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Masterchef Australia – A Debacle – This Was TheCWA What Will They Do With Zumbo?

Seriously just as well they didn’t include an Amazing Race twist on this challenge like having to milk a cow to get a bucket of it to put in their cakes otherwise they would still be there.

This is the first time we have seen that they got an extra 15 minutes to complete a challenge. Clearly the whole challenge was a semi-disaster. The only person who fitted the challenge well was Squire Matt Preston whose look is that of landed Gentry. If they could have got him a double barrel shot gun slung over his shoulder and a few pigeons (clay ones, I don’t want PETA hacking in to my blog) it would have been perfect.

Also there is no one in the top ten of the top amateur cooks that did bake. Very disappointing. Poh, and Julie would have rocked this challenge. If they freaked out at this challenge which was all Commonsense Cookery Book. They will immediately get into the foetal position if Adrian Zumbo walks through those doors.

But first they had to pick the teams which always indicates who is “in or out” to quote Kate Perry.

Courtney picked Marion, Alvin, Jonathan and Callum. Whereas Peter picked Adam, Claire, Aaron and Jimmy. I thought it interesting that Jonathan was picked middle of the pack and obviously Callum is out of favour.

The challenge was to cook for 100 members of the Country Women’s Association. Each person of had to take responsibility for an iconic Australian recipe. Thankfully chiko rolls were not on the menu again.

I though it interesting who got which recipe. Peter thinking the scones were the easiest and gave them to Aaron. Also the fruit cake was thought to be one of the harder ones so Claire and Jonathan did it. Marion who has never baked before took the neopolitan cake.

It was ugly from the start, but at least they were not fighting over ovens like at the kids birthday challenge. The first batches of scones were thrown out by both teams.  Aaron was kneading the dough like it was bread. By the way what does Aaron actually cook. I have been back from my holiday for five weeks and I have yet to see him produce a good dish.

Claire was the only one in her comfort zone and even declared “I’m happy”. For the record this euphoric state did not last long.

What was the point of the CWA ladies eating it if they did not get to vote on the dishes, this could have counted as a percentage of the votes.

The special guest judge was Alison Mutton a long time member of the CWA. I liked her and if Donna Hay breaks an ankle because of those stilettos she wears, bring her in again.

First for judging were the scones. Aaron’s scone crunched like a biscuit. “It’s wrong,” said George. Courtney’s was better. Alison said “Not as buttery as I like it to be, but not a bad”.

Claire good mood had dissipated by the time she stood before the judges and she had adopted normal stance where her shoulders  were hunched and head bent forward. Claire’s cake burnt on the bottom, whereas Jonathan’s was undercooked though not as bad as one of his cakes which was raw.

However the judges did like the flavour.

Of course Claire immediately admits defeat saying to camera  “I think they would have thought Jono’s was better”.

Adam’s lamingtons are quite a good size. Callum’s were uneven. Even though George thought Callum’s were moist, presentation was more important.

Peter went head to head with Marion. Peter’s  icing was running down the side and the batter was uneven. Marion’s layers were much more even but Alison thought the flavour was disappointing.

Matt Preston immediately appeased her. He said to bake in the conditions you have been baking in is very hard so I am impressed you have go anything up at all. I wonder if he said it to the other contestants.

The last to be judged was Jimmy whose  jam was a disaster with water seeping out. Ironic considering he is a food scientist that he turned out this disaster. Alvin’s jam got a very positive response.

Back in the Masterchef kitchen to hear the result Courtney was wearing some sort of snuff necklace. Maybe it was how she was feeling as Gary gave them a lecture on how crap they performed.

He said “close to a disaster”  and Matt chimed in with “Today we were looking at whose is actually the worse not the best.”

Also I thought it ironic that Gary said “These dishes are all part of our Australian identity.” I bet he had to google neopolitan cake.

Aaron who in recent weeks has been crying a river again welled up again as he was told his scones were worse then Courtneys.  “I tried and I tried” he wailed.

Adam took out the lamingtons over Callum.

Neither side won the fruit cake or the Neapolitan cake. Therefore it was down to the jam and Alvin’s won. Therefore the red team won the lunch at Bilsons.

Aaron and Jimmy  were deemed to have had the two worse dishes and will be up for elimination tomorrow night in a save the dish challenge.

And to end I will let readers ponder Aaron’s last comment “I really think I have something to offer the food industry, and I really think I have something to offer that people would like.”


1 Vaalia { 07.01.10 at 4:51 pm }

I’m so sick of people saying, ‘I can’t believe X didn’t cook Y when they found out they’d be in the competition, that’s so stupid’ or ‘Oh my god, even I can cook that!!’ You do realise that there are so many different types of food that they couldn’t possibly have the time to try them all? You can’t seriously expect all the contestants to have cooked everything that could possibly come up, that’s so ridiculous! And just because you can cook something it doesn’t mean they have to have an interest in it, maybe they just don’t like it so never wanted to make it! No one is a master of every style of cooking, and it’s incredibly unrealistic to expect them to be just because they’re in this competition.

2 seepi { 07.01.10 at 5:01 pm }

Where does Matt p get those turquoise pants – he must get them tailor made I think.

Who knew baking could be so controversial. I guess the Asian contestants (Jimmy, alvin, Adam, Marion) have some excuse for not having cooked many cakes , or even seen it done. there are a few tricks – like put the cake in the oven as soon as you have mixed it up, don’t open the oven, if it bounces back it is done, test the cake with a sharp knife to see if the middle is cooked, don’t overwork scone dough etc.

But then I remembered most of them made sponge cake base for their fancy cake creations in London. How could Callum make that gorgeous mauve dessert, and stuff up lamingtons?

3 Airwalk { 07.01.10 at 5:12 pm }

Think the next challenge should either be at a Country Pub doing a full roast(choice of 3 meats with veges, gravy and yorkshire puds) or chuck ’em at a mining camp and see how they go…stuff the chef challenges

4 Airwalk { 07.01.10 at 5:18 pm }
5 NT Kate { 07.01.10 at 7:49 pm }

Vaalia – The point is that these people are trying to bypass an apprenticeship (where they would be made to master all these basics) and claim ‘masterchef’ or expert status.

No they can’t be expected to have done everything. But expecting them to have worked through the suite of generally accepted techniques and dishes, and a good general knowledge of spices, herbs and techniques outside their particular specialities isn’t really unreasonable. Because really, only once you have the basics are under your belt can you really be genuinely creative outside a very narrow field and deliver on a consistent basis.

And if they’d done their homework watching last years MC, they would have known that anyone coming on the show without being able to make pastry, pasta, cakes etc was going to get them eliminated sooner or later. Its a real failing of the design of the show this year that it has taken so long to find out that most of them just don’t know the obvious…

I accept that the conditions/ovens made it hard – but as others have pointed out it was obvious none of them knew what they were doing, or even knew which dishes were harder than others. Marion taking her cakes out of the oven before testing them, for exmaple, Aaron and those scones, and I thought the ‘jam is easy’ line had to have been spoken by someone who has never actually made it! On the other hand, depending on the fruitcake recipe, that should have been reasonably hard to stuff up….

6 Kaylen { 07.01.10 at 7:51 pm }

From the SMH article, I picked up the following titbits that I think goes to show the … talent of the majority of those left.

“A Network Ten spokeswoman said the recipes were tested before filming to ensure it was possible to complete the challenge in the ovens, which are used by numerous of professional catering firms for outdoor events.”

ie: the challenge was tested before hand to see if it works.


“Mrs Mutton said members had all ‘‘cooked under difficult conditions and still managed to put out a decent feed’’.”

ie: Others could cook under those conditions, why can’t they!?! :( :(

These are, at the core, all basic recipes. Scones, cake and jam.

The fact that a) they’ve never done any of them before, and b) totally failed to at least put something edible up? Well… that’s just disappointing and I would never trust anything they made, if they never seem to be able to do the basics.

Courtney was the only highlight at all, along with Adam.

The other eight should be in the elimination round, and half of them should be kicked out as far as I’m concerned.


7 Real preparation { 07.01.10 at 8:34 pm }

Six month plan before next Masterchef comp.

Learn to peel, cut, dice and slice a variety of vegetables and fruits
Learn to bone, fillet, shell a variety of red meats, white meats and seafoods
Master steaming, baking, braising roasting, stewing, sauteing, frying, stir-fying
Familiarise myself with a number of international cuisines including but not limited to French, Italian, Spanish, North African, Middle Eastern, Indian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indonesia, Malaysian and Singaporese
Attempt uniquel techniques such as sushi, Chinese red cooking, dum biryani, leaf-wrapped morsels, confiting and smoked preservation.
Learn to identify by taste and sight a range of herbs, spices, meats, vegetables, fruits and seafood.
Learn commercial kitchen skills including purchasing, budgeting, menu selection, station management
Work out a menu of entree, main course and dinner with any combination of the above produce, cooking methods and national styles.

8 Reality Raver { 07.01.10 at 10:08 pm }

Real preparation – I think anyone going on the show next year should print out your comment above and use it as a training manual.

Chris Badenoch – apparently practiced and practiced prior to his turn on the show last year.

9 Real preparation { 07.01.10 at 10:32 pm }

Interesting thing about Chris B. Sometimes he just ended up in uninspired brain failure. Perhaps the constant pressure of competition (or being locked up in a culinary concentration camp) does weird things to a person.

10 Sourkraut { 07.01.10 at 11:56 pm }

Real P
Most of the time he was well superior to the others apart from a few beer-les failures

Any of you clowns who voted this lot as better cooks than the MC oners still think that? Be interested to hear the excuses.

11 Sourkraut { 07.01.10 at 11:57 pm }

Real P
All they need to practice is French and Italian…. Forget the rest…. especially Lebanese!

12 Anon { 07.02.10 at 12:19 am }

Yeah and don’t forget to perfect G’s mum’s cruisine (Greek)

13 brain dead dave { 07.02.10 at 12:21 am }

Chris B had 900 cook books…he must know something,right?

14 Pollywaffle { 07.02.10 at 12:57 am }

Anon – Gs Mum….Hmmmm Im wondering if we’ll find her at the Bates Motel

15 Kris2040 { 07.02.10 at 3:13 pm }

I was incredibly disappointed with the contestants on this challenge. I thought they were all incredibly arrogant and disrespectful towards the CWA. The judges were the only ones to give the CWA the respect they deserved! I think they should ALL have to do a masterclass with the meanest and scariest of the CWA baking ladies!

FTR, I am a chef, I did my training in the navy. I can cook a range of things, and baking is NOT what I would call one of my strong points. I would have been scared to cook from the CWA cookbook for the CWA ladies. Because I know that they LITERALLY wrote the book on the kind of stuff they had cooked for them. I think their votes should have counted as well.

16 Real preparation { 07.02.10 at 7:51 pm }

BDD – Chris B had 900 cook books…he must know something,right?

The winner has one and half the pages are blank.