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Masterchef Australia – Heston Blumenthal – The Lovefest

This could quite possibly one of the best episodes of Masterchef Australia ever. My only criticism was that it should have been half an hour longer so we could see more of how Heston Blumenthal’s food was prepared.

Heston Blummenthal whose restaurant The Fat Duck has been voted the third best restaurant in the world is just an amazingly creative chef. If you want to know more about the mind of the man here is a very interesting article on him.

We know Jonathan is a huge fan and looks quite overcome in his presence, but George Calombaris was also looking like he was in awe and toned down his usual dickhead bouncing around act.

I loved Jono’s line where he said “This contest has been like climbing Mt Everest, and meeting Heston feels like I have hit the peak.” Did Jono come up with that line or did the script writers? Either way it was a cracker.

By the way did anyone else notice that the contestants were wearing the same clothes as yesterday’s episode in the talk to camera moments?

And where was Matt Preston, his look would have been perfect playing the court jester in the majestic Hatfield House tasting dishes inspired by the medieval era.

Ok confession: My tears welled up when Jonathan’s did when he realised his food hero was going to be the celebrity chef in the challenge. The contestant’s task was to reproduce in pairs one of Heston’s dishes with Heston supervising.

I thought it interesting they only had two hours to prepare it when they had 3 hours in the Langham Hotel produce a cake challenge. I also thought some of he dishes looked less complex then some others.

Callum and Aaron had to make Meat Fruit, which was a mandarin made of chicken parfait and meat grapes. Considering the chicken parfait was pre-prepped, all Callum had to do was put it in moulds. The most difficult thing for him to do was to make the jelly and dip it in. I am not saying it was not difficult but compare that to Johnathan’s and Clarie’s dessert which had so many more elements.

Aaron did battle with a meat grinder  and made some “grapes of wrath”. He is so out of his depth at the moment.

Alvin and Marion were making Sound of The Sea, which was fish cured and placed on fake sand. Marion filleted the halibut and cured the fish twice. Also she had to make the sand out of maltodextrin and some flavoured oil. I am not sure what part of the dish Alvin did.

Adam and Joanne made the iconic snail porridge (this dish once food poisoned an entire sitting of customers at his restaurant). Adam when he was half way through realised it was more difficult then he thought.

But Jonathan and Claire were given the ball breaker dessert, it had lots of different elements, including a candle filled with salted caramel.

Jono was overwhelmed with rolling out the puff pastry thin enough and once he had stuffed up the second sheet it starting to look like he was losing it. I thought it brave of Gary to go over and talk to him whilst he was chopping it up, as he was pretty uptight trying to deal with the trainwreck which was meant to be the foundation of his dessert.

The judging panel included Heston which was great, it was clear the Masterchef team were beside themselves that they had got him on the show. And he was so gracious to the contestants.

He told Callum he had done “a damn fine job”.  He told Aaron whose grapes looked like rotting plums, that his ham was fine, however the jelly did not set.

All the judges loved Marion and Alvin’s cured fish.

The snail porridge was given the thumbs up the only criticism being the parsley butter needed more processing.

Jono and Claire were told by Gary Mehigan that theirs was the dish he would least like to make. I would have liked to have seen more of what actually went into it, apart from just the pastry catastrophe. Heston said it took them months to perfect the puff pastry.

Marion and Alvin’s Sound of the Sea won, with only one of them getting to take on the Celebrity chef, and this was Marion. Heston said he liked how she moved in the kitchen.

With all the “love” in the room with Heston giving heartfelt speeches and then Aaron giving one back, and Jono still looking like Helen of Troy had asked him back to her tent for a shag, it could have been corny. But for some reason it worked and I teared up again.

31 comments

1 Simon { 06.22.10 at 12:06 am }

Heston Blumenthal must be a Wonka fan eh?

George tries the 3-course chewing gum at The Fat Duck…

http://img404.imageshack.us/img404/5788/violetgeorge.jpg

2 Airwalk { 06.22.10 at 12:16 am }

Good show…yeah could have been longer and Geo only came out with a couple of his crap corny lines. Loved Heston lurking in the background and Aaron failing again(and as usual full of excuses and putting himself down) is predictable-he can make pasta and thats about it…he seems to give up easily and doesn’t seek solutions without advice
Claire saying it would be ‘the end of the world’ if they failed at Hestons challenge made me want to tell the prodcuers they REALLY need to get the sharp instruments off her asap…
Jonno and Claire seemed to have a hard dish to do and they did well…and OK I admit it RR Jonno’s love of Heston warms my little heart too…but Aarons speech was a bit much…but s’pose if they had got Jonno to do it he may have fallen on the floor and grabbed Hestons feet whilst screaming ‘We are not worthy’….
Where was Matt? Getting his hair redone or being whipped in the dungeon for some misdemeanor?(the haircut?RR…are you sure the snail porridge was the culprit at The Fat Duck? I thought it was sick staff contaminating the customers? Or have they had more than one poisoning scandal at The Duck(wouldn’t stop me going though)
Tomorrows celb chef is the same one I saw on UK Iron Chef the other day I think…good luck to Marion

3 sourkraut { 06.22.10 at 12:35 am }

Didn’t bother watching. preferred the magicians tricks revealed. From the sounds of your blog it was a psychophants festival, a veritable mutual admiration society. Sounds boring!

4 Heléna { 06.22.10 at 12:38 am }

it was a brilliant episode (I have really enjoyed the last two episodes in London)

I could not believe that the parfait for Callum had been pre-made :s there’s no way what he had to make was anywhere near as challenging as the others – he really should have been helping Aaron – maybe using another mincer – what did he do for two hours??!

5 NT Kate { 06.22.10 at 12:56 am }

Yes it was a good episode – do watch online sour.

That food and the concepts behind it looked absolutely amazing and intriguing – not at all the fakery that passed for molecular gastronomy last week on the show. Watching that concoction suddenly turn into ‘sand’ was fascinating, as was seeing the chocolate/caramel candle construct. And I too would have liked to have seen a lot more.

But as you note, the distribution of dishes looked quite uneven, though I did feel for poor Aaron and that broken mincer…..

Most of all nice to see that not all top chefs feel that screaming and shouting is the way to get things to happen, and come across as calming! Blumenthal’s kind comments and style as he did the mentoring thing was a bit of a return to season 1 style feedback, and you felt he genuinely wanted to encourage the next potential generation of cooks.

I thought Jonno had managed to tone things down at least a little bit from last night (only a few wild eyerolls!), but its true that it was a long way to come down from! Loved your helen of troy reference rr, too funny.

And Hatfield House looked pretty stunning too…

6 Airwalk { 06.22.10 at 12:59 am }

Lots of Heston on youtube…watched his In Search of a while back and his Little Chef progs as well as the Feasts on SBS a few months back. Love anyone with a passion for food…he is clever and was generous on the show tonight.

7 AnonyMousse { 06.22.10 at 1:09 am }

Interesting that they’ve started tasting/giving feedback in front of the contestants this week rather than behind closed doors. I prefer it – makes it feel more genuine (and less open to doctoring the results).

8 KC { 06.22.10 at 1:16 am }

I LOVE YOUR HELEN OF TROY REFERENCE :D And also love the fact that you cried :D I think because I missed the first bit when it was revealed which chef was going to be there that I missed out on the first part of the Heston lovefest from Jono but its just so lovely to see people meet others that they idolise. And this was the guy that most people hated at the beginning :D (I forgot if I hated or loved him…I think I was indifferent but I know I definitely started to like him more as the show went on rather than the beginning) How times change :D

I’m happy Marion won and good luck for her against Mr Asterix/Obelix look-a-like chef :D I LOVE HIS MOUSTACHE! Incredible stuff! :D

But seriously…molecular gastronomy is incredible…And that Sound of the Sea dish was just inspiring :D A friend on facebook was like, MASTERCHEF IS SO INSPIRING! I’M REALIGNING MY LIFE! Its pretty hardcore stuff this show HAHAHAHAHA :D

9 Reality Raver { 06.22.10 at 1:40 am }

Simon -too funny

Airwalk – positively want to go it sounds like an experience, particularly after tonight, he even made snails look lovely. Would liked to have known more about the components of the dessert.

Helena – your comments re: Callum exactly. But then how much meat did Aaron have to mince considering he made three grapes. The way he was going on you would have thought he was mincing half a cow.

Sourkraut – it was a great episode and it was mainly about the food. I would like to be able to read Heston’s mind for day. Mixes intellectualism with creativity in his cooking. The SBS series he did was truly mind blowing. And at times stomach churning.

NT Kate – you should read the interview link I put in the blog post, he wasn’t always that calm.

Anonymouse – I bet that was a one off, it will be back to usual next week.

KC – I just felt this was Jono’s moment that he will never forget. Hopefully everyone will get one like that in their lives.

I should add I think it was unfair that only one of the winning team got to go in the celebrity cookoff. I don’t know what Alvin did as they did not show us, but he would have done quite a bit to contribute to the success of that dish.

10 Airwalk { 06.22.10 at 5:00 am }

Watching Federer do his best to lose a match and was reading one of the excuses for weekend papers we have over here in the West…one has a going up/going down column…going down down down is ‘Masterchef drama: So much scripted theatrics. How can we believe anything the judges say? “Disgusting” is right.”
Sounds like something I wrote a few weeks back…

11 saffronlie { 06.22.10 at 6:10 am }

Am (ironically) in the UK for a few weeks, but the Channel Ten website won’t let me watch the show from here, though they’re happy to let me see the advertising. This blog is a lifesaver, the best way for me to catch up. I’m so annoyed that I’m missing the London episodes!

12 Injera { 06.22.10 at 8:27 am }

I wonder why Aaron was asked to be spokesperson for the contestants, given how ineffectual he was. He had stated that after his performance, Heston should have demanded that he surrender his copy of Heston’s book – would have been great had he offered it up!

When I heard that the real Masterchef judges were going to be on during the London week, I was concerned – particularly after some of the dreadful cakes put forward on Sunday. Had Gregg and John seen those, they might have started lobbying to strip Ten of the franchise. Of course, they are judging the chef challenge. Smart move – they’ll probably go away thinking that all of the final 8 are at, or close to, that standard.

13 RarelySand { 06.22.10 at 8:52 am }

Claire seemed genuinely vexed by Jono’s pastry attempts, but I loved watching Alvins’ face as he watched the judges eat the ‘Sound of the Sea’. He was enjoying every moment of a possible train wreck looming or success.
Marion has been getting on my nerves for her happy buoyancy, but really, Labor could do worse than get her on board; she’s capable, works well under pressure, and a determined high achiever.

14 Anonymous { 06.22.10 at 9:11 am }

Marion going for the cook off again prooves she is a great chef!!

15 librarygirl { 06.22.10 at 9:26 am }

I think Aaron spoke well and genuinely.
I also think at this point he knows he’s going home soon but is enjoying the ride!

16 NT Kate { 06.22.10 at 9:59 am }

RR – Thanks for that interview link, fascinating.

Mind you, if a bunch of thugs rolled up to my house filled with children and threatened to kneecap my Dad, I’d probably lose it too, so reaching for the shotgun in that situation, though clearly an extreme reaction, not completely inexplicable! But still a nice story of gaining control and managing motivations.

I think the reason Blumenthal and Oliver came across so well is that they genuinely have a passion for the food and philosophies of it that they want to share – they are media celebrities because they want others to be as passionate as they are, not because they want to be media celebrities. Ramsay similarly gets away with his rudeness because he clearly is driven by the desire for perfection and customer value. Most of the others on the other hand just want to be stars….

One could make a similar point about our contestants – some are simply poseurs (Callum, Joanne, ?Alvin), some genuinely care about food in a limited or broader sense (Johno, Marion, Aaron).

17 Jenny { 06.22.10 at 10:23 am }

Lol I love Jono now. How cute was he around Heston? It is always nice to see someone meet their idol. Also Jonathon seems so much more passionate and knowledgeable about food than the other contestants. He seems to have a genuine passion and also the ability to cook. So that makes me want to see him do well. But that could just be the editing.

18 MelbaToast { 06.22.10 at 10:26 am }

I really loved last night’s episode – haven’t had a chance yet to read everyone’s comments though…shall do that a bit later on today.

Did anyone see the article on ninemsn regarding death threats against Joanne. I mean she’s a bit of a pain, but I don’t wish she was dead! Here’s the link… http://news.ninemsn.com.au/entertainment/1074096/online-hate-campaign-stuns-masterchef

19 Reality Raver { 06.22.10 at 11:38 am }

NT Kate – I have to admit I am back feeling the love for Callum after a few weeks of get that Gen Y wannabee of my screen. Definitely has more talent then Aaron.

Airwalk – maybe they read what you said…

Saffronlie have a great holiday, and make sure you see the Heston episode when you get back, and the Langham Hotel challenge.

Injera – I am so not on the ball re: the judges. I did like Torode’s turn in the show last season.

RarelySand – Oh yes reality stars into pollies will become a more regular occurence I reckon. I am very disappointed Belinda Neale did not turn up on Dancing With the Stars. But maybe she will sign up for I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. She would be gold dealing with the likes of Brynne Edelsten.

anon – marion is going to be hard to beat.

Jenny – Jono has been rehabilitated from villain to hero.

MelbaToast – I have blogged on that article. I is a shame a small number of douches gives the whole interacting on the social media a bad name.

20 Real cheffing { 06.22.10 at 11:38 am }

Did Heston say he has as many chefs on staff as seats in his restaurant? Think of the labour costs!

21 Unreal experience { 06.22.10 at 11:42 am }

Although the whole event could have been a contrived lovefest, I thought that Jono confused blurtings of admiration at the beginning and Heston’s gracious comments at the end seemed genuine.

22 Staged production { 06.22.10 at 11:44 am }

Could you imagine Marion’s boredom if she was given the grape balls (as my toddler calls them) and Callum’s implosion if he was given the pastry dish?

23 Airwalk { 06.22.10 at 11:50 am }

omg death threats-thats getting a bit silly… don’t like her on the show …as in if it’s about cooking that is(which of course its not and she is a bit of a laugh isn’t she…oh dear it was her daughters birthday yesterday poor love)but death threats?
Anonymous-(I may be pedantic here)but I wouldn’t call any of them chefs…(sorry I know they call it masterchef but think its wrong to call them chefs)…if fact saw a Womens Weekly in the doctors surgery ysterday, although didn’t pick it up as don’t like the thought of germy mags at the doctors, but it said on the front ‘4 great chefs recipes: Step Alexander, Marg Fulton, Jamie Oliver and Julie Goodwin’…Jamie Oliver is a chef, the others aren’t strictly although Steph and Marg been in the industry in one way or another, although both call themselves cooks I believe, but Julie Goodwin…please spare me, I will Burn my trade cert if thats the case which btw says cook not chef anyway!)
Argh the chubby one with the annoying curly hair hanging down over her hair with anticipated sweat waiting to drip off is right now on the Today show as I type…argh no!!!!!

24 pollywaffle { 06.22.10 at 11:50 am }

Heston, 3 years to create ‘sound of the sea’
Aaron, 3 minutes to create ‘squeal of the sultana’

25 Airwalk { 06.22.10 at 11:53 am }

Great point Staged Implosion…Marion would have reattached the mincer and there wouldn’t be any pathetic talking about it later…how Aaron loves the drama and talking to the camera, what are his ambitions after the show? A music slash cooking program? Think he is annoying me more than Jo….although don’t want to kill either of them :)

26 akris { 06.22.10 at 12:19 pm }

Good episode! i loved seeing how all the amazing foods were created.. and I agree the balance of difficulty was definitely not there.. Coating meat with mandarin jelly compared to the Pastry dish.. no comparison there.

It was also very obvious that Marion was going to win because she practically commentated the entire episode on her own… As much as i think she would be a worthy winner I also think she’s got a very unfair advantage over the others… I’m starting to get annoyed about her “oh and I was so surprised he was impressed with my filleting fish” It’s just starting to become a one woman show. Someone give her some competition!

27 MelbaToast { 06.22.10 at 2:53 pm }

So….if Heston is purely self taught does that make him a cook or a chef? He is referred to as a chef, but in an earlier blog somewhere (god knows where) Stephanie Alexander and Maggie Beer had been called chefs, but it was then contested that they were in fact cooks as they had no apprenticeship behind them.

Heston is a genius no matter what you call him…but just wondering?

I liked the way he was kind to the contestants as I really thought he’d be quite critical (maybe he looks ‘harsh’ and ‘serious’). He seems like a decent guy and no wonder they were all wetting their pants at being in the kitchen with him.

28 librarygirl { 06.22.10 at 4:12 pm }

Had a bit of a look on the internets for info about the Fat Duck. From what I could gauge, dinner for two is 550 English pounds, and takes 5 hours to consume. I think Heston said they seat 42 people per night? And how many chefs was it working per service? all these figures are quite mind-boggling to me. ( Looked at the current menu – the taffety tart and sound of the sea were on it, also the snail porridge).

29 AnonyMousse { 06.22.10 at 7:47 pm }

Adding to what librarygirl said above, if 550 pounds per 2 customers isn’t enough to cover operating costs (it probably is unless chefs get paid better than I thought), some of the big chefs run their restaurants at a loss so that they can have the best quality and make their money from appearances, tv, and cookbooks. A known example of this is the 3 star El Bulli.

30 Airwalk { 06.22.10 at 8:02 pm }

I think Heston makes a profit…and he also has the Hinds Head Pub and a lot of employees work there for free…looked The Fat Duck up a couple of years back and even the employees who get paid don’t get a hell of a lot..here’s s a good read I just found…http://chefsandwich.blogspot.com/2009/03/fat-duck-sardine-on-toast-sorbet.html

31 Airwalk { 06.22.10 at 8:23 pm }

Sorry about another post but thought this one was an interesting read…in fact the whole blog is interesting…http://chefsandwich.blogspot.com/2010/01/what-heston-could-learn-from-el-bulli.html