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Masterchef Australia – So The Team With The Best Food Lost?

It was the first team challenge of the series and they usually bring drama and sometime inequity in this case it was both. There is no doubt the team with the best food lost the challenge tonight. How does pizza beat lamb cutlets or a thrown together Prawn Bruschetta beat Beef Carpaccio? But it did. The viewer at home could see the quality was better without even having to see Matt Preston gushing over the blue teams menu. But it was not about taste, the winner was the team that made the most money.

The brief was each team had to create a menu and the team that made the most money from their restaurants is the winner.

Sarah who won the breakfast challenge won the advantage of selecting her own team. She picked Kira first and Gary Mehigan put his foot in it and said it is the hot team then when he realised what he said he tried to recover and say he would be grabbing the hottest cooks meaning the best cooks.

Sarah selection included Sam, Jamie, Ben, Sean, Colin, Renae, Emelia and surprisingly Nick and Georgia. She selected the latter two for their dessert prowess but it was weird how she picked them over Tash who has been a stand out performer so far.

The other team were the leftovers and Tracey was a captain of the blue team. This is the first major screen time Tracey has received it looks like she came into the Masterchef house for a break, as she owns her own spa and hairdresser plus has three kids.

Red team were a debacle from the beginning. They took 30 minutes to figure out a menu and they decided on two fish dishes, tacos and croquettes, but they had barely any fish so they had to change it to prawns tacos. Then the prawn tacos were taking too long so they had to change it to prawn bruschetta. They had selected to go in the more casual downstairs cafe then the more upmarket restaurant upstairs.

Tracey took control of the blue team early basically dictating what they could make and then they just put their head down and prepped.

Well there was some issues. Emily on the blue team had never filleted Salmon and was hacking it to bits. George Calombaris asked if anyone knew how to fillet the fish.  Byron stepped in and he absolutely destroyed it as well. George told them to do something else with it. They did the MKR solution and confit it.

Steven on the blue team finally shined in a challenge but it was because he was front of house which was his day job before Masterchef.

At the start of service the red team was a mess, there was hardly anyone there and Sarah was too quiet at the pass. They had not changed the menu so diners who thought they were getting prawn tacos received the prawn on bread. It looked like it was going horribly wrong. They even had salmon sent back because it was raw.

After a strong start the blue team faltered running out of food and they had to go and tell diners they were out of lamb and pasta, which led to their diners going downstairs.

The blue teams menu was:

Confit of Salmon – Matt thought it was one of the best things he had seen all season.

Beef Carpaccio –  Matt said “delicious”.

Sous Vide Lamb – Matt said “delicious”.

Taglitelle with Prawns –  Matt said “Creamy with nice big nuggets of prawn flesh”.

Chocolate Fondant with Walnut Crumb – the judges gushed over the ooze in the middle but there was not much in there.

Tiramisu with a coffee granita looked amazing.

The judges were in raptures.

The red team menu made:

Flat head croquettes – Matt said “Happy with that”.

Prawn Brushetta – Gary said “it was just a jumble of stuff”.

Lightly seared Salmon with Pickled Vegetables- The judges fish as over but they liked the combinations of flavours.

Pizza with Blue Cheese and Pear the judges said they liked the flavours.

Chocolate Mousse Tart and Lemon Panacotta –  Matt said the panacotta was sexiness all in one. The judges were unconvinced about Georgia and Nick’s cooking talents as they praised Emilia for the desserts.

Back in the Masterchef kitchen it was announced that one team raised $1952.00 and the other team $2477. The winning team was surprisingly the red team. Yes I was shocked that the blue team is up for elimination.

Masterchef Australia on TEN tonight at 7.30pm.


1 Techhater { 05.14.14 at 9:11 pm }

DC Is Emily included in that 6? Half a bowl of oil is still half a bowl of oil.

I hate the way we don’t see enough of the other dishes to really decide what is good. Half the time the name comes up so quick, and while you’re trying to read what it is, the dish is gone or vice-versa.

2 Littlepetal { 05.14.14 at 9:15 pm }

Kylie Kwong is famous for her steamed fish. It may be pedestrian but if done to perfection is yummy. Fish head curry is pedestrian too.

3 DC { 05.14.14 at 9:16 pm }

Not for me because I don’t like fish head. But the thing about that dish is less about the head and more about the complexity of the curry. The curry has to be thick enough to be absorbed by the fish head but also stand out on its own.

It may not be your cup of tea or mine but it’s certainly a more difficult dish to pull out than a fried fish with the usual Chinese sauces/chili. You can get a good dish of the later easily at any of the 3-4 stalls in the Eating World food court here in Sydney for $10. Or the Thai place at Pai Lo food court does a good one too.

But a good fish head curry, I wouldn’t eat one unless it’s from a good Malaysian restaurant.

4 Techhater { 05.14.14 at 9:21 pm }

It does boil down to personal taste. For me i’d take the whole fish.

Anywho good on Nicole for taking the gamble and sticking to her guns. She’s a winner in my eyes anyday of the week. 😀

5 Littlepetal { 05.14.14 at 9:22 pm }

I am not sure if the fish head curry is that good. Emily used a jar of sambal oelek in the curry.

6 Gabby { 05.14.14 at 9:22 pm }

They were so positive Nicole couldn’t do it, they had to fail her. The way George and especially Gary carried on while she was cooking it, I felt like telling them to shut the f. up. At least Matt gave her encouragement. I thought she was a bit silly myself for not saving some small piece for a second chance but it was her decision and they should have just shut up and let her get on with it.

7 Techhater { 05.14.14 at 9:25 pm }

LP Wouldn’t that be considered cheating on MKR.

8 Gabby { 05.14.14 at 9:28 pm }

Littlepetal did Emily use a jar of sambal oelek in that curry? Isn’t that like using Paul Newman’s pasta sauce?

9 DC { 05.14.14 at 9:29 pm }

Even if we cross out Emily’s dish, there were many other dishes that were better than Nicole’s in the first round. Tash’s, Laura’s, Scott’s, Rachel’s, Tracey’s, Amy’s and even Byron’s all were more impressive than Nicole’s.

@ Gabby. They had 30 min to cook. Using Sambal Oelek is perfectly justifiable instead of trying to smash the chili/garlic and make it yourself. tbh though, 30 min to cook fish dish is pretty ridiculous.

10 Gabby { 05.14.14 at 9:31 pm }

TH, I was thinking the same but I had the wrong show, they must allow them to use these additives on MC unlike on MKR.

11 Littlepetal { 05.14.14 at 9:31 pm }

Here is the ingredients for the curry paste:
75 grams coriander root
7 long red chillies
50 grams tumeric
4 shallots, peeled
5 cloves garlic, peeled
220 ml palm sugar syrup
220 ml sambal oelek
5 candlenuts
2 tespoons belachan paste
1 teaspoon thai shrimp paste

I can’t see how you get great flavours from the jar of sambal oelek. Also the quantity for the turmeric is wrong or typo error.

12 Techhater { 05.14.14 at 9:37 pm }

If there was 50g of turmeric in that dish it would have been 1960’s radium orange. 😉

Gabby Does that mean you can use Dolmios in the Italian challenge. LOL

13 Littlepetal { 05.14.14 at 9:41 pm }

I think that is why Emily is surprised that her dish is in the top 5. She knew it is not that great.

14 Littlepetal { 05.14.14 at 9:42 pm }

If I am cooking at home and not on MC or MKR, I can use a green curry paste to make a green curry.

15 DC { 05.14.14 at 9:47 pm }

“I can’t see how you get great flavours from the jar of sambal oelek”

Huh? That thing is already pretty tasty on its own as a dip for cucumber or even for fried chicken and white rice. Why wouldn’t it be good when combined with belachan and shrimp paste as well as other usual ingredients? It’d be mighty tasty curry. What would you use otherwise given the time limit of the competition?

“Gabby Does that mean you can use Dolmios in the Italian challenge. LOL”

Actually, some contestants from the previous seasons did use pre-packaged tomato sauce on occasions. They even use Barilla pasta quite often instead of making their own pasta. It all depends on the challenges and time limit.

16 Gabby { 05.14.14 at 10:01 pm }

I wasn’t saying Nicole should have gone through, I was just commenting on the fact that the guys wouldn’t get out of her ear while she was trying to cook. She had made her decision let her get on with it.
DC, I don’t know anything about Sambal Oelek, I just wondered when I saw Littlepetal’s comment about a jar of something going into the recipe.
There were some delicious meals there tonight. I didn’t fancy the fish head one myself but Matt said that was his favourite.
I probably would have loved the flavours, just not the head part.

17 Littlepetal { 05.14.14 at 10:03 pm }

If Nyonya Fish head curry, flavours will come from lemongrass, galangal, shallots, belachan, chillies.

Indian fish head curry will have spices like coriander, cumin etc.

18 DC { 05.14.14 at 10:14 pm }

“If Nyonya Fish head curry, flavours will come from lemongrass, galangal, shallots, belachan, chillies.”

I have Sambal Oelek in front of me now and the ingredients for this IS comprised of all of those things you mentioned minus galangal and belachan, the later of which is added on that recipe that Emily used.

BUT I’m guessing the main intention of using Sambal Oelek is mostly to provide additional spicyness that’s already been perfectly mixed with all of the other ingredients instead of having to measure them one by one, mixed them in mortar pestle, then smashing them until they are pulpy, which can take quite a while.

19 Jane { 05.14.14 at 10:20 pm }

As an Indian I can definitely say that the simple everyday curries will be spiced with cumin, tumeric, asafetida and mustard seeds. Those are easily doable in half an hour.
But to make the more complex curries flavour-wise, it is time-consuming work like needing to grind large quantities of a variety of seeds and then combining them at the correct ratio to make a paste for the curry. And half an hour to get the paste right plus manage to prep and cook the rest of the curry is really pushing it…

20 Littlepetal { 05.14.14 at 10:21 pm }

Like you say, Sambal Olek is use to add the hotness to the dish. To get the flavours from lemongrass etc, you need to use more of the lemongrass. Also I think it would be very spicy with so much sambal olek.

21 daisy { 05.14.14 at 10:26 pm }

I love this fish challenge. Better than last year’s toasted sandwiches and offal.

We are still watching round 1. Of course fish head soup comes to mind, Goan fish curry. But then Woolie reminded me of a Thai crispy catfish with green mango salad…yam pla duk fu.

22 DC { 05.14.14 at 10:28 pm }

Malaysian curry IS meant to be spicy. The majority of Malaysian curry you find in Australia has been tempered for westerners’ tastebuds. If I go back to Indonesia or Malaysia, the spiciness level would make most people here crying.

Having said that, this is the first time I heard that Sambal Oelek is too spicy. That thing is mild, IMO. Which is why it’s often used as just a dip for cucumber at Malaysian and Indonesian households and restaurants. And the Sambal Oelek available in Australia (likely it’s Ayam brand that they use) has been waaaay tempered for it to even be spicy for one of the judges’ taste.

23 daisy { 05.14.14 at 10:33 pm }

Am I wrong about how this works? If the whole fish lady lost in round one, then she would automatically be the loser on the night, hence no show past round one. So therefore they are guaranteed to let her win round one.

24 Littlepetal { 05.14.14 at 10:35 pm }

You are right, daisy. If whole fish lady not in Top 5 she will be gone.

25 daisy { 05.15.14 at 1:13 am }

Bad choice by whatever her name was. She gave herself only one chance to get through, instead of three chances. Bad choice.

And then George made a silly comment about how she proved that it was a good thing to just put all your eggs in one basket (not his exact words) and go for it. How did she prove that?

But it was a good show.

And isn’t it great that they aren’t making hot dogs, toasted sandwiches and chips like last year.