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Masterchef Australia – Biggest Immunity Challenge Ever

It was the immunity challenge that was the equivalent of a Korean Moonie Wedding with 24 chefs cooking off against each other. Twelve professionals each against an All Star.

For once it was a level playing field on Masterchef All Stars, with three food critics blind taste testing the dishes in the immunity challenge. It is a pity the judging cannot be like that every week.

This was the episode to be a guest judge. Guy Griffin from SMH Sydney Magazine, Myffy Rigby Food Editor of Time Out and Matthew Evans who cooks as well being a former food critic had to taste twenty four dishes with half of being from good professional chefs. It was a mammoth job for them but it was a refreshing change from Matt, George and Gary. Also it meant they were not critiquing their peers.

The challenge was for each contestant to go head to head with one of the chefs in an immunity challenge and if they were judged to have the better dish then they were safe from Monday night’s pressure test.

It was a cracker concept but editing left a lot to be desired as we did not get to see all the match ups nor all the food, and after the judging it was obvious which of the three contestants had won.

Tonight it was the end of the team challenges and for the next two weeks they will be competing as individuals which raises the question  what was the point the team challenges? As some commenter’s on this blog highlighted maybe it was to get their cooking legs back on? Or was it to give them the opportunity to raise money for their charities and it was interesting how each team won a challenge…..

They were told the eliminations were about to start with George Calombaris saying if you are eliminated they would be “going back to your glorious cooking lives”. Yes he said that with a straight face.

There were some interesting tussles, Julie v Adrian Richardson, Poh v Dan Hong, Chris v Colin Fassenidge, Justine v Jeremy Strode, Marion v Martin Boetz, Hayden v Vincent Gaden, Dani v Alessandro Pavoni, Kate v Darren Purchase, Callum v Phillipa Sibley, Kumar v Shaun Presland, and Aaron v Darren Robertson.

Jonathan was not sighted all episode except for a hopeful look at the end but on the plus side it was more air time than Callum received.

The cheftestants had to pick the ingredient either bacon or eggs. As Aaron said there were a lot of pastry chefs there it might be a better strategy to go with bacon, but no they selected eggs.

The professional chefs had 60 minutes to cook whilst the  “amateurs” received 90 minutes.

Some of the previous match ups were based on history. Darren had beaten Kate Bracks in the banana dessert immunity pin challenge. A challenge she had deserved to win.

This time around she was making a twist on a Lemon Meringue Pie complete with an meringue that looks like an egg. It did look good, and Myffy Rigby called in perfection.

Where Darren Purchase made a mixture of stuff including tarragon marshmallow. The judges said it was something they would have liked to have had as dessert as a child. Was this their way of saying it was too sweet?

Dani was making a Sri Lankan Breaksfast which was a fusion of two dishes she knew how to make a curry and deep fried eggs. She also made her own roti. It was the only Indian dish out of the twenty four and the judges nearly fell upon it when they saw it. She was matched up against Alessandro who she tied with in a previous challenge in season three and ended up winning an immunity pin.

He made duck egg raviolo with truffles it looked like he over did the truffles.

Shaun Presland was cooking with duck fat, which was like a moth to a flame for Gary Mehigan. He claimed he was using it because he could not find the butter. Sponsor Western Star must be wondering where their product is.

Shaun Presland was making three types of tartare though it would not have mattered what he had dished up as Kumar was in all sorts of difficulty making a Soba Noodle Egg Nest. At first it was meant to be quail eggs however after he was having difficulty peeling them, Shaun suggested he change the type of eggs he was using.

Also Shaun was slightly scathing to Gary when he suggested he should assist him, and he said he already had shown him how to make the nest. It was not one of the best dishes of the day as the nest was described as being too crunchy which was critic speak for hard.

Kumar was having one of those days when they said he “was on fire” he actually was on fire.

Hayden was making Duck Egg Raviolo which looked pretty ordinary on the plate, not sure why he was given so much air time this episode for this underwhelming dish. Was it to highlight the camaraderie between him and Alessandro. His actual opponent Vincent Gaden made a spectacular dessert called Menage Au Trois complete with phallic symbol place inside a hole.

Justine was making a floating islands with a citrus salad whilst her opponent Jeremy Strode was making scrambled duck egg with some quail eggs with some brioche. The hero of the dish was the egg, but the judges queried whether there was nothing else but egg. The judges loved the islands but were unsure of the citrus salad in it.

Marion made a smoked duck with a duck egg salad. She over cooked the duck the first time and had to do it again.

Martin Boetz snapped at George for criticising Marion’s duck and  said “she made a mistake and she is fixing it and she will be fine”. Actually she wasn’t, for once the judges did not sugar coat it and the look of Myffy and Matthew Evan’s face when they were tasting it was priceless. They said “there is something not quite right about it”. Also Martin’s dish of Fried Salted Duck Egg and Prawn Salad looked sensational.

Poh made tofu with a dressing which they said was insanely good. However we did not get to see what Dan Hong did to beat her.

In the end three of the All Stars beat their chefs, and it was easy to guess who as of the few they highlighted only three received decent reviews.

It was Kate, Dani and Justine. All well deserved, though I suspect Jeremy Strode’s dish lost it for him rather than Justine’s dish being truly spectacular for the win.

Darren Purchase was classy about his loss also throwing in $1000 from his business to Kate’s charity, and Alessandro admitted he had eaten most of Dani’s curry so was non-plussed at the loss anyway he is getting used to it.

These three avoid the pressure test tonight where two of the All Stars will be eliminated. I suspect the delightful Kumar will be one of them.



1 Isabel { 08.06.12 at 7:42 am }

Miffy looked as if she was already dressed for the 50’s Fair which is coming up in Sydney in a couple of weeks ….

It was a much more interesting programme to watch, although I can’t understand why ‘the best 12 chefs in the country’ put themselves up to lose!

And poor Kumar, yes, he’s gone for sure tonight …. was he chosen for AllStars for his personality rather than skill … probably – goodness knows how his book will sell!

2 Moonstruck { 08.06.12 at 7:56 am }

Kumar was probably chosen because everyone else probably said no thank you. Not everyone from top 10 has gone on with a food dream and some received a lot of hate. On that score one has to congratulate Dani for having handled it so well.

3 JKo { 08.06.12 at 8:07 am }

It’s a pity they didn’t show all of the dishes.

4 Morgan { 08.06.12 at 8:25 am }

Gutted that Dani will not be one of the first to go. I’m hoping Julie goes tonight, although a beef wellington sounds right up her alley so she might not stuff it up. I’m glad they are finally ditching the teams and are now all in it for themselves. Really dumb how we never saw all of the dishes.

5 Joseph Skyrim { 08.06.12 at 8:28 am }

Silly that they didn’t show all the dishes but at least they are using guest judges (which we’ve suggested numerous times here). This is especially true as people are getting an idea of what the regular judges like – ie. Callum putting cinnamon in spag bol because he knows George likes it.

Hope this carries on to next season along with George’s soccer cards to silence the balcony.

6 Dunbi { 08.06.12 at 8:35 am }

The editing doesn’t get any better does it? Why did they not introduce all the chefs, I found that incredibly rude. Why didn’t we get to see all the dishes. I have no idea what Chris, Julie, Jonathon or Callum made. Once again, endless pieces to camera by Dani. If they would only cut out this nonsense they would then have time to show all the dishes and all the tastings. So frustrated at the end of this episode.
Poor Kumar, much and all as he is loved by everybody, he really has so few cooking skills. I was surprised Justine won, I really thought the judges hadn’t enjoyed the addition of oranges to her dish.

7 Gidgit { 08.06.12 at 8:45 am }

@Dunbi – well said! Could not agree more – and my brother is a TV show editor. The editing was terrible, huge amounts of wasted time, and so damn rude to the guest chefs that were not introduced or have their meals shown! Really pissed me off last night.

8 dmc { 08.06.12 at 8:54 am }

Agreed. This was from the bad old days of Masterchef editing. Who were some of the professionals they ignored? And no suspense because obvious who had won.

9 Gidgit { 08.06.12 at 8:56 am }

Oh, and regarding the vote – Justine is SO winning this. I’ll be amazed if she doesn’t. She is the only one with a full time contract with Channel Ten with her own afternoon cooking show. Doubt they will let her lose!

10 Reality Raver { 08.06.12 at 9:07 am }

Isabel – His cook book is probably the one I would buy it will have Sri Lankan recipes with his own hand drawn illustrations so something a bit different. Having said that I rarely buy cook books these days as I just google.

Moonstruck – none of the All Stars that won are my faves but it was well deserved. And at least we knew it was fair.

Jko – Agree

Morgan – I am guessing Kumar and possibly Jonathan.

Dunbi – Chris looked like he was making something deep fried as he had a fryer on his bench, and Julie made a quiche. Also I think Justine dish was probably better than Jeremy’s and that is all she had to beat it did not have to be the best three dishes of the day. I think he overdid the egg.

DMC – Poor Phillipa Sibley and the guy opposing Jonathan, and the cute chef from Three Blue Ducks. Yeah as soon as they said three had beaten the chefs it was obvious who had won, as they were the only three heavily featured with good reviews.

Gidgit – you bringing in the Dancing With The Stars theory here. That the winner has to be from their Network? Not a bad one.

11 Joseph Skyrim { 08.06.12 at 9:15 am }

RR – my posts (well, singular as I tried retyping same thing) got eaten again. :(

12 PollyB { 08.06.12 at 9:16 am }

Why fucking bother having 12 of the best chefs in the country and then not show anything of them. Not even an introduction. A completely fucked up episode. Although you gotta love Alessandro. And Gary, FFS, ‘George and I aren’t going to judge 12 of our peers’. They have no trouble ‘judging’ their peers in the farce of the regular series immunity challenges. Schlock, the lot of it.

13 Gillian { 08.06.12 at 9:18 am }

I thought Alessandro was very charming. He probably thinks life is too short to care about beaten on a TV show. I just read an article he has survived four cancer scares and had two heart attacks –

14 Reality Raver { 08.06.12 at 9:28 am }

Joseph Skyrim – they should be on now. Thanks for telling me.

15 kingfisher { 08.06.12 at 9:31 am }

why didn’t they call it top 5 masterchef v top 5 superchefs because i have no idea what the rest cooked . what a waste of talent watching last night it would have spectacular t.v last night if we could see what everyone was cooking but no we have to listen to kate’s crap and dani giggling again also hear mumbles again (kumar) what is he saying ??? . how lame is goodwin a quiche now that’s new duh!!!

16 A.P { 08.06.12 at 9:44 am }

I would have to agree with everyone, I thought it was rude too to not introduce all the chefs. There was a woman chef there who was completely ignored, who knows who she was!
I also wanted to see all the dishes, haven’t the producers got the message yet that this is what we want?
The blind tastings was a great idea with 3 judges who showed no favouritism just told it like it was.
Poor Kumar just can’t seem to win can he ?

17 Culinary Boner { 08.06.12 at 9:45 am }

My excitement at a really good concept didn’t take long to evaporate under the weight Shine’s truly piss-poor editing.

The weird truncation of the initial match-up sequences had me wondering if either my foxtel recording jumped 5 mins or I’d had an Olympics-induced microsleep.

Why go to the frigging effort of assembling so many high-calibre chefs and then only show half of ’em and then show this selection for for twice as long as necessary? Especially the spectacularly uncharming Vincent Gaden, the culinary world’s answer to Jean Claude Van Damme –

So the whole episode limped along like a zombie with a gammy leg because the geniuses in production showed us just six match-ups. Anyone with cognitive ability of a house plant could work out way in advance of the end who were the top 3 and who’d be up for alimination.

Shine were getting a bit better doing a solid, if not exemplary, job of editing as the last series progressed. What happened? Did the editing suite take off for the Olympics?

I missed the Olympics for this? This should have been the stand-out culinary episode for MCA. What a wasted opportunity.

That said, the guest judges were way better than The Three Hams.

18 Culinary Boner { 08.06.12 at 9:47 am }

Hey Raver, my post just got eaten by your web-editor Pac Man.

19 PollyB { 08.06.12 at 10:04 am }

And another thing, beef wellington, for allstars, for the immunity challenge. It can be difficult to get the beef cooked correctly, but they are ALLSTARS. FFS, bring back the kids, they cooked more advanced dishes than this. Pa-thet-ic.

20 Robl { 08.06.12 at 10:05 am }

If anything this episode exposed the flawed judging of the entire series. Several times it was mentioned that because it’s a blind taste test they can’t try to influence the outcome by cooking something they know the judges like (eg pork crackling) which means the normal series is just who can pander to them more than others.

21 Reality Raver { 08.06.12 at 10:08 am }

CB – should be there now, maybe spam was on Beavis and Butthead patrol.

22 PollyB { 08.06.12 at 10:11 am }

Yes, yes, Robl, another point that became glaringly obvious last night. I forgot about that one.

23 Dunbi { 08.06.12 at 10:17 am }

Gidgit – re Justine. Hadn’t thought about that, interesting to see if you are right.
CB – Well I like Vincent Gaden and his dessert looked amazing. So there! :)

24 Culinary Boner { 08.06.12 at 10:19 am }

Thanks Raver.
The link is 11o% JCVD, not B&B, as in –

“During a covert mission or a secret underground karate tournament, Jean-Claude usually meets 15 to 20 lady reporters. Because they have an old saying in the newspaper business: “If a story doesn’t belong in the karate section, get the fuck out of my office.” Strangely, in this film, when a daring kidnapping leaves one million zillion dead and the kidnappers flee to Chernobyl to broadcast terrorist manifestos about undead super soldiers, the press never gets wind of it.
Filmmakers, I know your movie moves a lot faster if you leave out all the dialog and setting and character development, but there’s an old saying in the movie business: If Jean-Claude Van Damme goes more than 24 hours without his dick in a reporter, you better remember one thing…
And then you wait for someone to ask what, and then you go: “A good supply of body bags.”

Read more: The Return of Jean-Claude Van Damme: Dark, Meaningful, Splits! |

25 Culinary Boner { 08.06.12 at 10:41 am }

Dunbi, just as J-CVD achieved international fame and success for his mastery of the splits and the meaningful eyebrow lift, I have every hope that Big Vinnie Gaden will also find himself an international man of mystery on the back of his cleverly named desserts – Essence of a woman and Ménage à trois* – plus the gusto with which he went straight into pantomime ‘menace’ when facing off against Hayden last night.

Ditch Zumbo for next season. Bring on Big Vinnie.

* I would have called this the Melange a trois though

26 Dunbi { 08.06.12 at 11:11 am }

CB – ‘Melange’ a trois is perfect. Forgot to mention I do like your turn of phrase. I am keeping “Anyone with the cognitive ability of a houseplant” in my memory bank for future use.

27 Culinary Boner { 08.06.12 at 11:23 am }

Thanks Dunbi.
Most of the phrases I use are ones I’ve also heard elsewhere.
If only the scriptwriters for Masterchef spent more time absorbing the many clever writings and sayings on twitter and elsewhere* they wouldn’t need to resort to “Boom, Boom, Shake the Room” and the like.

* I left out books because I’m not sure what they can get from Fifty Shades of Grey** (or even Game of Thrones)

** Though maybe this is where George got “I’m salivating”

28 lulu { 08.06.12 at 12:05 pm }

Agree PollyB and AP; a good concept turned dumb and irritating. To only showcase a few of them (therefore making the outcome obvious) was ridiculous. I have no idea who that small female chef was, nor what half of them cooked … just a lot of Dani, waving her arms around and babbling, as usual.
At one point, they even showed Julie G just standing at her bench, with nothing in front of her, staring blankly. Maybe some of them were ‘pretend cooking’ … nothing would surprise me.
You’d think that MC could at least pretend to be a real cooking show.

Thought the judges were good, too – unpretentious and matter-of-fact …. unlike that fop, Terry Durack and those of his ilk. Get a haircut Terry, you’re not a young, tortured poet.

29 Culinary Boner { 08.06.12 at 12:13 pm }

Terry Durack has the picture of dorian grey hanging in his attic cupboard.

I’d’ve sold my soul for a bit more than free dining and shagging Jill Dupleix, lulu.

30 Chunks { 08.06.12 at 12:32 pm }

If this series doesn’t kill the Masterchef brand then it has more lives than a cat.

31 Joseph Skyrim { 08.06.12 at 1:09 pm }

@Chunks – Hehe, if each season is a “life” then technically this is only life #8. 😛

32 brain dead dave { 08.06.12 at 1:45 pm }

*Warning : May contain material related to physical appearance of contestants.

You’ve got Julie Goodwin there with the thousand yard stare , lulu .The appallingly cougarised T-shirt with the edgy holes to highlight the exploding bingo wings.

A sight to make you run faster than Usain Bolt.

33 A.P { 08.06.12 at 2:06 pm }

Yes, I noticed that too about Julie Goodwin, it made her look foolish just standing there with an empty bench staring blankly. Perhaps she could have offered to help someone else? Still mystified why the top chefs were ignored except for the chosen few? I’m sure they thought they would all get a bit of publicity for their restaurants by going on the show.
I just watched a dvd on “New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker” and was astounded that two of the eight contestants said they had never baked scones or pavlova before! That was their challenge for the day, they even tell them the day before what the challenge is going to be so that they can practice! Why go on a baking show if they don’t know how to do that?
It reminded me of Masterchef and JLo’s list of “I’ve never done that before”

34 Baz { 08.06.12 at 2:42 pm }

It should’ve been a brilliant episode but actually it was one of the worst episodes ever. That was the most pathetic amateur piece of horse-shit editing I’ve ever seen and what a huge slap in the face to some of those top chefs who wasted their time to come on this joke of a tv show. Poor Mitch Orr, all he got was 1 second of camera time. And when Fat Gary made that comment about the ‘pastry boys’, Phillipa Sibley must’ve thought, you are an obese asshole.

Clearly Shine thought we would rather see Dani hog the camera with her blow-up doll mouth (does she ever shut it?) rather than, oh I don’t know, the FOOD? No Shine. NO. And ugh to superior smug Kate. UGH. Yep worst episode.

35 JK { 08.06.12 at 2:51 pm }

I would of like to see more of that Adrian chef from ‘good chef bad chef’

36 TickledPink { 08.06.12 at 4:12 pm }

I felt like miffy was being a really condescending judge.. also she made me feel sick every time she shovelled food into her mouth.. yuck!

37 Andrea { 08.06.12 at 4:26 pm }

Agree with everyone that it was a pity that we were not Introduced to all the chefs nor did we see what all the finished dishes were. Rude and disrespectful of the producers to ask chefs to come on the show and then viewers barely get a blink of them.

38 Chunks { 08.06.12 at 5:11 pm }

Baz I really don’t think it’s Dani’s fault that the producers see her as the go-to person for inane commentary. Obviously a lot of the others don’t really cut it.

39 Moonstruck { 08.06.12 at 7:40 pm }

Interesting that Gary said Julie would struggle making it pretty.
And it was cruel putting Kumar in with the all stars.

40 Morgan { 08.06.12 at 9:25 pm }

Right from the start it was obvious that Kumar and Aaron were going home. Not too bothered, I liked them both but they were towards the bottom of the talent scale. Great that Jonathan is picking up his game.

41 Whitewine { 08.07.12 at 8:54 am }

Baz… Dani’s blow up doll mouth!!!….brilliant!cudnt stop laughing