Masterchef Australia Series Five Kicks Off And It Is Not About The Cooking
Thankfully Gary Mehigan had warned potential viewers in the Sunday Telelgraph today that this year’s lot of contestants were not as talented as last years so it minimised fans expectations. The cooking tonight was not fabulous and the publicity has been pushing humour as key this series, but are we meant to be laughing at the food?
It was Masterchef Australia’s first episode in Melbourne and clearly they wanted to show a Melbourne icon which is why they shot at the MCG, but neither the location or sport had anything to do with the challenge which was to create a three course family meal for 14 people. Maybe Luna Park might have been a better fit.
The 22 contestants were told they were going to be split up by gender for the next two weeks and then were obviously told to trash talk to each other with one of the guys saying “It’s not all about cupcakes”. I noticed Andrew a self anointed domestic goddess did not speak up at that point…
In fact hopefully Andrew will show he can cook as he was one of the more entertaining contestants with his quips like “I never thought in life I would be hanging around with ten guys in a locker room”. Unfortunately for him they were clothed and unfortunately for us he could not even make a cream filling properly. But more on that later.
The gender wars challenge was a perfect fit for Michael the cinema proprietor from South Australia he said “If you don’t mind the rancour I will speak the male language”. He looks like he is being set up as the series villain.
In the middle of the MCG they were told the budget for the meal was $204.00 as that is the average household spending on groceries a week, and they were told an extra $30.70 was up for grabs as that was what the average household spends on take away food each week.
The team that cracked a kilo of egg whites first would get it. Rishir who said he was a scientist put his hand up for the male team and Clarissa a classically trained singer was nominated by her team probably because she was telling the others how to crack an egg. Expect her to be pissing her team mates off by episode five.
There was no contest she was super slow, she must have thought the challenge was to get all the egg white off and after two weigh ins the male team grabbed the extra cash.
Then it was off to Coles to shop for the meal and it showed it would be difficult to do the weekly shop for $204.00 there. In fact they could not even keep it under budget for one meal. The girls were were debating at the check-out what would go back with Faiza, who has worked at Coles for eight years, splitting the garlic bulb in half to shed the last 40 cents. She should have just used her Coles staff discount card.
By the way is having a Coles employee on the show the ultimate in product placement?
The guys were also over budget but we did not see footage of them arguing at the checkout what ingredients were going to be returned.
The girls team were cooking Fettuccine with garlic and chili oil, Middle Eastern Spiced Chicken with Yoghurt Dressing and Lemon Tart for dessert.
The boys were cooking Pumpkin Soup, Chicken, Mushroom and Leek Pie with Mushy Peas and Japonaise Cake.
Nicky the boys team captain decided not to cook and was just going to be used as a motivational force. Anthony Robbins did not need to panic that he would be taking over him on the speakers circuit. However the question has to be is it tactics wise is it better to have cooked a disastrous dish or not cook at all?
Kelty, a stay at home dad, was making Irish mushy peas. Normally he would soak the peas over night but time only allowed for him to boil them for an hour and a half. They were to crunchy and he had to puree them. Two of his team mates suggested he put butter in it but he refused. Maybe there is a reason there are not many Irish restaurants.
There were some issues on both teams. Liliana was in charge of the fresh pasta and she admitted she was a control freak which was one of the reasons the pasta over cooked as she was trying to do too many things at once. She also admitted she did everything for her sons at home. Liliana is not doing their girlfriends or future wives any favours by pandering to them like that.
Her behaviour did not make her popular with Noelene who was working with her. Noelene has been married three times and thinks all marriages should have a use by date. She looked like she was hoping this partnership with Liliana was going to end soon as well.
Regarding the budget the ingredients for the entree would have barely come to $30.00. Maybe the girls should have ditched the fresh raspberries for the coulis that everyone got five small dots of, and made it with frozen raspberries. This would have meant they had money for the cream to go with the tart. The lack of this was the main criticism of their dessert.
However their dessert was restaurant quality compared to the boys team. Andrew mixed the sour cream with the brown sugar and it turned into liquid. However Dan did say “So I saw him pull out the mixer and I thought he was going to fold the brown sugar with the brown sugar”. How do you fold with a mix master?
However that was not the only disaster for the male team their meringue collapsed as well. Nicky rushed over and told them to make Eton Mess showing he had watched enough cooking shows to realise that when a disaster occurs turn it into eton mess or as they called it Deconstructed Japonaise Cake. In fact it had gone beyond that and was actually Deconstructed Eton Mess.
Was over cooked pasta and a blue bandaid found in it going to save the boys from defeat? Unlikely because Samira’s Middle Eastern Chicken was the dish of the day.
The girls team did win but at this stage it was bragging rights only as there was not prize and they all appear to be cooking off tomorrow night. Tomorrow night there are some very dodgy ingredients indeed, in fact some looked like they would not be misplaced on a Survivor set. In fact George looks like he is asking for a bucket. Hopefully this is because of the dishes not that in his quest to lose weight that he has turned bulimic.
What did you think of the first episode of Masterchef? Any contestants you like or dislike yet?
Masterchef Australia on Sunday to Thursday nights on TEN at 7.30pm.