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Masterchef Australia – Mystery Box Challenge – Must Have Been Hard To Pick A Winner

It could have been the nerves of the first time cooking in the Masterchef kitchen but there was really no stand out dishes last night, but on the plus side there were quite a few laughs.

The mystery box challenge was not that difficult. When it was revealed there was a mirror there and nothing else this meant they had to showcase themselves on a plate. They probably did not even have to quickly think on their feet as Alice cooked tongue and I doubt that is a pantry staple.

They had 75 minutes to cook and the person with the  best dish would have the chance to cook for immunity. As is always the case in the early episodes we did not get to see all the dishes.

Debra who is the series mother earth figure was nervous and teary  and when asked by Gary about what she saw in the mirror said “How courageous I am to be here, and how courageous  we all are to be here.” said Debra.  Thankfully she held back from asking for a group hug. If she can hold it together she might go far in this series.

She was making lime syrup cakes, however she was rattled and used the wrong sugar and left half her flour out. She basically turned them into a collapsed souffle, but the cake’s flavour was good enough to make it top three.

As was Emma’s whose Five Spice Chocolate Cake with Chai ice cream. This sounded like an interesting flavour combination however her ice cream did not set,  and she turned it into creme anglaise. Also her cake did not rise and she stacked it up b she got into the top three.

As did Ben with a Beef Taco and some Tuna Tostadas. Ok he did make his own tortillas which could be a Masterchef first, but there did not appear to be enough for the beef to be encased by one. Gary also criticised him for using porterhouse steak not a secondary cut. However would a secondary cut  have soften in the 75 minute time frame?

Gary Mehigan appears to be the hard-arsed judge this season. He was particularly rude to Melbourne hipster Alice about her tongue she was cooking. George was concerned the tongue would not be able to cook in the time frame. She responded “It is a big risk to take”. George retorted  “There’s risk and then there is stupidity”. I note there was no suggestions on what she could do to save the dish.

Alice responded with a thank you which I hope is hipster speak for “Get stuffed”. The lecture continued at the tasting before Gary had even tasted it, and I hope she got a small glimmer of pleasure that Gary had to taste something unpleasant. Props to her for not breaking down completely by the way she was treated.

However Gary’s attitude towards Sam who was roasting a duck was completely different. After pointing out that he would have difficulty cooking it in time, Gary suggested he chop it up and in fact even helped him to do so. Sam appears to sweat so much it needed to be addressed in a talk to camera. It is not the heat of the kitchen but just something he always does. Maybe he needs to invest in those tennis head and wrist bands to stop it dripping into his dishes.

In fact this is a perfect branded TV opportunity to have a sponsors name emblazoned across them. Seriously I hope series four is not remembered as the year of the sweat. Sam is not alone in this, Wade, Filippo and Kevin are guilty of the drip.

It was ironic that after Gary’s help Sam was told he had actually over cooked the duck. However Sam’s potato rosti looked good.

Beau the labourer stuck with a simple steak with red wine jus. Not a bad strategy to keep it simple. I note in the continuing saga of stockgate he used a pre-made one.

Even though he cooked the steak perfectly medium rare he was told he needs to step it up a bit or he will hit a roadblock.

I note they did not say the same thing to Julia who made cupcakes which was a cop out.  This was well and truly in her comfort zone as she makes them for the markets at the weekends. At one stage it looked like she might make top three. Let us hope  she is not going to make these at every opportunity. We get it you want to open a shop, now show us some other things you can cook.

Ben ended up wining the opportunity to cook for immunity, and Debra must be kicking herself because if she had not stuffed up her dish she probably would have won.

Do you think the right person won?


1 Jason { 05.15.12 at 8:59 am }

Who is Brenda? I think you mean Debra.

2 Q { 05.15.12 at 9:04 am }

I think the judges suggestions to alice was ‘don’t cook tongue again if you only have 75 minutes’. I do agree now that it’s good she didn’t start crying afterwards

3 Fiona { 05.15.12 at 9:09 am }

I was seriously disappointed with the calibre of cooking in this challenge, the ones they ended up tasting were very underwhelming and the top 3 all had at least one major flaw – were the others all that bad? I guess so, not a good start. For Debra to win based on her flat pancake lime cakes was eerily reminiscent of Julie’s puddle pie, and her many other disastrous winners …

4 Dunbi { 05.15.12 at 9:12 am }

Yes, I think the right person won. Even though their dishes tasted good both Emma and Debra had made mistakes. I could not keep my eyes away from George’s shirt. At first I thought he was wearing a lopsided cravat, took me a while to realise it was a particularly ghastly T shirt.

5 Jen- Why { 05.15.12 at 9:28 am }

Ugh! The cupcakes- yes they’re delicious, but there are cupcake stores everywhere- its not exactly a ground breaking idea. Also, she did chocolate & vanilla- couldn’t she have done some more interesting flavour combinations?

6 Mrs T { 05.15.12 at 9:28 am }

I have noticed this year both Gary and particularly George have been a little rude to some of the contestants. on more than one occasion they have shot back with fairly incensitive responses, sure they are professionals but that doesnt give them a licence to treat people like shit.

7 Culinary Boner { 05.15.12 at 9:29 am }

Last night was ordinary, ordinary, ordinary in both the quality of the cooking and viewing.

Self-imploding cakes that turn to glop and then attract ejaculatory comments from the judges (who are starting to look like a trio of snuffleupagusess swaying around their feeding trough).

The continued vilification of creme anglais, with every failed ice cream or custard being passed off as this classic dessert sauce.

Winning contestants repeating dishes they have already done, as if we are in episode 56 and they’ve finally run out of ideas. FFS this tripe has only been going for 2 weeks, hasn’t it?

Delusional cooks who have decided the laws of physics don’t apply to them and the process of cooking tough pieces of protein to mouthwatering tenderness can be cut by 3 hours. (Though rather than just shitbagging Alice, MCA Chief Monsterer Gary could have actually explained why her idea was stoopid, rather than just calling her stoopid. Tip to Alice. Get some peroxide, go blonde. Act even dumber. Simper and coo at Gary and George. And bob’s yer uncle vanya, they’ll be your sous chefs in no time.)

Oh. And hippie shit! What was the drivel from Debra?

Shine are doing a crap job on this show so far. I’m getting close to dropping off watching for a few weeks and maybe coming later in the tedium.

8 Kugelhopf { 05.15.12 at 9:33 am }

Dunbi both Emma and Brenda both made mistakes but so did Ben. I think they were mostly overwhelmed during their first day in the MC kitchen. They’ll settle soon and we’ll see some good cooking soon.

9 kathl29 { 05.15.12 at 9:41 am }

Last nights episode was a bit bland. I think we are seeing more of the dishes than we did last year as we don’t seem to have to hear everybody’s story before tasting. This is good and at least shows they did listen to some criticism.

Cupcakes? I make a batch of them once a fortnight but would never think I am good enough to go on Masterchef. Let’s hope Julia steps it up a bit from here on in.

Really not liking watching all the sweat dripping everywhere – why don’t they have a cloth handy so they can at least mop their foreheads.

There are a few one trick wonders in this top 24 who will probably get weeded out quite quickly. The pastry chef lady (Emma?) probably only needs to stay on long enough to do a challenge by Adriano Zumbo and impress him enough to get herself an apprenticeship.

Have been impressed with Beau – he seems to just get on with his cooking without any theatrics – if he can now start to step it up a bit he should go far.

10 Kugelhopf { 05.15.12 at 9:51 am }

I meant “Brenda” aka Debra.

11 Rachel { 05.15.12 at 10:03 am }

Last night’s episode didn’t really showcase anyone’s cooking talent. It felt like the cooks in this season aren’t as good as the previous seasons.

12 Miss Piggy { 05.15.12 at 10:30 am }

I was a bit surprised that most of the dishes seemed to fail on some level or another and the three that seemed to fail the most (according to the MC editing) were in the Top 3. I thought there was a chocolate tart thing that looked like a winner….loved that you think “thanks” is hipster for “get stuffed”….she held it together well so snaps to hear (that’s Gen X for “well done Gen Y chickie).

13 bettwettiwoo { 05.15.12 at 11:18 am }

Frankly, what the Hell was that?!

A Mystery Box that wasn’t; too short time allotted to prepared anything really unusual and interesting; very few dishes shown and even fewer shown tasted; cupcakes (!) where the piped-on icing or ganache or whatever that was looked like practical joke turds; and the three ‘best’ (I used those scarequotes advisedly) dishes included dried-out braised porterhouse steak, failed half-frozen icecream masquerading as crème anglaise, and an oops-I-forgot-the-flour cake collapsed in a sea of syrup.

And really: if I want to see close-ups of sweaty men, I watch sports! (Go, Coyotes!)

As for Gary’s ‘risk versus stupidity’ speech: surely, the time to take a big risk in Masterchef is when you can’t be eliminated however badly you eventually fail?! And don’t they want contestants to take risks? Personally, I’m super-tired of endless variations of pasta, scallops or prawns, and run-of-the-mill desserts, but I can’t say I blame the contestants much: apparently, these are the kind of dishes the judges prefer and also, what the relatively short time limits will allow them to cook. It’s particularly irritating coming so soon after My Kitchen Rules which showed what interesting dishes ‘amata’ chefs can produce if given a reasonable amount of time and some encouragement from the judges. Finally, there’s a difference between being harsh and being a total *sshole – and I think Gary strayed well into the latter territory in last night’s episode.


14 Andrea { 05.15.12 at 11:51 am }

Gary is probably trying to be the mean judge to get the ratings up. None of the dishes appealed to me, especially the tongue cooked by the girl in the big ugly glasses! The top three didn’t look that great, we’ve seen too many cakes, everyone should have to cook the same thing. Not showing all the dishes and not giving everyone equal airtime is not fair. Debra, you are not that courageous, its a cooking show, that’s all! I hope this show improves soon and they all get out of their comfort zone, especially the cake and seafood people, and the judges made a mistake getting rid of someone a bit different like Yukio.Celebrity Apprentice wasn’t as good this time and I think this is heading the same way!

15 littlepetal { 05.15.12 at 12:01 pm }

Firstly, I really don’t like the sweat dripping onto the benches and dishes. Not one of them doing it but quite a few.

I also noticed the premium stock on the bench and there was no comments from the judges.

Agreed with the cupcakes. Just basic chocolate and vanilla cupcakes and she baked them for sale every weekend.

Also is this going to be the disaster of MC? They are focusing on the failure of the dishes. (I am sure things like these happened in the previous series but were not shown). MC never seem to get it right.

16 Susan { 05.15.12 at 12:15 pm }

Agreed with all – disappointing episode all round.

Man, they couldnt even get a top 3 that hadn’t stuffed up one alament!!!

We only got to see about 7 of the 24 – surely we could have gotten a glimpse of some of the others at least – you know then that from that 7 the winner will be amongst it- frustrating!

17 brain dead dave { 05.15.12 at 12:17 pm }

If there must be plaudits for courage, let them be to the viewers of this crumbling culinary circus. The My$tery Box challenge turned up three “best” dishes that were failures. Ch 10 deliver the “Ow” factor again.

We live in strange times…..cooks that can’t cook and singers that can’t sing rule the airwaves. It’s even more sickening to think that these shows will be coveting Logies next year.

Gary’s a complex character…I can’t decide if he’s Moe, Larry or $hemp.His “stupidity” rant probably puts him in the Moe category. More kitchen and less kitsch,Gazza ….lest you be gagged with one of Jowl$y’s old cravats.

Good call on George’s appalling T shirt, Dunbi. Just couldn’t take my eyes off it.

18 Chunks { 05.15.12 at 12:25 pm }

I’m going against the flow here and supporting the bagging of Alice. Tongue is a hideous, rubbery cut of meat that take HOURS to soften. It would be disgusting in your mouth if not thoroughly cooked. She must have known that because surely she didn’t decide to cook tongue for the first time AND she was told it would never cook. So she had 75 minutes to cook something that needs at least three times as long but she ignored the judges and went ahead with it. If that’s not stupidity, I’d hate to see what is.

19 Reality Raver { 05.15.12 at 1:17 pm }

Chunks – Maybe she should have put it in a pressure cooker.

BDD – PMSL at the “ow” factor. But hey if we did not have these shows I would have to find something else to write about….

Sorry about the BRenda/Debra mistake clearly having a Biggest Loser moment and flashback.

20 Sue { 05.15.12 at 1:26 pm }

Ok Alice – get those ghastly glasses off!!! They don’t make you look hipster, they make you look like you’re stuck in time warp and they’re HIDEOUS!!!

Chunks – I’m giggling at your comment that tongue would be disgusting in your mouth *boom boom*

I love Emma. Her food looked DELICIOUS.

21 Dr T { 05.15.12 at 1:34 pm }

CB – I respect your experience and longevity on this blog, but I must disagree with your comments to Alice for improvement (re: going peroxide blonde).

It’s only the first episode in the MC kitchen, and she’s already succeeded in getting her tongue in Gary’s mouth!

22 Jess { 05.15.12 at 1:52 pm }

She could have used a pressure cooker for the tongue, and it might have cooked in time, then. I’m guessing none of the judges really have a taste for tongue, anyway, and were trying to dissuade her from cooking it, rather than give advice on actually cooking the dish.

But what an underwhelming episode. Filippo is really short, I realised…

23 Reality Raver { 05.15.12 at 1:52 pm }

Dr T – Have to pay that.

24 Fides { 05.15.12 at 1:52 pm }

As a teacher, it’s pretty frustrating when your students don’t take your advice – surely Alice knows what that feels like. But as she said at the end, she’ll need to modify her risk-taking approach and if she’s really learned from her mistakes, well that’s a good thing too.

Didn’t like cupcake lady’s rationale for baking cupcakes either. I know she said a few things but the only one I remember was something about being judged for being tall and blonde. As I am neither, I have no idea what that must feel like, but I assume being able to bake a good cupcake helps.

Does anyone know when the Top 24 arrived at the Sydney house? I was having weather-envy looking at that dazzling sunshine (grey skies really ruin a good view) it must have been one of the 5 sunny days of Sydney’s soggy summer.

25 Gidgit { 05.15.12 at 2:07 pm }

Last nights MC was actually a joke to anyone that can do more than boil an egg. Boy I’d like to leave two main ingredients out of making a cake/pastry and it turns out amazing! Might do a roast tonight and leave out the roast.

26 brain dead dave { 05.15.12 at 2:14 pm }

$tooge:”You left the duck and the orange out of the Duck l’Orange but here’s a precious Ma$terchef apron just the same. We like your ti…er passion.
Welcome to the Ma$terchef kitchen,where culinary dreams are made.”

27 Leighbee { 05.15.12 at 2:29 pm }

I agree with pretty much everyone…so far this season is somewhat underwhelming, the amata cooks are pretty dull and the judges have their cranky pants on!
Alice and her stupid fecking glasses irritate the $hit ut of me, and her complete disregard for the opinion of a (albeit arrogant and rude) chef shows her naïveté. The best contestants in this competition – not to be confused with the people who actually won – always listened to the judges input, taking on board the years of experience that they offer. You don’t have to like them but you gotta understand that they know what the hell they are on about!
Editing slightly better than last year but I’d still like to see more of the dishes and ALL of the contestants. There were a few people in the group shot at the end that I didn’t even recognise!
I miss Yukio. Id rather have him crying all over my TV than Emma and her one trick pony hat.

28 Culinary Boner { 05.15.12 at 3:30 pm }

lol Dr T…
Alice needs to consider Ally Paxton’s great work last year as resident drooling-post for George & Gary, the Tomcat Twins…(strategy girl, strategy)…
though at least Alice has managed to do to Gary with her tongue what I’ve never been able to manage with Mrs Boner…
*hrmffff, sigh*
Mrs Boner won’t chow down on offal… cripes you people have dirty minds

Hey Raver, good to see stockgate is still simmering along *boom tish*. The brand featured in your pic is also quite good, especially the veal stock, if fairly exxy though.

Perhaps I will just have to keep watching MCA so I can partake of the shenanigans on this blog.

Though I wouldn’t mind if Shine, Ten, the Ménage à trois of Snuffleupagusses and the sundry contestants could stump up some worthwhile viewing. Surely that’s not too much to ask.

29 Rosie { 05.15.12 at 3:51 pm }

Once again I noticed a shot of everyone standing by their empty benches, in the middle of the show… Well, I didn’t notice it last time, but you did, RR.

As for the show itself, it’s getting very “meh”. Could they not find a single contestant whose food had no mistakes? And why not at least show us a few more of the dishes, even if they can’t manage all of them. I’ll give it another week, but unless there’s a huge improvement, I will be a “former viewer”. Again.

30 Suziekue { 05.15.12 at 4:02 pm }

I’m hurting for the cow that gave up its tongue (or maybe it was 2 cows and 2 tongues even) so that Alice could plate up one tiny 20c size medallion of inedible garbage. I’m one happy carnivore, but honestly, the lack of respect on this show for food and the animals that give up their lives to feed us is appalling!

31 Culinary Boner { 05.15.12 at 5:07 pm }

Suziekue, unfortunately for the cow it was already long dead anyway, having ‘donated’ the bits that most people will eat selectively ahead of all other edible and indeed tasty and cheaper bits, most of which they would never, ever put their fork into. Yep, said cow was stunned and killed for the rump steak, t-bone, eye fillet etc…. All very desirable to the average punter, especially if the cow was called Angus – Most of its other bits – tongue included – would go to the dogs, literally. (Or re-appear in unidentifiable form in some mass-produced shite – I’m looking at you Mr Pie).

This is one of the truly wasteful elements of food culture in anglo-celt Western societies like Australia, the fact that we only want to eat the “best bits” and throw away the rest. Alice at least made an effort. Now if only she could cook.

32 littlepetal { 05.15.12 at 5:26 pm }

Fides- I think they arrived in Syd in early Jan. The first Team Challenge which will be shown tomorrow was filmed on 12 Jan.

From the long promo, you get to see who is/are cooking against Jamie. Not sure that cook off is to stay in the comp or to get an ammunity pin

33 brain dead dave { 05.15.12 at 5:27 pm }

Poor Alice…I guess the Ma$terchef cat got her tongue….after fighting off Jowl$y for it.

I think the “cook” off is for ammunity pin ,btw.

34 littlepetal { 05.15.12 at 5:36 pm }

BDD – If it is for ammunity pin than not great news. I thought they would like a male winner this year but with more females than males, its going to be difficult.

35 Isabel { 05.15.12 at 5:36 pm }

Alice isn’t long for the show. Now let’s have a mystery box challenge – what will I cook. Oh, I know, tongue! How strange there there just happens to be a tongue in the pantry.

And why do they show the cars supposedly travelling on the Harbour Bridge when the house is in the Eastern Suburbs and the kitchen in the Inner West.

36 brain dead dave { 05.15.12 at 5:42 pm }

What about getting some beef cheeks and stuffing them with tongue? Call them Tongue In Cheeks.

I’ll be on tongue alert tonight because Ch 10 are sure to reprise the disturbing footage that was so difficult for me to look at last night.

I’m not 100% certain about the ammunity pin on the end of the cook off, littlepetal. I hope it’s just a one week ammunity , too.

37 littlepetal { 05.15.12 at 6:04 pm }

I read that in the ammunity challenge, the contestant can pick 2 other contestants to help out. Maybe that is what George is saying about a MC first. If you are one of the contestants chosen to help out, will you really be helping out to ensure another contestant get the ammunity pin? It’s a difficult decision. Let see whether there are any sabotage going on.

38 Marie { 05.15.12 at 8:37 pm }

I don’t think Emma had a problem with her cake not rising. My understanding was that she made one big one and one small flat one so she could be sure at least that would cook in time. As it turned out, the big one was not ready so she said ‘I will have to use the flat one’ or something.

39 AnonyMousse { 05.15.12 at 11:19 pm }

Wait, wait, wait – if she makes cupcakes and sells them at markets on the weekend, then doesn’t that technically make her a profesional chef? She is making money out of her cooking, after all. Or have they narrowed the definition of amateur/professional to professional being ‘paid to cook in a restaurant’ now?

40 Jess { 05.16.12 at 1:02 am }

Audra had her own catering business, too. I think they’re a bit flexible on the rules.

41 SM { 05.16.12 at 8:44 am }


42 JaniceG { 05.16.12 at 9:47 am }

Well, folks, I’m done for the season. I came to the realization that after fast-forwarding through the endless recaps, intros, and interview snippets (this year with added “Extra Taste”), I hardly watch any of the show itself and I frankly look forward to sniping on here more than the show! None of this year’s competitors have interested me enough to wade through the annoying MC tics see who makes it to the top. Happy viewing, everyone!

43 Masterchef Australia – The First Immunity Challenge – Three People Only One Pin | reality ravings { 05.16.12 at 9:53 am }

[…] out for immunity pin he has to pick two other contestants to help him win it. As regular commenter Miss Petal wrote yesterday, why would two other contestants want to cook well to let someone else get an immunity pin. This […]

44 Fides { 05.16.12 at 10:15 am }

Filippo has a woodfire pizza business (as well as being a financial planner).

45 littlepetal { 05.16.12 at 10:31 am }

Is that true, Fides?

46 Fides { 05.16.12 at 10:48 am }

Read that on his MC bio. I thought I’d mis-read it, that they meant he sells wood-fire pizza ovens, but no, it says he has a business selling wood fired pizzas.

47 Dr T { 05.16.12 at 11:23 am }

If we are digging at the cupcake lady and Filippo, then surely you’d have to knock off Matt as well – HJ is haute cuisine (with apologies to Chairman Kaga)

Many Sakai can come back again! or Morimoto!

48 Fides { 05.16.12 at 12:33 pm }

I expect Matt would have no issues with burnt buns then. Gosh my expectations are low with this group if working at HJ gives you an edge.

49 EH { 05.16.12 at 12:41 pm }