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Masterchef Australia – Tonight Was A Skit Not A Cooking Show

“Well they certainly like to drag it out” said Merle Parrish champion cake maker who for an 80 plus lady certainly described Masterchef Australia to a tee.

Now I liked Merle, and I liked the concept of the challenge, where a champion cake maker competes against a Masterchef contestant. But the whole thing turned into a bit of a skit.

In fact half way through I felt a bit sorry for Billy as it became obvious that like a cheesy romantic comedy movie the outcome was already known. There was no way they could let Merle lose as the Channel Ten switchboard would have lit up in protest.

Even the her sitting on a chair with her knitting with a pot of tea at the side really showed how scripted the show has become, and also Kate running down to get the bowls. No one was taking it seriously. In fact at times I found it a tad condescending to Merle.

The other thing that peeved me a bit was that Chris Mansfield was judge for this challenge. Don’t get me wrong I like Chris Mansfield (has she had botox her forehead did not move?) but the majority of other judges on these immunity challenge either judge cuisines similar to their style, or they present the dish the chef and contestant is meant to cook. Would they have done this to a male judge?

And wouldn’t Donna Hay have been a better fit for this episode anyway?

I hope they bring Chris back for another challenge and make them replicate one of her dishes.

However, I did think it was correct that Billy had to cook Merle’s recipes of Peach Blossom cake and cup cakes.

Merle was great TV, and obviously tonight was a comedy show rather then a cooking show.

Billy’s cup cakes were better than Merle’s as hers had air pockets, which Matt Moran thought were a bit of a big deal. However Merle’s peach blossom cake hit Billy’s out of the ball park.

Billy’s scored 21 points and Merle scored 24 points to take out the challenge. I noted no judge raised with Merle the air pockets in her cup cakes.


1 Jess { 06.29.11 at 12:29 am }

This was a cute episode, I guess. And I like Billy, but I didn’t want Merle to lose!
Hmm, so, they didn’t give Billy the usual time advantage…then penalised him further by withholding the icing recipe. And Merle had such a cute grandmother vibe; you knew that nobody would vote against her. And it was obvious that, despite the blind tasting, the judges knew to whom the dishes belonged. So, yeah, Billy was never going to win this one. But it wasn’t unentertaining.

2 anonymice { 06.29.11 at 1:05 am }

RR – my thoughts exactly. Found Kate to be very condescending. This year has been one big comedy show – poor contestants, zero cooking skills, poor challenges, obvious editing – this episode summed it all up….a joke.

3 Thomas { 06.29.11 at 1:21 am }

Urgh at least they should have given some cake that was unfamiliar to both of them. They should just get rid of the immunity pin challenge next season. Looks like Boys vs Girls tomorrow with Peter and Ellie leading the teams. From the trailer looks like Ellie is in trouble.

4 JaniceG { 06.29.11 at 6:11 am }

I was actually sort of ok with the side aspects of this challenge until the tea-and-knitting part, at which point it went completely off the rails. Seems to be “Parody the Country Folk” week on MC.

I too was surprised that none of the judges mentioned the air pockets in Merle’s cupcakes while giving the scores. As for knowing whose dish was whose, the uneven drippy icing on Billy’s cake would have pretty much given that away.

5 TMC { 06.29.11 at 6:42 am }

Masterchef is to cooking what the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) is to Wrestling.

Maybe a rename to MCE

6 Angei { 06.29.11 at 7:04 am }

What a disappointment MC is proving to be this year. Like Janice, I think it was obvious whose cake was Billys. Merle did have the advantage in this one. Having said that, Merle’s cake was faultless and could anyone let a granny lose, really?

7 Dmc { 06.29.11 at 7:16 am }

But it’s all about the foo…..oh….

8 librarygirl { 06.29.11 at 7:48 am }

Tuesday night Masterchef this season is really boring and predictable. Contestants continually get 7s, challengers almost always get 8s. I think I’ll be folding washing or doing my tax return on Tuesdays at 7.30 from now on . Yawn.
Still maintain Kate should have won a pin 2 weeks ago.

9 Richard { 06.29.11 at 8:12 am }

It’s the inconsistency with these immunity pin challenges I hate. Hayden won his pin competing against an apprentice chef. For his next pin, they put up against a pastry chef having to cook a roast. Everyone else gets a harder challenger and Billy had no chance against a granny cooking her own recipe! Even poor Billy got her handwritten recipe (I hoped he could read “granny writing”!)

10 EH { 06.29.11 at 8:38 am }

It was hilarious to watch because MC is truly turning into a comedy. Christine Mansfieldlooked totally out of place judging old fashion cake baking competition. Merle’s facial reaction to the judges giving her 8s was like “What do you all know about cake judging?”

11 AnonyMousse { 06.29.11 at 9:09 am }

If this is turning into a comedy, then why am I not laughing?

12 auds { 06.29.11 at 9:24 am }

its a bit like a train wreck in slo-mo……… you dont want to watch but you cant look away

13 Jasmin { 06.29.11 at 10:08 am }

I stopped watching when fireball came through after the tasting, and started reading a book. When I looked up Bondi Vet was on and I’d missed the ending!

The judges seemed condescending to Merle. I don’t think it would have been disrespectful if Billy had beaten Merle, especially if he matched the high standard of her cake. It is more of a slight if they made her cook something that wasn’t her specialty, like they did to the pastry chef a few episodes ago.

14 Sooty { 06.29.11 at 10:19 am }

I thought Merle was into it. It was a festival of bad acting all round. But she seemed to enjoy playing her role.

The only bit I found truly offensive (apart from Matt Moran) was the big hohoho ‘suprise’ double-take between Moran and Preston when it was announced whose plate was who’s. As if they didn’t know. The icing was a dead giveaway if nothing else, but they always know on sight whose plate belongs to the expert brought in, and go through this embarrassing pretence.

15 JaniceG { 06.29.11 at 10:33 am }

@EH: We too were wondering why they brought in Christine to judge a challenge like this and not, say, an experienced CWA or Fair judge.

@Sooty: The part I found most offensive was Gary bringing Merle tea while she sat and knitted (or crocheted, whichever it was). That absolutely had to be staged.

16 kingfisher { 06.29.11 at 10:49 am }

how corny was last night, merle and her boring peach cake and plain cup cakes . the judges mention “ooh the peach colour has merged with the rest of the cake” are you kidding me ! it look the same as the one they cut open at the start of of the show and then they cut merles open and it looks the same as billy’s, but no the judges go on about the peach swirl ,i pause to see the swirl and it still looks the same as billy’s . i have notice in some judging episodes that the editing can be wrong , for instance i have seen someone else’s dish being shown as anothers dish . i and i reckon this happen last night with billy’s cake , trust me i have paused to have a good look and it does happen !!!. merle really won because her icing was so even ,who gives a f..k as long as it taste nice , the judges said merles cupcakes had air pockets and at a cwa judging this would lose major points well hello does this not affect the judges score plus hayden last week lost the immunity challenge due to his pork being raw , MC thinks me stupid . it’s amazing this year how 90% of the comments this series are bagging the show and i am one of them . c’mon peter tonite

17 littlepetal { 06.29.11 at 11:03 am }

This series is so staged or scripted, it is not a cooking show anymore. Very sad.

18 Chunks { 06.29.11 at 11:30 am }

I’m still wondering whether Chris gave Moran a backhander after filming for saying “ladies first”.

Honestly, what a joke this was. It’s anything but a level playing field. They ensure that Billy cannot win after having ensured that Hayden could not lose his first imunity challenge. Why would anyone with any real cooking talent be fool enough to throw their name into the hat for the next series?

19 reality chick { 06.29.11 at 12:14 pm }

I personally thought Merle looked very dirty when they only gave her 8/10’s – she was clearly expecting 9 or 10 considering she’s been ‘baking for 70 years’ :)

20 EH { 06.29.11 at 12:16 pm }

Question regarding the part they exegerated about shock on Merle after seeing Billy using a wooden skewer for cake testing. So how does one like Merle find out whether their cakes are cook without using a skewer?

21 brain dead dave { 06.29.11 at 12:43 pm }

Absolutely staged but on top of the baking experience on Merle’s side, the baking battleaxe has been regularly appearing in an ad for “real” milk in SA,where she plays the part of a seen it all Deli owner. She was in on the joke for sure.

Billy was never going to take out the culinary crone.

Last night’s farce makes Hayden’s ammunity pin “win” reek of unfairness even more.

When I switched over to Aust Got Talent, I noted that the appalling plagiarising comedian ,Jordan Paris has been on Aust Idol before and crashed and burned. When do these idiots ever get it?

22 librarygirl { 06.29.11 at 12:47 pm }

EH- you just press down lightly with your finger – if the cupcake springs back, it’s cooked. I always use a metal skewer for big cakes though.

23 Culinary Boner { 06.29.11 at 1:00 pm }

This was abysmally boring. I constantly bang on here about how I don’t give a flying fig about deserts usually, so some effete grannies-tea-party cake with a matching ensemble of cup cakes is either going to permanently wither me ‘nads or cause brain seizure. HAVE SPEND MOST OF THE MORNING CHECK’N ME ‘NADS.

They could have made this vaguely more interesting if granny’s recipe was in pounds and ounces and Billy was made to buy the ingredients needed from Coles using shillings. But no. They failed me again.

24 Culinary Boner { 06.29.11 at 1:02 pm }

Oh and Raver, if this was a skit why no Benny Hill music?
I’m sure George and Gary would’ve loved having the girls chase them around the set in ‘fast-motion’ whilst clad only in bikinis.

25 Casual reader { 06.29.11 at 1:31 pm }

There is definitely a lot more camera panning to contestants’ faces, drama and talking about non-food stuff going on this season. Compared with season 1 & 2 – which I found you’ve got to know and learn more about food and cooking, this season food and cooking seems to be the ‘side dish’… it’s like they have lost the plot in season, probably completely new editing team from sourced from big brother…

26 sourkraut { 06.29.11 at 1:48 pm }

This whole thing is now unbelievably PASSE

27 brain dead dave { 06.29.11 at 2:00 pm }

Soon not even cockroaches will want to be seen at Gary and George’s re$taurants.

28 JaniceG { 06.29.11 at 3:37 pm }

@Casual Reader – Even in other seasons we got boring and redundant contestant recaps and interviews but it could be that we’re getting more of that and less food and cooking info this season because the level of contestants and their cooking skills is so much lower. For example, this year in a pressure test where the only requirement was to cook chicken dishes, both contestants stuffed up all of their dishes. I can’t imagine that happening with last season’s competitors at the same stage in the competition.

@Brain Dead Dave – I’m not sure whether you’re joking but in case you’re not, Merle Parrish does not play the deli owner in the Paul’s Smarter Milk ad campaign.

29 noog { 06.29.11 at 4:06 pm }


30 Pollywaffle { 06.29.11 at 4:11 pm }

Most stimulating observation last night for me was watching Matt P’s obsession with being shot side-on for the widepan shots – it works, it takes him from an XXXXXXXXXXL to an XXXXXXXXL so quite effective

31 Pollywaffle { 06.29.11 at 4:13 pm }

Or possibly he has just learnt to avoid George’s stray spit and Gary’s muncher breath

32 brain dead dave { 06.29.11 at 5:02 pm }

Janice G… I wasn’t joking on this occasion, (thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt) Could have sworn that it was Merle but with her hair dyed darker. What I felt sure about was the similarity of the voice. Sorry.

Never liked either of them and can’t drink that milk anyways.

33 Pollywaffle { 06.29.11 at 5:35 pm }

what would be the worse outcome for personal safety – walking on hotcoals mixed in with razorblades or giving the lovely Merle a 6 for her holey cupcakes!

34 smauge { 06.29.11 at 5:56 pm }

I loved listening to the judges try and make judging a cake sound pompous. “I love the eveness of the crumb” – what? There was only ONE crumb amongst all those cakes?

35 davsimp { 06.29.11 at 6:15 pm }

Merle did look pretty chuffed with her gold pin though. A fair exchange, she gets to keep it all shiny and nice in her china cabinet and Billy gets a granny recipe to use as a coaster.

36 brain dead dave { 06.29.11 at 6:16 pm }

The knitting Merle bit was overblown. It might have been better showing her putting her appearance money through the pokies at the local club while Billy was finishing.

Merle may have hocked her gold pin already.

37 brain dead dave { 06.29.11 at 6:24 pm }

“You’ll never hurl when you eat at Merle’s”

38 JaniceG { 06.29.11 at 6:25 pm }
39 brain dead dave { 06.29.11 at 6:33 pm }

I did see a good doco several weeks ago about the CWA titled Not All Tea And Scones on the ABC. Worth looking at ,in my opinion not just for the social issues but some handy cooking and baking hints along the way.