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Masterchef Australia – Days Of Our Knives

“You either survive or you die,” says Audra revealing that she has acquired Masterchef’s version of Stockholm Syndrome which has made her lose all sense of perspective after being locked in the Masterchef house for over six months.

Masterchef Australia was like a soap opera tonight with tears, heartache, melodramatic  statements and drawn out scenes. Seriously how long does it take to taste and judge food? Did I mention drawn out tastings with complete with cheesy music?

The first challenge for the final five was to cook a sauce to go with a steak and they had twenty minutes to do it in. Ironically the contestants did not have to cook the steak, which considering it is the super pointy end of the competition they should have shown they knew how to do this.

In fact the last steak cooking challenge in Tasmania turned into a bit of  debacle with only Jules a former top 24 contestant, cooking the steak to the required medium rare.

Mindy and Andy were both cooking mushroom sauces . “Are you sure it is not too creamy?” asks George of Mindy’s Five Mushroom sauce. Since when have the judges ever baulked at a bit of fat? I thought Gary had instigated a mandatory fat quota in the competition.

It was Andy who won the battle of the mushroom sauces.  However it was Audra after waiting for what seemed like ages for the judges to give her any feedback who won the challenge with her Herb Vinaigrette sauce.

Lucky for Julia it was not an elimination as she would have been gone as the reviews of her Garlic and Truffle Aioli were scathing.

Julia who has been so stoic throughout the competition was starting to crack.

Thankfully she was not so emotionally fragile that she did not totally freak out when she saw the live bull in the pantry. What was the point of it? The contestants did not have to kill it or ride it. It was an unnecessary bit of dramatics in the episode and it took the attention away from the introduction of guest judge Masterchef UK’s host/judge John Torode.

The final five did not need to be shown where beef comes from, nor did the viewer.

The elimination challenge unsurprisingly involved beef.  They had to cook a beef dish in two hours. Audra because she had won the previous challenge had the advantage of selecting a cut first. She chose short ribs, Andy chose shins, Mindy the chuck, Ben the rib eye and Julia was stuck with the rump.

In the final week how much assistance and advice should the judges give? Andy’s original dish of braising the shin and placing it on quenelles of mash potato was met with some underwhelmed looks by Gary and John. They advised to him to grill the marrow and cut up the shin, which he promptly did.

They did also advise Ben. Gary caustically asked “Where did you get that recipe for your onion soubise from?”. Unfortunately the answer was not “From one of your cookbooks Gary”. He did then change it to onion jam.

The judges even before the tasting said that Ben and Julia were the ones in trouble and they were. Audra’s Short Ribs in Master Stock were thought to be “yummy, yummy, yummy”, and Mindy was told she was safe after the judges tasted her Pepper and Szechuan Braised Beef, even though John Torode said it had not showcased the beef. It would have been interesting to know which ingredient he thought was being showcased as most of her platter was condiments.

However it was Andy who took out dish of the day with his Braised Shin with Mash Potato and Vegetables, something on paper that sounded unappetising but the judges thought was brilliant.

Julia’s Rump Steak with Caramelised Shallot Tartin split the judges, Matt thought it was a sophisticated dish whereas Gary thought the sauce was too aggressive.

Ben’s Roasted Rib-Eye with onion jam and fondant potatoes was said to have no direction and in the end the direction he was heading was out the door.

This also meant it was the end of the bromance of Ben and Andy.  Andy paid him homage saying “He really has blown me away and I can’t wait for the next stage in our lives to start.” And there was the happy ending.

Ben plans to open a Mexican restaurant with Andy which is kind of ironic considering he never received that many accolades when he cooked the Central American cuisine.


1 brain dead dave { 07.24.12 at 10:45 pm }


2 JLo { 07.24.12 at 10:46 pm }

Hi Troll, as a personal favour, could you please ignore this site a bit more too? We like to discuss Masterchef here. Please can you not spoil our fun?

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeese. Thank you.

3 A.P { 07.24.12 at 10:48 pm }

No , I asked him nicely yesterday, he wouldn’t go.

4 Troll { 07.24.12 at 10:51 pm }

Wow, BDD only typed 3 characters, let’s hope there is some form of constipation going on there.

5 Troll { 07.24.12 at 10:53 pm }

JLo, the word ‘too’ suggests that you agree with me. Thanks for your support.

6 brain dead dave { 07.24.12 at 10:54 pm }

You’re right ,troll. Couldn’t give a shit about you.

7 Chunks { 07.24.12 at 10:55 pm }

Please don’t feed the Reality Dysfunction people. Unless it’s raw barramundi of course.

8 JLo { 07.24.12 at 10:56 pm }

‘Too’ was referring to you & Paul. No need thank you for your misunderstanding.

9 JLo { 07.24.12 at 10:59 pm }

Chunks – Correct me if I am wrong, was Mindy expecting Jacques Reymond to cook her barramundi? I was getting the impression from Mindy’s conversation with him during the last 15 minutes.

10 Chunks { 07.24.12 at 11:01 pm }

JLo, you mean when she screamed out for him to come and help her? I don’t know but I did wonder what she thought he was going to do at that stage of the cooking. They were supposed to provide advice, not sous chef duties!

11 Troll { 07.24.12 at 11:02 pm }

BDD, the volume of shit you are producing on here is amazing.
All your comments clearly show that you don’t care about anyone or anything so I wasn’t expecting you to make an exception just for me.

12 JLo { 07.24.12 at 11:04 pm }

Exactly. She was talking about no time to cook the fish and started giving instructions to JR on how to cook the fish. I must watch the clip again. I find it interesting.

13 brain dead dave { 07.24.12 at 11:04 pm }

I’ve caught barramundi in the NT and cooked it successfully. Blind drunk, to boot. If I can,why can’t one of the “24 best amata cooks in Australia” do it?

I can assure people,it’s not rocket science.

14 A.P { 07.24.12 at 11:08 pm }

I don’t remember the contestants getting any help from professional chefs in the previous seasons like this lot. Aren’t they supposed to be capable of cooking a great dish by themselves at this late stage? Audra was lucky Mindy’s fish was raw or she would have been the one going home!

15 littlepetal { 07.24.12 at 11:10 pm }

Mindy got her timing wrong. Even if the chef cooks the barramundi for her, it will still be uncooked because there is not enough time.

16 JLo { 07.24.12 at 11:12 pm }

I am still wondering was the “unmitigated disaster” referring to Mindy’s (or possibly Audra’s) dish? Why didn’t they air it?

17 littlepetal { 07.24.12 at 11:12 pm }

Audra stuffed up big time. Even hubby asked ” Did she cook the sashimi to perfection???”

18 JLo { 07.24.12 at 11:16 pm }

“I have never cooked raw fish before.” – Mindy.

19 littlepetal { 07.24.12 at 11:18 pm }

But you just did, Mindy.

20 brain dead dave { 07.24.12 at 11:22 pm }

Actually , Mindy~ you still haven’t cooked raw fish.


21 Chunks { 07.24.12 at 11:29 pm }

I wondered about the unmitigated disaster too. None of those dishes was a disaster. Could it have been from tomorrow night?

22 brain dead dave { 07.24.12 at 11:35 pm }

Well, it could be ,Chunks, but I’m rather enamoured with the idea it was about the WD spoiler. What white knuckle suspense that provided.

Jowl$y~ ” Mindy, it all comes down to the dish you didn’t cook tonight.”

23 J { 07.24.12 at 11:39 pm }

Audra should have gone home with Mindy. Probably Julia too for cooking a two hour dish when she was told one and a half. And then Andy can win by default because he has, in what could be his own words, “never won because of my own skills before.”

24 brain dead dave { 07.24.12 at 11:45 pm }

We need the doctor’s opinion on which is worse for human consumption~ raw barramundi or raw sashimi. When you’re ready,Doctor T.

25 JLo { 07.24.12 at 11:47 pm }

May be the “unmitigated disaster” is referring to the SMH/The Age winner spoiler? I don’t believe in that spoiler.

Did anyone hear Matt P told the contestants that they are the best 4 out of 7,000 applicants? That’s probably the real ‘unmitigated disaster’.

26 A.P { 07.24.12 at 11:52 pm }

J, you’ve got a point there. Why did Julia choose a dish she knew would take longer than one and a half hrs? Doesn’t make sense when they all could have chosen anything they wanted. Julia will probably win because her name starts with J which is a very popular initial around here! Its a good a reason as any. I’m getting tired but trying to watch the Survivor final!
JLo, I think you would have had a better chance of winning Masterchef!

27 planb { 07.25.12 at 12:02 am }

More to the point, why hasn’t Audra broken out her signature move for some time now? Did her husband have a word to her? Or (gasp) has her frog jump been edited out?? I am hoping for one more, so perhaps she could snap one out on Big Kev at the finale celebrations. Or, if she did win, on Matt P.

28 Jess { 07.25.12 at 12:38 am }

Audra has mellowed out a lot since coming back from Italy. It probably would have come from the loss of Amina, but the “Yay, we’re going overseas!” euphoria carried her a bit longer, I guess.

I actually think Mindy and Audra were handicapped by their mentors. Neither Jacques Reymond or Peter Doyle specialise in Southeast Asian cooking, so helping them with their “signature” dishes didn’t make any sense to me. At least Neil Perry would have been a better culinary match for Mindy (though Jacques was actually pretty good as a teacher). Peter Doyle, who isn’t very charismatic on-screen, didn’t seem all that useful for Audra.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any recommendations for more suitable three-hatted mentors, either. Chui Lee Luk is down to two stars. Kylie Kwong only has two. And what have Cheong Liew and Tim Pak Poy been up to these days?

29 Turbulence { 07.25.12 at 7:18 am }

To be quite honest, I don’t think George or Gary are as terrible as they have been made out to be. If you brought on any of the American judges from Top Chef etc., they’d be a lot worse and would eat half the contestants for breakfast, lunch and dinner. George is pretty compassionate when a contestant breaks down or is having a bad time. Doesn’t mean it’s faked for the cameras.

30 Morgan { 07.25.12 at 7:58 am }

I’m still pretty shocked Mindy went home last night. Her dish looked amazing, but she definitely deserved to go because of the raw fish. Andy is on fire!

I love this Final 3. You have Audra, the consistently strong cook who delivered from Day 1, Julia the girl who took so much flack from the judges and was in the bottom 2 countless times (pretty sure she holds the record for most bottom 2 appearances) but has fought her through with her determination, and Andy who started off mediocre, but has improved leaps and bounds and is now a huge contender. I’ll be happy with any of them winning.

31 Anna { 07.25.12 at 8:20 am }

JLo, does this qualify as an “I haven’t done this before” moment, but Andy states that “this is the first time I’ve cooked yabbies”.

The best pairing tonight IMO were Andy and his mentor, particularly as he had been a former electrician. I noticed that he was the only one to say that he would mentor him again (even though we know it probably never eventuates and if so only for a day or a week). Julia’s mentor made no such offer.

I think Andy would be wasted in a Mexican restaurant.

32 Kugelhopf { 07.25.12 at 8:39 am }

Yep Anna — “Andy would be wasted in a Mexican restaurant” — wasted on tequila!!

33 Reality Raver { 07.25.12 at 8:39 am }

Recap coming guys sorry for the delay

34 Morgan { 07.25.12 at 8:42 am }

Kugelhopf – Someone posted a pic of Andy with a board of shot glasses, someone where on a different article. I can definitely see him getting wasted! :)

35 Moonstruck { 07.25.12 at 8:43 am }

Mindy IMO did not show enough respect. She ordered Jaques to “come and help” her. She had enough time – 20 minutes to cook the fish. one can cook steak in that time. I think she said something about the oven being hot enough.
Audra has been consistent, but 90 minutes for 3 sauces? And what waste to cook the crackling and then to put a couple of crumbs on the dish. Julia showcased a number of different techniques and it looked great even if it wasn’t as she had planned.

36 Dooba { 07.25.12 at 9:00 am }

Gosh what was Audra thinking? 90 minutes to prepare three dipping sauces? Wouldn’t her mentor have asked “that’s it?”
That is not a three-hat dish; not even a half-cap.

Too bad for Mindy. She blew it.

Andy’s on fire. Looks like the contender.

37 Maz { 07.25.12 at 9:25 am }
38 JLo { 07.25.12 at 9:30 am }

Morgan, Kugelhopf #284 – I posted it on the Manu’s thread. Here is the pic:

Anna #281 – Yes! Will add it on the list. Thanks.

Jess #278 – Jacques Reymond is well known for his South East Asian inspired French cuisine. His cookbook Cuisine du Temps is a testament to that. He and Mindy are a good match. Audra & Peter Doyle are the weakest, in my opinion. That’s probably why Audra decided to ‘cook’ sashimi. Audra was so close to be eliminated for making raw fish and to be saved by another raw fish dish. Oh the irony.

A.P – Thank you again.

39 littlepetal { 07.25.12 at 11:03 am }

JLo- You adding this to your list – I have never cooked raw fish before!!! from Mindy???

40 Jess { 07.25.12 at 11:35 am }

Jacques uses some Asian ingredients—”Asian flavours,” as they say— but his cooking techniques are all very French. I’m not sure that’s especially useful inasmuch as a Hong Kong restaurant serving macaroni soup or rice with cheese wouldn’t necessarily know anything about European cooking either. So, Mindy’s dish, rawness aside, turned out to be rather unMindy-like. Jacques mentoring wasn’t necessarily bad. But what Mindy plated up was more like a signature dish with forged handwriting.

41 JLo { 07.25.12 at 12:54 pm }

Littlepetal – I doubt it. No really a legit entry.

42 Dr T { 07.25.12 at 2:25 pm }

#274 to be honest bdd, I don’t know…. I don’t think it’d be a problem unless it was the wrong bit of fugu

I’m not a great fan of raw fish, but there is something wrong with 1/2 cooked fish…

43 JLo { 07.25.12 at 2:47 pm }

Aburi (flame-seared Sushi) is made of 1/2 cooked fish. They taste ‘Beautiful’. If only Mindy knew how to improvise……