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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

34 comments

1 brain dead dave { 08.02.11 at 11:45 pm }

I’m glad things finally came to a (lego)head.

2 alicia { 08.03.11 at 12:06 am }

Glad the right person has gone:)

3 Chunks { 08.03.11 at 12:41 am }

Still a long way from previous years in terms of serving consistent restaurant quality dishes I’m afraid. Hope poor Dani doesn’t suffer Post-Traumatic Stress from all the social media loathing.

4 Jess { 08.03.11 at 1:06 am }

Kate’s dessert was probably the most appetising thing I’ve seen all season.

5 Marie { 08.03.11 at 3:50 am }

Dani certainly did have her moments on the show! All the best to her but I am not even going to attempt to read anything on her website again until she finds someone to edit her grammar.

Kate’s dessert looked fantastic!

6 PollyB { 08.03.11 at 7:14 am }

Alana cooks the same thing over and over. How many times can she make a bloody fennel salad.

7 smauge { 08.03.11 at 7:44 am }

If I see another bloody pork belly on this series I’ll spew up.

8 Barbara { 08.03.11 at 8:00 am }

Incredible! Final four and one of them dumps a can of revolting looking ice cream on the table in front of the judges. To think that so many talented cooks were shown the door in order to keep Dani as close to the end as possible. Disgusting but at least she’s gone. And Michael looks so petulant, time for him to go as well. I didn’t have much time for Kate at the beginning but she’s a winner!

9 smauge { 08.03.11 at 8:28 am }

It looked like clay didn’t it Barbara? Everytime the opening credits starts I look at all of the good cooks sacrificed for Dani. They did it all wrong this season. I hope the return to last years winning formula next time.

10 Fedup { 08.03.11 at 8:36 am }

Right person left – now the remaining three have to pull more than same- o samw-o out of their frypans. Really is a disappointing show this one, watch the old series guys and work on your formula – less tears, less Judges favourite people staying in and some really awesome cooking may get more viewers next time. This series has been Days of Our Lives Food Wise!

11 Skod { 08.03.11 at 8:50 am }

Well her stuff looked quite despicable. Banana fritters? Really? That’s street food in Malaysia/Singapore, even if you prettied it up.

Next season they should cut out all advice, to be fair to everyone. Just get the contestant’s comments and that’s it.

At least they didn’t do the cut to commercial break for the elimination. Guess the editors wanted to see her gone.

12 Skod { 08.03.11 at 9:07 am }

Oh there were also a couple of moments I thought I was watching one of those parody movies, like a cooking show version of This is Spinal Tap. Kate going my favourite words.. open pantry.

I think she’s been in there far too long.

13 seepi { 08.03.11 at 9:32 am }

michael’s menu is just odd. starting with pork and finishing with fish. wierd.

14 Joseph Skyrim { 08.03.11 at 9:42 am }

Somewhat sad for Dani that she didn’t cook well in her last challenge, because its obvious she -can- cook (just not as consistently as the remaining 3 though).

I like the idea of Alana doing dishes she already did, because you have already been practicing them and know how to improve them each time. Its a safe and strong strategy, better than picking something you’ve never attempted before. In the end, being a chef is all about repetition anyway if you think about it.

Can’t wait for Sunday, then I can reclaim around 5 hours a week to do other stuff. 😛

15 Maz { 08.03.11 at 9:48 am }

My jaw dropped when Dani had about $100 worth of bananas on her bench waiting to be fried!!!

The general impression I got is that Dani didn’t create the same hostility as say Sandra from S1 or Joanne from S2 but annoyance that the producers over-exposed her. So she should be okay post MC career wise.

Noticed in Coles that they had Alana’s recipe out for her upside down apple tart (and nobody else’s from the cookbook challanege). Does that mean she is in the top two?

Cookbook theories aside-Kate’s book would be the one I would be interested in. Though Alana’s could be called Refinement as she only seems to refine recipes not create anything new.

16 Emma { 08.03.11 at 10:53 am }

By smauge – “If I see another bloody pork belly on this series I’ll spew up”

This. And bloody duck!!

I know Dani didn’t go well last night but when they showed her best moments last night I had to laugh, she’s such a wag and is pretty good value, I’d forgotten that. I hope she goes well with whatever she wants to do.

I agree that Michael’s pork and fish was an odd combo ..

17 JaniceG { 08.03.11 at 11:03 am }

At last, Dani’s luck runs out!!!

Frankly, I didn’t care whether the episode was anti-climactic as I could easily watch Matt Moran in that outfit for an hour without getting bored at all :->

18 Fides { 08.03.11 at 11:10 am }

So bored last night. Even though it was all about the food, it was just a reflection of how little inspired I am by this bunch. Totally agree RR, it was all an anti-climax.

Agree that Alana plays safe and sticks to what she knows best – not saying it’s a bad strategy, but compared to Kate, it doesn’t seem like she’s being that creative. Kate does look like she’s progressed and her smoked trout salad was one of only two things this season which I would want to eat out of my tv (the other was Billy’s Swiss roll). The recipe is up and it may be the only thing I will make from MC this season. So I’ve finally got someone to barrack for : Kate FTW!

They really need a regular female judge to counter the way the Danis and Ellies carry on. I noticed Gary said to Michael “why the hell didn’t you put it in earlier ” about his pork rack not being cooked in time. While that’s not the most aggressive language he could have used, has he said that to Dani (eg why the hell didn’t you prick your puff pastry?) or Ellie (why the hell did you buy a rabbit terrine?) ? I know in those instances he was annoyed or amused (in Dani’s case) but I don’t think he uses the same language with the girls. I could be wrong, just wondering if anyone else has noticed.

19 kingfisher { 08.03.11 at 11:19 am }

it is staged for a kate v micheal grand final they know alana just cooks the same ” ELEMENTS ” god i hate this word !!!! they love that micheal wants to be a future chef and they are grooming him as with kate she is the mummy cook and mummy cook’s bring ratings, insn’t that right Paul . I like micheal’s honesty he just want’s to change his career and learn .

20 Skod { 08.03.11 at 11:45 am }

Well at least Michael wasn’t cooking chicken again.

Alana plays too safe, while Kate seems to be giving her all, like when she did the squab. But the final is more skill/tenacity than brilliance, so could go either way.

21 littlepetal { 08.03.11 at 11:53 am }

Kate has come a long way. She started the series with very basic cooking, like the coffee cake. Now she is dishing out beautifully plated dishes.

Alana needs to come up with some new dishes unless she is playing the game. Just be safe till you get to the Final 2 and then blow the judges away. Could backfire because she didn’t get the chance to practice some of the other techniques and styles.

Michael need to dish the cooking technique using the vacuum pack and then cooking the meat in the waterbath. (Mental block at the moment and can’t recall the exact term for this technique) He has used this technique many times and the dishes have never been a winner.

Dani-What can I say? Banana fritters never work in Australia. We just don’t have the right bananas for it. It’s not only the batter but the type of bananas is important. LOL when she blamed the fryer for not not enough!!! Didn’t she realise that she should turn the fryer on earlier.

Also can’t see how the fritters and ice – cream represent where she is now.

22 Culinary Boner { 08.03.11 at 12:05 pm }

Dani’s wanton soup in callum custard.
Where can I get the recipe?
Oh, and I’d like one for elephantitis dick fritter as well.

23 Jruth { 08.03.11 at 12:08 pm }

Agree with Fides that a regular female judge is needed. Donna Hay said last year that it is too blokey, and she might not have been the right fit, but someone like Karen Martini would probably work well.

littlepetal – I think you are searching for “sous vide”!

I’m predicting that Michael will be the next to fall and it will be a Kate v Alana final on Sunday.

24 JaniceG { 08.03.11 at 12:17 pm }

I bet the producers are hoping for Kate to win: she’s a natural on camera, she’s articulate, and she’s likable. I think she’d make a fairly good TV chef, as she’s very clear when she’s explaining what she’s doing. I like Alana also, but she’s a bit stiff in interviews – she probably would need to have everything rehearsed and unfortunately she’s not very good at delivering scripted lines. I don’t think Michael would be that great at public appearances at all: he gets thrown too easily and is not very articulate.

25 brain dead dave { 08.03.11 at 12:44 pm }

The concept of one of these reality tv contestants “winning” is as far fetched as Charlie’s Sheen’s “winning”.

We’re down to leftovers-a fox, a frump and a freak.

26 Rickard Lomez { 08.03.11 at 1:20 pm }

A frump!!!!! Kate is gorgeous, and sexy

27 Skod { 08.03.11 at 2:31 pm }

After seeing them for 3-4 months I don’t think I can stand watching them on TV for a few years..

28 Culinary Boner { 08.03.11 at 2:44 pm }

‘The Young Ones’, series 3, episode 1 “Stuffed”
Cast:
Gary as Vyvyan Basterd, a punk headbanger whose quite polite to the ladies, but an ABSOLUTE BASTARD to the guys;
Matt P as Rick, a pretentious prat given to wearing 70s attire in an ironically non-ironic way and prattling on about sustainable eating whilst throwing plates, called Prick behind his back;
Matt Moran as Billy Balowski, a vegetarian butcher whose liverpool kiss and manic smile ensures he has the total respect of the others, known for his boning ability;
George as Mike, a ladies’ man…no, make that a wee ladies’ man, respected by the others for his profound sayings and constant puns (e.g boom, boom…shake the room), he is the glue that holds it all together, called Pants, as in Pants Man, behind his back; and,
Kylie Kwong as Neil, a depressed hippy… ’nuff said
++
Scene: On the set of a cooking competition.
++
Vyvyan notices one of the contestants Michael seems confused about how to put his pork in the oven and is ruuning his hands over his apron. Vyvyan runs up to him, shoves his face six inches from Michael’s.
Vyvyan: “You Bastard!! You’ll make the oven explode!”
Michael: “No I won’t. Why don’t you like me?”
Vyvyan: “Cos you’re a complete bastard”
Michael: “Vyvyan, I’m being serious”
Vyvyan: “So am I. You’re a complete bastard and we all hate you”
Michael: [chuckles and places hands on hips] “I find that very difficult to believe”
Vyvyan: “You wanna bet on it? I’ll put down fifty quid”
Neil: “Yeah I will too”
Mike: “Count me in”
Rick: “Me too”
Banana fritter: “And me”
Their heads to turn to the table. A deformed banana fritter looks up at them, before it realises its mistake.
Vyvyan: “Who asked you?”
Banana fritter: “Us bananas have rights too, you know. I didn’t ask to be made into a fritter”
Mike: “Well too bad you look like a walrus dick then”
Vyvyan begins violently hitting the fritter with a frypan, only pausing for breath on the 15th stroke, “Bloody hippy banana!”
Rick: “I blame the Tories. Bloody Thatcher.”

29 alicia { 08.03.11 at 4:37 pm }

I hated dani alot
I was happy when she went
But now i admit the others are as boring as hell
God why cant Alana or Michael be a bit more livelier and energetic

30 PollyB { 08.03.11 at 5:35 pm }

seepi – I agree. ‘Western’ style food, fish always come first for me.

Janice G – Mmmatt Moran did look scrummy last night didn’t he!

31 Chunks { 08.03.11 at 5:50 pm }

See Alicia, don’t wish too hard or you might get what you want and then wish you didn’t have it. A lot is two words by the way.

32 Jo { 08.03.11 at 8:40 pm }

Dani kept calling herself an Asian expert but she never seemed to cook it all that well. And what kind of Asian expert hasn’t cooked with tapioca before? Glad she’s not in the top three. Alana is good but she’s too safe. Michael is a little eccentric. I’m going for Kate.

33 littlepetal { 08.03.11 at 9:41 pm }

Agree with you, Jo. Very annoy when people use some fish sauce, palm sugar and lime juice and call that Vietnamese or Thai. I still question Dani Sri Lankan meal for the Dalai Lama because what is in the recipe and what she cooked didn’t add up.
She used the coconut oil in the roti which I thought was a good idea. Coconut oil is semi solid in our weather and she did say melt the oil. But once the temp drop the oil will solidify again. Can’t see how she soaked the roti dough in the coconut oil.

34 smauge { 08.04.11 at 6:55 am }

Alicia – I hope Michael was lively enough for you when he won last night’s challenge LOL! I love an uninhibited celebration.