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Masterchef Australia – Ellie Wins An Immunity Pin

In a video that I have just spent the last hour trying to upload (will try again tomorrow) of Alana, Kate and Ellie walking down a street dressed up in New York, I could not work out how Kate got her sunburn, but now I know it must have been from filming in Central Park for the immunity pin challenge.

In this episode it was Ellie’s turn to go head to head with a celebrity chef Cesare Casella of Salumeria Rosi to try and win an immunity pin, and he was very impressed with her.

“If she came to New York, I’d give her a job straight away,” said Cesare Casella. Considering a waiter makes more money in NYC then a chef, good ones must be pretty thin on the ground who are prepared to muck in day after day.

The special guest judge was Lidia Bastianich who I really liked for her directness.

I am loving the locations of the New York episodes and I get why they want to get as much mileage out of them as possible, however Tuesday going for an hour was pushing the envelope.

Tonight I thought this episode in Central Park veered into Pantomime. Ellie had to cook orrichette with sauce consisting of small goods (sorry did not catch the name of the dish). She didn’t really get any advantage over the chef, as he started the same time as her, and she only received the recipe for the pasta.

But he was too busy running around pouring drinks and flirting so her not getting any advantage did not matter.

Cesare’s was criticised for his too dense pasta but they liked the more rustic nature of the sauce, conversely Ellie’s pasta was better and her sauce was a little over cooked.

Ellie won with a total of 24 points over Cesare’s 22 so she gets an immunity pin. He did not look happy with his score at all. However his standing as a great chef diminished in the shots when Ellie was at his restaurant, and he made risotto and put strawberries in it. No it was not Andre’ infamous dessert risotto, this one had asparagus in it as well.


1 dmc { 07.13.11 at 2:55 pm }

Paul, agreed. The challenges haven’t been designed to really show off what they can do.

2 Missotto { 07.13.11 at 3:16 pm }

I’ve eaten at Cesare’s “restaurant”, Salumeria Rosi on Amsterdam Ave near W. 79th Street NYC. The signature dish is the salami with bread; the second to 10th next best dishes are the salami, the prosciutto and then the salami again followed by the Parma ham. It’s a fun place to drink some wine and eat….salami. Why didn’t they get Allie (sic) to try her hand at salting down a pig or two? Did I hear George say…vis a vis Allie ……”Do Italians get weak at the knees too?”. All that salivating ….and none of it over the food.

3 EH { 07.13.11 at 3:35 pm }

@chels: Thanks for the tip on Adam’s Noodle Box! OMG……..

Now we have:

Aaron – Pizza Hut
Kate & Devon – Schweppes
Jimmy – Atta flour
Marion – Thai Curry paste
Adam – Noodle Box

Who’s next?

4 JaniceG { 07.13.11 at 3:48 pm }

I think another factor for the person the producers would *like* to win the competition is someone who has a signature area of expertise. (Unfortunately this year, the competitors can barely cook anything, let alone have a specialty.) They’ve been able to push Julie as Mum cooking, Jimmy with Indian, Adam with fusion Asian, etc. I suspect that’s why they’ve been trying to spruik Billy as the Dessert /Q/u/e/e/n/ King.

Failing any specialty, they need someone who will draw people for public appearances and has a positive vibe. That’s why I’m pretty sure they’re going to try to get rid of Sun if at all possible, and why they’d probably prefer Michael, Ellie, or Dani.

Personally, I’d like to see Alana win, as she’s the only sane and consistent performer left. I could live with Michael winning, though.

5 robbo { 07.13.11 at 3:52 pm }

At the start of the series Gary said it was all about the food – except the producers were all about getting the right mix of demographic stereotypes and the right distribution state by state and by gender. Cooking skills were on page 2.

Greek Momma Cleo
Italian Princess Chelsea
Elderly Sri Lankan Kumar
Goth Matt
Dumb Blonde Ellie
Beefcake Hayden
Gaysian Billy
Country Mum Kate
Crybaby Dani
Mummy’s boy Michael
Blue Collar Worker Alex
Muso Craig
Latte Type Peter
Sporty Alana, Adam
Fitness Arena
Scary Andrew
Ex Vegetarian Sun
Disabled John
Vigneron Tom
Salesman Jay
Fat Chicks Danielle, Shannon
? Seamus Did not last long enough to classify, maybe nerd
and so on

Oops we have not got enough from WA

Now where was Rachel from?

My theory any way as to why the cooking skills are noticeable by their absence this year.

So why is Dani still there. Well after they evicted the Goth Matt from Victoria and replaced him with Billy from NSW she is now the only Victorian left. There are three from Qld, three from NSW, one from SA and Dani. She must be kept in or nobody from Vic will watch so think the simpletons who are making this crap. Have to keep the geographic, demographic and gender balances right until the end.

I ask myself why am I still watching and I think it is because the show is such a trainwreck I am looking for where it next leaves the rails. It has basically become a comedy and a bad one at that, rather than “all about the food”. Witness Cesare auditioning for vaudeville.

Issabella, Sofia and Jack from Junior Masterchef could cook the aprons off this bunch.

I will not be watching season 4 if it gets off the ground.

6 littlepetal { 07.13.11 at 4:01 pm }

Don’t mention those names from Junior Masterchef, they may be called in to do the immunity challenge against this mob!!!!

7 Chunks { 07.13.11 at 4:24 pm }

dmc, it’s an odd season because they all got so caught up in making bucket loads of cash that they forgot about the cooking. anyone know what the ratings have been like?

8 AT { 07.13.11 at 4:31 pm }

I think this year, they seem to have way too many celebrity chefs appearing in every episode promoting their restaurant, themselves or whatever rather than focus on the individual efforts and progress of the contestants.

9 PollyB { 07.13.11 at 5:17 pm }

Weighing in at a late stage, but I’m one who doesn’t think Ellie is pretty. Blond hair, blue eyes. That’s it I reckon. Agree with you Bam, re the weird looks and noises. I bet she will be so embarrassed when she see herself.
I ffwd most of this last night, as usual. I really like Lidia though, no bullshit there.

10 AnonyMousse { 07.13.11 at 5:29 pm }

While I agree that the producers don’t care about the cookbooks too much (my workplace’s book seller club is selling Adam’s book for $15 this week), I must point out that there is a very real value in who is in the final episode. There is a lot to gain by not having disliked/boring contestants reach the final two. Having two well-liked or interesting people in the final entices more people to watch it, which results in higher ratings – and it’s the big numbered final episode ratings that the tv execs try to get ringing in the ears of ad buyers/sponsors when they’re selling next year’s timeslots.

I’m not saying it’s rigged, but a lot of the challenges do seem to be suspiciously weighted for or against the contestants. That doesn’t always mean the contestant follows the script (see Aaron’s victory over Marion with a dish that was smack-centre in her cooking range and not his), but it does mean that strangely unbalanced challenges do occur, and this season’s been the most obvious about it.

11 Sooty { 07.13.11 at 5:45 pm }

Chunks – the show rates, pretty well every night I’ve noticed, as the top rating show of the night (unless Australia’s Got Talent is on). I check the ratings when I am reading the TvTonight website.

Last time I said the ratings looked pretty good a bunch of people seemed to think I was to blame! (So in advance, rack off – I don’t care if you and your mother or the people in your office are saying they won’t watch it anymore, I’m not with Channel Ten, or one of the producers, and the ratings aren’t my fault!)

12 smauge { 07.13.11 at 5:50 pm }

Chunks (comment 30) – good point, although even the most talented chefs could stuff up a Zumbo, so I think they should drag him out anyway. (ok, I just want to perve on him…)
Picnic (comment 50) – Yes it did! I’m rather chuffed with myself. First quoted on RR, now CoW. I should start my own reality show.
The producers really seem to have lost the point of why people tuned in in droves for this show. It revived home cooking because we were all inspired by the dishes cooked. It was never about the personalities. Yet that seems to be all they are marketing the people. They may as well have shoved them into the Big Brother house and only filmed the kitchen and the evictions.
I can’t wait for junior masterchef, because they can’t really manipulate the children for entertainment. It HAS to be about the food.

13 NT Kate { 07.13.11 at 6:20 pm }

Part of the problem in my view is that the judges have put to much emphasis on dishes being “cheffy” – knife skills, plating up (with that weird modern spodges and splashes style), innovative – and not enough on the actual ingredients/interesting twist on good basic food.

Fine if the idea is to have them all set up restaurants at the end, or encourage more people to do apprenticeships, but that is only ever going to gain a limited following.

The plating up thing was fun the first season – but now its old and tired (and even Matt P mocked it last night).

The knife skills thing ditto – it isn’t something pitched at the home cook. The focus on it in season 2 perhaps served a purpose in making us understand the artistry that goes into a high class restaraunt meal, but in the end there is only so much mileage in that – most of us don’t eat in three hat restaurants more than very occasionally indeed and this show isn’t going to change that no matter what the professional chefs who appear on it might hope!

Very early on they decided that the focus was on producing ‘three hat’ dishes rather than actual food that most of us eat at the bistro at the local shops or would attempt to cook for ourselves. It wasn’t so bad in the first season, as lots of the challenges involved dishes that we could all go and cook (steamed date date pud, etc). But it did mean that some excellent cooks and some perfectly good dishes don’t go forward because their food was too ‘bistro’ style/not avant-gard enough (Billy’s Osso Bocco, Peter’s Duck a l’orange, Justine, Jonathon, Jimmie).

They have attempted to counteract that by very basic cooking challenges (get a steak right, weiner schnitzel etc). But that’s too far the other way, essentially pub food. We might sneer at them for not knowing how long it takes to cook a steak, but we aren’t likely to rush to the shops and buy one to doublecheck for ourselves!

So my view is that they’ve just never found the pitch that they are looking for from the contestants (and that is the judge’s fault I think).

So why do we keep watching?

Well its certainly not for the interesting ideas to try out for myself (although I will admit to trying Hayden’s pickled collards idea).

Personally I’m watching a lot less than last year (which is in line with the ratings I think), but it does have that train wreck quality that sucks you in as you wonder just how badly they will stuff it up tonight, just how sour Sun will be, etc…Still, it has become such a parody of what it was in the beginning that I very much doubt I’ll switch on for season 4.

Of course, the other problem this season has been the judges open disdain for (some of) the competitors….lost that warm fuzzy feel it had back in season 1.

14 Jo { 07.13.11 at 6:43 pm }

I find the ‘plating up’ thing incredibly off-putting. When I go to a three hat restaurant and eat the dainty and expensive meals, all I’ll be remembering is a bunch of bumbling and messy amateur chefs cooking something like it and suddenly the dish looks cheapened.

Re: the ratings, it seems to be slightly less than last year on average but still rates very well. The highest so far was the Heston episode (1.9mil), but that was most likely because it was a public holiday.

15 Fides { 07.13.11 at 7:07 pm }

Here’s an interesting article written before the start of this season- been around for a while but reading it now, I just think the producers are as deluded as the contestants – mainly the assertions that this year’s batch are a higher standard than before, and that we won’t notice the subtle changes they’ve made to the format.

16 davsimp { 07.13.11 at 7:36 pm }

I think the team challenges this year are fairly much on par with last seasons. However, I think it is the individual challenges that are a bit simple. Smauge, re the Zumbo, first series they had to do a croquembouche which looked ridiculously hard, then last season it was the macaron tower and the v8 cake. This year he flings a whole heap of chocolate at them and says “go for it, make whatever you like but it has to have chocolate in it”
Sure we had Heston with one of his creations, and yes it was a fancy burger by all means, but firstly, not everyone had to make it, only the bottom three of the previous challenge, and secondly, it was no comparison to that shell thing with the ipod hanging out of it and the edible sand.

And whilst we are bandying around theories, here is mine:
I think the calibre of last years contestants and the challenges put a lot of people off from applying this year because it really made it look too hard. However, because so many people out there now are thinking they can do better than this lot, I reckon the applications will be coming in thick and fast for next year. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they received the highest amount of applications that they have ever had before.

Agree with those who say this is all about bringing in the top chefs to get their own publicity and spruik their restaurants.

17 Jenny Draut { 07.13.11 at 9:18 pm }

you cracked me up with “the judges voting with their penises”
Brain Dead Dave
with your comments about Matt Preston were to seconded to ABC, cooking show & whale for another.. absolute GOLD!!!

that is why i myself watching less and less as i can get so much laugh from reading all in here!!

i wont be suprised if either Dani, Ellis or Sun somehow wins, as Rosie pointed out before, they’ve done the asian guy, housewife etc, they are left with other choices….

keep up the good comments guys, i sure will read them again when i have time coz me no time for shit & lame so badly setup cooking no more!!@!@!

18 Alicia { 07.13.11 at 9:32 pm }

cesare was pretty non serious from the start thats what gave ellie an extra advantage also the challange was pretty laid back and easy i would have expected some more hardwork and sweat.

19 Pollywaffle { 07.13.11 at 11:58 pm }

NY Times reports new Aussie reality show concept audience tested in central park with resounding consumer response … Masterdrool …. Watch pervy chefs fed on a strict diet of androgen loaded butter mentally marinate young female amatas who must prove they can withstand sleaze in all cooking environments.

20 Crabtech { 07.14.11 at 12:38 am }

Trevor from series 1 has also opened a restaurant.
Marion grasby in Sunday Age life magazine article recently (and cover) stated she went on the show for the contacts and exposure and she certainly has made the most of it. With ABC journalism experience she was clever enough to say little so she came across as good. She gave them no opportunity to to portray her in a negative light. I think Alana is doing the same thing that’s why they don’t feature her.
BTW george’s new restaurant st Katherine’s is not getting great reviews. Loved the comment from Age review

21 Crabtech { 07.14.11 at 12:41 am }

Comment from article ” It’s the restaurant equivalent of ADD.”

22 angel { 07.14.11 at 6:23 am }

guys,help me out with something here. i watched the latest episode of MC where they go to Times Square and pair up to cook a dish each. If my memory serves me the judges keep saying an INCOMPLETE dish is “UNACCEPTABLE in a restaurant and i’ll not let it go past my watch”. This statement is made null by the fact that michael/kate were saved(despite the fact that they did not even put up a complete dish) and hayden/dani were put up for elimination cos one of the elements on their dish was not a 100%. Are they trying to purposely confuse us the viewers or are they allowed to go back on their word just cos they are 2/3 * michelin chefs…OR have they already made up in their minds who they want in the top 3 and they’ll do anything to make sure those people stay.

23 Crabtech { 07.14.11 at 7:29 am }

Angel, they did not insist every element is on the plate even in season 1. Julie in season one left something off and she still didnt lose or perhaps she won. I am not sure which but i remember the controversy over it. Anyway dani and Hayden have been the favorites up until now so one would think they would not want them in elimination.
I think Kate and michael had a much more complex task with a lot more processes than dani and Hayden and I don’t feel unhappy that Michael and Kate did better than Hayden and Dani.

24 librarygirl { 07.14.11 at 8:57 am }

The show has jumped the shark for me this week.
I don’t think I can watch any more.
Ellie seems a nice girl but the favouritism shown to her is really unfair to the other contestants. Food safari on SBS for me tonight – no longer care who is eliminated on masterchef.

25 Thomas { 07.14.11 at 9:45 am }

How did they get on Times Square without the footage of the remaining contestants ending up on youtube? Hmm..

26 smauge { 07.14.11 at 9:51 am }

What do you mean Thomas?

27 Pollywaffle { 07.14.11 at 10:06 am }

@Thomas I thought likewise about central park shoot – how the heck did they stop photos, tweets from Aussies abroad? Must have offered a free photo on Matt Ps knee as a bribe of silence?

28 Culinary Boner { 07.14.11 at 11:19 am }

Pollywaffle, like your Masterdrool concept. I suggest this show includes a masterclass on “spurting sauce” from those “toey humans” rugby league legends A. Minichello and M. Gasnier – To be fair to other codes, Sam Newman can compere it.
Maybe MCA will get an Ernie nomination this year?

29 brain dead dave { 07.14.11 at 2:18 pm }

Thanks, Jenny Draut.

Love your list robbo ,it’s bang on.

MaSterdrool is a winner, Pollywaffle.

30 Anonymous { 07.05.14 at 9:51 pm }

hi ellie how are you good jeremy k. ellie i love you
hi ellie i love you to jeremy k. ellie you love cooking me .