Masterchef Australia – Qantas First Class Challenge
Is the Dalai Lama really Neil Perry? He told Danielle when prepping her snapper to prep it with lots of love and lots of care. As there were a lot of wonderful’s and beautiful’s when describing his dishes.
One thing I really loved about Neil Perry tonight, as I don’t think he is a natural TV talent, was his enthusiasm when the food was being plated up and how he interacted with contestants at this time. It was like he was in his natural habitat. Made me realise why his restaurants are so good. His standards are exacting.
Tonight the challenge was for the remaining cheftestants to cook eight dishes from Neil Perry’s Qantas first class menu. The guests would be two famous chefs who happened to be Thomas Keller from The French Laundry in California, and Per Se in NYC, and Andoni Luis Aduriz from Mugaritz in Spain.
They had also brought in 24 Qantas VIP frequent flyers to eat the food, what I found interesting was the high number of young females there were. The few times I have been in the Chairman’s Lounge, it has been all middle aged men and no babes.
One criticism I had about tonight’s challenge was they only got 60 minutes to prep and only 20 minutes to serve (though I am sure there was some fudging on this). I thought they should have given them an extra 15 minutes of prep time to ensure they did plate up something decent.
They were placed in teams of two and told which course they were going to cook. The teams allegedly picked by the judges, but obviously the producers wanted to create some tension by placing certain people together.
For example Sun and Dani, both feisty personalities were cooking together. Also they placed the oldest and youngest together Kumar and Ellie.
The dishes were:
Course 1 – “a beautiful crab and fennel salad” – Dani and Sun cooked together, and Dani revealed that whilst she was a glass half full person, Sun was a glass half empty kind of girl.
There big drama was surrounding cooking and shelling the crab in the timeframe. They were stressed about leaving crab shell in the crab meat, and inevitably there was some cartilage found. I loved it when Matt Preston raised this when he was giving the teams the judges view, Sun rubbed Dani on the arm as if to indicate, to everyone that it was Dani’s fault this occurred. I suspect there is no love lost between this pair.
Also Matt said by finding crab cartilage in their food it would appear they were rushing it. In may opinion they had to rush because of the ridiculous plating deadlines.
Course 2 – “a wonderful leek and goat cheese tart” – Craig and Rachael worked well together, but they were pushed for time, and the pastry was too thick.
Thomas expected the pastry to be more refined. Andoni thought there was not enough salt, and not enough dressing on the salad.
Course 3 – “a beautiful lobster and burghul wheat salad” – Ellie and Kumar were really pushed for time as they were still making sauces when they should have been plating up. Matt Preston said “Most complete of all the dishes we have had so far.
Thomas concurred ” good point so we can progress from here.” which indicated he thought the previous courses were ordinary.
Course 4 – “snapper poached in garam masala and coconut milk” – Kate and Danielle were a strong team with very little drama. Thomas Keller thought the flavour profiles of the dish were good.
Course 5 – “poached duck with master stock with XO sauce ” – Adam and Alana. The duck was perfectly cooked, but the XO sauce was a let down. Unfortunately for Alana she was the one responsible for that.
Couse 6 – Slow-roasted sirloin, anchovy butter, potato gratin – Mat and Billy – wasn’t this a clusterfuck by Mat? First he cut the beef wrong so it would not cook in time, then he sweated into the food. Also when they were plating up they were about to plate up cold and very rare beef. And Neil Perry told the to get it hot. Matt panfried it and ended up being told it was the best protien of the night.
I thought it was a bit unfair that Neil and George intervened on this, as it definitely saved them from being bottom two.
Course 7 – “golden syrup pudding and caramelised apple” – Shannon and Michael. Thomas Keller is Michael’s idol, and he was pretty excited to meet him. However their dessert was far too dense.
Course 8 – “gorgeously rich caramel and chocolate tart” – Hayden and Peter again were struggling for time as they had to set the ganache on top of the tart. However it looked great, but Andoni said ” not such a great impression on the taste”.
Did Andoni like anything? In the end Matt Preston skillfully got around it by asking what he did like about the dish.
Kate and Danielle won, with Kate to cook for immunity pin on Tuesday night.
The bottom two teams were, Rachael and Craig and Michael and Shannon. If I was a betting person I think either Craig or Shannon will go.