Recap: Masterchef Australia 2014 Kicks Off – What Did You Think?
Maybe Masterchef Australia is all about the food this year as Ben Milbourne’s brother Grant tried out this year and he was told his Beef Massaman Curry was not up to par. Grant had earlier boasted that he was a better cook then his brother who came top five in the year Andy Allen won. The judges gave him a resounding three no’s and his time in the Masterchef Kitchen was over.
Even though last night some of the food looked delicious it was not ALL about the cooking. There were still tears, some sob stories, as well as the judges hamming it up. Though this year at this stage they appeared to have toned the pantomime down.
Also one thing that has continued is the judges disparate behaviour in their interactions with the different genders. If you are a female they are as sweet as pie, particularly if you are a good looking girl. But if you are a guy, the judges do a routine that is akin to coppers out of The Bill.
This year the show has brought back the top 50 which is great it allows us to see who/how they top 24 will be chosen and also start to emotionally connect with the contestants. Matt Preston tried to tell them that if they were not good enough they would not even be a top 24. He must have conveniently forgotten that TEN had ordered a certain number of episodes.
However later one after twelve aprons had been allocated the judges came out and told the waiting contestants that anyone that was good enough would get through.
They could either get three yes’s, get all no’s or if it was a split panel they would be coming back to cook the next day. Previous winners must have been envious when they saw that this year the winner will be taking home $250,000. It is about time the prize increased as whoever does win has certainly worked their butt off for it over six months of filming.
First up is Emily making a Prawn Laksa she graduated in Biomedical Engineering which is what her parent’s had wanted her to do. George Calombaris after years of quivering when a chilli came near him, said he likes spicy food but it makes him sweat so that is why he avoids it. But after tasting hers he said he would be happy to sweat all day. Gary Mehigan gave her a yes as he liked her story and motivation. Wasn’t it meant to be all about the food? She was the first through.
Grant Milbourne was next and he is better looking then his brother Ben, so there will be a lot of girls disappointed he was turfed out because his beef was tough and his Massaman sauce was not aromatic enough. Grant looked stunned he did not get an apron. Possibly one of his issues was telling Matt Preston as he was trying to chew the meat that the beef was nearly there. It was nowhere near done.
Laura an 18 years old from South Australia got George’s full attention. She was making stuffed chicken thigh with a caponata and polenta. Her mum was coaching her from the sidelines which made you think maybe she should have applied. That would have been an interesting twist a mother and daughter in the top 24. After George nearly eating it all and some hamming it up by the judges she was given her apron.
Ben a good looking 36 year old from Brisbane revealed he had suffered from leukaemia. He was making Pan Fried Snapper with Fennel Puree and a Miso Orange Reduction. Because he was bloke the George, Gary and Matt started to play with his mind. Matt said he does not order this fish in restaurants as when it is over cooked it does not taste good. Gary then chimed in that this dish was all about the fish. Gary at one staged looked like he had a bone in his mouth but it was a scale. Ben got an apron and the viewers got some eye candy.
This year there are a lot of Western Australian contestants. Kippali a dentist from Perth who made a Thali as was through as did Amy who was teary as she plated up her scallops with potato puree.
Colin 51 year old wine maker from South Australia looked like he was one to watch putting up three tasting dishes which included sticky mustard wings and a terrine. In fact I hope that wings recipe is up on the website.
Ashley and older lady, possibly a Ermahgard in training, was making Crepes Suzette. She said she was retired and was looking for a second career. Her food dream was to open a cafe at night as sometimes you feel like an omelette for dinner. The judges did look confused at that one but hey at least it was different to the usual “dessert wine bar” concept.
George pretended to be a waiter to help her serve it at the table. Matt made a quip that it was hard to find good help. Maybe because the bosses are trying to do away with penalty rates. I am sure George will be stoked at the Commission of Audit’s finding to reduce the minimum wage. Ashley was told she would have to cook again as her dish was a bit simple.
Next up was Tash who likes photographing her food, which means she is a food blogger is from Canberra. She made three little desserts which included Chocolate and Cointreau Mousse, a Chocolate Fondant. and chocolate milkshake. Matt said it was brilliant. Gary said the mousse is amazing and the fondant was one of the best that he had eaten.
George just continued to salivate. She got an apron.
Desserts were popular with the judges. Amelia made a pannacotta which all the judges dived on and she was through.
Nick a law student from Newcastle was making a lemon curd tart. It did not set and thankfully he did not then decide to deconstruct it. His Grandmother had accompanied him so George brought her in to ask her why they should give him a second chance. Clearly she did a good pitch as Nick was sent through to cook the next day.
Nicole a 55 year old from WA was one of my favourites. Her mother died when she six so she took over cooking the family meals. She is made a delicious looking Duck with Soba Noodles as well as some calamari. She said she wants her own catering company but cannot leave her job as she needs to provide for her family. They all said yes. and she burst into tears. The food looked that good they finished the plate clean.
Cecillia from Victoria had one of the more compelling back stories. The mother had been a maths teacher until she had a brain injury through a snow boarding accident. She can no long teach. However she said she had become more creative. She confidently made Black Sesame and Jaffa macaroons. The judges loved them and said they are as good as Zumbo’s. Then they go and take a selfie. Not sure why they could not just take a photo of the biscuits and send them to him. But then this is the new age of narcissism fuelled by instagram, Facebook and Twitter etc.
Hamish an electrician told them he was sick of being an electrician and his food dream was to have meat hanging in the window then cooking it while people were drinking. George looked on dreamily. He was making a Scotch Fillet with a baby beetroot and carrot puree all served on a tile hopefully not pinched off one of his building sites. But the poor sod gave the viewer their first MKR moment as the steak once it was cut open was raw. George and Gary then continued ala MKR and were going to put him straight through but Matt Preston was having none of that and told him he would have to cook again the next day.
Rachael 45 year old a no nonsense army wife from Darwin plated up a delicious Crab and Prawn Wonton with a Bisque. George said it was one of the best bisques he had ever tasted in the competition. He forgot to add she should use a muslin cloth when straining it to get out all the grit. However I liked that she did not look like that she would crack under pressure so should be interesting to watch on the show.
What did you think of the first episode of Masterchef Australia?
By the way for ratings nerds The Voice Australia 1.99million, House Rules 1.09 million, and Masterchef was 874,000. Good numbers for Masterchef Australia but it would have gone over one million if it had started at 7.oopm.