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Masterchef Australia – The Odds Were 50/50 Would You Have Gone For It?

Are the judges on Masterchef Australia tasting all the dishes? Over the past few nights you only see one or at best two of the judges tasting it. This is probably reasonable when they were tasting fifty dishes, however I thought it was a bit strange last night when there were only 10 dishes to try.

Matt Moran definitely only tasted Sam’s dish as he cut up the salmon and he was standing at the bench when Sam picked it up and returned to his place. OK Gary and George both tasted Athena’s salmon with saffron sauce, but it was unclear by the editing how many of the judges tasted the other dishes. If they are tasting them and we are not seeing their comments because they are wanting to show more of the food, all well and good. However if might be a bit rough if they are not and raised the question on how are they deciding who goes through? What happens if a particularly dish is border line?

Last night the challenge on Masterchef was to fillet a salmon and cook a dish. However the catch was only ten people could participate and five would get through to the top 24 and the other five would be eliminated. The contestants had the choice to either step forward or not. Personally if I was not a confident fish cook I would not have put my hand up. If you are going to be eliminated at least try and make the odds more in your favour.

Even the 27 people that stepped forward were not guaranteed a place in the challenge they then had to pull knives to get in the ten.

Athena who sadly was eliminated had never cooked with salmon before and did a good job cutting and cooking it but it was not enough to get her through.

Two of the contestants butchered their fish, the Brewer from WA (sorry did not catch his name) his brief appearance on the show is now over, and Lindy who prepared a trio of salmon. She received good reviews but it was not enough to get her through.

What was interesting was how they judged how well the salmon was cooked. In some restaurants some of the fish they were gushing over looked very underdone (something I quite like), whilst others were more translucent. Treagan’s who did salmon with a walnut topping looked perfect, however I thought Alice and Matthew’s may have been a bit undercooked. However the judges were happy with it.

It would be interesting to know if there was fear and loathing from the other eliminated contestants that  Matthew got through.

Alice looks interesting and creative and did a take on a salmon bagel, and she went into the top 24. Just as well as she rolled the dice and came up a winner as she quit her job as a teacher.  Wade appeared to have learnt something from his filleting lesson on the Mornington Peninsula and was put through with his smoked salmon with dirty rice. Not bad for his first time smoking fish.  Finally Sam the banker from WA got through with some solid cooking of the classic salmon, pototo and pea puree.  Lucy, Athena, the brewer from WA, Lindy and some other guy who all I saw do a chest bump with Wade were eliminated.

Finally the remaining contestants had to compete in a making butter challenge by whisk. They had to make it and the butter slab had to be within 5 grams of 150 grams. The winner would obtain an advantage in the next challenge. At first I thought it was a bit unfair as it is such a physical challenge but Karen was the first up there to get weighed, however she was told there was still too much butter milk in it. In the end Beau won and he would get to see what the dish was in tonight’s pressure test.

Even with him gaining that advantage I suspect he still won’t make top 24.

Would you have stepped up for the salmon challenge or not taken the risk?

32 comments

1 JaniceG { 05.10.12 at 8:59 am }

As I keep saying, I really have no sympathy for people who voluntarily on MC cook with ingredients or techniques that they’ve never dealt with or seen before. The time to take risks and impress the judges is after you’re on the flipping show, not while you’re trying to make it past the first gate. Some people lucked out even though they’d never dealt with salmon before but others didn’t: I think Athena was foolish to volunteer.

It would be interesting to know if there was fear and loathing from the other eliminated contestants that Matthew got through.

My favorite line from The Age’s satirical recap was “The fourth apron goes to Matthew, who is so excited he begins puberty.”

In the end Beau won and he would get to see what the dish was in tonight’s pressure test. Even with him gaining that advantage I suspect he still won’t make top 24.

Especially given that he apparently did not even recognize what was under the cloche! Not much advantage…

2 Injera { 05.10.12 at 9:04 am }

I can’t believe someone like Athena – having never cooked with salmon – would have taken that risk. Silly, silly decision. I’m wondering how much background pressure they were under to “step up”. I certainly wouldn’t have and I’ve cooked the fish before!

Agree, RR, on the potential dodginess if not all judges are tasting all the food. It seemed that Gary only stepped forward to taste Athena’s because George was praising it and hadn’t noticed the scales issue. Gary seems to be the a**hole judge this year. If he hadn’t commented, and only George’s assessment stood, would Athena have been eliminated?
Hmmmm.

Wade’s fish-scaling lesson from the Peninsula challenge? Didn’t look like so much of a waste of precious time tonight!

Matt Moran was right in saying that Wade’s rice wasn’t Cajun dirty rice, but we’ve all noted that some of our regular judges lack comprehensive knowledge of world cuisines, so I’m glad the lack of “authenticity” here didn’t come into play. God forbid George might be called upon to adjudicate the verisimilitude of a curry!

3 Injera { 05.10.12 at 9:06 am }

Janice – agree that Beau has no advantage, unless he was faking us all out with his “dunno what this is” schtick! And how pointless was that butter-making anyway? With those guns, Beau was *always* going to win!

4 Culinary Boner { 05.10.12 at 9:27 am }

Seemed to me from the direction of the judging last night that they are now trying to balance up the gender and type mix for the top 24. I’d prefer it if it was just about the food.

They should know by now that apart from Badenoch in series 1 they never get larger-the-life reality characters on this show (well, except Matt P in the most literal sense).

In reality TV terms this show mainly features listless or puppy-like dweebs. I don’t have a problem with that provided the dweebs chosen are there on merit because they were the best cooks, as assessed by ALL the judges adjudicating at the time.

Guess by now I should know better than to expect that.

5 Maz { 05.10.12 at 9:32 am }

I’m with you JaniceG and the lack of sympathy. Season four is enough time to work out the staple challenges and fish is one of them.

Some people could have stepped up to get it over and done with it (if the end of their annual leave was fast approaching and have calculated the odds are against them progressing further.)

6 Culinary Boner { 05.10.12 at 10:20 am }

Probably somewhat unfair to Matthew (well, at this stage anyway) but I can’t help it if he brings to mind Beavis and Burger World:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-V_4RZ-chk&feature=related

7 Daze { 05.10.12 at 10:35 am }

Really enjoyed MC ‘Where are they now’ Season 1 & 2 especially. Not so much last year’s final group –
They’ve all done really well – publishing books, their own tv shows, opened up restaurants and cafes, ingredients on shop shelves, etc. Fantastic and congratulations to all of them

8 kess { 05.10.12 at 10:52 am }

Have they given Steve Buscemi/Fillipo an apron yet?
Can’t be bothered with all of this crap to get on MC, this part is only worthy of channel surfing viewing and the adds haven’t been aligning very well.

9 brain dead dave { 05.10.12 at 11:09 am }

If you give Matt Moran $750 he’ll put out a tweet saying the filleting of the salmon and resulting dish was top class. He ‘s all about authenticity and respecting the integrity of stuff.

With the oods 50/50 for going home, you’d want to be experienced with fish but then when you’re in the top fifty amata cooks in Australia and don’t know a salmon from a samovar…….it’s time to fold ’em and not hold’ em. No value participating in such a brutal culinary culling.

No Claire Winton Burns on Ma$terchef- Where Are They Now? Or Dominic the juice freak who’d become persona non grata. Thanks for the wild sugar hit, $kye.

10 JaniceG { 05.10.12 at 11:32 am }

Re: the “Where Are They Now?” recap, I was a bit surprised that neither Courtney nor her intro mentioned her gig shilling for Harvey Norman. Or did I just miss it?

11 Amy { 05.10.12 at 12:15 pm }

I loved seeing the stuff from season 1 in the Where Are They Now special!! Reminded me of how obsessed I was with MC back then. Sadly made me realise just how much worse it is now…. such a parody of itself! Justine forever!

12 Isabel { 05.10.12 at 1:00 pm }

How gross is the big, fat one! Those chops of his shiver and shake whilst he’s eating. They seem to be eating more of what’s on each tasting plate than in previous series. I did see Gary licking his knife, so early in the season too!

13 Jess { 05.10.12 at 1:05 pm }

You know, I’m not sure that the people who stepped forward really knew what they were getting into. It looked like more the case of: “Well, I can’t say I’m “not” courageous…and everyone next to me is stepping forward, so I should too.” I don’t think Gary made it obvious that the contestants could opt out of the challenge.

And what’s with half of them not scaling their fish? Then overhearing Gary ask about it, and trying to scale the individual pieces. Matthew didn’t scale his fish, but Gary very leniently removed the skin before trying it…
Did Matt Moran skip that step, and so it slipped everyone’s minds? Reminds me of Gordon Ramsay not pinboning the salmon when doing the same demonstration on MasterChef USA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Olye1M0AwV4

As for tasting, I think the routine is just a formality for the cameras. They’ve said many times that tasting can take place several hours after the contestants have finished cooking, so the food is often cold and not at its best. The judges walk around and taste whilst the contestants are cooking and base it on that. Marion and Alvin served up a nice ice cream once, but Matt Preston said they had to judge based on its quality prior to the hours of solidifying in the freezer.
Of course, in this case, I’m not sure how they could do that with a piece of salmon. You can’t exactly go up and just cut into the flesh to taste it before they’re done, after all…

14 JaniceG { 05.10.12 at 1:09 pm }

Jess said: I don’t think Gary made it obvious that the contestants could opt out of the challenge.

I thought they actually made a pretty big deal out of whether you were courageous enough to volunteer – if it hadn’t been optional, why would they have asked a few of the contestants why they volunteered?

15 Jess { 05.10.12 at 1:13 pm }

Yeah, they did…but that was after they’d already volunteered. And all them were giving the generic, “Oh, because I have to push myself,” or whatever. But it seemed that some of the contestants—like Athena—didn’t know that they could have avoided this challenge just by standing where they were.

16 Rosie { 05.10.12 at 2:23 pm }

What I don’t get is (a) why the fuck volunteer for a challenge with something like fish you have no experience with, and (b) just HOW the fuck can anybody with even half a brain not remember to remove the bloody scales?!

And the other question (which we ask every year) is how can anybody even apply to be on Masterchef knowing you are going to have to do such things as fillet a fish, make your own mayonnaise, pastry etc, yet not practice all of those things?

17 JaniceG { 05.10.12 at 2:34 pm }

Rosie: I think one of the blondes at the beginning of the challenge even said “I knew I should have practiced filleting a fish” *sigh*

18 JStar { 05.10.12 at 3:22 pm }

So Matthew got through. What a surprise. He could end up like Callum (Series 2) and stumble through to the finals. Or he could be like Aaron (Series 1) and just completely implode over the ensuing weeks. Either way, was anyone really surprised the judges put through someone whose current abilities could be kindly described as “over-reaching?”

As for the “Where are they now?” special, I believe it is probably easier for those with low(er) paid jobs or were studying when they initially applied on MC, to grasp any opportunities coming. Justine, Marion, Ellie, and Callum all spring to mind. Those that had well paying jobs prior to entering MC (think of the lawyers in Season 2 – Claire and Peter who were both employed in major commercial law firms) would be somewhat reticent in taking opportunities that have immediate negative financial impact. I think what MC showed a lot of contestants that although they have a passion for food, it may only be a hobby rather than a career for them when the show ends – see Matthew of Season 2 (I don’t want to be an accountant) as a good example of this.

19 Culinary Boner { 05.10.12 at 3:49 pm }

Less boning, more filleting everyone.

20 Susan { 05.10.12 at 3:50 pm }

Did you also notice Matthew wearing those hideous rolled up jeans – ala Voice contestants ………. ew – not a good looks boys!

21 littlepetal { 05.10.12 at 4:45 pm }

I just realised there is no Jonathan in Where are they now?

Agree with JStar that it is easier to give food a career if you don’t have much to start with. Many of them are just doing the easier option like a food blog or food tour.
Is there any who actually take up an apprenticeship to try to be a real chef or they think they are so good they don’t need to do that?

22 AnonyMousse { 05.10.12 at 5:10 pm }

Well of course the ‘where are they now’ is positive – it only covered the quarter to a third of each season who made some sort of career out of it. I’d be more interested in what happened to the rest – where’s Jake, for example? Haven’t heard anything about him since he did that overseas cooking contest. And those it did show left old questions unanswered – what happened to Adam’s restaurant plans?

23 brain dead dave { 05.10.12 at 5:24 pm }

Accident prone Jake had a fish stall going at the beach for a while, didn’t he? The gay cello player was a no show, too, I think. So many culinary dreams of cosy b&b’s and hearths have crashed and burned for Ma$terchef- the golden calf that’s never overdone.

Julie Goodwin’s tues morning regular spot on Today is pretty lame.

24 JaniceG { 05.10.12 at 5:40 pm }

The “Jake’s Just Caught” web site is still up, although I don’t know whether that means anything http://jakesjustcaught.com/

Here’s a round-up that includes people who weren’t on the Wednesday night show (although it still doesn’t include Jake): http://www.throng.com.au/2012/05/masterchef-where-are-they-now-seasons-1-to-3/

25 Georgie { 05.10.12 at 5:40 pm }

Where are they now?

Not far from where they were then!

26 Chunks { 05.10.12 at 5:43 pm }

lol BDD. But surely there are more people who have made a success of being on Masterchef than just about any other reality show. Imagine how short a ‘Where Are They Now?’ segment on Big Brother or X Factor or Idol would be.

27 littlepetal { 05.10.12 at 7:02 pm }

Look out for Wade the guy who is cooking everything for the first time. He came across rather cocky. I wouldn’t want him on the team

28 Susan { 05.10.12 at 9:25 pm }

Thanks JaniceG- there were a few on Season 1 that I just cannot remember!

29 JaniceG { 05.13.12 at 3:15 pm }

Just realized that one of my favorites wasn’t on the Where Are They Now? special: Jonathan. I really thought he’d be one of the contestants who would actually make a go of it in a professional kitchen somewhere but I guess not.

30 Reality Raver { 05.13.12 at 3:21 pm }

JaniceG – just finished watching the Where Are They Now episode, and agree I would love to know what Jonathan was doing. He was one of the standouts of season 2. Just saying Kumar is probably my fave masterchef contestant ever.

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