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Masterchef Australia – We Have Our Two Finalists

Ironic this Masterchef episode should be set in Canberra the week the election debate was moved because it knew it would be pulverised going up against the Masterchef final. Tonight the final three were cooking for the Governor-General and 30 guests, so a classy setting for one of the penultimate episodes of the show. I just wish George Calombaris had shaved for the evening and not been hunched over his food.

I am not the only one having problems with this as got an etiquette expert to talk about the judges eating techniques.

Now I don’t want to take over Matt, the blogs new resident strategist, but why didn’t Claire and Adam take the chocolate fondant dessert. Whether they were comfortable with desserts or not, giving Callum the dessert course was just about handing him a spot in Sunday’s final. Christ he had cooked the said dessert a few days ago to perfection.  In fact I think they should have had to randomly pick out of a hat which dish they were going to do.

Claire picked first and selected the main, which was I thought had far too many risks involved. Too many components, and if you over cook the lamb it is hard to rescue. Because she got to pick first I did not have much sympathy when it all started going pear shaped.

Part of her task was to french the lamb, and  I think this is where Claire’s perfectionism set her back. She was probably trying to do it too well. Then she had to peel shallots, and broadbeans. As Matt Preston said her dish was a lot of grunt work, and would really love to know her motivation for picking it.

I immediately thought the entree was the best bet, and lucky for Adam he got it. Yes there were some tricks in it and it was time consuming, however it was not reliant on having anything cooked to perfection like Claire’s lamb and Callum’s fondant did.

Adam had a few hiccups along the way, a slow smoker, found fish bone, and burnt tomatoes, but all his issues were rectified. He did require assistance from sous chefs to plate up as they all did.

Claire also required a lot of assistance to get her plates out, and they were still late. Matt Preston mouthed “Thank heavens it is here,” as he was clearly getting sick of the harpist. George said the dish as a whole was fine, however when you examined the components some were not quite right.

Callum was in is element in this challenge, and declared it was the first time “he had felt like a chef”. A bit strange considering the show is called MasterChef. George clearly told him to find a juicer as he was squeezing the blood oranges by hand. Duh!

He is a talent cooked and very precise as they all are and the judges clearly like him. The dessert plate looked gorgeous. Unlucky for Callum, Georges fondant was over done. However Matt Preston thought his was done perfectly, but I thought his looked over done as well, it certainly did not have chocolate oozing out of it.

It was a bit of a no brainer that Claire was going, and not just because of her cooking but also as someone had mentioned on the blog the 7pm Project (or was it The Circle) had said the next person eliminated would be in the studio, which meant they had to be Melbourne based, and therefore Claire. Seriously I know the Masterchef viewers are smart and observant, however there have been so many spoilers this season on the show.

The thing that depressed me about Claire was her saying “Cooking’s my happy place, as simple as that”. Which implies she is not real happy with much else in her life. Let’s hope for her sake I am wrong.

Do I think the right two from final’s week are in the final? I think Adam deserved a spot, but not sure about Callum. A very talented cook, but the best amateur chef in Australia?

It is a real pity Marion and Jonathan didn’t make it too the final’s week, as it would have created much more suspense to see who would take out the title.

Claire is going to continue to work in food.

The press release states:

Now back at her Melbourne home, Claire is determined to turn her back on law and instead forge a career in food. She is planning a concept where she caters for Sunday lunches and wants to follow her dream of delving into food writing.

“I’ve been doing a little bit of food writing and reviews, and I just love it,” she says. “I’m looking at establishing a food column and I’m currently working on a book proposal which combines my two loves of writing and cooking. If I can do that, how good would that be?

“I’m also starting a website – – and ‘hearth’ is the name of the restaurant I want to one day open,” she says. “The website will be all about delicate, delicious food that people love. It’ll be everything food and will also talk about a Sunday lunch concept I have.

“It’ll be more discreet than a catering company – although I’ll be doing catering by appointment as well – but one day I’ll find a permanent home for a restaurant.”

Good luck to her she was certainly one of the more technical cooks in the competition and hoisted herself on her own petard in this challenge.

UPDATE: I will have an Open Post up for the Final episode.

UPDATE UPDATE: Callum to win!!!! I came across my Masterchef Form Guide here, which I wrote early on in the season, and I emphatically state “Callum won’t win” which with my picking form so far this year, must mean he does.


1 librarygirl { 07.23.10 at 11:50 am }

I don’t know about all the grannies loving Callum – my mother can’t stand him – and him going through to the finale was a large part of a conversation with her this morning!She thinks he is a young twit who doesn’t listen when told to do something by people like George and Gary, who he should listen to. And she is still talking about the burnt custard in the army challenge.
Looking forward to seeing Jono tonight!

2 Matt { 07.23.10 at 11:51 am }

CG – think you’re part right here.

I agree she changed her tactics, but I actually believe that the main reason was that she knew she was gone, and it was time to think about whether she was remembered for going gracefully, or in a huff.

Best choice she made all night.

As for why they didn’t have the homecoming? Two reasons, I suspect.

1. It was only filmed a couple of weeks ago. (although I can’t find any reference to the dinner on the GG’s website).

2. Might have been a bit insenstive to have the new partner hugging her, given the publicity over the marriage.

3 librarygirl { 07.23.10 at 11:52 am }

and Fides thank you for explaining Adam’s ethnicity – wow what an interesting cultural mix!

4 Matt { 07.23.10 at 11:57 am }

Further strategy comments:

Don’t get me wrong here on the strategy. I think Chunks is right in saying the appeal of MC is that it does have nice people cooking, rather than strategizing.

But this is where a great strategic player (think Richard Hatch’s rampage of death in Survivor one) can run amok amidst the strategic muppets, clubbing the baby seals.

You’d be a worthy winner. Whether you’d be a marketable winner is another thing.

And as for what would Jimmy do? Jimmy was no fool. He knew everyone else (at this end of the competition at least) was a better cook, so he would have stacked the deck and grinned like a maniac.

5 CG { 07.23.10 at 12:07 pm }

Matt: GG dinner was held on 29 June (one of the guests – SES volunteer from the Victoria bushfires) wrote about it the other day (see Spoilers thread for more details, if you wish). Heaps of time to organise and film a homecoming for Claire. Lack of one just fans the gossip.

Re Claire going out gracefully: can’t agree her change in tactics was because she made choice to go out gracefully because her comment “well, I did pick the most difficult dish” was one of the most classless statements by any contestant all season. She changed her approach and turned to some of her lawyering skills in last desperate effort to stay in her “happy place”.

6 Matt { 07.23.10 at 12:25 pm }

CG – Not saying it WAS graceful, perhaps, but she was trying.

I actually feel for her a bit here. Can’t be easy being described as a homewrecker by the women’s mags when all you wanted to do was cook.

7 Paul { 07.23.10 at 12:29 pm }

Alternative theory One.
Or maybe her family and friends are private people who didn’t want to subject themselves in front of 2.5 million people considering the flogging she copped on blogs/forums and mainstream media over the past 3 months.

I would certainly be doing a big ‘up yours’ if I was in their position.

Alternative theory Two.
New partner doesn’t want to been to be sticking knife into just recent ex wife by appearing on arms with lover in front of 2.5 million people. New partner is actually considering ex wife and child.

8 brain dead dave { 07.23.10 at 12:29 pm }

Slogan : “Your ar$e will shimmy after you’ve eaten at “Jimmy’s”

9 Matt { 07.23.10 at 12:30 pm }

And re the Governor General – how interesting that the MC event wasn’t listed on her official program of events.

From experience, EVERYTHING a GG or Governor does is listed – it’s usually done in the Government Gazette, too.

Embarrassed or did the producers ask them not to put it up to avoid spoiling the surprise?
I suspect the latter, which makes it interesting that a TV program can dictate what the nation’s leaders do. Oh, wait…

Funny when we saw the GG was a guest. My mother-in-law used to work for her (when she was Qld Governor) and my wife was in stitches when the contestants got excited about cooking for her, because “she’s a control freak and a perfectionist”.

10 Paul { 07.23.10 at 12:45 pm }

The MC contestants were just cooks for an Event.

I don’t think they were the official ‘event’ per se.

11 Matt { 07.23.10 at 12:52 pm }

Paul – the official event isn’t listed. No mention of bushfire victims, or even a dinner.

Just that the GG hosted the executive committee.

12 brain dead dave { 07.23.10 at 12:53 pm }

All the hoary huffing about the Hearth and no homecoming?

Go boil some bunnies,baby.

13 Paul { 07.23.10 at 12:56 pm }

Yeah you would think it would be mentioned in the Gazette then Matt.

14 Anonymous { 07.23.10 at 1:19 pm }

There have been no homecomings for the last 3 eliminated contestants-don’t think it has anything to do with relatives avoiding publicity. Jimmy would have loved it and its a fe seconds grab with whatever randoms(Courtneys first homecoming certainly didn’t make it obvious Chrissy as her partner). It is curious though.
I find the 7PM interviews the last 2 nights odd though-they have had Jimmy and Courtney standing in front of traffic and even Elmo asked if they just dump them on the side of the road after they are eliminated.
Agree with most of what Matt has said this morning(don’t always agree with his posts)
If Callum wins, I think Junior MC should be cancelled as he can be called Junior MC

15 Kaylen { 07.23.10 at 1:23 pm }

For those whom might find this interesting:


23 July 2010

The Official Secretary to the Governor-General, Mr Stephen Brady, says last night’s episode of “MasterChef” provided a valuable insight into life at Government House for a large number of Australians.

“While we welcome thousands of visitors every year, this was an opportunity for many more Australians to see the hospitality of Government House in action. Since Ms Bryce commenced in her role in September 2008, more than 19,544 schoolchildren have visited the House, and over 15,000 people have attended 281 official functions”, Mr Brady said.

“This is in keeping with the Governor-General’s desire to open Government House and Admiralty House to as many people as possible”, he said.

“Both Houses are part of the National Estate and belong to all Australians. The request by ‘MasterChef’ to record a program provided an opportunity to communicate the openness of the Governor-General’s homes, and the very high level of professionalism and commitment of our staff”, he said.

“The episode recorded a dinner convened by the Governor-General to thank volunteers who had provided, and continue to provide, tremendous support for the victims of the Victorian bushfires and the floods in North Queensland and northern New South Wales last year”, he said.”

16 CG { 07.23.10 at 1:25 pm }

Anon – the general thinking is that Jimmy and Courtney didn’t get homecomings after the eliminations “this week” because it was their second time being eliminated. Not the same case with Claire. I may have walked away early last night: did Claire even get the “blurb” about what she is up to / doing like all the others have had, including both Jimmy and Courtney round 2?

BDD: Always love your comments and sense of humour. but on a more serious note, why not showcase Claire’s “hearth” (or find one if she doesn’t have one in her home) and use the opportunity to market her chosen “brand”, new lunch business and future restaurant.

17 Pollywaffle { 07.23.10 at 1:25 pm }

dont think the GG would want to gazette the Dinner for the Secret Society of Flagellist Gastronomes. The Callumgraphy symbol on the plate was the giveway, that he had produced the sweat, I mean sweet.

18 brain dead dave { 07.23.10 at 1:30 pm }

George Callumbaris.

If Callum loses he can always go work in a sweatshop.

Actually,he said on Ch 10 this morn he won’t open a restaurant because he’s not smart enough. He’s been made some amazing offers from guest chefs on MC for after the show,apparently.

19 brain dead dave { 07.23.10 at 1:34 pm }

Everybodys Got A Hungry Hearth

Don’t Go Breaking My Hearth

I Know That My Hearth Will Go On

Hearthache Tonight.

It’s all good for Claire,CG.

20 Fides { 07.23.10 at 1:35 pm }

If you read The Age’s recap for last night’s episode (funny, but not a patch on our Raver), there would have been big security issues with letting these amatas near the kitchens at all. Adam could have committed attempted manslaughter by fishbone. Didn’t the dear old Queen Mum have to be hospitalised for that?

21 Pollywaffle { 07.23.10 at 1:51 pm }

Geo’s doing a live national cooking show tour – ‘

George Calombaris – Beware of Greeks burning chips….with Callum

Callum’s role- the Gomerpyle-esque sidekick, duties include : mopping Geo’s sweat, kooky laughter over the many deadspots, and running through the audience with a tray of chicken oysters to distract when Geo needs to check an ingredient and call his Mum.

The highlight would be the finale when Callum makes a giant chocolate fondant and they jump into it together as it plays out to U2’s “Its a bewt-ti-ful day,

22 kingfisher { 07.23.10 at 1:55 pm }

that desert with the red ring jelly that blinky put together i couldn’t stop looking at it, the reason is i have worked in hospitals for 28 years as a nurse and it kept reminding me of a colostomy, it was freaky me out . the last 3 amatas give me nothing i don’t care who wins or who goe’s i feel flat . this is my last blog until next years masterponce , thanks for all the great quotes tata .
the kingfisher

23 brain dead dave { 07.23.10 at 1:57 pm }

Gags for Callum –
“Say George,how much does a Grecian urn?

“Did you make a squid out out of being a chef”?

24 Pollywaffle { 07.23.10 at 2:12 pm }

BDD- of course Callum’s catchcry will become ” No Sweat George, Im all over it”

25 Anonymous { 07.23.10 at 2:14 pm }

CG-nah don’t think you misses anything. Claire walked out the door following her montage…must admit I was transfixed by Callum whopper of a pimple on his neck which was ready to explode. Yeah I had thought the other 2 was because of the 1 homecoming per series only(did Peter get a second one?) but seems odd.Claires appearance on The Circle seemed quite muted(no conspiracy implied here so calm down Paul). I have been in 2 minds regards Claire…but don’t think she was hugely popular. Like the rest of them though: I wish her well.

26 brain dead dave { 07.23.10 at 2:17 pm }

They do a Masterclarse where George helps Callum to search for a juicer.

27 Anonymous { 07.23.10 at 3:10 pm }

Loving the piece in The Age especially talking about the editor with the synthesizer but there’s quite a fe gems in this piece

28 rusty { 07.23.10 at 3:26 pm }

Sooty #44

Claire “whimpered”? I must have missed that – priceless!

and trying to make out the easiest dish was the most difficult. I couldn’t work out why she never bothered to to try to ramp up the tempo. She seemed fixated on camera time

All that pretension – and so cheap at the end. She really was a bit of tart-let.

29 littlepetal { 07.23.10 at 4:07 pm }

Matt-If you look at the programs on GG website, the dinner was listed on the 29 June. It was an official dinner to honour the volunteers.

30 Kaylen { 07.23.10 at 4:10 pm }
31 Kaylen { 07.23.10 at 4:12 pm }

Notice how the Judges weren’t listed? They must have gatecrashed. :O

32 littlepetal { 07.23.10 at 4:17 pm }

Kaylen-Of course they are not listed. They are only the catering staff !!!!!

33 Matt { 07.23.10 at 4:18 pm }

Littlepetal etc. My bad – should have clicked on the “more” bit…

And Kaylen – I did notice that too!

34 Reality Raver { 07.23.10 at 5:56 pm }

My theory on the lack of Claire home coming, is to ensure who was the final two was not leaked. Once you have family and friends at a gathering you can always guarantee someone will leak it or the neighbours will see and leak it. What I had heard was they were keeping the finally three all together so no one could identify the final two.

Thanks for the great comments guys.

Hey Matt when Mastermind comes back on (maybe that is the new show Dicko is working on!) is your specialist subject going to be Survivor from Ep 1 to 20?

Fides – Cheque is in the mail.

BDD – you are on fire today

35 brain dead dave { 07.23.10 at 6:26 pm }

Thanks RR. Adelaide is on fire with hype about the two local boys..usually we’ll produce real dorks like Wes Carr or JJ as reality TV fodder.
Thanks too,to Pollywaffle and CG for feeding me some great lines.
George should cook youse some Callumari for that

36 Culinary Boner { 07.23.10 at 6:36 pm }

b/dead dave. Didn’t know Wes Carr was from Adelaide. Can you take him back please?

37 Anonymous { 07.23.10 at 6:37 pm }

Just had a thought re: MC jigging(we don’t seem to be calling it rigging anymore). They have jigged it so much we are so exhausted saying its jigged for weeks and weeks, we don’t care who wins and won’t raise but a Nicole like whimper when the winner is announced. Out of habit we will watch Masterjig finale, next year lets do something else with all those hours.

38 brain dead dave { 07.23.10 at 7:52 pm }

Wes was raised in Adelaide, Culinary Boner, under similar brutal social conditions to those that produced Jimmy Barnes.

39 pluck a duck { 07.24.10 at 11:51 pm }

librarygirl (at 51) – agree with your Mum re Callum/Gollum/Blinkly Bill. He’s blatantly disobeyed instructions on a couple of occasions, so I can’t understand why George keeps rabbiting on about him being humble and that he’d employ him at the drop of a hat (the broken record on this theme gets another play in the big article on Callum Callumbaris in the Who mag out yesterday). Something doesn’t add up here, for Callum to have got so far at the expense of better qualified contestants?

40 Joel { 07.25.10 at 12:07 am }

Do eliminated contestants get paid for their return performances?

Otherwise.. whats the motivation? A few of them looked less than impressed about being there.