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Masterchef – Turn up your radio

The TV guide helpfully explains what I missed last night: that Hayden will be cooking against “apprentice chef, Alex Keen” against whom he’ll have a ten minute head start. I must have imagined all that “these guys are the best yet” publicity, given that we’ve gone from cooking against Martin Boetz, Phillippa Sibley and Frank Camorra – to name a few – to apprentices. Not just any apprentice, of course, but “one of Sydney’s top chefs, and his top apprentice”. This suggests it’s two against one, but I think the truth will turn out to be somewhat less one-sided. I wonder how Alex felt when his boss, presumably drooling over the prospect of the Masterchef bump, asked him if he’d stake his reputation against an “amata”? I wonder if he was given a choice? I wonder… well, there are a lot of things I am wondering about this set-up, including what Alex’s reaction might be if Hayden starts spouting off about his “story” and “journey”. I am confident that I’ll be left wondering.

Masterchef house
Hayden puts on a white hat to match his white challenger jacket, which he thinks is something that’s “not given lightly”. Except for yesterday, when it was given for some chunky chips and mussels.  This hat thing? Really? He’s totally committed to that?  He’ll regret it in a couple of years.  Or he has seen the future and it is thinning hair. One of the other 23 claims they are all “proud” of him, which I always find an unusual sentiment.  Why are they proud?  What part have they played in getting him to where he is today?  Unless they are taking credit for cooking crappier dishes than he did.

Masterchef kitchen
Guest judge is Justin North.  Being the guest judge is a much better way of getting the Masterchef bump.  Smart man.  Matt informs Hayden that his opponent is an apprentice, which news Hayden greets with relief. Presumably after being smacked around by the production team, he gets the narrative back on track by interviewing that it will be a tough gig as the apprentice will have a lot to lose.

Gary lifts the cloche to reveal some blobs on a plate, which he tells us is called an “agnolotti bagoss”.  Alex’s boss, chef Pavoni gives some tips on textures and the size of the pasta. Hayden gets a recipe as well as the ten minute head start. Alex looks a bit stunned, but just before the fireball I spot him watching Hayden with keen attention. Even so, I doubt he’d do a Jay and forget everything he’d swotted up the previous night.

Hayden has a recipe, but he also has Pavoni by his side giving him heaps of advice. In fact, if Pavoni wasn’t there, it seems as though Hayden would have less than a clue.

“The cream got a bit too much heat on it” says Hayden sticking to this season’s narrative which is BLAME THE INGREDIENTS. None of these guys ever messes anything up! The cake falls out of the oven. The puddings don’t stay in the oven for long enough…

Pavoni? Is not giving Alex the tips he’d been hoping for. Instead, he’s hassling the poor guy.

The peanut gallery comments pretty much focus on astonishment at the skills of an apprentice. Michael notes that he’s seeing that being an apprentice is pretty tough. Ya think? Maybe that’s why you noobs have decided to skip proper training to go on TV.

Jay notes that Alex has a burnt tomato! Fireball!

Plate one
North notes the fine pasta. Preston does disturbing mouthgasm face, and Calombaris notes that the filling is a bit gritty but thinks maybe it’s supposed to be like that. Really, shouldn’t they have tasted the exemplar so they knew what the contenders were aiming at?

Plate two
Glaringly obvious problems are the charred tomatoes and the grey pesto. If Hayden gets immunity from this, I’ll be most put out. Preston notes that the cooking is high quality and Calombaris has realised that the smooth filling works better. North thinks the pesto lacks punch. We know it lacks spinach.

The scores
Gary reveals that “the person who cooked plate number one… was Hayden”. We get a reprise of the smirky/surprised exchange of glances that we got all through last season. I’m glad this is only once a week. Those little set-pieces do my head in.

Alex: 7 from George, 7 from Matt, 7 from Justin for a total of 21 His boss says he “did good” but in interview says he was expecting all eights. Alex’s expression tells us that he knew that. And that he’s not looking forward to work in the morning.
Hayden: Matt 7, George 7, Justin 8

Okay, I’m swearing at the TV. Seriously? Hayden gets “amunity” straight up? I feel dirty. And really sorry for Alex, who graciously interviews that Hayden has talent and could go all the way. If, in fact, he is knocked out of the competition, he’ll hunt him down and kneecap him. Okay, I made that bit up. If Hayden is knocked out, Alex would love to go surfing with him.

Michael interviews that they are all happy for Hayden. I’m guessing that’s because they are all thinking “if HE can do it…”.

Look, maybe Hayden really does have talent.  It’s quite possible.  The editors seem far more concerned with focussing on story-time than cooking, as do the judges.  The problem with this approach is that it makes it difficult for the viewers to regard any of these outcomes with anything other than resignation.

= = = = = = = =

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I’ve had the Masters Apprentices song in my head ever since I read the TV Guide, so I couldn’t resist using it as the post title.  Hope you enjoy the earworm.


1 Shelsta78 { 05.10.11 at 9:19 pm }

I can’t believe he won – poor hot apprentice.

I was safe from shouting at the Teev tonight because I was distracted by the delicious guest judge – RR – JNorth is my Matt Moran

2 littlepetal { 05.10.11 at 9:24 pm }

Look like this year or at least the first immunity challenge is fair. Contestant has a better chance of winning. Will have to wait for next immunity challenge to see whether the first one was a set up to give out the immunity pin-to hype up the show.

That dish will cost you $24

3 Mandi { 05.10.11 at 9:55 pm }

“Maybe that’s why you noobs have decided to skip proper training to go on TV.” Classic line RR! I love it.
It’s still on over here but I’m finding it so boring that I’m going to go do the dishes and ironing instead!

4 Injera { 05.10.11 at 10:00 pm }

Shelsta78 – The apprentice was pretty hot!

Littlepetal – Agreed that it’s more of a “level” playing field to pit a contestant against an apprentice, which makes it even dodgier that people have actually beaten the chef, making a recipe of the chef’s designing! $24? Really? Whew…

Mandi – Ironing and dishes is a much more productive use of your time… but I’d keep the telly on in the background. 😉

5 librarygirl { 05.10.11 at 10:04 pm }

I like the concept of cooking against the apprentice – more fair.
Some of the weaker contestants will certainly not do as well.
I think Hayden is sweet but that hair has to go.

6 brain dead dave { 05.10.11 at 10:14 pm }

Master’s Apprentices~ pride of Adelaide.

Another of their tunes was called “Living In A Child’s Dream”~ applicable to so many of this years contestants.

Hayden said ” My dish was number 1 so the judges were going to taste it first”. FFS,you don’t say? I’ve seen two eps of Ma$terchef today…the show’s not exactly on a roll. More like a waffle.

Lucky that tortured genius busted out the AC/DC tribute on Au$tralia’s Got Talent or the night was all in vain. A must see. AC/DC with extra cheese.

7 AnonyMousse { 05.10.11 at 10:21 pm }

Possibly the only time in this competition where I’ll get to genuinely say ‘Poor, poor Alex – you didn’t deserve that’. You can bet he had no choice in coming on the program, and that he’ll be paying for this defeat for quite a while.

I’m not pretending to be any sort of chef, but it’s been my understanding from many different sources that usually the sauces in a kitchen are handled by the head chef’s second-in-command/sous chef. If Alex is still an apprentice, he may not have been given the job of doing the sauces yet (or at least, not very often) which’d explain why he looked horrified when he saw what he had to cook and why he missed an ingredient in the sauce/paste (he probably saw it being prepared a hundred times, but out of the corner of his eye while he was doing his own work). That’s my theory, anyway.

Still, I’d admit that Hayden’s starting to chip away at my doubt that his visual image creates. It’s not just that he’s been complimented on his food several times, it’s that he’s showing himself to be more than a jock/surfie when he talks. While I want more proof that he’s as good a cook as they say, I’m not doubting him anywhere near as much as some of the others in the competition.

Also, either my eyesight’s going (always possible) or Jay needs to be called Eagle Eyed Jay from now on, since he spotted the burnt tomatoes from the balcony, while I was looking at them from a much closer camera shot and it took me a few seconds to go ‘oh yeah, there is a little bit of burn there’.

8 donae { 05.10.11 at 10:22 pm }

Why have Matt and George at all if they are unable to make a decision
and give the same marks to both. Did that look like a set up or what
with Justin North giving the last mark ?

9 littlepetal { 05.10.11 at 10:47 pm }

MC is for entertainment and it is all a set up!!!!

10 Sourkraut { 05.10.11 at 10:47 pm }

Stop Marseterchef. I give up! You’re doing it just to give me the craps.
ie More BOOORRING Italian crap and to make it even worse, a meal that would not feed a sparrow. from the sublime (ultra waste) to the ridiculous (typical tight arsed food snob restaurant meal)
On the sourkraut boringometer this ep ranked a 10. I cant believe I watched this instead of that incredibly interesting talented Mr swan

11 Pollywaffle { 05.10.11 at 10:49 pm }

Couldn’t agree more with BDD the shows slow off the blocks this year indeed – a soggy waffle

Are they filming everything at 2 am or is it just me and my jet lag?
Feels REALLY scripted too like a cooking series not a reality show – have they lost the recipe?

Also perplexed why Matt Preston is being styled by Englebert Humperdinck ( look it up Gen Y)

12 Shelsta78 { 05.10.11 at 10:50 pm }

@PollyWaffle – IKR? What was with the sear sucker and flowery shirt – insanely bad!

@Injera – yes! Also his boss – it was a night of eye candy.
If they get the ultimate Frenchie in (Guillaime) at some point that will be a good series…

Now who was saying women choose who they like on these shows based on looks?

13 littlepetal { 05.10.11 at 10:59 pm }

I can’t stand Hayden voice. This is only week 2 and some of them are starting to annoy me.

14 Culinary Boner { 05.10.11 at 11:00 pm }

the fix was clearly on tonight

15 wallah { 05.10.11 at 11:09 pm }

hahahaha, saw Jabba, Wiggum and Dr. Evil (I know, it’s mean, but I find it all so lulzy) out the front of Fratelli Fresh in Potts Point yesterday. Strangely enough, I really felt like asking what they thought about the review of Mr. Grossi’s Florentino on the weekend. But hey, I don’t believe in gawking.

16 Reality Raver { 05.10.11 at 11:11 pm }

Mandi – this recap was done by the delightfully witty Injera who steps in when I am not available.

Thank you Injera it is fantastic again and LMAO at “blame the ingredients” line. I was not going to watch the episode until….

shelsta78 said Alex the apprentice was a spunk.

anonymousse – did they say what year apprentice Alex was? LMAO at your “poor poor Alex comment”

Little Petal and LIbrary Girl – I agree it is fairer going up against an apprentice

Also Hayden appears to be the chosen child getting a golden run.

17 JaniceG { 05.10.11 at 11:13 pm }

Injera – Great write-up but I think you mixed up the dishes: the grey pesto was actually Alex the Apprentice, not Hayden. I was sort of surprised Hayden got better scores given that his ravioli filling looked like raw creamed butter, not a smooth sauce-like consistency. Surprised that a gritty filling with a better pesto won out given that the ravioli was the main part of the dish.

I was a bit surprised at how much help Hayden got from Pavoni. I seem to recall in previous seasons that the chef would help when called upon or occasionally drop by but he was really hovering and stepping in seemingly without even being asked.

Bummed that Hayden won – now I can’t rag on him nearly as much :->

18 brain dead dave { 05.10.11 at 11:35 pm }

Yep, apprentice Alex def made the grey pesto…..Ch 10 are already “encoring” tonight’s ep as I write.

19 shez { 05.10.11 at 11:39 pm }

Found the challenge swung too far in favour of the contestant tonight. I understand the head start, the apprentice & the blind choice of dish, but seriously, making the apprentice cook the dish from memory when it’s highly unlikely they’ve ever had to make it themselves in full before? Most kitchens get prep done pre-service as well so Alex couldn’t have been used to doing that recipe from start to finish in the time provided. Gary also said he’d picked a recipe that he thought suited Hayden at this stage of the competition. If they’re serious about the contestants being that good this year, why make the immunity challenges so easy to win compared to previous seasons?

20 Chunks { 05.11.11 at 12:50 am }

Not even being subtle about who they want to keep in all the final are they?

21 akris { 05.11.11 at 8:11 am }

@Shez: Totally Agree…. I think they skewed it too much to benefit the contestants now… I think to make it more fair the (hot!) apprentice chef either gets a copy of the recipe OR the contestant doesn’t get any help from the chef.. (but then it defeats the PR opportunity doesn’t it) Either way quite frustrated by how much easier they’ve made it for the contestants to win.

@Chunks: Definitely not being subtle about not necessarily the individual, but the demographic of their hopeful winner this year. Hence the inclusion of attractive but inept Alex too.

22 littlepetal { 05.11.11 at 9:03 am }

Let see what they do in next week immunity challenge. Do they favour the contestant or it is going to be like last season? Then we will know how manipulated the challenges are and who they want to win.

23 EH { 05.11.11 at 9:14 am }

Alex was assigned to a suicide mission. It was too much of a set up that we already sensed that Hayden was going to win the challenge. I was screaming, “Poor, poor Alex!” when I saw the horror of his face when Gary announced the task!

24 Wurstsemmel { 05.11.11 at 9:14 am }

MC is for entertainment and it is all a set up!!!!

Agreed, LittlePetal, but, unfortunately, these days Masterchef is not even entertaining. I ended up switching off.

25 Sooty { 05.11.11 at 9:37 am }

My favourite part of last night’s challenge was the look Alessandro gave Hayden’s hat that Hayden ripped off his head and flung onto his bench mid-cooking frenzy. Just taking it off – hair, dander was one thing but to fling it and it’s contents over your ingredients and tools and pots. Yikes. It was up their with Alex not-of-the-lobes look of horror hearing he’d get no recipe, and then some.

I usually find these chef-offs dead boring, but that was ok, and Alessandro was a decent and encouraging guy, as was his apprentice. I think they were running out of chefs of standing who wanted to risk trashing their reputations by being beaten by amatas. So the apprentice thing is a good compromise.

I don’t find any of these ‘hawt’ men ‘hawt’! Fucking Paris Hilton has a lot to answer for with all this ‘hawtness’ these days.

26 Injera { 05.11.11 at 9:52 am }

Librarygirl – Hayden seems harmless enough, but I’d rather see that hat go than the hair (although he could do with a trim – clearly hairdresser visits are allowed, as I spotted Mat on the balcony with a new do).

BDD – now I’m going to have to seek out that Australia’s Got Talent AC/DC tribute…

Anonymousse – exactly. Poor, poor Alex. I think you are probably right about the tasks an apprentice would be used to covering. Wonder if we can get any chefs/apprentices to clarify? Eagle eyed Jay, indeed. Can spot a limp lettuce leaf from 100 paces. Watch out!

Donae – good point. Maybe that’s their twist on “good cop, bad cop”.

Sourkraut – for a minute there I thought a male version of the awful reality show “The Swan” was on… then I clicked. Yes, budget night probably more entertaining than this was.

Pollywaffle – it’s hard to know whether it’s scripted or whether these contestants have memorised the talking points from watching previous seasons. It’s like when I hear kids talking and they have what sounds like an affected, Hills-inflected accent. Maybe they’ve just been trained by TV? Whatever it is, it is INTENSELY annoying, particularly because those contestants who haven’t spoken in snappy soundbites are probably the ones they just don’t show.

Shelsta78 – Guillaume! We can only dream…

CB – agreed.

Wallah – Jabba, Wiggum and Dr Evil. Excellent!

JaniceG – thanks for picking that up! I think I got so enraged by the fact that Alex was going to be penalised for grey pesto and Hayden was going to get away with grainy filling that I lost the plot for a while.

Shez – good point. I don’t think the Masterchef producers understand the concept of improvement. Instead of “let’s make it a tad easier” (which… not sure why when contestants have actually beaten chefs in the past. Perhaps they couldn’t get any more chefs to put their reps on the line?) and tweak it, they completely change it. Weird.

Chunks – subtlety is not their strong point! :-)

Akris – at least the apprentice was hot.

EH – Suicide mission, indeed. Poor bloke.

Wurstsemmel – ah, my masochism keeps me watching, I’m afraid!

Sooty – wow, I missed the hat-removal! Might have to watch the repeat just to focus in on that horror.

27 davsimp { 05.11.11 at 10:22 am }

Well if they insist on giving us a douche in a hat every season, then it may as well be a likeable douche who can cook. I don’t mind young Hayden, he is certainly one of the best of a bad lot.

As for the monkeys throwing peanuts from the gallery, nice of them to let Hayden know his cream was on fire, but no eagle eye thought to mention to Alex to add a bit of spinach in with his basil. Arseholes. Well done to Alex, and although I like Hayden, Alex should have won. His filling was smooth and Hayden’s was gritty, but hello, who cares? Hayden was set up to win so something as trivial as the apprentice having the better dish wasn’t going to stand in the way of this rigged, I mean, well thought out decision.

Injera: “Michael notes that he’s seeing that being an apprentice is pretty tough. Ya think? Maybe that’s why you noobs have decided to skip proper training to go on TV”
aaahahahaha, classic comment Injera, and everyone knows apprentice chefs work their arses off with ridiculous hours, average to below average pay packets as well as the blood, sweat and tears. Hope the monkey’s learned something from this but somehow I doubt it.

28 Maz { 05.11.11 at 11:05 am }

All I noticed last night was how tactile the girls were with Hayden. They can’t seem to keep their hands off him.

Poor Alex. Bet he was chewed out when out of airshot. He should have been given the recipe.

29 Izobel2 { 05.11.11 at 12:34 pm }

In Adelaide we saw the judges scores for Alex’s plate, then the FIREBALL to the ad, then it cut to a short budget ad, then up pops Bondi Vet…. so thanks Injera for the quick recap as I was straight on to for the result cos stupid Chan 10 didn’t bother with the result! I hope that is the end of the plain colour hats for Hayden. I don’t like them. I’m enjoying the season, but I still want more dishes shown each night.. Even if they only flash it on the screen for 2 seconds and cut out the stupid repeats after each fireball ad break. And yeah I agree with the Eagle Eye comment, you’d have to have eagle eyes to see that burnt tomato from the peanut gallery!

30 Emma { 05.11.11 at 1:18 pm }

I felt so sorry for the apprentice! I can’t believe he wasn’t given the recipe, it’s not like he’s a fully fledged chef.

I’m never sure what the point of these pressure tests are – are Masterchef saying that some random home cook is better than a professionally trained chef? It seems a bit stupid to me – it would be better if the test was used to give the contestants a reality check rather than letting them think they’re better than someone who’s trained for years …

31 sourkraut { 05.11.11 at 1:35 pm }

You were right with your first assumption. There WAS an AWFUL reality show on at the same time called the swan.
So, you all think its rigged? How dare you?
Actually this year is so much more of the same old same old its hardly worth the effort of rolling a lazy eye over the contest, with nothing new left to say about it.
I want to see a wet bikini cook off for the females and a balls of steel cooking contest for the men. Lets have some REAL reality.

32 auds { 05.11.11 at 2:54 pm }

I also agree Alex was set up to fail. He should have at the very least been given the recipe. I feel so sorry for him as I am sure his boss by now has torn him a new one!

Having said that I am happy for Dicky Knee that he won immunity. I think he is a quiet and likeable bloke who might surprise a few

33 NT Kate { 05.11.11 at 5:17 pm }

Hmm I think you are all off the mark in feeling sorry for Alex.

He is supposed to be the star apprentice, and I agree with Gary’s intro spiel – that means knowing the dishes on your restaurants menu.

The apprentice already had the big advantage of knowing the list of dishes from which the challenge would be chosen, seeing them being prepared, and probably doing parts of it himself.

And even if that were not true, if you know you’ve been dobbed into to appear on MC, you would be mad not to have done a practice run or two on each of them.

I actually do like Hayden. It is obvious why the producers might like him (think overseas markets), but having North give him the extra point lent the result a bit of credility (not to mention emphasising the wisdom of having an external judge).

It is obvious that Hayden has a good strategic brain – his choice of Moules fites for the last challenge was pretty high risk given its simplicity, but he managed to demonstrate that he can at least cook something simple well – not least a good chip (which if you will recall is more than previous MC winners have managed in more than a few challenges – Julie stuffed it up in the Navy challenge in season 1, and Adam I think in a fish and chip cook off!). But maybe its just becuase I like Mussels and chips too, for the same reasons he articulated!

So I hope Hayden goes far…

34 Injera { 05.11.11 at 6:09 pm }

Davsimp – those monkeys really don’t have much of a clue regarding self-preservation, do they?

Maz – I didn’t pick that up. I think I’m still so confused as to who half the contestants are that I tune out unless it’s a to-camera with caption! I’ll keep my eyes out for that.

Emma – a reality check would be a great idea. Instead, we’ll just get gentle Masterclasses and an undeserved sense of superiority. At least I don’t think Hayden will let it go to his head.

Sourkraut – I really don’t know why you haven’t been picked up as a showrunner by now! Balls of steel, indeed…

auds – Dicky Knee. Gold.

NTKate – I love mussels and chips, too! In fact, I’d love some right about now. Mmmm. Chips.

Izobel2 – I can’t *believe* they cut the end of the show! Somebody at the local station will be in all sorts of trouble, I’d imagine. It’s not as though they were taking a live feed from the vet, right?

35 littlepetal { 05.11.11 at 7:00 pm }

Anyone saw the video clips on official website??? I didn’t. They did it again. Some episodes for week 3 were up there!!!! Someone in Channel Ten need to be shot.

36 Injera { 05.13.11 at 7:21 am }

Story on MSN saying that Pavoni thought the task was too difficult, in particular that Alex didn’t have the recipe:

37 Food television - is it over? | ...blah blog blah... { 06.20.11 at 10:25 am }

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