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Masterchef – the dish that changed your life

As RR noted in her post earlier today, the top 24 – having not had time to even set properly – underwent a change prior to getting into the Masterchef kitchen. Paul the RAAF pilot was “reassigned”, so the wildcard went to Alex. Matt Moran delivered the news to him in person, telling him that he was chosen because of his “enthusiasm and passion”, but to me it seems like swapping one WA contestant for another.

The slightly-reconfigured 24 arrive at the Masterchef kitchen and we’re introduced to them, since we really didn’t see many of them at all last week. It feels like the first episode of the season all over again. The Vespa in front of the kitchen is now a big red motorbike, so Alex jumps onto it and pretends to RRRRRREV to remind me how much of a tosser I think he is. Welcome back, Lobes.

As the 24 wander around the Masterchef kitchen, Jay decides he wants to start cooking. He heads into the pantry, followed by a few others, and they choose some ingredients to start cooking. Nobody has noticed that the clock is ticking down, and why should they? It’s not as though this is really going to be “cook whatever you want” challenge, right?

Suddenly, the judges walk out onto the balcony (from the toilet, Callum suggested in a tweet during the show). Matt reminds the top 24 that they are, well, the top 24 and that they are the best amateur cooks in the country. And I thought they were going to stop such ridiculous hyperbole! Three days ago, Alex wasn’t even one of the top 24 cooks on Cockatoo Island.

The Challenge
George finally gets around to telling the 24 that they are to cook the dish that changed their life, and Hayden knows what he is going to cook straight away, and (more importantly) he even knows the story behind it. Gary tells them that there is no elimination today and my interest wanes immediately. Those who were already demonstrating their “passion” by cooking when the judges emerged will get 90 minutes. The rest will get 80 minutes.

George is “nervous” to hear that Alex is making another risotto, but since there’s nothing at stake, I’m not sure why.  We hear the life-changing backstories from the competitors and family and travel dominate. At least, amongst those we see.  Time is finally up and Matt tells the contestants that they have done fantastically well! Might as well turn off now, then. I like at least one disaster per episode.

Tasting (some of the) dishes

  • Kate’s coffee cake “story is great”, says Gary [to summarise, she made it as a kid and pretended to be a TV chef while she did]. Prospective contestants, put away your knife sharpeners and start pinning down your narrative. Cooking competition? Next door, on your right.
  • Alex’s risotto is too salty. Why is he there again? He got through to the top 50 on a risotto and hasn’t demonstrated to my satisfaction that he can cook anything else. Seems he can only occasionally cook a successful risotto, too.
  • George loves Jay’s lamb and veg, which is just as well for Jay, who always seems on the verge of a complete loss of confidence.
  • Chelsea’s salad is assessed as “delicious, good, great” and “one of the best dishes of the day so far”.
  • I agree with Hayden that moules frites goes well with beer, but possibly not a Pure Blonde. The sponsor will obviously disagree. Matt says he’s “brought finesse to peasant food” and Gary is also a fan.
  • Billy fails one of StratMatt’s rules when he admitted to Matt that he hasn’t cooked to the brief, rather has chosen the ingredient that changed his life. This is worthy of a fireball, but after the ad-break he recovers to explain that the pork belly that was named “dish of the day” in the desert island challenge was the dish that changed his life.  This is a pretty good save as it reminds the judges of something they loved and takes the focus away from him fudging the brief.
  • Michael’s black pudding ravioli was praised for it’s “aligance” (thanks, Zoe!) but George didn’t like the “borled” flavour.
  • Dani’s bun cha is a hit, taking Matt back to the streets of Hanoi. She is justifiably happy.

The rest? Eh, who cares, we’re only down to the top 24. What, you want to see what the cello guy cooked or something?

The three top dishes belonged to Billy, Hayden and Kate. Hayden will cook off for immunity tomorrow and Alex will get to cheer from the balcony. Hopefully for the last time!


1 Heléna { 05.09.11 at 9:39 pm }

bizarre final 3, given the judges’ comments, I would have thought that Chelsea and Dani would have made the final 3 – with Billy not making it for only choosing an ingredient and with a pretty lame back up story to boot ;p although his dish did look delicious

2 littlepetal { 05.09.11 at 9:55 pm }

Yes, I am surprise as well that Alex cooked another risotto when there is no elimination. Shouldn’t he try to sharpen up his skills (maybe he has none) and cook something else?

Also noticed Sun has a very ordinary dish. Some meat on one side, potatoes rounds in the middle and veg on the other side. Not like Jay who plated up beautifully !!!

3 Panda { 05.09.11 at 10:19 pm }

I wish that Sad Sun, Ear Lobes Alex and that I.T guy with the dirty hair would just leave already (can’t remember his name). When he jumped in the bath at the end of the episode I think he should have stayed in there and washed his hair.

4 littlepetal { 05.09.11 at 10:29 pm }

Panda- his name is Mat. Don’t like his dirty hair but I thought I could see some nice dishes from him.

Didn’t we see a Marion and Adam in this bunch. Dani is into Asian food especially Vietnamese and Seamus is into Japanese cooking. I do like Seamus cooking but if he is going to dish up Japanese influence dishes I am sad to say he will not win MC. They will not want to have another Adam.

5 davsimp { 05.09.11 at 10:46 pm }

ROFLMAO, brilliant blog post Injera. Loved the bit about the chefs coming out of the dunny to catch out who was attempting to whip up some horses doovers, and who was sitting on their crack guzzling champers.
Sucked in guzzlers, you lost 10 minutes of the change my daks/life dish.

6 AnonyMousse { 05.09.11 at 10:47 pm }

Matt Moran: “I’ve put myself on the line in giving you a second chance because I admire your attitude, Alex. That, and I admire your ability to eat your own food without contracting salmonella poisoning.”

Hayden should go back to the bearded traveller look – I thought he looked much better in that Paris photo then he does now.

My cynical side wondered how Adam would know if he’d made lifelong friends, ala his message left for the top 24, when he’s only been gone from the house for 6 months. Come back in 10 years and tell us how many of the other contestants you hang out with, Adam, then your message will touch me with its heart-warming sincerity.

I see from the preview that they’re stepping it down a notch with the immunity challenge cookoffs – looks like an apprentice vs a masterchef contestant?

7 PollyB { 05.09.11 at 11:01 pm }

Alex’s risotto is salty – no good (I don’t care, he is a douche), the coffee CAKE that tastes like salt – is good. I am definitely missing something.
Billy’s save was great.
Matt Preston is disgusting. Smacking lips, jowls jostling, eyes rolling as he tastes. All for our pleasure. Eewwww. While George waits at the back to taste he looks like he has just walked off the set of Underbelly, hunched over, fat guts, scowling. And Mehigan has created a new word – ommunity.
Same old, same old – bugger all food shown and 3 tossers spewing stale cheese, corn and ham.

8 Lily { 05.09.11 at 11:13 pm }

I was underwhelmed watching Dani’s dish. I also do not know why every season the Vietnamese dipping sauce is called ‘nuoc cham’ when that isn’t what we call it. When Dani said the dish was known as ‘Bun Cha’, I cringed.
Vietnamese cuisine is so unknown apparently.
Glad Hayden won though, hehe

9 brain dead dave { 05.09.11 at 11:21 pm }

Sounds like tonight’s ep was a Bun Cha Crap. Can’t wait to see it tomorrow. Ch 10 are encoring it before Bold And The Beautiful, hoping to snare a few soap opera junkies into the jaws of the howling beast that is Ma$terchef.

10 JaniceG { 05.09.11 at 11:30 pm }

I thought that giving extra time to the eager beavers who grabbed stuff out of the pantry and started setting up was bogus (not that it ultimately really made very much difference) – I think it’s more chutzpah than initiative to start grabbing food out of a pantry without anyone telling you to go ahead and do so.

Frankly, I’d have liked a lot fewer minutes spent on the annoyingly redundant interview snippets (Matt: “We want you to cook a dish that changed your life.” Contestant: “And then the judges told us we had to make a dish that changed our lives”) and more minutes spent on the actual food the contestants cooked – it’s a *cooking* show, not sports play-by-play. What did Kumar make? What about Tom? I know they can’t show everyone but I don’t think we saw dishes from even half of the contestants.

As for Jay, I basically just want to sprinkle antidepressants into his morning muesli.

Finally, surprised no one has mentioned the egg yolk ravioli that was served up yet again. I wonder if the contestants are just flipping a coin to see who has to make it that day.

11 littlepetal { 05.10.11 at 7:07 am }

They have made egg yolk ravioli with the pasta ravioli (you know what I mean), with wonton skin. Next it could be with spring roll wrappers, wrap with filo pastry or even wrap with rice paper !!!! or maybe just serve an egg yolk!!!!

12 sourkraut { 05.10.11 at 7:56 am }

Bloody BORING risotto again. So we are going to be bombarded with French and Italian crap for the next 6 months YAWN. No wonder the final 24 are 90% Aglo

13 Injera { 05.10.11 at 8:39 am }

Heléna – good point about the chosen three. Gary gave himself a bit of leeway by saying something like “one of the dishes of the night” but it stood out as a highly praised dish against the others. I thought Billy’s cake looked lovely, but he missed the brief, so I’m surprised he was put up there. Needed to anchor it to “life changing” more – i.e. this is the first amazing CHOCOLATE dish I ever ate or something.

Littlepetal – I think you’re on to something. Alex can’t sharpen what he doesn’t have! Jay’s plate looked better than Sun’s, for sure. I don’t know that I consider Dani a Marion, but you might have seen promise where I didn’t. Agree that Seamus will struggle against the Adam precedent if he sticks to Japanese. Also I think the current hip-Izakaya trend might be over by the time he finishes!

Davsimp – Thanks! I really hope the judges had been hanging out in the loos together, with George peering through the vision panel to see when they could make the best entrance.

AnonyMousse – Heh, that whole “I’ve come all the way here because I went into bat for you” stuff was stomach-churning. Alex gurning up at Matt as though he had no idea anything like this was going to happen. At the very least, the kid can (sort of) act. I missed the “lifelong friends” part, but your cynical reaction seems appropriate.

PollyB – the lip-smacking, mouthgasm face is really off-putting! “Stale cheese, corn and ham” – ha!

Lily – Given the judges have been pretty ignorant on all manner of Asian food in the past, they were certainly making out that they were all OVER Vietnamese cuisine with Dani’s dish, weren’t they? I’m interested that you cringed when she said “bun cha” – what was the dish?

BDD – bun cha crap indeed!

JaniceG – rewarding those who just starting randomly cooking was a bit odd, although they were praising Alex in week one for ending up in the elimination challenges as “he’d get more cooking time”. Grrr. The endless recapping is hideous – I’ve taken to taping it and waiting 20 minutes before starting to watch. I can skip the ads, the recaps and still finish at 8.30! We’ll sneak you into the house in the morning to try out your suggestion for Jay. While you’re there, you can watch them whip up egg yolk ravioli for each other for breakfast.

Sourkraut – even worse than BORING risotto! Inedible risotto!

Panda – Agree on Sun and Lobes, but I have a definite wish to see Mat go far!

14 EH { 05.10.11 at 8:52 am }

Absolutely loving your recap, Injera. Spot on! It was fun having some if last year contestants giving us hilarious insightful comments on Twitter.

15 reality raver { 05.10.11 at 9:10 am }

Love the recap Injera thank you so much.
I have yet to see the episode but seriously you just know Alex was brought back in for reasons other than cooking. Should we place bets on how long he will limp along.
Agree if it is a non-elimination round, you got to take risks to ensure you get on the judges radar if you pull it off, and accrue brownie points for when you do inevitably stuff up.

16 Maz { 05.10.11 at 9:16 am }

This recap is more entertaining than the show.

17 Eating { 05.10.11 at 9:32 am }

I don’t think I will like season 3 as much as the previous two [esp the first one] if things keep going like this.
This may sound mean but I don’t like a lot of the new contestants. Haven’t seen a dish impressive or inspirational enough to make me wanna cook sth.
Sun is really like an uglier version of Claire with the crying, hairstyle and the talking without opening her mouth. But I liked Claire and I dont know why I can’t like Sun at all.
I like to see that Alex guy though. At least he’s interesting as a TV personality 😛 But I can’t stand Rachel and Kate. I still dont understand how that coffee cake made it into the final 3. It looked plain, boring, Matt said it was salty right? or is coffee cake supposed to be salty? And her crappy story just left me no interest for her at all. Rachel and her excitement for the hot chefs is just =.=
Many of these contestants leave me the impression that they’re here for fame and the sake of appearing on TV rather than cooking. Haven’t seen much food but I’ve had enough of the BS stories.
Btw, that part before the judges came out of the toilet (LOL) and people just randomly started to cook was so awkward. And to make it even more awkward, they just had to give these people 10 mins advantage =.= wth….

18 Shelsta78 { 05.10.11 at 9:52 am }

Whoever said it in an earlier post – pomegranate is the new ‘it’ fruit this year. Was it figs last year I can’t remember?

What they could really do with is cutting out Gazza and Moussaka from walking up to everyones benches and asking them dumb annoying questions so that we can see more of the dishes getting judged.

All in all an average episode

PS – I really want Kate’s kitchen in her house in orange it looked amazing

19 Mac { 05.10.11 at 10:03 am }

I don’t understand the love for Alex. I see him as the new Sam of this series. So disappointed he came back. I blame Matt Moran.

20 Paul { 05.10.11 at 10:03 am }

Great recap Injera.

Anyone think Billy cops a hard time from Matt because he is a food blogger?
From what I understand those in the food industry look down upon bloggers.

Still trying to figure out who looks the best all round cook at the moment.

There’s a few that can’t possibly win (Alex, Sun, Rachel, possibly Arena) but the others all look very even at the moment.

21 JaniceG { 05.10.11 at 10:24 am }

@Injera – Taping the show and then fast-forwarding through most of the contestant interview snippets and the encouraging bellows from George is the only way I can make it through (or that my husband will let me watch it with him in the room :-> )

@Paul – My top favorites so far are Kumar, Tom, and Craig. I’m still annoyed that surfer dude Hayden even made the top 24 after not bothering to make pasta during the elimination challenge, let alone getting top dish of the day for mussels and chips. GMAFB!

22 Chunks { 05.10.11 at 11:40 am }

MC really has lost credibility this year . Their endless promotion of mediocre Hayden is outrageous. Clearly he’s already been chosen as the winner for his looks and consequent ability to sell cook books to the economicaly important young female demographic, so now they’re going to do everything they can to push him to the final. As for bringing back one-trick pony Alex, what a joke. Was there really no one else who could have taken that spot? Where are Today Tonight and A Current Affair when you need ’em?

23 Paul { 05.10.11 at 11:45 am }

Females are capable of making decisions on male contestants that aren’t based on their looks, you know.

He hasn’t really been promoted anymore than Kumar, Sun or a few others to be honest.

24 Nic { 05.10.11 at 11:55 am }

I know Ive said it a million times before, but everytime I think of it it makes me laugh. When hearing about this challenge miss 9 loudly proclaimed that “Cheese and Bacon Balls” are the dish that changed my life!! LOL

25 JG { 05.10.11 at 1:04 pm }

@Paul: Hayden has had way more screen time than Kumar! We get to hear about the butterflies in his stomach and how pleased he was that the judges were pleased with his food at the expense of screen time for the 75% of the other contestants we never got to see at all.

26 Injera { 05.10.11 at 1:07 pm }

Thanks, EH and Maz. It was fun to get back on the Masterchef horse, but I seriously do not know how RR is able to back up and do it EVERY night, plus cover all the other shows. Huge props, RR!

RR – You’re right – was surprised that few took big risks.

Eating – Definitely! More food, less “journey”, please!

Shelsta78 – Looks as though I missed the only highlight of the ep. Didn’t see Kate’s kitchen.

Mac – I definitely blame Matt Moran! No amount of swearing at TV crews will make up for that (see Raver’s latest post).

Paul – Thanks. I’ve been watching closely to see if Billy is getting more scrutiny from the judges. I think they seem to be keeping the anti-blogger, George, away from him at this stage. I am counting on you to be right re Alex, Sun and Rachel! Hope to see some of the more “background” contestants soon.

JaniceG – I’ve never seen chips that chunky served with mussels, although that is not to say it’s never done… just wondering whether Hayden decided not to test his knife skills on shoestring fries.

Chunks – maybe we need to get Mediawatch onto the case.

Nic – Cheese and Bacon Balls! Awesome!

27 EH { 05.10.11 at 1:18 pm }

Paul, Injera – do you reckon the judges know Mat is also a food blogger? They seem to give him a hard time too.

28 sourkraut { 05.10.11 at 1:19 pm }

boring/inedible… wots the difference?
Geo in the loo. why? was he looking down on the unemployed?
I knew if I waited patiently (all of 1 main episode) I’d have my CONS- PIRACY theory neatly provided by mastercrap. Sho nuff …Along came Alex ..sweet talkin Alex…Sweet walkin Alex with apologies to Jones. Bet he’s in there at the end. There ya go Paul You heard it first here. Now I’ll be interested in your bookies odds from the beginning.
“The food industry looks down on bloggers” That’s ok fair exchange is no robbery. Bloggers look down on the cognisento of the food industry, particularly those who …Oh never mind, I’m to lazy to list all their iniquities.

29 Paul { 05.10.11 at 1:25 pm }

I think they would know as am sure its been mentioned somewhere.
Hope to have some odds up by Friday but its so difficult this early on when we hardly know any of the contestants or what they can do. By end of next week shoudl have a much better idea.

30 sourkraut { 05.10.11 at 1:30 pm }

I’ll look forward to it. At this stage I haven’t worked out who to “root” for as they all seem pretty bland so far and there is no Marked “villain or underdog” for me to defend/sympathise with.

31 sourkraut { 05.10.11 at 1:32 pm }

Guess I’ll have to wastch the show instead for its in-depth depiction of the noble art of cooking going on . Oh crap i just busted a gut.

32 Chunks { 05.10.11 at 3:17 pm }

Paul, tell it to the Beliebers! Are you sure he hasn’t? Could have fooled me. But seriously, how many men do you think have bought Julie’s cookbook or Adam’s? Women are the driving force behind mass consumption in our culture and the young female demographic is a vital part of any marketing strategy. And Masterchef is about making lots of money, not cooking.

33 Paul { 05.10.11 at 3:23 pm }

Cookbook sales are a mere blip in the whole MC enterprise.

They’d make more from a weeks worth of ads than they ever would through book sales.

Can’t believe I’m having to go through all this again !!!!!!

34 littlepetal { 05.10.11 at 3:26 pm }

I think Gary doesn’t like Mat. Does anyone know whether Mat gave Felix (Gary’s restaurant) a bad review?

They also seem to give Billy a tough time!

35 Chunks { 05.10.11 at 3:27 pm }

Of course they are. Don’t young women and girls watch TV in between texting and updating their Facebook status?

36 Chels { 05.10.11 at 3:51 pm }
37 Paul { 05.10.11 at 4:00 pm }

To be honest I find the recaps on here far superior.

38 davsimp { 05.10.11 at 4:27 pm }

There was an article in the West Australian newspaper today about Lobi one Kenobi grabbing yet another lifeline. He is quoted here:
“I didn’t make the top 50 initially either. From auditions, the very first date in Perth, I didn’t get through and I called back and said ‘Look, you’ve made a mistake, put me through’.”

He left a message for the producer who told him he was not getting through to the second day of judging, pleading that he deserved a second chance.

“She called me back about 20 minutes later and said it’s your lucky day – come in at 10”

Glasson cooked a porcini mushroom risotto which won over Gary Mehigan and got him a spot in the top 50.

Bloody Gary!! Bloody Matt!!
Brain Dead Dave is right, will this turd ever flush?