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Masterchef Australia – Unrealisitic Service Challenge That Real Chef Would Struggle With

Kudos to Emelia for not going for the obviously and picking dessert in the Shannon Bennett Vue Du Monde Challenge. She was the first to choose and went for the entree of Eggs on Toast.

Her rationale was that she wanted she could do then desserts, but it could also have been strategic as well to give the Tonka Bean Souffle to the dessert adverse boys.

These service challenges are not realistic. Normal restaurants don’t get hit with the dockets all at once or the customers coming in at the one time. All of the contestants ended up needing help to plate up otherwise they still would be filming.

As Jamie said how am I meant to prep, cook, and plate up 37 souffles at once. Brent and Emelia who did the savoury courses had the professional chefs to help them but Jamie had Emelia.

Eggs On Toast was prepared by Emelia. It was Smoked Duck Egg with Truffle Puree and Pear. Her salting must have gone beyond aggressively forward as Matt Preston said it was over salted.

Once the professional chefs were sent in to help her she was relegated to removing the duck yolk from the white.

Brent was also slow with his Wagyu Beef with Potato, Apple and Oxtail Jus. However he did assign the tasks that he wanted the chefs to do. The judges could not find fault with his dish.

Jamie who as usual was too confident had to make Tonka Bean Souffle with Smoked Chocolate Ice cream. After having to redo some as they were cracked it went well for him.  Matt Preston said it was delicious and it is bang on.

It was a rigorous challenge with Brent winning because Shannon said he just got on with it. Brent received the recipe for the elimination pressure test. He also gets the opportunity to practice the recipe as well. It looks like another dessert.

July 24, 2014   120 Comments

Masterchef Australia Will Need To Re-Edit

Indian Flag

Eagle eyed viewers spotted that the Indian flag was upside down on the Masterchef episode where the contestant’s were cooking off against each other. They had to select a cuisine and flags of the cuisines they could choose were on the table.  Considering India is such an important market for the show hopefully Shine Australia will re-edit the scene.

Thank you Abhishek for sending in the photo.

July 23, 2014   6 Comments

Masterchef Australia – Laura Has Talent But She Is Also Getting Lucky

There is no doubt Laura has talent and cooking skills but she has also had a bit of luck. Tonight was an example of this. Laura went into tonight’s challenge with an advantage. It was a one on one cook off with the winner of each heat having to again cook with the winner going directly to the semi finals.

Her advantage was to pick the cuisine and also who she wanted to cook against. Of course she picked Italian. She decided she wanted to cook against Brent, which was a tad surprising as he has had some great dishes, as has Emelia, whereas Jamie has been in the middle of the pack.

But maybe she has a closer relationship with Jamie and did not want to cook against him.

It certainly does look like Laura is on track for the final and at this point of the competition conspiracy theories are rife. One of the more scandalous rumours I heard was that Laura was given ten more minutes to complete a dish in the finale. But then if that was the case you would think someone would have spoken up at the time. Also only a few people would be aware of who won as it is highly likely two endings were filmed.

Brent was psyched out cooking against Laura in her cuisine.  He butchered is snapper when filleting it his snapper. But he chose such a big knife it always going to be a disaster.  He also overcooked his snapper and cut his finger. In then end he cooked Tuna with anchovies and capers. Gary liked the anchovies and capers and Brent never stood a chance against Laura’s seared tuna with shallot, anchovy and tomato vinaigrette. Matt told her she is starting to think like a restaurant cook rather then a home cook.

It was then Jamie versus Emelia. He won the coin toss and he picked Indian food. Emelia was saying she did not know much about it. She got to pick the protein and she selected shellfish. Jamie confident as always said “She’s a good cook, she can probably cook shellfish as well as I can cook shellfish.”

Gary who has a cooking show set in India went over to chat to Jamie about the cuisine they were both nodding their heads going “yes it is from West India”. Then he razzled out a South Indian curry.

Jamie was making mussels and he even set them on fire to get extra flavour in the dish.

Emelia made Soft Shell Crab with a Roast Tomato and Curry Sauce. Matt said it was “aggressively forward in salt”. Huh? But he said the tomato pulls it back into line. He also said the spices were well balanced

Jamie made Mussels with a South Indian Curry Sauce. It made George sweat. Matt said he liked that he used curry leaves. Gary said that at first bite he decided it was a little harsh but as he kept on eating he said he was finding little surprises.

George backed the soft shell crab dish as the best. Probably because George hates hot food and he likes Emelia. Matt preferred Jamie’s and Gary had the swinging vote and he voted for Em

Then it was an Emelia and Laura cook off for a place in the semi finals.

Emelia won the coin toss and chose to pick the protein and she selected kangaroo. Laura had never cooked it but she did get to pick the cuisine and she chose Lebanese.

Emelia was making ‘roo with eggplant puree and her take on tabouli. Laura was making a similar dish as she was doing eggplant dip and tabouli as well.

Emelia was told her kangaroo was a little chewy, George also said there was a problem with the puree as it has bread in it.

Laura’s dish was next to be judges and  Matt said he loved good kangaroo cooked like that. Gary loved the eggplant puree. George thought her tabouli had problems as he thinks tabouli  is all about sumac and the confit of lemon! To think I always thought of it as a peasant dish.

Laura’s kangaroo gave her the  win and was straight through to the semi final for her but not before the judges had mentioned her age and her Nonna.

July 22, 2014   168 Comments

Masterchef Australia – Another Contestant Eliminated

The contestants could cook whatever they wanted in the latest episode of Masterchef Australia and they had 90 minutes and an open pantry. This shocked them as they were not used to having free rein, but the viewers were more shocked that Matt Preston after stripping off the cravat in the previous episode decided to leave it off.

It was harder to cope with then an SBS movie that shows after 10pm on a Friday night.

Brent made his dish “Light At The End Of The Tunnel” to honour his dad. Something he was wanting to do in Heston week but it did not fit in with the challenge.  It was nice he was doing it as he was quite emotional about it but we heard the story about five times this episode. We get it he had some dark  and bleak times and now he has come out the other side a better person. Hopefully tomorrow night he will do a dish as a tribute to his mother who probably kept it all together feeding and clothing him whilst his father fell apart. Harsh I know.

Emelia taking a cue of Brent was making a dish for her mum. It was a Baclava Parfait to showcase her Greek heritage. Is this the first time she has made Greek?

Jamie was using his favourite ingredient beetroot and Laura of course was was cooking Italian.

Jamie’s Autumn Salad with Smoked Duck looked like a upmarket cafe dish but Matt loved it because of the care that went into it. He did have 90 minutes. Gary loved the pickles and the crunch and he thought it was a great salad.

Emelia made Baclava Parfait and the judges cleared their plates. George thought it was exceptional.

Laura made Quail with Jerusalem Artichoke, mushrooms and a jus. Gary said that it was gobsmackingly good. George said “spectacular”.

Brent made “Light At The End Of The Tunnel” which is a Scallop and Prawns with Squid Ink. Brent was in tears AGAIN saying he almost gave up on his father and now he is successful and much happier. George said this could become something really spectacular but it needs to be refined. George liked that he was not going to play the safe option.

Tracy made Lobster Medallions  with Citrus Beurre Blanc and Lobster Broth Reduction and as usual she talked herself down about what was wrong with the dish. But then it has been working for her so far.

Matt said it was a very wet dish. Gary loved the mash potato and he thought it was clever but then added however the reality is not quite as good as the promises of the sauce. George said it was a good dish but it was not finished.

The top three were Emelia, Laura and Jamie. Emelia was told her baclava was better then his mums. The best dish was Laura who would receive an advantage in the next challenge. They told her cooking had jumped to another level.

Tracy was the one who was eliminated and to be honest she had hung in their a week too long.

She is writing a regular food column in Barossa Living Magazine as well as doing work experience in a restaurant.

July 21, 2014   104 Comments

Masterchef Australia – Did Laura Receive Too Much Help?

It was a tear fest on Masterchef on the first day of Masterchef final’s week with letters arriving with the mystery boxes that were chosen by their family and loved ones. Of course they could not just read the letters in a corner by themselves but had to have a close up camera on them as they cried.

Emelia was hoping for a Dear John letter from Brent’s long term girlfriend but that did not happen. Though Brent must have felt like dumping her when he saw the mystery box she had chosen for him. It was chocolate, coconut, hazelnuts and lemons with a few other random ingredients as well. So what do you do if you don’t know what to make on Masterchef this season you make pannacotta.

It was an entertaining episode with Tracy looking permanently like she is about to hyperventilate, Jamie being confident then stuffing up and Laura getting a lot of assistance from the chefs.

More on that later, first back to the mystery boxes.

Emelia’s mum had selected a mystery box based on one she had given her for practise prior to her going on the show. Emelia tried to play it down but did say she had come so much further then the original Thai fish Salad she had made then and was making the fish wings and a ginger pineapple sauce. It did look good.

Jamie was uber confident when he saw the quail, beetroot and blue cheese and said it will be easy. He also gushed about his wife saying she was the most important person in his life as she does so much stuff for him.

Tracy husband had written that he had always been in awe of your confidence.  Clearly the last few weeks of Masterchef have knocked it out of her as she has a permanent worried look on her face.

The contestants had 45 minutes to cook and the bottom three dishes made would put the contestant’s in the elimination challenge.

George was saying how he wanted something amazing. He was telling Gary that he did not just want a ballotine from Tracy that he also wanted something complex from Jamie but all they wanted from Laura was for her to cook her duck breast properly.

She didn’t and her Crispy Skin Duck  was over cooked. She also served it with a potato cream. Is that a new name for mashed potato. Gary did praise that.

Tracy had another brain freeze when she pour her jus all over the bench forgetting to put a jug underneath it. She served a Chicken Breast on a Cauliflower Puree but surprisingly was safe because it did taste good.

They were trying to bring the drama with Brent’s pannacotta’s because he had frozen them solid in the blast freezer and they were stuck in the containers. There was “what will I do”, but long time viewers of MC knew that soon a blow torch would be in his hand and it was.

Jamie served up Pan Seared Quail with Beetroot done three ways. However leaving off badly cooked quail  breast put him in the bottom three.

Amelia made Snapper fillet and win with spring , onion, chilli and coriander salad and roast pineapple. George said it was the top food show in the world! MKR might have something to say about that. Gary then said her dish was extraordinary.

Like Laura, Duck was also Ben’s nemesis. He put his with Fried Polenta and Red Wine Sauce. George said over cooked duck, and the polenta was fatty as it soaked up all the fat.  It was the worse of the dishes. No surprise that he joined Jamie and Laura in the elimination episode.

Brent’s Pannacotta was dish of the day and if I had been Emelia I would have felt ripped off. Pannacotta does not have the level of difficulty of her dish.

The elimination was a pressure test set by Darren Purchase, Nick Palumbo and Christy Tania. It was a tricked up Banana Split which they had all made separate elements. OK not a banana fan so it did not have me “salivating”.

More Christy Tania please and love her take no prisoners approach.

The recipe involved Roast Banana Gelato, Peanut and Chocolate Sauce, Banana Parfait, Coconut Foam, fake cherries and almond pistachio nougatine.

Now if I was Ben I would be feeling a bit miffed about the amount of assistance Laura received. Every time she made a mistake the chefs went over and pointed out what she had done.

First was not smashing the cardamon pods when adding them into the coconut mixture. Christy told her to redo it, but Laura quite smartly decided she did not have time so smashed the pods and took a bit of the mixture and reheated it to infuse them. It worked as her coconut cream was the most praised.

Also she did not roast the banana down far enough and mis-read the recipe thinking that after the brown sugar caramelised you just put 185 grams of banana in. They came over to point that out to her and she jammed the last bit of banana back in the oven to roast it more. Her gelato was still criticised.

Jamie was working well until the parfait when he over whipped his egg whites as well overcooking others. He said he was in a typical Jamie position. He acknowledged this saying  “it looks good in the beginning and now I have done something wrong”. Well at least he has insight.

He also managed to save his other stuff up of over freezing the ice cream in the blast chiller. His focus was getting as much flavour in it.

Ben was going well until it came to the parfait as he had to do it again.  And he was losing the plot by putting yolk in the egg white.  Cracking the eggs over the mixing bowl was just asking for troubles.

Jamie was first to plate up and they loved the flavour he got in it. Ben was next but his Peanutella and parfait were not good. Matt called it a “mess”. Laura was up last and her gelato was described as a miss.

In the end Laura was safe they sent Ben home. You have to wonder if Laura had not had her mistakes pointed out to her whether she would have been walking the plank. Conversely maybe the others received help that had been edited out.

Ben is doing work experience at the Stokehouse in Brisbane and is hoping to open the “Hard To Find Supper Club” which will have innovative dining with matched wines.

July 21, 2014   64 Comments