Masterchef Australia – It Was All A Bit Of An Anti-Climax
It was pretty predicatable what was going to happen tonight, as soon as Dani said about her banana fritters, that they were about a suburban Chinese restaurant as that was the direction she wanted to go. Images of bright red sweet and sour pork would not disappear. Unless Kate, Alana or Michael accidentally chopped their hand off in the kitchen Dani was always going to go home.
Tonight the challenge was for the contestants to cook their food autobiography. They had to cook three courses – which showed their childhood, formative years, and where they were right now. As regular commenter Skod said this challenge was straight from the Top Chef series. In fact it was the challenge that was set for the chefs in the finale of Top Chef Masters Season One.
It is not the first time a challenge has been pinched from Top Chef, it is such a great show I don’t have a problem with that.
They were given three hours to cook. The challenge was such a big one it crossed my mind that it was always a possibility they were going to send all four to the elimination.
Alana cooked beautifully, but I found it disappointing she rehashed similar dishes to what she had cooked previously. For entree she made Yabby and Fennel Salad inspired by her childhood in Mildura. The only criticism of it came from Matt Preston who thought the dish was a bit busy. Matt Moran thought the yabbies were cooked perfectly.
For main she made smoked lamb cutlets however she said they were going to be different as she was giving them more middle eastern flavours than Greek flavours this time. I had always thought harissa which she used previously was middle eastern. We were not told how this dish was related to her formative years.
The lamb was perfectly cooked, and Gary brought out his Enid Blyton speak and called them “smashing”.
For dessert she served up chocolate pudding which was the dish that got her into the top 24, however she said she was making it more restaurant quality. So she put gold leaf on it. To be fair it was a bit more sophisticated then that. Matt Moran said it was “hard to beat”, and Gary moaned.
Michael’s menu was a bit schizphrenic. He started off with pork called three little pigs, however only two were plated as his pork ribs were left in the oven. Again I was not sure what life stage of his this dish was showcasing. However because it was pork and it included a pigs head, at the judges urging, they loved it.
For any Masterchef wannabe contestants if in doubt cook pork for the judges. Next Michael plated up Duck Breast and Coleslaw with slow cooked egg. Gary couldn’t decide whether he liked the dish. Matt Preston said it needed a sweetness like currents to bring the dish together. I am presuming this dish was about where he was now.
His last dish was fish and chips with mushy peas and a caper sauce. The caper sauce was dreadful, and Michael said he did not taste it. Pity it looked really good.
Kate’s menu was the pick of the bunch it was original and looked fabulous. I laughed when she said at the judges table “I am just going to enjoy myself” and then cut to a shot of her looking petrified in front of the judges.
For entree she cooked smoked trout and apple salad with verjuice jelly. Matt Preston said it was a great dish.
The Spiced Pumpkin Tortellini with Prawns was based on her formative years, however we were not told how this was the case. Matt Preston thought it was a inspired dish. The only slight criticism was there was not enough burnt butter on it.
Finally for dessert she made caramelised white chocolate icecream sandwich. “A perfect dessert” said Matt Moran, and Gary moaned.
And now to Dani – her menu in theory sounded quite nice, and it told her autobiography, but it just all went horribly wrong. She blamed it on trying to do too much. It went pear shaped and she did not end up plating properly. She just plonked the tin of Black Sesame ice cream on the plate beside the banana fritter.
For entree she made Sweetcorn Veloute with Prawn Wontons and it did not look fabulous. Matt Preston said she cooked the corn soup too long. Matt Moran said “you could close your eyes and you would not know what you were eating”. Ouch.
They praised her Braised Pork Belly with Vietnamese Scallop Salad – Matt M thought it was a great combination.
The banana fritters with black sesamae ice cream had a mixed response. The batter on the bananas were good, but no feedback on the main ingredient. Gary said it was not a well made ice cream as it was grainy and icey.
It was quick and painless and Dani was eliminated. She wants to open an Asian grocer with a food bar. However if you want to know what she is up to go to her website www.danivenn.com