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Masterchef Australia – The First Immunity Challenge – Three People Only One Pin

The immunity challenges in the past series have been one of the episodes that have attracted the ire of viewers, and again they have changed the format and at this stage I don’t think they have it quite right. However it is unknown if this will be the same format each week.

Firstly it is not really Ben just fighting it 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 will be particularly true as the competition toughens up and they realise there are weekly eliminations.

The three amateurs cooks have to front up against a reputed chef and two of their sous chefs to make a three course meal. After the main ingredient is selected both teams can cook what they want. In this challenge the fabulous Dan Hong from Ms G’s was the chef. This guy is great TV so hope this is not the last time we see him on our screens this season. In fact maybe Masterchef should do what Top Chef does to keep things fresh and mix up key personnel each season.

The “advantages” given to the amateur team was Matt Moran as mentor, however it could be good if he was more hands on and not in a Seal way. Also in this challenge Ben and co had an extra 30 minutes to cook. Ben gave Andy the entree to do, and Emma the dessert.

The blind tasting needs to occur, but in this case it was obvious who the dishes were cooked by. All asian dishes had to be Dan’s, and then there were tortillas again….

The other obvious issue was the editing, we have Andy and Emma at the beginning sitting in the Masterchef house repetitively saying “so glad we are watching from the sidelines”, and fast forward to Ben being told he could pick two contestants to help.

At this stage my seven year old pipes up “I know who he picks the two from the beginning”. I now know how Yoda must have felt when he realised Luke has taking onboard all his knowledge he has to impart. “I have taught you well my child”.

But seriously if a seven year old can pick it and she does not watch the show that much maybe they need to think about how much they are flagging the up coming plot lines.

Dan Hong got to select the ingredient from either honey and lemons, he picked lemons. After this it was then Ben was told to select two people to assist.

When Ben saw the ingredients he said “Baked lemon cheesecake was the first thing that popped into  my head”  well if that is the case he should have picked Kevin whose favourite dish to cook is this.

Ben cooked:

Snapper Taco Cerviche – Is this going to be Ben’s trademark the home made tortilla? However this time Andy made them. George picked apart his whilst Matt Preston ate his the way it was meant to – wrapped up. The judges did say they would have just preferred the ceviche.

Prawn Ravioli with Lemon Butter Sauce the downside was the prawns were under cooked and again they would have preferred just the ravioli. But the plus side it did showcase the ingredient. This was the dish Ben made.

For dessert the Lemon Cheesecake came with a sperm like garnish, though none of the judges described it as such. In fact they made no comment on the semi collapsed dessert at all.

Dan Hong and team made:

Sashimi with Lemon Ponzu – all the judges loved it but George who made sure he did not get any chilli in his mouth and also complained about the sinew. Seriously it is an issue when you have a judge who is not partial to anything with a bit of fire in it.

Prawn and Duck Sang Choy Bow – again the judges loved the dish however they could not taste lemon only lemongrass.

Then came the Deconstructed Lemon Tart which was greeted with moans and groans by the judges – yes very Harry Met Sally and comments like “that’s alright we know each other well enough.” and “I don’t mind being last” did not help remove that image from my mind.

No surprise the only dish that won for the contestants was Ben’s and that was only because Dan did not showcase the ingredient in the main. Will this make him bitter and twisted and thinking he might have won if he was running solo?

It was good to see more screen time from Matt Preston last night, his evocative description of what an entree is brought back memories of why we love him on the show.

What did you think of the immunity challenge? Will it work?



1 Georgie { 05.16.12 at 10:20 am }

George pulls his tortilla apart with his fork and finds a piece of diced mango. He puts it in his mouth and does his little ‘num num’ taste moves. “Hmm just as I suspected – mango!”

2 Helena { 05.16.12 at 10:23 am }

tacos again – seriously?!

I was disappointed that Ben’s team did not win for the entree though, as the judges did say their snapper was the better sliced and prepared

ditch Emma and bring back Yukio :) they already have far better dessert cooks than her

3 littlepetal { 05.16.12 at 10:30 am }

After watching the episode and thinking about it, the immunity challenge is like have 3 contestants cooking against 3 chefs. Each of the contestant is solely responsible for his or her dish (with occasional help from the other)

Ben has no control once the cooking starts. He has to cook his own dish and will have no time to ‘help’ the others but his fate is in the hand of the other 2.

Maybe the immunity challenge should be the contestant cooking against a celebrity chef and both cooking the same dish but chose a dish that is not from the celebrity restaurant.

4 PollyB { 05.16.12 at 10:31 am }

Complete effing farce, always has been.

5 littlepetal { 05.16.12 at 10:33 am }

George also dissected the San Choy Bow and ate with the fork. Wonder what he is trying to find inside. Some bones or duck?

6 Joseph Skyrim { 05.16.12 at 10:34 am }

Ben should have picked the blondie who already has a dessert business methinks. Also, I knew the minute they lost the entree that Ben was gone because that was their “best” dish in my opinion.

Interesting “team” format for immunity too. If they keep it the helpers should gain some slight reward (maybe $$?) but it will make for backstabbing in the later parts of the comp, and pretty much ensure zero immunity pins are won. Alternatively they could punish the helpers by instantly sending them into the elimination round should they lose to reverse the backstabbing mechanism?

Tonight it looks like one team forgot to assign people front of house. Should be interesting! 😛

7 Gidgit { 05.16.12 at 10:36 am }

This show is confusing me and leaving me slightly off kilter to be honest. I hope it improves – and I hope these people picked out of thousands of ‘home cooks’ improve as well. It’s all been rather lack luster so far. No wonder more people are watching The Block – and even that is naff this year! (Anyone else really missing My Kitchen Rules?)

8 sue N { 05.16.12 at 10:47 am }

I was puzzled to see Ben put on his chef hat, then he had it in his hand when he got in the rear driver side passenger seat to leave for kitchen HQ. BUT, then when he arrives he gets out of the front passenger seat, but does have the hat in his hand as he walks to the front door of the masterchef kitchen HQ,…then as he walks in- no hat in sight ANYWHERE! continuity Ch10!!!

It was also blindingly obvious who had made each dish, so the “blind tasting” was a total farce!

YES- I do miss MKR- much better show, IMO… :)

9 Gidgit { 05.16.12 at 10:49 am }

Regarding George’s dissection of his food – could not agree more. It drives me mental. So in his restaurant, after he cooks up a beautiful meal of lets say Adana Turkish lamb kebab, Aleppo pepper, smoked tomatoes, white beans, saffron…would he really expect customers to pick it to pieces? Seperating the beans from the tomatoes and eating them all completely seperately??? I doubt it very very much as it is served as an ‘entire meal’ – so why the friggin’ hell does he do it to the contestants? Stop it George – and learn to hold your cutlery properly!

10 Georgie { 05.16.12 at 10:52 am }

At this stage of the competition it really was a no-brainer who would lose. Three wannabe’s against three pro’s – come on! Dan and his henchmen would still have won with one hand tied behind their backs.

Ben called Emma ‘innocent and honest ‘ which is the same as saying ‘she’s like a sister to me’. She won’t like that.

11 kathl29 { 05.16.12 at 10:53 am }

I agree RR they still haven’t got the immunity pin format right. Littlepetal is right that it should be like a pressure test with a dish from a different restaurant.

The other contestants would be mad not to sabotage the dishes in the later stages as you don’t want to give one of your competitors an advantage.

I am really starting to think they should get rid of George and bring in Matt Moran as the third judge. How can George judge all dishes in an invention test equally if some of the dishes contain chilli etc which he dislikes.

I do hope there is some consistency this year with the immunity pins and we don’t end up in the next few weeks back having ‘celebrities’ or former contestants some weeks instead of chefs so at least it is fair for the contestants.

12 Culinary Boner { 05.16.12 at 11:01 am }

Raver, properly said that should be: “Taught you well my child, have I. Hmmmmmm.”

The editing last night was hopeless, just plain hopeless.

I thought the change of production companies was meant to iron out the various formatting and editing flaws that had this show totally frayed around the edges under it’s final year with Freemantle. So what has Shine done? If I were kind I’d say bugger all. But no. Instead they seem to have just amplified last year’s flaws.

There were times last night when I found myself perking up at the ad break, due to the plodding pace, appalling editing and dodgy challenge concept. The previous approach of making both the challenger and the guest chef cook a restaurant quality dish (with challenger getting the recipe and a time advantage) worked much better because it was much harder for the judges to work out whose dish was what. (Well, presuming the challenger could cook.)

But no. We had tortillas (effing again!!). Gee, wonder if the Ms G dude did that???

Watching George last night, it’s clear his curry-dodging spills over to embrace the total avoidance of chilli. He picked at his serves like my 4 year old, studiously avoiding anything he doesn’t like. It was cringeworthy to watch in an adult and a professed food expert. Matt P at least used the tortilla as its meant to be, rolled and stuffed in the mouth like street food.

Tip to contestants. Don’t give George any asian tucker.

13 Kugelhopf { 05.16.12 at 11:14 am }

Actually Georgie, when Ben told Matt that Emma is “sweet and honest” I wondered if that’s why he picked her, thinking she wouldn’t sabotage.

I say get in a gluten- free judge — then they’d all be eliminated.

14 Rosie { 05.16.12 at 11:19 am }

What a hideous episode! They are losing me fast…

First of all, the pro and the amateur need to be cooking the same dish for it to even be a halfway fair fight. And secondly, I think the judges should make the other 23 draw straws to choose the “helpers”.

He picked Emma? Seriously? And all they could come up with was a cheesecake? Seriously? I mean, we can all make a decent cheesecake for Chrissake! I’m sorry that the judges didn’t so much as discuss it. Correction, I’m sorry the producers edited out what must have been some pretty disgusted comments at the floppy pretence of a cheesecake. Ugh.

15 Georgie { 05.16.12 at 11:25 am }

Kugelhopf – thanks for getting the words right. So far Emma’s offerings have been sub-par macarons and a chocolate cow pat with runny ice-cream. I think Ben would have been better off taking a risk with someone who might sabotage, but who has cooked something that hasn’t flopped. Hang on – is there such a person available?

16 bettwettiwoo { 05.16.12 at 11:29 am }

I don’t understand the new ‘immunity challenge’ format. Tasmanian Beta Male needed to ‘win’ two out of the three dishes: what if the two dishes that won were the two he didn’t cook?! He still gets the immunity pin? How does that make sense?

17 Georgie { 05.16.12 at 11:41 am }

bettiwettiwoo – maybe it means he’s good at picking helpers!

18 Maz { 05.16.12 at 11:45 am }

Its a stupid immunity challenge though could be interesting if a contestant deliberately set out sabotage their ‘team-mate’.

Can’t say MC4 is gripping. Top 50 should have been testing the contestants on the basics:
1. Filleting fish
2. Cook steak
2. Pastry
3. Bake Cake
4. Make ice cream
5. Make Mayonaise etc etc etc

Not put people through on one dish. Anyone after multiple seasons who can’t do, states they have never done it before should not get through as all we are seeing is variations on the same dish. God help us when we get down to the top 10.

19 Gidgit { 05.16.12 at 11:47 am }

Great post Culinary Boner – could not agree more! Very very well said.

20 brain dead dave { 05.16.12 at 11:52 am }

I saw plenty of pinheads …but no pin.

Ma$tertackos again.Yawn.

The episode was a confusing culinary catastrophe made bearable only by the bloated bleatings of the lardar$e in lilac..

21 Culinary Boner { 05.16.12 at 12:00 pm }

Thanks Gidgit.

I see that most of the posters here have similar problems with the show at present. I haven’t seen the ratings of recent days, but guess that the show might be sinking. A pity really as MCA was a show I’ve enjoyed immensely in the past. The production ‘pin heads’ need to spend a day watching Top Chef to see how tighter, punchier editing and exciting challenges can bring a show to life. Raver, will probably know the answer to this, but I’d presume Top Chef has been going for more years than MCA, but is still highly watchable and well made.

22 Anonymous { 05.16.12 at 12:03 pm }

Very boring and predictable. As usual Emma with her same hat in a different colour made a dessert, big deal! Judges tasting food and making a mess picking it to pieces! Hope this show improves soon!
I agree with maz, bring back basics!

23 Suziekue { 05.16.12 at 12:05 pm }

Last night’s ep – a disaster as a cooking show and an endurance test for viewers – repetitive recaps on recaps, ad nauseum theatrical pauses, split ad breaks, hiccuppy editing, and complete disregard for anything remotely resembling fair play in the immunity challenge. I’m over it this year – I can’t even get past my inertia to bother recording the episodes – nothing worth watching even apart from the aforementioned atrocities.

24 Susan { 05.16.12 at 12:06 pm }

OMG why did he pick that snivelling Emma! I missed the beginning – what was his reasons, is he mad??????????
Of course she cried again…………….!!
There are some fantastic dessert queens amongst the others – sheesh – what an idiot!!

25 Reality Raver { 05.16.12 at 12:16 pm }

I would have picked Kevin and Debra or even Andrew. Not a 19 year old who has probably cooked all her repetoire in the first weeks.

26 Georgie { 05.16.12 at 12:30 pm }

CB – “tighter, punchier editing and exciting challenges can bring a show to life.”

That production style could not possibly co-exist on a set with the 3 stooges.

RR – while Ben was deciding on his second helper, I was saying “Debra, Debra, Debra”. Silly Ben.

27 kleenex mum { 05.16.12 at 12:33 pm }

just watched last nights show, how brain dead would these judges have to be to not know who cooked each meal, they actually make the ecpereince guest chefs look like idiots, not happy with the immunity challenge and as sweet and honest as emma is my god i have haad enough of her hats and snivelling laugh and tears, ben was very game choosing her.

28 kleenex mum { 05.16.12 at 12:38 pm }

OMG just watched last nights show, i dont like the concept of the visiting Chefs with Many many many years experience going up against home cooking, seldom will the home cook win, it makes the whold show look bloody stupid, i would like to just see the contestants going up against each other, lets hope sweet and honest emma takes her hat and snivelling laugh and go home

29 Dunbi { 05.16.12 at 12:41 pm }

Absolutely agree with Maz – test them on the basics first.

30 EH { 05.16.12 at 12:43 pm }

Gosh, this year Masterchef totally sucks! Bring back My Kitchen Rules, I would say. I rather watch Rocco making the Gateau Opera than Emma’s collapsed cheesecake. I don’t even mind watching Dr Evil cooking up a disastrous 3 course dinner, at least they are fun to watch. Getting rid of Yukio is a huge mistake. This year top 24 lack stand out personality. BTW, Emma’s five spice flourless chocolate cake is copied from Belinda Jeffery’s cookbook, not her original recipe.

31 Dunbi { 05.16.12 at 12:47 pm }

I wonder why we didn’t hear any comments at all about the cheesecake. I suppose if they were really bad comments it would have given the game away as to which team had won even though we all knew which team was going to win.

32 Reality Raver { 05.16.12 at 12:51 pm }

Joseph Skyrim – tonight does look like there will be some laughs in it. In fact have to be honest most of the MC eps have given me a laugh not sure if it has been intentional or not.

CB – Point taken on Yoda speak. Will do better.

Little Petal – agree a same dish that is not from their restaurant with Matt Moran mentoring the amateur. This might make it an even playing field.

33 Injera { 05.16.12 at 12:54 pm }

RR – I think you mean “better I will do”…

At this stage, MC is still on my “record” list, but I decide whether to watch based on recaps. This one was deleted as soon as I read “tacos”.

34 Reality Raver { 05.16.12 at 12:58 pm }

EH – Are you watching it OS? At this stage they are not expecting original recipes, I would have thought all of them are from books or food blogs….
Though this should be acknowledged on the Masterchef site one would hope. One foodblogger was not happy with a recipe being pinched and not credited in the MKR cookbook and quite rightly so.

Georgie – Agree Debra age and experience and she has shown she can be innovative.

35 Fides { 05.16.12 at 12:59 pm }

Ben’s prawn mousse ravioli is almost identical to the recipe in George and Gary’s cookbook (I admit I bought it because of the cute cartoons : I’ve cooked one thing from it) and was also done in a challenge by the kids of Junior Masterchef. Ben just threw in a lot more lemon. But to his credit, he came up with the is- it-prawn-sashimi-or- isn’t-it all on his own – hmmm, if they knew he called it “roasted prawn” I don’t think he deserved the win on that one even if it was very lemony.

Emma reminds me of S2 Potato Bake Kate, with her “can’t believe I’m part of this/I’m so out of my league” mentality. Her tears are irksome – Ch 10 please edit them out, I don’t need to see her crying every episode, at the drop of her hat (but get it off her head please!)…this is not S2 after all.

And I know last year’s bromance between Hayden and Michael is one for the ages, but Ben and Andy have potential.

36 Isabel { 05.16.12 at 1:26 pm }

Stupid episode – why make tacos, a sure give away.

And I hope we don’t have to look at Emma’s chewed up nails too often – no more close ups of her hands please!

37 Culinary Boner { 05.16.12 at 1:38 pm }

She needs to stop wearing those frumpy jumpers so the camera operators have more scope for other close ups

38 Jess { 05.16.12 at 1:58 pm }

“How many years have you all been cooking?” asks George.
“I’ve been cooking for ten years.”
“Ten years.”
“About eight years.”
“Twenty-seven years,” George replies. “Wow.”

Not sure if this was just done for the cameras, but what was with Dan and his team only coming up with what to cook in the pantry? They had all that time to talk about it before, during Ben’s 30 minute advantage. Did they just stand there and not do anything?

39 EH { 05.16.12 at 1:59 pm }

RR – I am back in Oz at the moment (at least a few months). Totally out of the loop about MKR / food blogger recipe scandal! A lot of catching up to do.

40 Reality Raver { 05.16.12 at 2:00 pm }

Jess – LOL I missed that. Re: pantry issue I suspect they already submit the ingredients they require so it is there. I really liked Dan Hong he was funny and fresh.

41 Mel { 05.16.12 at 2:10 pm }

methinks twas a RIP OFF attempt of Ironchef.
thats where they have 3 vs 3. a young novice chef vs a pro (each with their own sous chefs).
Blatant ripoff.

42 Chunks { 05.16.12 at 2:12 pm }

None of this makes any sense. Why would you have a challenge like that first up, when all the contestants are green and most haven’t developed the skills to create dishes without recipes or lead a team? It was always going to be a disaster and the judges were always going to be able to see righht through the “blind” tasting. Pull your cooking socks up Masterchef.

43 Gidgit { 05.16.12 at 2:53 pm }

Culinary Boner, I’m a big fan of Top Chef. We ‘obtain’ them from USA and watch all of them – Top Chef, Top Chef Masters – you name it we watch it. Want to know something REALLY embarrassing I just found out – my brother is one of the editors of Masterchef!!! I had no idea what he was working on – his last gig was Biggest Loser. I’ll have to smack him around the head quite harshly next time I see him – or at least find out what the hell is going on. He’s a really good editor with a sense of humour, thus they must be really strict with how things are edited together and shown. No doubt he hates it.

I have also always watched Masterchef. Hell, I used to work for OMD when the big wigs came in discussing this ‘new idea for a show’. I remember saying I watch the British one and it should work. This season really seems to have started badly and is going to struggle to find it’s first season legs.

I’m just about to watch the encore right now on Ten. Last night I was more watching/tweeting so missed some of it. No doubt it will just make me even more angry with it. So far it’s just been a joke. Even the fact the judges have to ‘help out’ the contestants with some pretty basic cooking skills is just not on. These people are meant to be the best of the best. If this lot are the best, I should open a restaurant tomorrow and have 4 Michelin stars immediately!

44 littlepetal { 05.16.12 at 5:35 pm }

I don’t mind them using someone’s recipes as long as they do turn up well.

45 littlepetal { 05.16.12 at 5:43 pm }

Checked Emma’s recipe for the 5 spice chocolate cake and something is very wrong there. She is using 1/2 the quantity of Belinda Jeffrey’s recipe but she put in 2 and 1/2 tsp of spice whereas Belinda only used 1 tsp for her cake. (Five Spice is very strong and you can’ t use too much)

46 Andrea { 05.16.12 at 6:19 pm }

Yes Isabel, I noticed Emma”s fingers as well, it looks like she bites her nails quite badly. Its a shame really because it does look terrible on TV! I’m getting sick of all her crying and the same hat in different colours she insists on wearing. The dishes so far have been pretty underwhelming, Emma has to prove she can cook other things besides desserts and cakes. I don’t like all the professional chefs coming in either, we need time to get used to the new contestants and what they can do before we see anyone else cooking. RR, do you think the Masterchef people read these comments and will it make any difference at all as to what we think as viewers?

47 Pollywaffle { 05.16.12 at 11:03 pm }

Matt P aka Augustus Gloop looked like he”d fallen into the chocolate river tonight

48 Culinary Boner { 05.17.12 at 9:30 am }

Gidget, thanks for the insights from your TV experience plus the family connection. Last night’s was better, much better. Made so by the choice of two recognised award winning restaurants, as a opposed to previous years’ forays with tourist-Italian slop (the Italian Forum) and Aussie pub grub (the Mean Fiddler). Maybe so far the editors don’t have much to work with for the amount of airtime they have to fill up?