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Masterchef Australia – George Calombaris Gives His View Of The Top Ten

We had Matt Preston’s view on the top 12 in TV Week this week (see blog post here), and the Daily Telegraph now has Masterchef Australia judge George Calombaris gives his view on the top 10 remaining contestants.

George says this about the boys:

“A lot more guys entered the competition this year,” Calombaris says.

He was also super-impressed with accountant Matthew Caldicott, 20, and student Callum Hann, 21.

They’re going plate to plate with competitors twice their age. He had less time for Daddia, who he described as “weird” and said he at first didn’t like band manager Aaron Harvie.

“They’ve all got personalities. Alvin is flamboyant, Matthew is wet behind the ears, Adam’s got a quirky fun look and Callum’s such a good boy,” Calombaris said.

“Jonno’s a weird guy and I hated Aaron when I first met him but I’ve since grown quite fond of him.”

He does say that Jonathan is the best cook of the male contestants, and he rates Claire and Marion as the women most likely.

However he does add that at this stage of the competition last year Julie Goodwin was not even in the mix.

In the hard copy of the paper he also gives an individual synopsis of the contestant’s cooking ability.

He says:

Matthew Caldicott – Strength – YOu can see Matthew getting an apprenticeship after this show and that’s what he should do. He’s got a great understanding of good, simple, classic food.

Weakness: Matthew has to learn to crawl before he walks. He has aspirations to run a three-hat restaurant but his capabilities are well below a one-hat restaurant.

Aaron Harvie – Strengths – Aaron wants to be the “rock ‘n’ roll chef” and cook Mexican and pasta. He has identified what he wants to be. His food speaks for itself.

Weaknesses: Aaron’s nerves are his downfall. He’s got to calm down. I tell him all the time “stop and breathe a for a minute you’re going to have a nervous breakdown”.

Adam Liaw – Strength: Adam has a great understanding of Japanese flavours and the ability to fuse different food styles. He’s got a quirky, fun look about him but he’s backing it up with great food.

Weakness: Occasional Adam goes off on a tangent. That three-part pizza in the pizza challenge was horrid.

Alvin Quah – Strength: When Alvin cooks from his heart and his upbringing, great food comes out. He knows how to put up  food that we will love and customers would want.

Weakness: When Alvin’s under pressure he gets into a corner and doesn’t really know how to get out of it.

Callum Hann – Strength: Callum is the type of guy I’d employ tomorrow. He’s got the right attitude – he’s humble. He’s very good with pastry and desserts.

Weakness: Callum’s not an amazing cook but he’s going to get there. He struggles with presentation. He’s got to get up to speed with food other than desserts.

Jonathan Daddia – Strengths: Jonathan knows so much about the technical side of cooking – stuff that I’ve been trained in. He know his classics and done a lot of study.

Weakness: Jonno is very confident, but if you’re going to say you’re good you’ve got to back yourself up. Too often he talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk.

Marion Grasby – Strength: Marion has the ability to create food that tastes brilliant. She has an amazing palette and is visionary. She can picture the completed dish before she’s put it on the plate.

Weakness: There is a big difference between Marion’s aspirations and her capabilities. You’ve got to have the ability to get things done.

Sharnee Rawson – Strength: Sharnee is an all-round cook. She understands flavour. She’s got a good determination. She’s a lovely person as well.

Weakness: What lets Sharnee down is that she’s a little bit timid and in this game you’ve got to be strong emotionally, physically and mentally.

Joanne Zaim – Strength: Joanne is a great cook. She has that Lebanese background and sticks to her strengths. She knows to hone her food style and keep adapting it.

Weakness: Joanne has go to work on her personality skills. You’ve got to be able to work with people.

Claire Winton-Burn – Strength: Claire has the ability to keep things simple, not over-complicate her food. She’s quite restrained and that restraint is brilliant.

Weakness: You need to be emotional but Claire’s to the typical lawyer straight-face where she’ll hold that back and suddenly explode.

34 comments

1 sourkraut { 06.12.10 at 6:43 pm }

There you go even Geo recognises Joanne as a GREAT cook (and I ask AGAIN when are we going to see the competition requiring Lebanese food to be cooked….or would…..)
Either way, if i go to a restaurant with my hard earned sour bucks, I want to have great food, NOT a chef coming out and charmingly crapping on while playing the bazouki and solving the problem of yoof attitudes, ALL THE WHILE letting the toast get burned.
So until this becomes Masterchef meets the apprentice meets survivor, I couldn’t give a shit if people dont like her personality.

2 Fides { 06.12.10 at 7:26 pm }

I would like to see more of Joanne’s cooking and more interesting, non cliched Lebanese food. Remember way back in the Top 50 BBQ challenge, the top 3 (of both guys and girls) were Claire, Marion and Joanne who cooked something Lebanese which Geo loved.

Still miffed that the Gs are being so disparaging about Adam’s 3 course pizza considering they didn’t even try it. At least he didn’t mix it all together like a dog’s breakfast – once he’d cut it up, it didn’t look so bad. Meanwhile Alvin’s pizza looked like something had farted on it, and I’m also more likely to wretch at some of George’s creations.

I reckon final 3 are Jono, Marion, then Claire or Adam. Alvin in the final week, then maybe one of the GenYs, probably Callum. From among the others, I really can’t decide… or is it only 6 in the final week?

I mentioned in the other thread an article in today’s The Australian about MC considering a live final to prevent spoilers etc being leaked. They should do a full on kitchen stadium with screaming fans holding placards (oh sorry, am I’m thinking Idol?) – no actually, watching the cooking in real time would be painful – agree about your hypnotised brick sour! – but I’d like to see MC without the heavy handed editing.

Here’s the link to the article :

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/television/masterchef-goes-live-to-stop-web-spoilers/story-e6frfmyi-1225878704276

3 NT Kate { 06.12.10 at 7:52 pm }

I actually like the idea of a live finale even if it takes hours – would go a long way to stop the rigging claims!

But in the shorter term, I think the thing we should really be worrying about is who they will wildcard back in, as the daily tele speculates. Personally, I hate the idea – if they were eliminated they were eliminated, I thought bringing back Poh et al was a bad move last year.

And particularly sad if they brought back those claiming they were wronged in challenges rather than those who might have been the better cooks (if they do bring anyone, I’d like to see Jimmy for example).

4 Fides { 06.12.10 at 8:09 pm }

I remember Matt said something earlier in the year that one of the unfair things about last year was that eliminated contestants came back without earning it. So perhaps if it’s heading that way, those they deem worthy will have to fight it out first in a pressure test to earn their spot back in. Still doesn’t make it right though, I agree, once you’re out, you’re out.

Regarding a live final, considering MC is the biggest thing in the entire world, they should do a 6 hour extravaganza akin to a football grand final or Melbourne Cup day. I think it would be very interesting to see a live version of the judges’ tastings though if it were rigged, they’d just have to learn their scripts and deliver their lines convincingly.

5 rusty { 06.12.10 at 9:07 pm }

G sounds like he’s talking about his pet plants – “they’ve all got personalities”. REALLY?

Let’s hope so – after all, since half them can’t cook much, they’d want to be able to provide us with some sort of entertainment. Personally, I find all but mad Jonno and JoJo as bland as boiled broccoli.

For reality tV, anyway.

6 Muru { 06.12.10 at 9:37 pm }

You know what I found hilarious? How George didn’t mention a single thing about Sharnee’s cooking ability when he outlined her strengths: “Oh… Well, she knows her flavours… And… umm… Oh! She’s a nice person! And um, I think that’s all…” Yet, with all the other contestants, he praised their cooking ability in some way or another.

7 pollywaffle { 06.12.10 at 10:23 pm }

RR I dont know if you intended it that way, but I felt the bounce between each comment about said individuals.

The ‘classics’ Geo has been trained in, yeah know them well:

Larousse ‘Geotronomique’
•Use as little of the produce as possible, to accentuate the alagent flavours and also have lots to take home for dinner

•Double all quantities of butter to produce a sansantional sauce which frankly looks like nothing more than axccess butter

•If it is green you must smash it to a pulp

•Freshan the ingredients with bewt-ti-ful garneeshes that were too big/tough to smash to a pulp

•Bring in dessert guy when you can’t get away with smashing a meringue and pouring over lemonade

•Blast any creation for 5 minutes while you think WTF am I supposed to be making

8 Anon { 06.12.10 at 11:02 pm }

George is crap at maths. Oldest contestant is Joanne who is not twice the age of Callum & Matt.

Speaking of Joanne, it is clear from G’s comments that even if she is the best ‘amata’ chef in Australia she won’t win as the Gs don’t like her. Agree with Sourkraut, there should be a Lebanese themed contest. They have catered to other contestants strengths/cultural backgrounds so why not Joannes’?

Methinks G is a bit intimdated by Jonno.

What? No apprenticeship for Sharnee?

So G still need someone to run down to the local IGA??

Matt still comes across a a smarmy Big4 accountant-they don’t learn to crawl before they run.

9 spend a penny { 06.12.10 at 11:24 pm }

George is intimidated by anyone who has gone to a private school/travelled beyond Greece/ write a blog about food/ and can look over his scone.
People with those creds are stuffed

10 Anonymous { 06.13.10 at 2:36 am }

Thus is it so. Claire is the maneater I descriebe in an earlier post ….and I swear I did not advance knowledge of this story.

I have come across many females like Claire in my professional life and I know a maneater when I see one. Just like that chick on UK apprentice who purused and conquered three married men and destroyed three families:

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sunday-telegraph/how-claires-affair-sizzled/story-e6frewt9-1225878878996

11 CG { 06.13.10 at 2:36 am }

Woops. Anon in the previous post is moi: CG

12 Airwalk { 06.13.10 at 5:06 am }

Ah Anon(sorry CG :)) I was just readin that story on CWB…and in our Sunday rag over here in the west theres nearly a full page on the scandal regards MAtt P wanting to lose weight-Jenny Craig vs C10 and apparently Julie Goodwin is going to open a restaurant-you would have to pay me to eat there I am afraid and I agree with the comments above regards little bald man with a chip on his shoulder being intimidated b certain people

13 Reality Raver { 06.13.10 at 9:54 am }

Wow CG how embarrassing for her and why don’t I have a mole in Clayton Utz to tell me this?

Airwalk – will be blogging on the Sunday’s shortly. I wonder what Matt preston will say about the flavour of the Jenny Craig food.

Skt – there should be a leb challenge that would sort out who knows their flavours.

Fides and NT Kate – they should film in the morning and edit in the afternoon for the finale, so they only have to keep a lid on it for a few hours. Or do it like they do Survivor. Film it and then announce the winner live. Also a reunion show would be great, with Irmguard as special guest.

Rusty – Maybe that is why Jono is becoming a favourite for some viewers.

Muru – Well Sharnee is the next Sam. Seriously if Joanne goes before Sharnee it will be outrageous. the fact that Skye went before Sharnee was not great.

Pollywaffle – Very funny as usual.

Anon- G probably thinks any mother as old. She is a couple of years younger then Julie Goodwin.

Spend a Penny – I wonder what he really thinks of Matt P then.

14 Injera { 06.13.10 at 4:01 pm }

One of the top ten has turned up on Twitter. Hasn’t tweeted anything yet, but is there – I haven’t looked to see whether all of them now have accounts. Surely that would be the sensible thing for Ten to do now – set them all up with Twitter profiles so that finding one on Twitter doesn’t indicate imminent elimination.

15 Reality Raver { 06.13.10 at 4:40 pm }

INjera – Or have a water tight contract to ensure they don’t get on the social media. I thought that would have been a no brainer to have a standard clause with some sort of stick to it. Some financial penalty or something. Because unfortunately it does give it away.

16 sourkraut { 06.13.10 at 5:27 pm }

Fides
I’ve been wondering about what was so bad about Alvin’s pizza also. It did not look any worse than some of the other rubbish served up on occasions.
Perhaps Geo has never heard about a famous Italian pizza, … the quatro stagione, alias the 4 parts/stages/ pieces/wotevers. Point is there were/are 4 different separate parts to it. Has the loss of one of the parts upset the judges?

17 sourkraut { 06.13.10 at 5:30 pm }

CG
what is this “moi” garbage. Have you seen the relevant episode of fawlty towers? the one where someone says “pretentious….Moi”?
JUST JOKING!

18 sourkraut { 06.13.10 at 5:44 pm }

If johno knows all the techniwockle stuff that geo has been trained in ( as Geo quotes above) would that not imply that he has been trained as a chef?
Paul… I need your logical mind to rule on this one…
Extending the logic… If he has been trained as a chef how is he then an amatcha (at least in comparison with the others)?
Personally I dont give a CRap either way, but if its to be a level playing field, then everyone who has trained as a chef should be allowed to enter. ( or were they?)

19 pollywaffle { 06.13.10 at 6:08 pm }

The minute Matt P starts wearing dark pants we’ll know he’s on Xenical

20 AnonyMousse { 06.13.10 at 9:54 pm }

Sourkraut – if I remember the quoted rules rightly, to qualify you had to never have been paid for preparing food at a restaurant. That’s why the one (which one I’ve forgotten) who was washing dishes for a restaurant qualified (worked at restaurant, but didn’t prepare food), and why Jono qualified (got work experience at a Ramsay kitchen, but wasn’t paid for it)

21 sourkraut { 06.13.10 at 10:15 pm }

Anony Mousse
Thanks for the explanation.
So that makes it a level playing field?
Just adds to the impression that its rigged. (If not rigged, certainly unfair to those of true Amata status)

22 Paul { 06.13.10 at 10:35 pm }

sour,
Yep – tend to agree. The likes of Jono and Marion do probably have an unfair advantage.

Would like it restricted so that the semi professionals are excluded next time.

23 Reality Raver { 06.13.10 at 11:22 pm }

Paul -if you excluded Jono and Marion there would be no one on the show who were great cooks

24 sourkraut { 06.14.10 at 12:06 am }

Raver
SEW WOT? its not about the cooking!

25 Paul { 06.14.10 at 5:57 am }

I think that’s a bit unfair RR.

The dishes they are doing this year are infinitely more difficult & technical than last years.

26 Injera { 06.14.10 at 6:33 am }

Paul, I’m not sure that the dishes are infinitely more difficult and technical this year, are they?

27 Airwalk { 06.14.10 at 6:46 am }

Injera…I agree, just more product placement and fireball editing (no extra difficulty in the cooking dept…)

28 Injera { 06.14.10 at 6:51 am }

Maybe for the next challenge… Socceroos on toast, Airwalk?

29 Airwalk { 06.14.10 at 7:17 am }

Yeah…been watching Mr Brooks on the interent while the game has been on and don’t know it there has been more slaughter in the movie or in the game…

30 Fides { 06.14.10 at 1:34 pm }

Sour – remember the disgusting pizza Geo made that Friday in masterclass. Dear Adam looked less than impressed. So basically, if one of them had made something which looked as revolting as that, it would have got a tasting… actually, that explains the tasting of Alvin’s potato fart.

And I’m annoyed that Geo criticised the beach dessert again last night for looking like mishmash scattered on a plate. Geo – take a look at your own Warduff salad.

Thanks injera, I’m off to twitter to find that top 10 contestant! Hoping it’s not Adam – being a media lawyer, he should know if there are repercussions for breaching a contract.

31 Masterchef Australia – Sharnee’s Gone One Down, Two To Go | reality ravings { 06.14.10 at 10:41 pm }

[…] in his assessment of the top 10 (see previous blog post here)  had said Sharnee knew her flavours. Well tonight she didn’t. She couldn’t pick […]

32 MelbaToast { 06.15.10 at 5:10 pm }

I think Sharnee overestimated her strength being ‘flavours’….his inability to identify flavours last night sent her own. Something I think people just say the first thing that comes to their head with no idea of the words they are actually speaking….

33 Reality Raver { 06.15.10 at 5:13 pm }

Melba toast – maybe George needs to become a blogger

34 chantelle { 04.21.11 at 5:30 am }

I think George is HOT STUFF! Ha ha ha