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Masterchef Australia – The Eco Challenge

Unfortunately for Masterchef Australia they could not quite time their eco challenge to screen on World Environment Day on June 5, but it is quite impressive they were only 10 days out.

But before we even got to the challenge, we had to, sit through a synopsis by Peter Vickery stiltingly  describing the waste and recycling systems they had in the Masterchef house. Seriously who gives a rats. This will be the first and last time we will hear or see these systems on the show. I am surprised they didn’t have a helicopter shot of solar panels on the roof.

The challenge was set at a pop up restaurant The Green House by Joost, with the head chef being Matt Stone. This restaurant falls squarely in the mould of “stuff white people like” people go and eat at these places to salve their conscience for all the damage their middle class lifestyle does to the planet. Like the overseas holidays, the 4wd’s (required for their annual camping trip of course), and Apple products produced in China.

Of course having it overlook the harbour is a nice drawcard as well. Sorry about the rant, and there is probably a fair bit of hypocrisy from me as well. Excuse me whilst I make my organic bircher museli for breakfast.

The restaurant is a no waste one, they churn their own butter, and ground their own flour. I was surprised that Craig when he was making the butter said how good it was to know the only thing in it was milk!

I think I will take the store bought one with cream in it thank you very much.

I noted the wines in the restaurant were Voice Of The People by The Natural Selection Theory. They are organic. They are very nice wines. (I must declare our kids are in the same class…)

The team challenge today for them to make five dishes and one dessert, with the caveat the waste must be kept to a minimum. The 66 guests were to vote, and the team that used the least waste got 10 more votes, the teams did not know of this bonus prior to the end of the challenge.

Sun was captain of the blue team, and Craig was captain of the red team. Quite frankly I thought neither really were fabulous in the role. Sun couldn’t quite get a handle on things, and Craig who got lucky with a team that worked to me just was not assertive enough.

Just to drum it into us we repeatedly had to hear that Hayden had never been in a winning team challenge. I thought hmm I wonder what this could mean.

It was a weirdly edited episode, as I never really got a handle on all they cooked or what the judges thought of it. Speaking of judges it was nice to have a break from George Calombaris and have the Green House chef Matt Stone take his place.

Highlights from the challenge:

  • Sun saying I need to get the service sorted out, one minute after Gary Mehigan had to stage an intervention and pep talk telling them to get their shizzle together;
  • Dani’s cute reaction to talking to her food hero Luke Nguyen. She kept bursting out laughing when talking to him, and after she finished serving her food, she burst into tears. It worked he voted for the red team in the end.
  • Hayden wsa serving king prawns with the shells on. I had only previously seen this with smaller prawns, but it did appear to work.
  • Shannon’s dessert going absolutely pear shaped. She couldn’t make the meringue as she had no sugar and was using sugar cane juice, her creme anglais was not cooked properly, nor were her peaches, and she had to make the crumble in a wok. Some of this was her fault but also she apparently did not have much access to the oven. You could see all her team mates huffing and puffing about her.

All the food looked good, apart from Shannon’s dodgy dessert.

The blue team won with 45 votes to 21, and this was without the extra ten votes they had accrued for using the least amount of waste.

The two most praised dishes were Alana’s dessert, and Kate’s pizzas. So the two that got to go to Melbourne to Gary’s restaurant Fenix were Alana and Hayden. Hayden got the guernsey because of his pimping the blue team front of house. So it is not always all about the food on this show.

 

47 comments

1 skye { 06.15.11 at 9:48 pm }

Oh it was all so bogus and exactly “things white people like”! I was laughing at the sugar cane juice – seriously how is a bit of farmed sugar cane, that’s been trucked and/or flown from up north and will end up as green waste from the restaurant kitchen, any more meaningfully eco friendly or sustainable than milled sugar?

Also, what are “sustainable chefs”?

2 Paul { 06.15.11 at 10:00 pm }

Love your work RR.

This episode sounded like it had been sponsored by Marickville Council!!!

3 AnonyMousse { 06.15.11 at 10:00 pm }

As soon as they pointed out Hayden hadn’t won a challenge yet, I figured his side had won and went off and did something else for half an hour. Got back in time to see Shannon stuffing up a dish (yes, yes – I know what you’re saying: “Be more specific, AnonyMousse, that could have been anytime.”). Found I didn’t really miss the half-hour of not watching the show – yeah, nowhere near as engaged in this show as last season.

Sun’s depressed ‘Yeah, we’ve lost’ with no similar opinion from the opposing side pretty much sealed the deal, so there was no tension in the team win’s reveal for me. Note to Masterchef editors: not all of us need our clues to be delivered by sledgehammer.

And lastly, I’ve rarely seen someone spruik being slave labour for a day as being such a fantastic prize as well as Gary did in this episode. If I ever reach my dream of being a tyranical dictator, I know who I’ll hire to recruit workers for my salt mines.

4 seepi { 06.15.11 at 10:09 pm }

I liked it. Things like the whole prawns and th sugar cane juice get people thinking about what can be done differently. I’m not eating a prawn shell anytime soon though.

I was also happy to see the blokes trotted out to charm the customers and sell the food instead of the young girls.

5 NT Kate { 06.15.11 at 10:20 pm }

Yes totally bogus, but hey this is all about showcasing the latest foodie trends, and maybe they needed a good counter after the Heston Blumenwaster catastrophe (how many kilos of tomatoes for a spoonful of sauce was that again?!). And in fairness, I think we did hear about the wormfarm/composting at the house (instituted by Kumar) earlier on.

And maybe the odd editing was the result of a quick reedit to take out as much of Matt the sleaze as possible?!

Have to say Hayden is looking pretty good at the moment to take it all out, and I think that is strategy, not just manipulation or luck. First he has clearly taken on board our stratego’s advice to just not lose (at least on the individual challenges!) rather than strive to win at this stage. Secondly, in team challenges he does just enough cooking-wise as to be not to blame. His prawn dish seemed to me classic example of his approach. A good idea in the context, and once again clearly very well executed, but presumably not out of his personal stash of knock-them-dead – dishes (assuming he has some!), which is sensible – why give them up until it can really count for him as an individual? Thirdly, I don’t see anything wrong with the charm factor counting. If they actually want to make a career in this industry, salesmanship is just as important as the product – if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t have this whole celebrity chef phenomenon.

Has he got anything to show off in terms of genuine creativity? The problem is we’ll never know at this rate! It is a real shame that they’ve ditched the times when they could cook without risk of elimination – the ‘prize’ for the old mystery box test of picking the core ingredient never seemed to help the winner, but winning did show us what they were made of (not to mention help making the show be about the actual cooking)!

Why couldn’t they have competed for example, to go to the KL masterclass – though presumably the non-random pick was because Commonwealth money and other sponsors wouldn’t have wanted Goth recipe-on-my-phone Matt advertising their wares…

6 rebekah { 06.15.11 at 10:30 pm }

who was the girl eating in the restaurant who said “the blue’ teams prawns are good”… was she a model from Australia’s next top model from years ago???

7 Michelle { 06.15.11 at 10:44 pm }

Rebekah, I spotted that too. I think it was Alex. (Cycle 4 I think? The one where Demelza won, Alex was second)

8 littlepetal { 06.15.11 at 10:46 pm }

Firstly, why is Craig making butter in a Sunbeam mixer? Why not churning the butter in a wooden tub? Wouldn’t Craig be using more electricity to make the butter.

Is the sugar cane machine electric? It’s look like those use in Cabramatta. I grew up drinking heaps of sugar cane juice. They are manually squeezed out in a green machine.

It was very painful watching tonight episode. Sun was so clueless and she was safe by the rest of the team. The others just took charge and got the job done. All she did was walk around not knowing what to do.

Don’t get me talking about Shannon. She wasted 20 mins trying to do meringue out of sugar cane juice?

9 Fides { 06.15.11 at 10:53 pm }

Sun had me fuming in this one. Don’t know why I cared so much, considering blues won yet again, but they should have staged a mutiny. Hope she never gets the captain’s apron again because don’t want to see her sour face radiating all that negativity and bringing down a team. Did like when Adam told her to calm down, and then it showed her commenting about how she needed to calm her team down…

Ellie’s disappointed reaction to getting a red apron was interesting… was it b/c reds are cursed this year, or because Hayden was on the blue team?

Agree Dani’s reaction when Luke Nguyen first approached was gorgeous. I don’t like her, but it was cute seeing the panic and excitement in her eyes.

Made deep fried large prawns for the first time the other night. I can usually eat deep fried little prawns like chips, but the big ones were surprisingly good, you just gotta watch out eating the heads – they can be pretty spiky!

10 EH { 06.15.11 at 11:01 pm }

Good piece, RR. This episode was painful to watch. Kept wondering why MC is torturing the viewers by keeping Sun & Shannon and sending Jay & Cleo home.

11 AT { 06.15.11 at 11:06 pm }

alright now i’m convinced that the red team is cursed this season.

12 JaniceG { 06.15.11 at 11:34 pm }

I was really sorry to see the blues pull this one out, mainly because Sun was such a freaking disaster as a team captain. Not only didn’t she provide any leadership but I don’t think she cooked anything either: just wandered around with a dazed look on her face. And although I like Peter, this is the second team challenge where he’s said in interviews that he noticed something going pear-shaped but never brought it to the attention of others on his team who might have helped fix it. OTOH, the challenge was focused on reducing waste and they clearly did a better job on that.

The only reason I’m glad that the reds lost is that Shannon deserved to lose both challenges I’ve seen her in but she’s always managed to escape, and I hope her number will finally be up. I kept hoping someone on the red team was going to invite her to look at the great view at the edge of the restaurant roof and then “Oops…”

I’m glad Gary told the red team that they had the votes of the majority of the chefs in attendance. Their food seemed to be a higher standard except for their weak dessert.

I find it ironic that the one time I would have liked to see a team only have to pick two of its members for elimination (clearly Shannon would be one), they’re all up. I wonder how they decide this: do they use a Magic 8 Ball or some other random device? Doesn’t seem to be any pattern to it.

13 Jess { 06.15.11 at 11:37 pm }

Yeah, I thought a lot of the stuff they did was not eco-friendly at all. But it ‘does’ sound like something white people would like!
I didn’t like the hidden ten-vote bonus, though. They really should be told all the rules before competing.

14 Oshada { 06.15.11 at 11:51 pm }

Am I the only one who thinks Dani is cute? Surely not!

15 Katez { 06.16.11 at 12:32 am }

Not alone Oshada, I think she’s adorable! Don’t really understand all the hate, to me she’s really likable.

16 Mac { 06.16.11 at 1:19 am }

I love Dani. People just don’t like her because they believe she gets too much airtime which surely isn’t her fault. The editors obviously adore her.

17 PollyB { 06.16.11 at 7:19 am }

Yes, the editing of this ep was woeful, couldn’t get into it. Sun was like a granny with Alzheimers, wandering around as if completely lost. Please, please, please let Shannon be gone. RR, I thought the same thing about George not being there. And regarding Gary’s restaurant, didn’t it nearly fold earlier this year cos he wasn’t paying ex-investors 100’s of $1,000s he owed? Why would he need to spruik it so much if it is doing any good, he has a high enough profile as it is. Maybe he doesn’t cater to the customers preference, as the red team didn’t seem to last night, even though the chefs liked their nosh.

18 librarygirl { 06.16.11 at 7:35 am }

Sun frowning at people who tried to speak with her: she looked as if they were speaking in a foreign language. I think she just went to pieces, as Rachel did in the Blumenthal challenge.
The whole eco aspect was bogus, this show demonstrates week after week there is no regard for sustainability or seasonal eating. I’m still recovering from seeing them cook that trifle in Masterclass a few weeks ago. Seven punnets of raspberries, in May. They are $10 per punnet currently – even in raspberry season – December – they are six dollars or something.
A seasonal locavore 100 mile food challenge – THAT I would like to see.

19 AnonyMousse { 06.16.11 at 7:45 am }

Mac – no, the reasons people have stated for not liking her is because of several actions where she’s been negative towards other people or has overtly or covertly blamed others for issues in team challenges to divert attention away from herself. Personally I am neutral in this – I neither like or dislike her (like most of the contestants this year, I don’t find her interesting enough either in a hero or villain way to form an opinion on her).

20 Suziekue { 06.16.11 at 8:55 am }

@littlepetal – not surprised about the butter being mixed in the Sunbeam – just another ad placement. In the Blumenthal challenge Sunbeam got to showcase its mixmaster, deepfryer, food mincer and pressure cooker. Hmmm makes me wonder whether Heston was asked specifically for a recipe challenge that used as many Sunbeam appliances as possible.
On another note, I’m curious about the use of wooden boards as plates. Is it because they are wooden that they are deemed eco-friendly? But wouldn’t (‘scuse the pun) they use more resources in getting them clean again because of their absorbent nature? Sorry – feeling a little pedantic this morning….Btw – still waiting for a dish I want to cook in my kitchen, though the dessert last night did look tempting and more importantly achievable in my kitchen.

21 Maz { 06.16.11 at 9:52 am }

The vibe of this whole episode was Sun really is not liked by the other contestants. They are not even pretending now.

Are we to infer from Gary in choosing only two contestants (as opposed to Geo’s Press Club Challenge last year) that even the judges have now conceded that this lot are not the best ‘amata’ chefs in Australia.

As to the challenge itself, if being mindful of waste they still manage to produce over 40kg what do they produce in an average challenge.

Can we subclassify the white people as inner city soy-latte sipping lefties?

Weren’t they using bottle lids as dessert plates as well last night? Bet they feel all warm and fuzzy that night.

22 Culinary Boner { 06.16.11 at 10:05 am }

Speaking of bogus, they missed their chance go the whole hog (oops, i mean whole free-range, organic, biodyanamic hog-shaped legume pie) and make the whole thing a fundraiser for the Greens. I thought the whole waste weighing challenge was a pathetic over simplification of a complex issue. Sure a well-designed menu can reduce waste from the outset, but real restaurants have multiple sittings and thus can re-use trimmings etc… throughout the day. And different types of wastes have different environmental impacts. A sustainable restaurant would have a kitchen garden for herbs and, if more advanced, veg. So vegetable waste should be separated from meat and general rubbish and composted.

Did the red team have more veg waste than the blues? Whose waste was mainly beef fat? Why wasn’t George made to climb into the bins and separate the wastes into those that could be re-used and the stuff for chucking? Why do mobile “eco”-restaurants look like giant urinals, what with them grimy white walls covered in graffiti? Why were they no close ups of dicks drawn on the walls? I ask you, is this anyway to run a urinal?

Back on topic. What’s the carbon footprint of a mobile “eco”-restaurant? What was the carbon footprint of each team’s menu? C’mon Ten it would have been possible to make a bit more effort and do a proper eco-analysis, not just the usual meaningless and misleading symbolic nonsense that, as raver points out, ‘white people like’.

23 Thomas { 06.16.11 at 10:43 am }

So the prize for this green challenge lets you FLY down to Melbourne? Uhh….

24 Chunks { 06.16.11 at 11:03 am }

Losing.The.Will.To.Go.On.Watching.

25 scruffnkelsmum { 06.16.11 at 12:33 pm }

thought it a bit rude that Gary commented about the chefs preferring the red team’s food, when the majority obviously preferred the blue’s- maybe the chef’s were a bit pretentious???

the bottom line is that you have to please the customers- and they preferred the blues- overwhelmingly. sour grapes comment from Gary IMO.(& not sure why he said it)

I would like to see Sun & Shannon go please :):)

26 Fides { 06.16.11 at 12:44 pm }

So Gary must think Tony Bilson is not a chef? They didn’t show how Kylie Kwong voted, but she commented that she was giving three ticks (or was it two thumbs up?) to the blue team.

I reckon Gary’s playing mind games emphasising that it was Shannon’s terrible dessert that did them in. It worked for getting rid of Andrew didn’t it…

27 brain dead dave { 06.16.11 at 1:33 pm }

(contains spoiler)

Ch 10’s teasers for tonight are saying that Ellie and Dani are the two contenders for elimination .

I wouldn’t have picked that….unless CH 10 are playing ducks and drakes.It didn’t sound like that.

28 auds { 06.16.11 at 1:52 pm }

Please Lord let it be Sun that goes next week. She makes me want to poke my own eyes out with a cooked prawn head!

29 littlepetal { 06.16.11 at 2:15 pm }

Possible Spoiler

Ellie again! If it is true than Dani is gone. Only guessing

30 brain dead dave { 06.16.11 at 2:17 pm }

Eco friendly? Just consider the extra jet fuel it’s going to take to get Matt Preston and a trunk of cravats to New York and back. Gary and George just add to the burden. They’ll give the onboard hospitality a caning.

31 kingfisher { 06.16.11 at 2:57 pm }

tonights reward for the winners ,gary says 2 unlucky winners will come to my restaurant “feel u up” or something like that ? i’m sure i heard crickets or a tumble weed blow past . whoohoo let’s lose . did anyone notice how empty his restaurant was we counted 6 empty tables . how much energy was used in that eco place ,also he had wood burning in his pizza oven , you think about have recycled sawdust blocks in the oven before pieces of cut down trees. o’k ,people try to be eco friendly and i like going out to a swish place when i get a babysitter , now if i had a opportunity to go out for a meal and somebody brings me my meal out on a piece of wood and then gives me recycled cutlery and then to finish my meal off with a desert and then to have cream on a jam lid!! that’s it i’m going home and turn on every powerpoint that i can find to so as to get back at all the greenies who have ruined my swish night out!!!!!!.
ellie and shannon to go please p.s bring back jay so we have a real top 5 cook off .
thats it now i have to find a babysitter .

32 kingfisher { 06.16.11 at 5:57 pm }

is it me RR or is masterchef a dud this year the reason is compared to last year , there were far more comments regarding mc shows on RR than this year . has the public had enough ?

33 Gabs { 06.16.11 at 7:20 pm }

Can’t believe they pulled their team aprons out of individual (new) plastic bags on the eco challenge.

34 StuMont { 06.16.11 at 7:27 pm }

I think it’s plainly obvious that the producers of the show specifically tried to not have people in this year’s show whose current job would normally require a University education for.
Let’s look at Last Year’s contestant’s and my view of their listed occupation:
Adam Liaw Lawyer Uni
Callum Hann Student Uni
Claire Winton Burn Lawyer Uni
Jimmy Seervai Food Ingredient Researcher Non-Uni
Courtney Roulston Bar manager Non-Uni
Alvin Quah Scientific Affairs Manager Uni??
Aaron Harvie Band manager Non-Uni
Jonathan Daddia IT Consultant Uni
Marion Grasby Student Uni
Peter Kritikides Lawyer Uni
Joanne Zalm Mother Non-Uni
Matthew Caldicott Accountant Uni
Sharnee Rawson 21 Law Student Uni
Skye Craig Graphic Designer Non-Uni??
Jake Bujayer Cement Renderer Non-Uni
Fiona Inglis Teacher Uni
Carrie Johnston Ex-Human Resources Manager Non-Uni
Philip Vakos Auditor Uni
Daniel Aulsebrook Recently made redundant Non-Uni
Dominic Corrigan Company Director Non-Uni??
Adele Fragnitio Hairdresser Non-Uni
Kate Nugara Teacher Uni
Devon Headland 30 QLD Builder Non-Uni

So that means 11+1 were Uni and 9+2 Non-Uni occupations. So a pretty even split.

But this year 2011 -look at the make up:
Adam Bowen Scuba Diving Instructor Non-uni
Alana Lowes Journalist Non-Uni??
Billy Law Web Designer Non-Uni??
Craig Young 43 Professional Musician Non-Uni??
Dani Venn 25 Publicist Non-Uni
Danielle Dixon 29 Admin Manager Non-Uni
Ellie Paxton-Hall Student Nurse Non-Uni
Hayden Quinn Professional Lifeguard Non-Uni
Kate Bracks 36 Mum Non-Uni
Kumar Pereira 62 Design Teacher Uni??
Mat Beyer 23 IT Tech Support Uni??
Michael Weldon 25 Film Projectionist Non-Uni
Peter Vickery Account Manager Non-Uni
Shannon Smyth Receptionist Non-Uni
Sun Etheridge Credit Analyst Non-Uni
Rachel McSweeney Office Administrator Non-Uni
Arena Dunn 25 Personal Trainer Non-Uni
Jay Huxley Car Sales Manager Non-Uni
Andrew Henderson Youth Worker Non-Uni
Cleo Kerameas Executive Assistant Non-Uni
Chelsea Fammartino Retail Assistant Non-Uni
Seamus Ashley Graphic & Web Designer Non-Uni ??
Alex Glasson CNC Machinist Non-Uni
Tom Rutledge General Manager Non-Uni

That means there 2 people vaguely resembling a University type occupation in Kumar and Goth Matt (ha ha!) and 18+4 whose current occupation do not resemble University degree occupations.

So can you see why this year has a totally different feel to last year – there aren’t too many brainy people on the show when Goth-Matt might be deemed the most educated contestant!!!

My apologies to anyone’s occupation I may have offended – I have just made an educated guess as to the qualifications required – but I think you can see my point is pretty clear – they didn’t want University trained people in this year’s show.

35 thedude { 06.16.11 at 7:56 pm }

I seriously hope channel ten producers/powers that be read these posts as I vehemently agree with everyone what a dud this year’s season is. It’s paltry predictable viewing and I hazard a guess that they’ve lost a lot of viewers this year.

36 AnonyMousse { 06.16.11 at 8:46 pm }

StuMont – I’m afraid there’s a lot of assumptions in your post as a job does not necessarily denote a person’s academic level. Hayden definitely has a degree, for example. Other jobs like Sun’s, Peter’s and Tom’s (depending on what he’s a General Manager of) are much harder (if not impossible, depending on the company) to get without a degree.

Nevertheless, I agree that there was a broader job range this year, many of which weren’t uni-based. But then again, I wouldn’t think a uni degree should mean much as far as a person’s ability to cook goes.

37 Stumont { 06.17.11 at 5:18 am }

AnonyMousse, Even if you say there are 5 or 6 with degree-worthy jobs I still think there is a significant difference. I just think there aren’t so many bright sparks on this show who know how to apply concepts learned and apply them to new situations – something a degree often indicates the ability to do. They just don’t seem to be particularly clever as a bunch of people compared to last year’s group – that’s my point. Their jobs reflect this – while Hayden as a lifeguard may have a degree, you don’t need a degree to be a lifeguard. Your qualitites as a lifeguard will be quite different to a lawyer for instance. People who go to Uni regularly sit and pass pressure test exams while these guys quite often crumble under such pressure tests.

38 Masterchef Tragic { 06.17.11 at 7:05 am }

Sun did absolutely nothing as a team captain. She fluffed about and her team was completely without direction. Also I didn’t see her cook a thing. Because of that Gary had to intervene and Hayden decided to serve the prawns first. The Red Team was much better organised and had much better service and apparently they lost all over a dessert and the fact they had too much waste which meant 10 extra points for the Blues. Also Gary pointed out to the Red Team how excellent their team captain was. I am still not sure how the Blue Team ended up with a landslide win.

I can’t stand the way Sun talks, i just don’t like her tone of voice.

39 scruffnkelsmum { 06.17.11 at 7:08 am }

I think a degree is irrelevant to the ability to cook. it is pointless being able to think of concepts etc, if your cooking ability means you can’t adequately apply them. I fail to see how the ability to regurgitate facts (often all that is needed to get a degree) can help with cooking ability. chefs do apprenticeships (not degrees) for a reason.

Practical ability, cooking experience, life skills (coping under pressure), and that innate skill with cooking, are what count most in this show….oh, or being the producer’s pet!!

40 AnonyMousse { 06.17.11 at 7:15 am }

Yeaqh, sorry Stumont but I really can’t see the logic of your argument. I have a degree, and I know plenty of tradies who are better cooks than me. And I’ve encountered far more pressure tests in a workplace setting then I ever did at uni (where I was given several weeks notice of any impending exams that I’d have to sit).

41 littlepetal { 06.17.11 at 8:07 am }

Just because you have a degree doesn’t mean you are brainie and can cook! Hubby got a degree but can’t cook (even with a cookbook)

Lots of jobs make you think on the feet, even lifeguards have to think on their feet.

Also you can be in a profession that may not need a degree doesn’t mean the person doesn’t have a degree. It could be career change.

42 Cecilia { 06.17.11 at 8:20 am }

Hmm… last time I checked, a “student nurse” required a degree… O_o
But yeah, as someone who has been in uni for almost eight years now, I’m not too convinced on it’s apparent ability to help students face high pressure challenges… I certainly don’t find any of my exams particularly “high” in pressure, nor do they require me to have the improvisation skills like the Masterchef challenges do… And if I had to do a Masterchef challenge, I’m pretty sure I would crash and burn just as much as Shannon… -_-6

43 Crabtech { 06.17.11 at 8:32 am }

To be nurse you now have to do a degree so Ellie is a uni student. George has not gone to uni and chefs don’t have degrees. Kylie k never did an apprenticeship just worked in restaurant. And i think someone said that Blementhal didnt do an apprenticeship. So there is no hard and fast rule about how one gets to be a chef.

44 littlepetal { 06.17.11 at 12:14 pm }

You need to have passion for food and also a good tastebud. Nothing to do with a uni degree. LOL when my friend told me her daughter who is a final year student couldn’t even cook a 2 min noodles !!!

45 StuMont { 06.17.11 at 7:36 pm }

If you are randomly picking people then of course you are right – a degree doesn’t make a good chef or a good cook. But when you get a bunch of amateurs with similar desires – winning masterchef – then I’ll go for the smart cookies to do consistently well and interest me -such as Marion (Masters student), Adam – lawyer; Claire – lawyer, Alvin Scientific Affairs manager etc from M2. When you don’t have such people within a MIX of Masterchef contestants then the show loses BALANCE. This is the point I make – not that you must have a degree to win Masterchef -Julie didn’t have a degree but had heart and was an interesting personality – and so are some of this year’s contestants – but many are so much like tweedledum and tweedledee – the variety is missing (and in quite a few cases the ability) – that’s my point! I notice another poster said one person was told she couldn’t be on the show because she was too good already – she wouldn’t get better over the nine months. It’s this attitude – “too good already” or “Don’t want more lawyers and smartie-pants molecular gastronomes” from the producers that has ended up with alot of very similar uninspiring cooks. So I hope you understand where I’m coming from – even if you don’t agree!

46 BenSmith { 06.19.11 at 11:44 pm }

StuMont – I think your list of the 2011 contestants may be glossing over many of the individuals qualifications simply because you’ve made assumptions based on the conestants current employement. Alana for example has a double degree in Journalism and Law. I’m pretty sure, Kumar, Billy, Seamus, Tom, Craig and Hayden have tertiary level qualifications.

47 Steve { 06.21.11 at 6:01 pm }

BenSmith – ‘I’m pretty sure’ = I am a Climate Change skeptic. Science eliminates the above quote with proven facts, and that is what uni teaches the student – dont ‘I am sure’ unless you can PROVE IT.