for those who have reality tv as their guilty pleasure
Reality Ravings | Australia's leading Reality TV blog!

Masterchef – Chang Challenge

Last week we had Heston seeing off Rachel and Shannon seeing her elimination as an opportunity to do what she set out to do, which – if I’m not mistaken – was devoting three years to getting on Masterchef. Que sera sera… But that’s all in the past. Tonight! Prepare for David Chang and some people looking clueless about Asian ingredients.

Credits: Ellie’s clumsy collapsing of the apple pile makes me hope even more fervently that she doesn’t go back to nursing.

Alana’s hoping to get to the front of the pack this week. This tells me that she’s a risk of facing elimination by the end of the episode. Peter reminds us that they all want to be there, and Hayden says he doesn’t know what’s in store. Clearly he has the short-term memory problem that the producers think we have.

George tells us that Ellie is un-able to compete because she’s sick, so she will have to go straight through to the pressure challenge.

Tonight’s challenge, Gary tells us, is a mystery box.  A mystery box, “with a theme”.  So it’s like – gasp! – a mystery box and an invention test all in one.  Like, if you will, an “Invention Box Challenge”!   Dani laughs uproariously at this, but she is the only person besides Gary who seems to think that this is at all witty. Matt stands looking imperious with his hand in his pocket.

Contestants will be cooking with one of three core ingredients – beef, pork and mackerel. The pot in front of each contestant contains their core ingredient. This news prompts Matt to take his hand out of his pocket and strike a Napoleonic pose.  All the better to deliver the news about the challenge designer:

“Opening a restaurant in Sydney… numerous restaurants in Manhattan…”  Contestant Mat knows who the mystery chef is before Preston finishes his sentence. I suspect Peter still might not know who he is.  Yes, it’s David Chang and he is here to tell us about Korean food, as Preston is convinced none of us know what it is. Well, he’s probably right about most of the contestants. Mat is the only one who admits to having cooked with Korean ingredients, which Chang thinks is a courageous admission.

Cooking – 75 minutes

  • Danielle – braised tofu in a spicy sauce with crispy beef and perilla roll-ups.
  • Mat – marinated beef and rice, with a Korean inspired carpaccio.
  • Michael – is lost.
  • Dani – a Korean rice burger. She seems to think this is a wacky idea but the crappy food court at Melbourne Central had a Korean rice burger joint a few years ago.
  • Adam – doesn’t know what 95% of the ingredients are. The fireball clearly knocked some sense into him, as he comes back after the ad break making steamed mackerel on a bed of cabbage with fried tofu.
  • Peter – is making a plan. He’s making sushi, yakitori skewers and perilla roll-ups. Hang about… what’s with the perilla roll-up trend? He’s also doing a stir-fry of beef and tofu. Seems like he’s throwing everything around, hoping that something will stick.
  • Alana – doesn’t know how mackerel is supposed to be cooked, so will grill it and serve it with some sides.
  • Hayden – is talking in management-speak, taking Chang’s advice “on board”. He’s doing soup, beef, rice balls with perilla.

Dani is still pretending that she’s invented the rice burger idea. She’s making me angry. Gary’s totally buying her schtick, too. Mat is marinating beef and Michael is preparing his fish two-ways, hoping one will be palatable, I suspect.

“Holy mackerel, who’s got themselves in a pickle?” bellows George. He’s also making me angry.

Mat gets his hero moment with David Chang, which is good, since it seemed before the break that we were just going to get the deer-in-the-headlights edit. Adam gets advice from Chang and decides to ignore it.  I believe Kumar, Sun, Billy, Craig and Kate are still in the competition, although I have no evidence to back this up.

Danielle adds more sauce to her dish “because the judges love sauce”. She forgets that the judges also like you to taste your sauces before adding them and realises that it’s now too salty. This could end up working in her favour as she seems to have forgotten that the judges are obsessed with salt.

Prior to tasting, George tells our contestants that every single one has risen to the challenge. I guess there’s no bottom three tonight, then.

We see Dani’s rice burger just before the break as she giggles to herself that she might be insane. The people at Mos Burger probably agree. I’m looking forward to Dani “inventing” something wacky with a frankfurt and… a ROLL! Maybe she’ll call it a hot-dog! I wonder what she could come up with given some potatoes, a peeler and a deep fryer?  Maybe she’d be inspired by an idea to cut them into thin straws and then deep fry them!  She would probably think that the resulting deliciousness might be something French people would like.  French people.  Fried potato.  French. Fried.  French fries!  She’s a GENIUS.


  • Peter – he’s done a LOT in 75 minutes, it seems. There’s a ridiculous “pew-pew!” sound effect that is making it impossible for me to focus on anything Preston is saying. Chang thinks he’s done a fantastic job. George has an opinion, but I don’t give a rat’s.
  • Danielle – she tells Gary that it’s too salty. Silly, silly person. Gary has a taste followed by some panto staggering and water-swigging.
  • Dani – still thinks it’s her idea. She is insufferable. Chang likes it when people go for broke. Clearly he also likes it when people unashamedly rip off fast food chains.
  • Michael – mackerel is dry. He coulda been a contenda. George expects more.
  • Hayden – Preston likes the whole feel of the dish. Chang’s a fan.
  • Alana – Gary is disappointed with the fish and ambiguous about the presentation.
  • Adam – Preston does a double take when he tastes. He tells Adam that he should have listened to Chang’s advice.
  • Mat – Chang reassures Mat that there is such a thing as Korean carpaccio, and says he likes Mat’s version. Preston thinks the braised beef is as “boring as a 24 page double-glazing manual”. How… specific. The carpaccio is the best thing he’s tasted from Mat.


Top three:

  • Dani, with her totally ripped off Mos Burger. She still thinks she took a risk. This show might be half interesting if the judges had a clue.
  • Hayden
  • Peter

The winner is… Hayden. He wants another immunity pin, so hopefully his challenger tomorrow will be the work experience kid from the staff canteen.

Mat, Dani, Peter and Hayden are allowed to go.

Bottom three: Kumar, Billy and Kate.

Ha! Wouldn’t that be hilarious…

Bottom three (actual):

  • Danielle
  • Michael
  • Adam

Gary’s advice is to pull out all the stops. I hope there are some cliche books in the Masterchef house, because they will be handier than cookbooks at this stage. I wonder whether Adam smuggled a lotus root out to use as a loofah…


1 Kugelhopf { 06.20.11 at 12:38 pm }

@Ruby — Nobody can use their immunity pin (s) in the last week. If Hayden gets to the final two and hasn’t used any of his pins then the pins are useless

2 Culinary Boner { 06.20.11 at 12:51 pm }

Agree with NT Kate on the making of a mountain out of a molehill about having to cook mackerel – a fish ubquitous to most cuisines. As an oily, stronger flavoured fish (that is also pickled into rollmops, though these are more commonly herrings) it can be bbq’d, sauteed, fried, smoked and pickled. Steaming? Well you’d normally do this for drier, milder flavoured white fish to keep the more delicate flavour and texture at its best. One of the joys of the Sydney fish markets – which shall now always remain an undeveloped shithole, courtesy of its short sighted, privatise-the-profits- socialise-the-expenses retail owners – is watching people fork out up to $42/kg for flathead fillets while you can pay about $6-8/kg for perfect-to-bbq slimy mackerel. I presume the average MCA contestant has been similarly forking out big bucks for popular, high-demand fish, rather than learning to cook other varieties. I reckon a good challenge would be to put the contestants to the Curtis Stone $10 challenge for a family of 4 (2 Matts, 1 George and 1 Gary) at the Fish Markets. Though this time with the only ‘free’ ingredients being salt, pepper and a basic cooking oil. Oh, and no bloody Campbells ‘Real’ Stock.

3 Fides { 06.20.11 at 12:56 pm }

Ooh littlepetal – I’ve always had my eye on cooking Angry Bird but I know my insides can’t handle that much chilli. I’ll have oesphagitis for a week.. Did you use the proper Korean chilli bean paste? I think it was quite insulting last year, that to their eventual winner, that they didn’t show Gary asking for the recipe.

Hayden lives in Dee Why -I work there. Dee Why actually has quite a few Asian grocers (at least 6) and two of them are exclusively Korean. There’s a few Japanese places which are run by Koreans too so I wonder if he did try visiting those supermarkets to broaden his food knowledge.

Michael now looks like the sad labrador puppy from the Sorbent ad when it can’t get to the toilet paper.

And RR, can you start a spoiler thread like we had last year? Just so those of us who like these things can speculate to our hearts content?

4 marketeer { 06.20.11 at 12:59 pm }

MC is not about providing instruction in the kitchen (love the clangers tho!) and the US-style recap after each ad break is annoying as all hell. It’s about building a product – the creation of a new Masterchef Brand -complete with glossy book -FOR SALE at a supermarket near YOU (and that includes at Woollies, the competitor of the major sponsor.) Look at each contestant and imagine how a brand could be created around each of them.

Hayden has the Aussie sun sand and surf cachet, very marketable indeed . . . others less so. Not showing Kumar or Sun’s dishes kind of tells me they’re not wasting TV space on a non-contender for the final title. Yes indeed, the Hayden brand conjures up add-ons like Masterchef beach towels, thongs, maybe sarongs with his mop top and grin peeking cheekily through the fuschias . . .

5 akris { 06.20.11 at 1:07 pm }

@AnonyMousse: Of course it was Dani that said the Hayden Comment.. isn’t she only person allowed to talk now…. unless you’re bottom or top 3 of course.. but even then Dani commentary must take up 90% of the show.

Totally agree with everyone.. they’re probably going to get the winner of Junior Masterchef to go up against Hayden and and give them a 10 minute penalty on a 15 minute dish. Why don’t they just give him the title so they can finish the season already… They probably already do have his cookbook ready for distribution.. just to point out.. i have nothing against Hayden.. he does seem like a nice guy but his immunity win was BS compared to all the other immunity challenges other had to go through.

6 Paul { 06.20.11 at 1:09 pm }

God not this crap again.

The money generated from books and associated products is about 1 weeks worth of ads.

Sure, its nice to sell some product but the real money is in the ads and spinning off the franchise rights overseas.

Hows that brand around Adam going BTW?

7 Thomas { 06.20.11 at 1:39 pm }

Come on now you could build a brand around Kumar.. Matt would be harder. Kimchi for Goths? Maybe that’s why the studio has managed to get him phased out after the smartphone thing..

8 Maz { 06.20.11 at 1:51 pm }

@Thomas-think Goth Mat would be easier to build a brand around-the ‘impoverished uni student’.

9 Culinary Boner { 06.20.11 at 1:54 pm }

I think Matt the Goth would have been too ‘niche’ to market plus the following clear concept winner has already been taken:-

10 Kugelhopf { 06.20.11 at 1:58 pm }

@ Injera that “spoiler” on Matt Preston’s page has been taken down — either he was hacked or he made a big time boo-boo!

11 brain dead dave { 06.20.11 at 2:01 pm }

George’s momma will be on tonight. George might go the breast feed.

Danielle’s crying tonight,as Saints Deano pointed out above. “Everyone will be stunned” says the promo. Yawn…

These wannabes are prepared to whatever it takes to follow their food dream – unless it’s an apprenticeship.

I’m stunned at the appallingly low depths this “competition” is sinking to this season. Big fail for Matt Pre$ton and the chunderous green cravat he was packing last night, too.

12 Pollywaffle { 06.20.11 at 2:21 pm }

The winner is the least important brand within Masterchef. The show has deteriorated into a vehicle for boosting the brands of hosts and their ventures, guest chefs and their eateries, Coles and other advertisers.
More time this year was spent on negotiating the contracts of the hosts than in selecting the best contestants. The reduced screentime of Matt P defintelyreflects some of his unmet demands.

The contestants and the ‘competition’ are just thinly veiled reasons to serve up a heap of indulgent promotion on everyone else’s behalf.

Does Channel 10 actually care who wins when they’ve made a packet out of the show anyway? But I do hear they’ve got a remake of 2 fat ladies in the works with ejected contestants.

13 Pollywaffle { 06.20.11 at 2:24 pm }

BDD – will Danielle find out tonight she is George’s long lost sister Agapi given up at birth due to the olive drought?

14 SPOILER: Matt Preston Puts Spoiler On His Facebook Page | reality ravings { 06.20.11 at 2:30 pm }

[…] Tonight confirms Hayden does win another pin. Injera in her recap of the Chang episode may be right, Hayden does go head to head with the work experience kid from the work […]

15 JaniceG { 06.20.11 at 2:31 pm }

It might be gone from FB now but Matt P also had the spoiler on his Twitter feed, which annoyed me a bit — I guess he just loses track of what’s been seen by everyone else already. Luckily, I don’t care that much about watching immunity challenges (except that I thought Peter should have been in this one!)

16 Paul { 06.20.11 at 2:34 pm }

Please, please, please no spoilers on this thread.

17 Injera { 06.20.11 at 2:35 pm }

@Kugelhopf Yes, I went back to screen grab it but it was taken down. Not before a lot of people had seen and commented, though!

@JaniceG – I didn’t see the tweet. I don’t care so much either, but it’s a fairly capricious attitude to take towards the audience. I didn’t think the immunity challenge was held until tomorrow, so he’s WAY out… Perhaps judges should be subject to the same social media restrictions as contestants 😉

18 Culinary Boner { 06.20.11 at 2:56 pm }

An explanation for Matt the Fat’s poor memory on where he’s posted spoilers – ?

19 Paul { 06.20.11 at 3:03 pm }

BTW, Pollywaffle is exactly right.

Whoever wins is irrelevant. The money has already been made.

20 Kugelhopf { 06.20.11 at 3:14 pm }

Matt on his FB page:” Hi again, I removed the post because some people thought this was a Spoiler. I can you assure it wasn’t. I was only referring to his immunity from being eliminated this week”.
Makes sense…maybe…

21 brain dead dave { 06.20.11 at 3:22 pm }

Poor Matt Pre$ton, having to tear himself away from his umpteenth bone marrow risotto of the day to make that reassuring statement.

Pollywaffle ,we’ll see a Greek tragedy tonight for sure.

22 gabs38 { 06.20.11 at 3:27 pm }

Taiwan McDonalds had rice burgers when I was there about 3 years ago – nothing inventive there.

23 littlepetal { 06.20.11 at 3:53 pm }

@Fides. LOL when I first learn how to cook Korean food. I have to do some googling to learn the different pastes . Print the pictures for the pastes and went to Korean grocery shop to show it to the owner. He then tell me what to buy.

I didn’t add as many fresh chillies in the dish so it was not as hot because hubby can’t take too spicy food.

24 JaniceG { 06.20.11 at 4:23 pm }

@Kugelhopf: Nice try by Matt to CYA but there was no ambiguity in what he posted – it was a definite spoiler. At least it was for an immunity challenge and not an elimination challenge, which would have been far worse.

25 Peter Chang Its Only { 06.21.11 at 12:16 pm }

[…] Masterchef Australia – David Chang Challenge | reality ravings So it's like – gasp! – a mystery box and an invention test all in one. Like, if you will, an “Invention Box Challenge” Dani laughs uproariously at this, but she is the only person besides Gary who seems to think that this is at all I suspect Peter still might not know who he is. Yes, it's David Chang and he is here to tell us about Korean food, as Preston is convinced none of us know what it is. Well, he's probably right about most of the contestants. […]

26 Export Report: Checking In on Old Homestead, Balthazar, and Momofuku | GOTHAMER { 08.06.11 at 4:01 am }

[…] Star City Casino, according to a job posting listed earlier this week. (He also recently made an appearance on Australia’s crazy-popular version of […]

27 Food television - is it over? | ...blah blog blah... { 08.06.11 at 10:13 am }

[…]  My level of frustration is such that I only watch now when Reality Raver asks if I’ll recap1.  Otherwise,   I read her site to keep in touch with how things are going in the Masterchef […]

28 Export Report: Checking In on Old Homestead, Balthazar, and Momofuku | { 08.07.11 at 10:53 pm }

[…] Star City Casino, according to a job posting listed earlier this week. (He also recently made an appearance on Australia’s crazy-popular version of […]

29 David Chang’s Ramen from Lucky Peach | Cooking from the heart { 09.21.11 at 8:08 pm }

[…] Maybe you’ve heard of charismatic Korean-American chef, David Chang. You might be accused of living under a rock if you haven’t. His much-hyped Momofuku (translation = Lucky Peach) restaurants in New York are notoriously difficult to secure a reservation at. His first restaurant Momofuku Noodle Bar opened in 2003. Chang took exclusivity to new heights in 2008 with Momofuku Ko, a 12-seat 2-Michelin starred eatery with an online-only reservation system that allows bookings only six days in advance. Momofuku Ssam Bar and Momofuku Milk Bar (whose ‘Crack Pie’ is currently being trademarked) opened within the same year. After publishing the Momofuku cookbook in 2009 he established Má Pêche and another two Milk Bar outposts followed. More locally and most recently he appeared in this year’s Masterchef. […]