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Masterchef Australia – How Much Cooking Was Involved? Not Enough.

Firstly I will be live blogging the Masterchef final on Sunday, it starts at 6.30pm on Channel Ten but you probably knew that.

Secondly how crap was tonight’s episode? After the fabulousness of last night’s three hatted challenge when it was all about the cooking, this was all about the cooking.

Even Alana admitted it she said the most important part of the challenge was the assembling of it.  By the end of this episode I was severely irritated.

It had nothing to do with the winner I am happy that Kate is in the final, as I thought Alana has played it far too safe throughout the competition particularly on Tuesday night. In fact a Michael v Kate final is probably the right one considering the top ten.

Back to tonight I am not sure why we needed  ten minutes of pantomime before getting to the actual cooking on the episode.  It was all about the gasping “oh Zumbo” and it was just freaking gingerbread. Ok it was shaped in an lovely looking house, but for the pointy, pointy end of the competition I would have liked to have seen more cooking and less filling things up with tempered chocolate, which they had been given.

As Culinary Boner said in a comment on another post today is this a subliminal attempt to sell us on The Renovators.

Even George Calombaris commented “At the end of the day they are not renovators they are Masterchef’s”. Nice of Fremantle to pimp out Shine Australia’s show. At least half of the challenge was about constructing the house. Also they were told the decorating of the house does not have to be exact just to use it for inspiration. I note they only said this after they realised there was no way either Kate or Alana were going to be able to replicate it.

Kate burnt her first batch of gingerbread because she accidentally bumped her oven up to 250 degrees celsius. I am calling sabotage. It was probably a cameraman who has a crush on Alana and wanted her to get through to the final. OK I had to make the episode exciting somehow.

Kate re-made her gingerbread and this meant she did not make as many of the lollies, whereas George and Zumbo were saying Alana needed to stop making them.

The other thing was they needed assistance putting it together, with Michael helping Alana, and Zumbo assisting Kate. Personally I am not sure how fair it was that the creator of the dish was helping out one of the contestants in this way.

Anyway after watching them squeeze out chocolate and spray cold air on it for about 15 minutes I had lost interest. What cooking did we see? In fact I thought it was unfair for both Alana and Kate that after giving up eight months of their lifes, under gone a lot of stress for their chance of making it to the final  it was down to what their house looked like.

I note that this year there was no episode where the contestants had to cook something that would showcase the type of cookbook they would like to release. Kate I am presuming will do a dessert cook book if she wins, and Michael will do one on pork.

By the way if you care Kate won, because they decided hers would have been the one they would have bought.Zumbo is a genius in marketing. Every Eastern Suburb mum in Sydney will want that Gingerbread House on the table and Christmas and they won’t care what they pay for it.

On Monday I will do a full wrap up on the pros and cons of this years series.

Also Alana has a blog – It appears it is obligatory to have a blog these days to go once your days on the show are up. You could spend online just reading former masterchef contestants websites.

UPDATE: I just looked at Alana’s website the writing is very much like Nigella Lawson, also it lists the movies and plays she has been in. I think Alana wants a TV career after the series is over.



1 Gordon2 { 08.05.11 at 11:07 am }

This was supposed to be a gingerbread house not a lolly display. Judging showed a blatant disregard of Kate’s sherbet snow, did I see Alana copying that just before display time? It was edible vs burnt, surely Alana’s house needed a smoke detector! Kate perseveres through adversity and does not give up so I’m happy with outcome. She should win.

2 NT Kate { 08.05.11 at 11:47 am }

I watched most of the masterclasses in season 1, occasionally in season 2 and hardly at all this time around.

The fawning sucks; the dishes are often just too weird; I don’t really care what George or Gary’s Mum think; and the travelogues might have some nostalgia value but were so artificial and boringly staged that they wouldn’t sell me on going to Wellington or KL if I hadn’t already been!

I think it was back in season 1 when gary added bonito flakes to make an Asian style fried rice dish instead of using prawn paste, and the credibility of the two chefs died for me forever! I’m totally uninterested in the never ending stream of deserts, and George perversions of standard dishes/ingredients. But by far the worst one that I did actually watch this season was Matt Moran’s NY effort where the contestants didn’t even vaguely get to help make the dishes because Matt wanted accolades from the NY guest chefs.

The only saving grace is the “private” masterclassses, but they’ve been very uneven this season.

They really need to rethink these I think, to differentiate from every other cooking show. More focus on showing the contestants really learning (and thus us knowing that you can’t expect to adjust watch and then do it).

If it were me producing the show, I’d make them demonstrate a technique (how to cut a particular ‘protein’ or vege up/cook a particular (unusual) ingredient/country’s cuisine characteristics, then show all of them practicing, then have a challenge on Sunday that made them use the technique. And maybe integrate the old taste tests/ingredient knowledge into this Friday night segment.

3 kingfisher { 08.05.11 at 12:03 pm }

we are at the decider for a spot in the grand final and what do they bring out a stupid flamin ginger bread house !!! where is the refine cooking i was looking for . zumbo and his goofy smile saying look how smart i am this time by building a house , who eats the ginger bread it’s only there to hold all the yummy stuff that is put on it .the ginger bread is always left to be thrown out . alana kicked kate’s arse last night and kate knew it , where was the jellie lollies , she gets through on the ginger bread and some choc freckles , even dani could have made these. as i said this week it was always going to be micheal and kate ,the wannabe chef versus the mummy cook . wish they would ease up on kate’s comments she is starting to be a bit annoying .
GO MIKEY!!!!!!

4 emma { 08.05.11 at 12:03 pm }

having just watched the footage can say for certain that 7pm wasn’t a spoiler – it just said final 2 and had a picture of all three of them.

5 Dazza { 08.05.11 at 12:27 pm }
6 Joseph Skyrim { 08.05.11 at 12:34 pm }

Hehe BDD – yeppers! In deep indeed! :) I still never buy any of those products though since I’m lucky to succeed in making a simple sunny-side up egg at the moment! 😛

I do like when they cook their non-seafood stuff though (I dislike seafood so I tend to skip those masterclasses). I think NT Kate is on a winning idea having hands-on techniques / odd ingredients classes then being “tested” on them in one of the challenges the following week. The trick is to still make it interesting tv. 30 minutes of people chopping potatoes up in various ways could get boring, so they’d probably still need some segments of “this is my version of -x- dish” that they currently do.

7 brain dead dave { 08.05.11 at 1:22 pm }

Emma,I’m talking about a promo for tonight’s 7PM Project that went to air during an ad break just before the final decision on Ma$terchef was broadcast in SA last night.

8 seepi { 08.05.11 at 1:43 pm }

I don’t mind a gingerbread house, but surely the main part of these houses is the cute decoration with lollies – both Alana and kate seemed to slap a few lollies on randomly in the last 2 minutes. They both looked shocking – surely Kate has made a few kids birthday cakes that need nice lolly decor?

I think they should have had a separate half hour for decorating the house.

9 brain dead dave { 08.05.11 at 1:47 pm }

Both lacked “the vision” and merely plonked for “The Half Done House”.

10 littlepetal { 08.05.11 at 2:02 pm }

I tried to watch the Masterclass on Fri but I usually fell asleep before they finish cooking the first dish!

This year Masterclass is not inspirational. Remember very early in the series, the guy from The China Doll just bought a roast duck for the Peking duck dish!!! As if we need to learn how to serve the duck’s skin.

Who would buy the gingerbread house? Maybe as a birthday cake instead of the normal birthday cake??

11 Suzanne { 08.05.11 at 2:06 pm }

Nice video wrap-up on SMH RR.

12 brain dead dave { 08.05.11 at 2:17 pm }

@Joseph-“I’m lucky to succeed in making a simple sunny-side up egg at the moment! ”

With what you’re telling me,Joseph, sounds like you’ve more than enough skill to be next year’s Ma$terchef. Come up with a harrowing back story and learn to cry on demand and you’d be well in.

13 Culinary Boner { 08.05.11 at 2:56 pm }

Request for Zumbo, pastry meister extraordinairre and all round nice guy:-

Next year is me 50th and I’m taking things into me own hands with regards to planning some cracking celebrations. No ordinary chockie cake’s gonna cut for this sex-on-legs specimen as he zooms well past his prime, so I’m throwing down the gauntlet here, oh lord of all sweet things.

I’d like to order one Stonehenge cake built on the set model designed by Spinal Tap* in their classic movie of the same name. You’re more than welcome to throw some some druids in, should you wish**.
(PS. I’ll provide the music.)
* remember that’d be 11″ not 11′
** no dwarves, though, their just naff
This might provide you with some helpful background:

14 Joseph Skyrim { 08.05.11 at 4:22 pm }

@BDD – Haha! I guess it depends on the level of competition! 😀 Here let me practice…

“It was on that day, that my long lost dog Woofy – told me through telepathy… that.. *sniff sniff* he *sniff* he just wants me to cook! *sobs uncontrolably* Oh Woofy! I just… just miss him so much! *cries* Its for him that I’ve taken this journey… and… and come so far. *wipes tears away* I swear I will open a restaurant in his honor! It will be called A DOG’s BREAKFAST!!! *shakes fist in a determined fashion*”

How’d I do? =p

15 brain dead dave { 08.05.11 at 4:35 pm }

How’d you do?

Congratulations,Joseph,you’ve made the Top 25. The Dog’s Breakfast concept is bang on!

To make the Top 12-

Bring Woofy’s collar into the Ma$terchef house. Now you need some crusty old relative to get nostalgic about, too ,to fire your”passion” that “inspires” your signature dish. Next, get thee some pretentious foodie jargon. Jowlsy is the best resource for impressive terms like”cloying” and ” flecking”. Learn to ” respect the integrity” of sea urchins ,rabbits and any other proteins.

Keep fighting for your culinary dream.

16 brain dead dave { 08.05.11 at 4:55 pm }

Joseph ,you have got 1 hour to come up with your signature dish or you could face an allimination,bringing your Ma$terchef dream to an end..Your time starts…NOW!! Boom ,boom shake the room!

17 Culinary Boner { 08.05.11 at 5:02 pm }

Have just checked out Alana’s web-blog. Wow..what can I say?
While the writing may be like Nigella’s the rest of the blog certainly isn’t.
Cripes, welcome to Alana’s Blog of Mirrors.
I haven’t seen a cult of personality propaganda piece to rival her’s since Stalin had a stroke or Mao’s ticker gave out.
Gallery upon gallery of Alana acting, looking sultry, playing sport, looking sultry, adventuring, looking sultry…etc..
In comparison Nigella is much more discrete with the hi-i’m-nigella-aint-i-georgeous photos. It’s almost like Alana has built a personal shrine to herself. I went looking for recipes etc… I came away feeling I’d sullied myself. BDD, you can have her freckle. I reckon the rest might be add up to the female equivalent of Shane Warne.

All that said, though, she does kind of remind me of the Maclean’s girl who used to get me into such a feverish state of woody excitement when I was an adolescent. So if it’s attention she’s after, perhaps she can score a gig in the modern day equivalent of the following advert:-

18 alicia { 08.05.11 at 6:37 pm }

In her website alana calls her toy poodles her children…..hmm thats kind of creepy

19 smauge { 08.05.11 at 6:48 pm }

Link please Suzanne!

20 Susan { 08.05.11 at 6:49 pm }

Was it just me or did anyone else think Alana was trying to make herself cry at Elimination? It just all looked a bit too fake ……..

21 alicia { 08.05.11 at 7:00 pm }

Thank god alana only cried once or twice throughout the competition because she sucks at it sorry to say
She is just extremely stiff and unemotional even if she was crying genuinely it was hard to believe

22 brain dead dave { 08.05.11 at 7:09 pm }

Check out these alaments:

“Where a Ma$terchef shops”

23 Tom { 08.05.11 at 7:11 pm }

Last nights show was ordinary I expected them to cook something much more difficult than gingerbread and jelly
I mean they only had to make some biscuits and put them together
I am sure zumbo would have had many more complex an better dishes than a ginger bread house to briing to the last elimination in masterchef

24 Fides { 08.05.11 at 7:18 pm }

Thanks CB – had a look at Alana’s website and I say give me the defunct cookingfromthehearth website any day! Wow, I didn’t think Alana was such a narcissist. Ellie’s website is worse though – not a single reference or photo of food, just lots of photos of Ellie. With a couple of articles about her and Hayden.

There was an interesting comment from Adam Liaw on twitter about how this year’s contestants all have professional looking blogs ready to go for when they are eliminated. Then Justine from S1 responded that she was eliminated 2 years ago and she only got her blog up a couple of weeks ago.

Now that’s a real professional blog!

25 littlepetal { 08.05.11 at 7:31 pm }

Yeah, love Justine’s website. A bright and happy site.

Jay has with website up before he was eliminated from MC. Have photos of some of his dishes and said recipes will be up when Jay get out of MC. Till to date – not one recipe. Just a website to try to get people to book him for cooking demo or cooking for private party. There is something about Jay that I don’t like. It’s all about the win when he was in MC. They don’t understand that you need to provide a friendly website with lots of info and people will draw themselves to the contestants.

26 Skod { 08.05.11 at 7:33 pm }

They need to combine their websites into a MCloozers website. How many of them are going to have any traffic after a month? At least Billy’s website seemed to be doing well before this season.

27 Joseph Skyrim { 08.06.11 at 12:38 am }

Noticed a lack of Hayden tonight (final masterclass) which was sad, but goth Matt was funny as were the standard fare of the judges goofing off. :)

There was a bit of super-dejavu though when after a commercial break ch10 played the wrong segment and had a nightmarishly long “recap”/”showing the same clip twice” for 2-3 minutes before suddenly correcting the issue. Methinks they just wanted to get more of Matt Moran walking in with his top button undone for the ladies.

Also BDD, sorry I think I missed your 1 hr deadline! I would have prepared for you a magnificent dish composed of mailman rump cooked blue, topped with a thick and rich brown sauce composed of a secret substance you are better off not knowing about… or inhaling. This would come with a side of mangled cat topped by fresh grass whose texture is contrasted by roughly pre-chewed socks, served in a bowl of sturdy metal. I’d also have a picture of Woofy beside the dish when I served it up to show my dedication to my culinary dream and I would tearfully remind you while presenting the dish that I cooked with my heart and that I deserved to remain in the competition … all for Woofy!

Did I do enough to stay in? Honestly Woofy would be be salivating. But then again, Woofy is always salivating. 😛

28 PollyB { 08.06.11 at 9:42 am }

Aww, I was really happy to see Matt there, and he got to eat 2 truffle marshmallows.

29 smauge { 08.06.11 at 9:43 am }

Hey Boner – if you really want to get a Stonehenge cake, you have to get the measurements wrong. You will actually get the 11′ cake. But only if Polly Deutch has got the job as Zumbo’s receptionist.

30 brain dead dave { 08.06.11 at 10:29 am }

Joseph…..You failed to plate up in time.

However,the judges loved the sauciness of your sauce and the tender succulence of the mailman rump. The exquisite texture of the cat made it the hero of your dish. I’d be happy to be served your signature dish in any restaurant.

Joseph…………………………………………………………..”You’re safe” and tomorrow night you’ll fight for ammunity against a chef from one of Australia’s most under funded hospitals.

31 Culinary Boner { 08.06.11 at 11:24 am }

Still waiting to hear from Zumbo. *taps shoe*
Smauge, it’s the 11′ version I’m secretly hoping for.
I’v always wanted to start a cult and have this view that in the absence of charisma, I might just have to rely on props.

32 brain dead dave { 08.06.11 at 11:35 am }

Black Sabbath commisioned a scaled replica of Stonehenge to be used in their stage design in the early 80’s, I think. Geezer Butler’s idea. Turned out it was so big it wouldn’t fit into the vast majority of venues they played and became a literal stone around the band’s necks.

33 Culinary Boner { 08.07.11 at 11:31 am }

BDD, thanks for the background on the Stonehenge set idea. Good to here that Tony Iommi wasn’t behind this. I always suspected that Spinal Tap was as much a documentary as a spoof. That song of their’s (S. Tap, not Sabbath) “Big Bottom” should be the theme for Biggest Loser next year…”the bigger the cushion, the sweeter the pushin’ “.