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Masterchef Australia – The Immunity Challenge – This Format Is Going To End In Tears

The good thing about the immunity challenges is we are seeing some new chefs on our screens. Last week was the affable Dan Hong from Ms G’s, and this week we had one of the best presented kitchen teams in Australia – Darren Johnson and co, from Three Blue Ducks. If you go this weekend expect a gaggle of girls sipping coffee hoping for a glimpse.

Or as @Gidgetvonlarue told me on Twitter just hang out the back and wait for them to duck out for a smoke…

They were a welcome addition to the TV screens.

However after watching a second immunity challenge, I am curious to know why/how they came up with this concept and how it was thought to make an even playing field.

Prediction there will be some bitterness and resentment about this before the end of the series.

Why? Because the person going for the immunity pin has to rely on two others to win. Even if they cook a knock out dish it still does not mean they win the prize. Conversely a person could win an immunity pin off the two other peoples dishes when theirs is ordinary. Not sure it passes the “fairness” test.

Darren Johnson picked the ingredient cheese to cook with rather then wine, however Mindy and her team get 30 minutes more to cook their dishes.

The most interesting thing about the episode is seeing who the person gets to cook with her. Mindy selected Amina and Julie. Not sure why nobody is picking Debra, but after tonight’s episode where it looks like she implodes we may know why….

Amina made the entree of Beetroot and Goats Cheese Salad, Mindy – Four Cheese Ravioli, and Julie made Stuffed Poached Pear.

The team from the Three Blue Ducks made Tagitelle with Tomato and Mozzarella, Mushroom and Cheese Risotto, and a delicious looking Pumpkin, Pear and Blue Cheese dessert.

However the judges did not like that the Tagitelle was served cold, and Matt Preston thought it was not a trend we would see taking off.

Amina’s salad got the thumbs up for highlighting the cheese but was criticised for there being no cooking. Duh! It is a salad a standard item on all menus.

After trying to create some drama about how no one had ever cooked a good risotto on the show the judges declared it was the best one they had had. Gary did say the presentation was not his cup of tea.

However Gary loved the presentation of their Pumpkin dessert which looked pretty similar in style. Go figure. George did not like that there was too much blue cheese on the plate.

Mindy’s main got the thumbs up for showcasing the cheese, but Matt Preston thought it required more balance. The stuffed poached pear was liked, however they didn’t get the biscuit that was served with it.

After trying to drum up some suspense the Three Blue Ducks won. Mindy must have seen pear when they turned the card around and for a split second thought she has won as she gave a shout of joy, then tempered when she realised it was the other teams dessert.



1 Andrea { 05.23.12 at 10:35 am }

I don’t like these challenges against three top chefs, especially so early in the game. What chance would the contestants have against them really? The judges must know just by looking who cooked what. It was better when it was just one person up against one chef, ther’s too many people running around trying to help, but it could also hinder in the process. Not sure Debra wasn’t chosen but at least it wasn’t Emma!

2 Dunbi { 05.23.12 at 11:00 am }

Agree. Much prefer one chef against one amateur – might not be so obvious then who cooked what. That risotto was served up in chunks, certainly wasn’t oozy – I suppose it had gone cold. I wonder if the filling in the biscuit was a creamy cheese.

3 Culinary Boner { 05.23.12 at 11:16 am }

Gary Chip Butty Mehigan was even more annoying than usual last night with his whining about modern food presentation. Why feature contemporary young chefs who are in the game of creating new dishes and experimenting with flavours and presentation and then moan when their dishes don’t look like something out of Larousse Gastronomique? Sure many of these contemporary creations and trends will be consigned to the culinary rubbish bin ten years hence. But they represent what a good segment of the restaurant industry should be about. Quality combined with innovation and novelty. (As opposed to Matt’s crab dessert concoction from the other week).

The show just seems awfully confused about what it is setting out to achieve this year. In comparison, the good-quality home cooking goal of My Kitchen Rules seems much more coherent.

The pace of last night’s show was also excruciatingly slow, even though I could fast forward the ads. The Chairman of the Bored at Shine should take note. This show’s slow death has begun.

4 Daze { 05.23.12 at 11:17 am }

Didn’t Matt Preston say he only dined there the week prior? Therefore he’d know the style of presentation; so a bit unfair on ‘blind judging’. Anyhow, they can’t let a well known restaurant ‘lose’ by design or otherwise so its a setup by producers way beforehand with owner – brand and reputation is paramount –

5 Daze { 05.23.12 at 11:18 am }

Yes CB Gary is more testy this Season; picky grumpy all over the place

6 Rosie { 05.23.12 at 11:30 am }

I didn’t bother to watch this last night, since the outcome seemed assured for whichever professional chef was chosen. I was half considering watching it on the OS, but after reading all of the above, I shan’t bother. (Thanks, RR)

Yes, sadly, the downward slide is happening again. At least (on the whole) the contestants seem to have a little more skill and personality than those from last year. Or maybe just like last year the interesting ones will be booted, leaving a few boring characters to finish. I stopped watching towards the end last year, and so far it seems I’ll do the same this year. Let’s hope tonight’s show has a bit more to offer.

7 Isabel { 05.23.12 at 11:36 am }

The girls were robbed! It seemed to me that the judges preferred their dessert so I was gobsmacked when the ‘boys’ won. A real set up.

Matt is now El Gordo to me (that’s Spanish for The Fat One) – he looks as if he’s going to burst!

8 Reality Raver { 05.23.12 at 11:39 am }

CB – Yes last night’s episode was slow – not sure if there is a one hour episode it in.

Rosie – tonight looks like a ripper with some drama and mutiny in Deb’s team. It looks like Debra’s inner zen falls apart.

9 littlepetal { 05.23.12 at 11:54 am }

Didn’t buy the theatrical performances from the judges. The whole thing is so scripted and rehearsed. The judges obviously knew who cook what and those comments when they tasted the dishes were there to confuse us the poor audience. The scoring did not match the comments. I have learnt to ignore what they say and just wait for the announcement (won’t be surprise if contestant’s win because that will have been decided earlier).

The whole thing about the risotto was so over the top. Yes, risotto cooked by contestants were a death sentence but risotto cooked by a chef will be amazing.

You also noticed they picked they buddies to cook with them not really the skills of the contestants.

What’s the point of asking the chef to pick the contestants to cook with the contestant-they might as well just get them to draw straws because the chef have no clues who these contestants are. This show drive me mad but…….. give me something to whinge about and to let off some steam (or else I have to pick on hubby!!!!!)

Yes, it was slow. Why do they spent so much air time on George cutting up the food?

10 Joseph Skyrim { 05.23.12 at 11:55 am }

I thought the gals should have won but I could only judge on looks, not on taste. Pretty sure the 3 vs 3 thing will/should only be till top 12 or something, because that’s when the knives really start coming out. If they don’t revert to 1 on 1 by then then yeah, there will be a good deal of backstabbing, unless leader person is fricking clever and they all work on -all- the dishes, thereby leader person can quality check everything.

None of this person A) made the entree, person B) the main and person C) the dessert. We all pitched in with each. That’s what I’m waiting to see.

11 brain dead dave { 05.23.12 at 11:59 am }

The presentation of gluttonous Gary himself leaves plenty to be desired…ie the knife licking and huge mouthfuls of food he goes in for.

Thanks to $hine more cheese went to air last night than into the recipes. The ammunity challenge was mindless culinary crud.

True to their mission statement of being all about the cooking, $hine have made a huge deal about Debra’s meltdown in the teasers for tonight’s attempt at an episode.

12 Culinary Boner { 05.23.12 at 12:06 pm }

“Why do they spent so much air time on George cutting up the food?”

A masterclass in table etiquette perhaps, littlepetal?

13 kathl29 { 05.23.12 at 12:35 pm }

I can’t believe they still make out that the judges are doing a blind tasting. Matt Preston would obviously know the presentation style of the chefs that are being tasted. He even said straight after the winner was announced that he had eaten that pumpkin, pear and blue cheese dish the week before. Why do they treat the viewers as stupid? It will be interesting to see how long they keep the three chef format going for because soon the contestants are going to get wise and realise it is in their best interests to sabotage their dish if they are helping the immunity challenger.

14 littlepetal { 05.23.12 at 12:43 pm }

Thanks CB. George is the last person to teach table etiquette.

15 Cookie { 05.23.12 at 12:46 pm }

Sorry, but the Three Ducks dessert looked like something you’d find in the gutter after a big night out. Hideous!

16 littlepetal { 05.23.12 at 12:49 pm }

I think they should make it more interesting with the immunity challenge. If the 2 helpers decide to go and cook with the immunity challenger and if the challenger wins, they don’t have to be in the next elimination challenge (from the team challenge) if their team lost. But………… here is the killer one-if they lose the immunity challenge, the 2 helpers will have to go into the next elimination challenge regardless whether their team win or lose. Also the helpers will be given the option to opt out in the immunity challenge.

17 Susan { 05.23.12 at 1:03 pm }

Great suggestion Littlepetal – that would certinly make it interesting viewing.
Agree that the Immunity challenge will certainly become strategic later down the track……….

18 JStar { 05.23.12 at 1:13 pm }

Hmm. Three good-looking young chefs enter the room and all the ladies in the peanut gallery stand just a little straighter. Fervent glances exchanged between the three hunks and all the ladies in the room (and if possible, Australia’s lounges). This Mills & Boon atmosphere is shattered by the announcement that the lady amatas will proceed to “nail” the boys. Coarse.

I thought all three ladies worked really well together and have been identified as some of the strongest cooks in the competition by the judges. Clearly Mindy rate Julia’s dessert skills above Emma’s and Kylie’s.

Loved the heckling from the peanut gallery. Special shout-outs should go to Audra, Ben, and Andy. Although save the psych-outs for those undeserving amatas who are bound to controversially cook-off for “ammunity” in the future and need all the help they can get.

Controversial decision in awarding the dessert to the lads. True, most people would prefer to pay for the pear over that Pro-Hart inspired mess. Why oh why Julia did you not listen to Sam from the balcony? He was insisting you poach that pear in duck fat before piping melted tasty cheese obtained from a resealable bag? Fool!

19 librarygirl { 05.23.12 at 1:32 pm }

I was very confused by Julia’s dessert NOT winning its category.
If 98 out of a hundred customers would chose it, and it was cooked beautifully, looked and tasted wonderful….. why on earth didn’t it win?
On that basis all the silly team red vs blue restaurant challenges are a farce because isn’t the object is to make the most money/sell the most food? But on Tuesday night challenges the judges choose the edgy meals over those that would help build a popular and successful restaurant? I’m thick obviously – can someone explain what’s going on here?

20 Chunks { 05.23.12 at 1:38 pm }

Pear dish would have looked much sexier if they’d cut it in half to serve. Just sayin’.

21 Marie { 05.23.12 at 1:42 pm }

I think that if there are going to be three amata chefs cooking in an immunity challenge it should automatically be the top three (in this case Mindy, Dalvinda + Deb, ignoring Fillipo for a second). they would be working together the beat the pro chefs but also against each other to win the one immunity pin. It wouldn’t matter if their dishes were not consistent in theme or style as the judges ‘don’t know’ whose dish is whose anyway. If the top three managed to beat the pro chefs then the immunity pin would go to the best of their three dishes. I think this would be fairer than another contestant potentially winning because their two teammates did really well. It would also mean that no one would try and sabotage because they would all want the pin. Contestants would have to find a balance between making a dish that stands out to potentially win a pin and making a dish that is solid enough not to let their teammates down.

I just hate the current format so much and I can’t see it working for much longer.

22 Daze { 05.23.12 at 1:54 pm }

I think this format is a waste of time; it ONLY showcases and promotes the restaurants MC uses on the series. 9/10 the restaurant wins. Still I guess, it challenges the contestants. There would have to be a contract drawn up not to discredit the restaurants used otherwise why would they tarnish their reputation?

23 Culinary Boner { 05.23.12 at 2:21 pm }

Cookie, if that’s the case where were the carrots?

24 Andrea { 05.23.12 at 2:26 pm }

Your idea is good Marie, makes alot of sense to me, and Daze,yes I agree that any restaurants and chefs involved would not want their reputations damaged in any way so the whole thing seems pointless in a way, why even bother doing the challenge? Just let the top 3 cook the same dish and the best ( blind tested ) would get immunity, same with the bottom three during elimination. we don’t really need professional chefs at all. Please channel ten read these comments and think about how you can improve the show before its too late!

25 Anonymous { 05.23.12 at 2:40 pm }

Except for the entree where the plates were all white, for the main and desert the chefs had black plates where the contestants had white plates. Wouldn’t that give the judges a hint who cooked what. They should be consistant.

26 littlepetal { 05.23.12 at 2:58 pm }

I still say that the judges will know who cooks what. What is to stop the producers or one of the crew member telling the judges who cooks what. They may want us to believe that it is blind tasting but I am not falling for it.

27 Marie { 05.23.12 at 3:20 pm }

I would be genuinely shocked if anyone thought the judges didn’t know who cooked what, littlepetal. Whether they are told or the quality and presentation of the food alone.

28 Culinary Boner { 05.23.12 at 3:21 pm }

What a strange day today has been….
Anthony Mundine getting a pedicure (allegedly… unless of course he has a doppleganger or some other poor guy is his f’ugly look-a-like or he’s been “spoofed” a la Craig Thomson) –
Justin Beiber’s penis goes by the name “Jerry” (Justin has a penis???) –
and Mary Murphy’s allegedly a coke-head nympho pizza supreme you can order from room service (though apparently she only beds TV producers).

Oh well, back to the more mundane task of taking MCA to task.

The previous year’s ammunity challenge format had more drama because both the celeb chef and the contender (on their own-some) had to cook the same damn dish with the celeb chef having a time and recipe access handicap. It made for much better viewing. Can we have it back please?

29 Reality Raver { 05.23.12 at 3:28 pm }

Culinary Boner – Last year I thought the immunity challenges were all over the shop as there was no consistency some people got it easier then others.

I think it should be contestant against a chef with a dish picked by someone else. The contestant can decide whether to get a time head start to cook by themselves or not get a head start and have Matt Moran mentor them. Thoughts?

30 Daze { 05.23.12 at 3:34 pm }

RR; we as viewers weren’t as cluey as Season 1; now we see all the hidden editing, all the inevitables, the tricks and scams and rigging and I think because its not genuine, it pisses us off and hence needing a forum to vent, lol. Obviously they are listening, both producers and judges, George has stopped the ‘yeah’ every two seconds, one tenth of the contestants dont sob nor do we get long back stories, but honestly why pit a contestant v a known chef when WE all KNOW they only go on to get exposure, not to lose. Duh, wake up Ch.10

31 Culinary Boner { 05.23.12 at 3:37 pm }

Raver, good suggestions of giving them these options. Based on the quality of MM’s mentoring so far I’d go the time advantage.

* Why is my head replaying Mary Murphy’s squeals?

32 Daze { 05.23.12 at 3:59 pm }

CB dont tell me you’ve brushed Ajay aside? Never thought Id see the day

33 Culinary Boner { 05.23.12 at 4:02 pm }

*blushes* guess I’m just fickle, daze

34 Culinary Boner { 05.23.12 at 4:26 pm }

Guess I started losing my feelings for Ajay at the mention on her blog that she imbibes “Orange Mocha Frappuccino’s”* –

* oh, that and her misuse of both capitals and the apostrophe

Hey Raver, any chance of Mary Murphy visiting downunder any time soon?

35 Bronte local { 05.23.12 at 5:32 pm }

I agree that there is no way the judges wouldn’t have known which dishes had been prepared by the chefs. The Three Blue Ducks have a very unique style and the presentation was so clearly theirs each time. As someone who live a few metres away from the Three Blue Ducks I am kind of disappointed they have been featured on MC as there is already a huge crowd milling around the cafe on weekends trying to get a table, this will just increase the crowds tenfold!

36 Culinary Boner { 05.24.12 at 12:22 pm }

Darren and the boys should become members of the Bondi Icebergs for the winter swimming season.

That way they could be known locally as The Three Blue Dicks.

37 Masterchef Australia – The Immunity Challenge Was A Farce | reality ravings { 05.30.12 at 12:41 am }

[…] week I wrote the immunity challenge would end in tears and at this stage it is only Audra weeping tears of joy, however and it will be interesting to […]

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