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Masterchef Australia – The Three Hatted Challenge

Is there any restaurant critic who hasn’t been on a reality show? I knew it was only a matter of time before Sydney Morning Herald Terry Durack cracked and was a guest judge on Masterchef, as was the delightful Joanna Savill.

It was a great challenge for the final three tonight. Each went to a different three hat restaurant in Sydney to make either an entree, main or dessert.

Kate and Alana did rock, paper, scissors to see who got dessert, and Kate won. While that was going on Michael grabbed the main course. Alana then had to do entree. She was to go to Marque, Michael to EST, and Kate to Quay.

Their challenge was to make a three hat standard dish which fit in with the aesthetic of the rest of the menu.

They went with their favourite ingredients and techniques  – Michael went with beetroot, Alana likes smoking her protien, and Kate likes coffee.

Alana was told at the end of the episode that she was nervous in the kitchen. I don’t blame her she had the toughest chef to work with Mark Best. If there is ever an Australian version of Hell’s Kitchen he should be host. He was a tad scary but he came out with some cracker lines.

Some of his best (no pun intended) lines tonight were:

  • “It is a bit vomit like” looking at Alana’s entree dish. In fact that maybe the quote of the series.
  • It is pretty acidic at this stage…. I’m not really sure how we are going to repair that.” said Mark about the truffle vinagrette. Alana suggested sugar or reducing it. Mark responded bluntly “Your going to have to start again”.
  • “At this level we don’t try it – at this level it is not 90%, it’s not 95% it is 100%” said Mark to Alana about the cutting of her tuna.

Three restaurant critics were judging the meals tonight. Matt Preston, Terry Durack and Joanna Saville. Obviously they went to Marque first for the entree of smoked tuna.

Terry thought Alana’s entree had a spring feel. He also said “It is lovely undercurrent of flavour of smoke and everything is beautifully executed.”  Matt Preston thought there was too much going on which was his same criticism of her entree last night.

Terry also said on appearances the dish was a Marque dish, but flavour wise there was not a razor sharp flavour that you normally get with a Marque dish.

Then it was off to EST for Michael’s main.

Micheal cooked veal with beetroot, a chestnut puree and a juniper jus. Terry Durack thought it looked worthy being on the table at a restaurant of that quality. Joanne thought the best thing on the plate was the venison. She slightly questioned the chestnut puree, but loved the dish. “Everything works,” said Terry.

However Peter told Michael he dropped his bundle at the end of service and he was disappointed with the last three plates he sent out.

Coffee and Cardamon was Kate’s dish. “A fair whack of alcohol in it,” said Joanna, and I don’t think she found that a negative thing.  Matt Preston thought the hero of the dish was the ice cream. Terry was wondering whether there is an element missing from the dish.

Back at the Masterchef kitchen the judges gave a wrap up with Kate and Michael getting the best feedback. Michael won and gave the Toyata jump when he found out.

No surprise that Alana was up for elimination tomorrow, and Kate must be a bit disappointed that she is duking it out to see who will be the other person in the finale.

Tomorrow we finally see Zumbo, with some Gingerbread House creation. I hope Kate gets through, as I think Alana has played it far too safe during this season, particularly in Tuesday’s night elimination challenge where she cooked twists on dishes she had already cooked. I lost the Alana love then.


1 Fides { 08.03.11 at 11:22 pm }

I’m excited to see the dessert queens duking it out in a Zumbo challenge. Go Kate!

Good episode, though I thought these F3 coming up to a 3 hat standard was a bit ambitious. Wasn’t this season meant to be all about the basics? Even a 2 hatter would have proved to be difficult enough.

Thought the est theme suited Michael the best – I don’t know how he would have gone making an entree in Marque style. Course it could have just been the editing but it seemed like he got the least assistance or direction from the chef, so it made him a worthy winner tonight. And yeah that jump, his little fist pumps and especially that hair at the end was gold.

2 Jo { 08.03.11 at 11:55 pm }

Considering Kate and Alana are both comfortable with desserts, tomorrow should be good. Whenever I hear “dessert queen” I think of Billy, though!

3 Chunks { 08.04.11 at 12:11 am }

Billy should definitely open a restaurant franchise called Dessert Queen. Well that was all pretty exciting for this season, although I can’t imagine the three owners were all that thrilled about taking on cooks of that standard. Wonder what the other staff were muttering to each other as the morning progressed. Bring on the Zumbo gingerbread house!

4 lulu { 08.04.11 at 1:15 am }

So you think the best lines were ‘a bit vomit-like’ and ‘pretty acidic at this stage’ …. er, ok. The ‘delightful’ Joanna and her long-haired cohort (typical of a menopausal male in full flight) clearly indicated what wankers food critics are ….. all that pontificating and pretentiousness.

5 Jess { 08.04.11 at 4:58 am }

Surely the best line of the season would be from the New York elimination challenge. “I tell you: if you was eating with your eyes, you would not eat.”
Didn’t really like this challenge, though. It’s seemingly difficult to do well on an entree, compared to the main or dessert. Being an introductory course, the entree isn’t really meant to be the standout, which is a severe limitation.

6 SaintsDeano { 08.04.11 at 6:23 am }

Good to see some genuine food critics and 3 hat chefs expressing their views and dishing out some blunt criticism. Matt Preston has lost the plot this series. He has been Dalai Lamarized.

7 smauge { 08.04.11 at 7:24 am }

I actually played that vomit line again to make sure I heard it right. Love bluntness!
Michael. Best celebration since Lisa won last years Biggest Loser and stood rooted to her spot and just screamed like she’d just been mugged.
And on a final note…


8 PollyB { 08.04.11 at 7:25 am }

Loved them going into these restaurants, no shortcuts allowed. Love real chefs. This is why I watch food tele. Kate FTW tonight. Alana and her food are both boring.

9 Buzz { 08.04.11 at 8:16 am }

THIS was more like it! Real cooking, and spread out over long enough that I could wash my hair and still not miss many of the alements.
The first time I could not hear the Benny hill theme running constantly in the background.
Producers take note … next season, try featuring cooking :)

10 Paul { 08.04.11 at 9:03 am }

Fantastic episode.
Very much like Masterchef UK actually.

11 Culinary Boner { 08.04.11 at 9:47 am }

Finally some cooking to a high standard with the addition of drama (as opposed to namby-pamby pantomime) via having top-shelf chefs ‘riding the contestants’ to ensure minimal compromise on quality. Certainly beats the short of ‘riding’ George and Gaz have been steering the BILFs to. Drama doesn’t need people to be nice or faux amusing. It needs them to be serious. That’s also why the episode with Donovan Cooke was also good. He’s also a serious hard-arse. And like last night’s chefs, a big ego minus or the need to be a try-hard. This episode was almost as good as a Top Chef episode.

12 ArtAttack { 08.04.11 at 9:54 am }

Agree that Alana *seems* to have a small number of really well thought out/rehearsed dishes (lamb, fennel, a couple of desserts), but hasn’t really been particularly adventurous. While Kate prefers desserts, she does seem to be able to come up with a slightly larger range of dishes. I think Kate will come through this round and make it to the final 2.

I’ve heard they are splitting the finale in two – and showing renovators in the middle… is that right? How irritating!

13 Skod { 08.04.11 at 10:05 am }

Yeah they’re milking the show dry. MC US just eliminated two contestants at one go. They need a bit more of that in MC Oz and for the judges to tell the contestants how crap their dishes are.

14 littlepetal { 08.04.11 at 10:06 am }

At least last night we saw 3 beautiful dishes. Michael and Kate have come a long way, especially Kate. Kate has to tweak her recipe much more than Michael. She needed advice on the jelly (to change to orange blossom water), to get more coffee flavour in the crumble and also with the plating.

Alana also has to change or redo the elements. Don’t understand why she doesn’t taste her food e.g. why didn’t she has a taste of the smoke trout? She seemed to wait for Mark to tell her what is right or wrong. I was all for Alana but lately like RR I think she is playing it too safe.

So we now will have 1 male and 1 female in the final. S1-female final, S2- male winner, S3 – female winner??

15 JRuth { 08.04.11 at 10:39 am }

Finally an episode that was “all about the food”! The fact that these final three are all pretty bland makes it hard to get too excited about them, but I was pleased that Dani wasn’t there guffawing her way through a 3 star disaster.

16 Chunks { 08.04.11 at 11:09 am }

I did kind of wonder what might have gone wrong if Dani was part of last night’s challenge. Don’t think the chef that got her would have been very happy unless they sent her to Luke Nguyen or Kylie Kwong perhaps.

17 AnonyMousse { 08.04.11 at 11:20 am }

Ratings are down last night by around 7-800,000 from the same time last year. Most notably the numbers haven’t increased at all for finals, whereas last year extra people in the hundreds of thousands tuned in. The remaining contestants are so bland that I dont think I can be bothered watching the finale, especially if it’s over 3 hours thanks to the renovators intermission they’ve decided to add.

It’s hard to reconcile them managing 3 hat dishes after all the mistakes they still seem to be doing

18 Paul { 08.04.11 at 11:34 am }

Just maybe they are better cooks than what everyone seems to think they are. Last night showed that these 3, in particular Michael and Kate, are extremely talented. Also I don’t think the challengers this season have really given them justice.

Ratings are down, no doubt about that. However its not wrist cutting time just yet and any network would give their eldest child to have a show that rates 1.5 million plus every single weekday night for 3 months.

There are also a few other reasons for the slight shift in ratings but I can’t be bothered going into them as most people just do not understand (or want to understand) when I have tried to explain before.

19 Skod { 08.04.11 at 11:40 am }

Chunks> If Dani was still in it’d probably end in a stabbing..

I thought the whole ep felt a bit cheap, like trying to raise the 3 amatta cooks to the level of 3 chef’s hat meals, while working with real cooks that have crawled and fought for that stature over years. I’m surprised the chefs even went for it, but I guess it was good marketing for their restaurants.

20 brain dead dave { 08.04.11 at 11:41 am }

Left to their own devices , each of the allegedly “extremely talented” cooks would have screwed up last night. Three hats my ar$e.

21 Paul { 08.04.11 at 11:44 am }

This challenge is the standard challenge they give to the Masterchef UK contestants in their last week.

Bloody hell, we’ve had people whinge for months about how they wanted it to be more about cooking and more like the UK version.
Then when they serve up an episode giving them that, people still want to complain.

WTF do people want?

22 Fides { 08.04.11 at 12:18 pm }

I must say I’ve liked this new finals format. Even though they’ve dragged it out a bit, we’re finally seeing them cooking in tough challenges. Or is it just that this season has had comparatively less focus on cooking compared to last, so that the final week of cooking challenges is a refreshing change?

I hope Michael doesn’t win. If he really wants to be a chef, he’d be better off as the runner up and not obligated to get a cookbook on the shelves within months. I think MM and Geo especially appreciate that he wants to be a chef out of all this, not a celebrity/TV cook like Alana. Wonder if he will get offers of work (hopefully not just experience but paid work) from this.

23 Joseph Skyrim { 08.04.11 at 1:13 pm }

Must say I like Peter Gilmore even more now. He seemed to be the most supportive of the three 3 hatters. Plus he lets his service staff taste food and got his other chefs to clap for Kate! Awesome! Poor Alana, she was so on the brink of crying there but managed to hold it in, good on her. Still my fave, but she’s gonna have a tough night tonight.

I didn’t and don’t really want Michael to win, but his “win” reaction last night was so awesome that I forgive him for taking one of the final spots. :)

Also, Mr. Zumbo. We missed you. 😀

24 dmc { 08.04.11 at 1:14 pm }

Ratings are down because the show is not as good as in previous seasons for the reasons outlined by the people on this forum, in SMH, and even by people working on the show. Expect a much improved product next year. Nobody is slitting any wrists but there is enough concern here to make changes. I certainly have been watching much less and haven’t even bothered watching any episodes on the website, and it seems I’m not alone.

It’s a pity it’s taken until this far in the competition to see talent and good cooking.

25 Paul { 08.04.11 at 1:22 pm }

I tend to agree that the show isn’t as good as the last two seasons but still, its pretty decent television compared to what generally gets served up on free to air.

Hopefully they will ditch the PC nonsense next year and concentrate more on food and appliances that 90% of us can source and use.

26 kingfisher { 08.04.11 at 1:33 pm }


27 brain dead dave { 08.04.11 at 1:43 pm }

I don’t get the “PC nonsense”,Paul especially with George and Gary acting like sleazy pigs. Some examples to back up your Neanderthal notions would be appropriate here,so people can “‘understand”!

28 littlepetal { 08.04.11 at 1:50 pm }

Alana is pretty but I don’t think she can be the Aussie Nigella Lawson. When you watch Nigella’s cooking show, she makes you want to get into the kitchen and try out the recipes. I don’t think Alana can do that. She didn’t get much air time when the series started and many viewers still don’t know her (fault of the producers) Hopefully the public can remember that she is one of the Final 3

29 Skod { 08.04.11 at 2:02 pm }

I’d prefer the MC US version, where more blood gets spilled and the show doesn’t go on forever.

Man I want to give Michael a haircut, but he deserves to be in the final for cooking a main.

30 littlepetal { 08.04.11 at 2:06 pm }

I thought Michael got a haircut already.

31 sourkraut { 08.04.11 at 2:07 pm }

That post of yours @ 4 was the most sensible one that I have read in 3 seasons of Mo$tlyfarce!

32 brain dead dave { 08.04.11 at 2:13 pm }

Yeah, Michael did get a haircut but it was “undercooked “.

Time to bring Joh Bailey in for some “zooshing up”(sic).

33 Paul { 08.04.11 at 2:32 pm }

LOL at George & Gary behaving like sleazy pigs. OMGZ, they hugged an upset contestant.
Won’t someone call the moral police !!!!!

By PC, I meant the challenges this year. The Dalai Lama, the recycled food, the food allergies just to name a few.

34 Jaime { 08.04.11 at 3:26 pm }

Paul you are a massive F-wit

35 Paul { 08.04.11 at 3:35 pm }

Thanks for your contribution there Jaime.

Always glad to hear from the intellectual heavyweights such as yourself.

36 Jaime { 08.04.11 at 3:40 pm }

Wow, you were pretty quick to reply there Paul. Life in the fast lane hey? Days on end of trying to start arguments with people on a reality TV blog must be such hard work. I hope Centrelink are paying you appropriately.

37 Paul { 08.04.11 at 3:53 pm }

Anything about the show Jaime or is that it?

38 brain dead dave { 08.04.11 at 4:30 pm }

Speaking of “intellectual heavyweights”,you’ve outdone yourself to finally spell “challenges” correctly, Paul. Don’t kick your dog too hard tonight,bully.

They seemed like legit causes to me.

39 ArtAttack { 08.04.11 at 4:32 pm }

Whoah, settle down people! It’s just a show!

40 brain dead dave { 08.04.11 at 4:39 pm }

For some the alleged “show” is a life support system.

41 Joseph Skyrim { 08.04.11 at 4:41 pm }

The hugging doesn’t really bug me at all… at what point did it become sleazy? Whats the PC stuff? *tilts head*

Yar I guess I’m the most neanderthal of all atm. ^_^

42 Paul { 08.04.11 at 4:41 pm }

Oh the irony of being called a bully by BDD.

Here is a person who has now decided to call George’s newborn baby a ‘monkey’. Real classy stuff.
Bet you wouldn’t say that to his face.
And what was that about Kate – something about being a deadbeat Mum.

“Oh but anyone who is in the public eye deserves whatever criticism they get.’

That apparantely now includes 3 day old babies.

43 Culinary Boner { 08.04.11 at 4:48 pm }

I’m a bit dubious about tonight’s episode. House building, eh?? Is this just some sneaky form of subliminal messaging from the Marketing Psychology 101 graduate in production to get us to watch The Renovators?
And I find gingerbread houses kinda creepy in a midget carnie or Bride of Chucky sort of way. I’m getting nightmares already.
Bride of: Have you got a rubber?
Chucky: Have I got a rubber? Look at me. I’m ALL rubber.
Bride of: That’s right… wait, I thought you were plastic?
Chucky: … kiss me
Bride of: Ok.

44 brain dead dave { 08.04.11 at 4:57 pm }

“Oh but anyone who is in the public eye deserves whatever criticism they get.’

Have never said that ,Paul and so you’re making that up ,unless you can find an example..when hell freezes over.

“Apparanately”- bantamweight stuff.

45 JRuth { 08.04.11 at 5:03 pm }

I think the chefs were understandably nervous about having the contestants cook in their kitchens. However, I don’t think the fact that they wanted to try the dishes and have input into them (and request changes) means that the contestants weren’t up to the task. You would assume they would also want to do the same if one of their own staff wanted to try a new dish. In the end, all three chefs seemed pleased with the overall dishes.

46 brain dead dave { 08.04.11 at 5:13 pm }

@Joseph…The PC nonsense was apparently according to Paul,”The Dalai Lama, the recycled food, the food allergies just to name a few.”

As a diabetic, I don’t really see stuff like that as PC “nonsense”.

47 Fedup { 08.04.11 at 5:19 pm }

Tonight should be sweet! Go Kate :)

48 Tom { 08.04.11 at 6:31 pm }

I liked the look of kates dish much better than Michaels and she also worked much better in the kitchen than him
Ahh well i hope kate wins today she is after all the king of deserts

49 alicia { 08.04.11 at 6:38 pm }

Kate is getting to me, now that she gets more camera time her bizarre over-reacting, jumping, giggling is annoying
I do think she is a great cook though much better than Michael who is very repetitive .
If only she could cut down a bit of over reacting

50 Skod { 08.04.11 at 6:49 pm }

Kate is really overdoing her reactions. “OPEN PANTRY!”

The woman really needs to get out of that kitchen. I think after 6 months she’s starting to go loony.

And what’s the deal with the bike outside that warehouse? If any of the judges sit on it it’s going to break yeah?

51 brain dead dave { 08.04.11 at 6:53 pm }

Kate might have watched a lot of The Price Is Right and Deal Or No Deal.

Yeah, I’ve been wondering about that bike for a few weeks myself. Can’t be another shitty product placement.

Three more sleeps til….Lobes, maaaaate.

52 alicia { 08.04.11 at 7:09 pm }

OMG and I thought i was the only one who noticed that bike
Yeah whats with it anyway cant imagine any of the judges especially matt preston using it

53 brain dead dave { 08.04.11 at 7:15 pm }

The bike has been one of the highlights of S3,I’m surprised there’s not a cheapass ammunity pin hanging off it.

54 brain dead dave { 08.04.11 at 8:19 pm }

C’mon,post the “winner” someone please. 15 mins in here and the contestants are just running to their benches. Snorefe$t.

55 AnonyMousse { 08.04.11 at 8:31 pm }

Come on guys, we covered the bike months ago – it’s meant to symbolise Masterchef’s ‘coming of age’ by replacing the scooter that used to be there. That, or the scooter manufacturer didn’t come through with the royalty check this season.

56 brain dead dave { 08.04.11 at 8:33 pm }

Don’t bother….from the pieces to camera Alana looks real happy.

57 brain dead dave { 08.04.11 at 8:51 pm }

I really wanted to see Alana’s freckle.

58 ange { 08.04.11 at 8:57 pm }

I thought both ladies did a fantastic job tonight, given the complexities of the dessert. I do think Kate did a better job, as Alana’s roof was burnt. I am hoping Kate beats Michael in the finale.

59 Reality Raver { 08.04.11 at 11:17 pm }

Lulu – I think it is interesting that these days food critics are no longer anonymous. I am a bit of a fan of Joanna Savill’s since her days of doing Food Safari with Maeve.

Little Petal – Alana lost me on Tuesday night with her menu of revisisted items she had already cooked.

Anonymouse – LOL about the bike theory – what will it be next year then? A smart car?

60 Culinary Boner { 08.05.11 at 3:06 pm }

Raver, next year will be either an ass or a rickshaw