk about precious petals! I hate to think how you’d react to something REALLY awful. Goodness gracious me. What has happened to the laid-back Aussie style? My goodness people, chill out! It’s a freakin’ TV show!

22 LD { 06.01.10 at 9:38 am }

Oh, and TDK. You may have thought it was over, but some people are still talking about it. Sorry to disappoint. If you are over it? Why did you make comment once again?

23 TDK { 06.01.10 at 10:17 am }

LD – well, I’m not one to shy away from a discussion, so if a post tickles my bones I’d have to move, very ticklish.

24 LD { 06.01.10 at 11:46 am }

TDK, that’s good to see. Anyway, back OT. I really do think the Australian public is over-reacting, but I think it’s more of a case of the love affair with Matt Preston hitting a bit of a speed bump. It happens to the best of ’em! Matt did tweet that only he and two other people were in on it, but I don’t think he expected this reaction. Our beautiful Aussie laid-back attitude seems to be on borrowed time, sadly. PS Hope your mum-in-law enjoys her stay. :)

25 lovefood { 06.01.10 at 2:25 pm }

Marion is definitely getting set up as the Tall Poppy at the moment by the producers – my bet is she goes soon (she’s too good a cook), so some frumpy house wife who appeals to ‘working families’ can take this thing out.

26 RarelySeen { 06.01.10 at 5:51 pm }

Thank you akris for explaining that to me. I feel that there is room to form an action group about improving production values of reality tv and then storm the offices and take over the scripting and the photocopying generally. Oh and the edit booths.

27 pollywaffle { 06.01.10 at 6:25 pm }

TDK – loving it that Matt Ps antics are as duddy in Vietnamese. That man’s stupidity knows no cultural or linguistic boundary

BTW what does your Mother-in-law thinks of such a big man with a pink cravat – a sign in Vietnamese this man has a little…..?