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Masterchef: The Professionals – Jacque Versus The Professionals

What is it with Wallaby? Is it the new trend in food this year? First it was on MKR and now Masterchef. Two weeks ago I did not even know you could eat it.

Tonight Rhett, Luke, Tracey, Bonny, Michael, and Cassie are up for elimination, but everyone can avoid it if they can beat Jacque Reymond and his team in a three course cook off to be decided by the vote of the diners.

Marco Pierre White was not going to be working the pass, so they picked Michael to be their head chef. They also had to design their own menu.

With Cassie and Bonny doing dessert. You get the feeling sexism is alive and well in the kitchen and would like to have seen the negotiations on who did what. Tracey also hinted at it when she muttered she was the one always sent to the pantry.

Buddies Rhett, Michael and Luke seemed to be taking control or over sighting everything. Luke and Rhett for entree made swordfish scallops with cauliflower puree, jamon and asparagus. Now when Marco comes over and queries that your portions are too small you should really listen. The diners were basically given two 50 cent size pieces of swordfish. That was the only criticism of dish. Whereas Jacque’s team had left the poop chute in as they ran out of prep time.

For main Tracey and Michael were making roast veal with fennel onion puree. Michael who was also the head chef, was trying to tell Tracey how to sear the veal, which irritated her. Clearly he did not have confidence in her cooking ability.

He was also concerned that she would over cook the veal, and he was right. Interesting that most of the diners liked the very rare wallaby, as marsupial is always a divisive dish.

Bonny and Cassie made meringues with berry soup for dessert. Bonny had a bit of a disaster with the meringues by accidentally leaving the door open on the oven. When Luke spotted it she did declare she had shut it, so the mystery will have been solved for her last night on what happened. Cassie and her cherry picked the best ones out, with Cassie looking pretty unimpressed by this stuff up.

Their dessert plate did look pretty but both judges were not happy about the meringue but the diners did not seem to care. It was a stinking hot day in Melbourne apparently and Jacque’s trio of desserts looked like they were melting on the plate.

Jacque’s team won the entree getting 16 tables votes to nine.

The Masterchef Professionals were thrashed in the main only winning three of the  25. Lucky for the girls their dessert won by just one table so even thought the meringues were not perfect they were safe.

It was then no surprise when Tracey was told she was eliminated. Even though she had had a bit of stick from her fellow contestants over the past couple of weeks she seemed to bear no ill will and hugged it out before she left.

Masterchef: The Professionals – on TEN Sunday to Tuesday nights at 7.30pm.

February 6, 2013   34 Comments

Masterchef: The Professionals – Someone Got Roasted

Sunday night is re-invention night on Masterchef: The Professional’s and tonight they had to razzle up a family classic. The dish they have to cook was decided by a random knife draw. Not sure why the chef contestants were reluctant to volunteer to pull a knife out. I would have thought that by going on a reality show the point was to get as much attention as possible.  In the end Rhys pulled it out and surprise it was Sunday Roast. Do all the knives have the same thing written on them? Well if I was a betting person…..

Also lucky all those lovely pieces of meat were there in the pantry as well. What was also interesting was all the contestants, or the ones we saw which were quite a few, roasted meat. It was surprising not one of them reinvented it by roasting a fish or some seafood.

There appeared to be two different judging criterias happening. Firstly the dish has to reinvented into something different, but also it was meant to also have some connection with your families roast.

Matt Preston when speaking to Akuc told her  “We want to get a sense of what Sunday Roast meant for you” which may have been confusing for her as she was ready to cook pork as she wanted to try something different.  However she ended up changing to chicken as that was more what her family ate.

Whereas the judges asked other chef’s whether they had reinvented it enough and one chef thought they should be pushing boundaries.

One person struggling was former vegetarian Kylie who looked very unsure on how to roast pork. Her first mistake was taking the loin off the bone and cooking her crackling attached to the meat. Marco came around and gave her some advice. Maybe Marco is being too soft as he could have given her a tickle up about being a chef, and that being a former vegetarian is no excuse for not knowing how to do a basic method of cooking meat.

You knew Kylie was vulnerable when we saw her back story of her boyfriend being killed in a car accident. It was unclear how long it ago it occurred.

Tracey was also struggling, bombing out on her yorkshire puddings and having to remake them. Marco was a tad scathing about her recipe. Also have to confess not sure stuffing the yorkshire pudding with pork is actually a re-invention of the dish.

Nick on the other had was on fire for once. He was being innovative and turned turnip into horseradish sauce and even tried, albeit failed, to reinvent the yorkshire pudding. Is he finally finding his feet in the competition after what can only be described as a rollercoaster beginning. Marco called his turnip sauce “genius”.

Rhett the burnt out chef from Brisbane admits he is on the show to rediscover his love of cooking and it appears he can cook and is creative when pushed. Though he may need to find some mojo for his relationship as he said the last time he was romantic with his girlfriend was when he “asked her to go fishing with him”. Quite the catch there.

Rhys who is more used to seafood was told his reinvention was actually a french dish so was told he needed to add a twist or he could be in trouble. In the end they said the flavours were good.

Coop admitted his wife was more the roast cook in their house ended up making a rolled and pan roasted chicken breast with a mousse and a caper jus. Matt loved it as he likes crispy aka fatty fried stuff. Marco loved the new twist of the caper jus. He must have been unlucky to not make top three.

Tracey’s Stuffed Yorkshire Pudding with Pork looked like something seen in the top 50 of the amateur version of the show. As Matt pointed the puddings she used were starting to burn whereas the ones on the side plate were not. She said she used the burnt ones as they were deeper.  Marco did not pass comment, and advised her to put her energies into less components. Basically he thought there was too much going on. You get the feeling the clock is ticking on how long she can stay in the competition.

Sarah’s who must be marked as a serious contender in the competition made a Chicken Pithivier. Is this just a fancy way of saying pie? It received rave reviews from Marco and thought it was the best plated dish that she had served up.

Akuc’s chicken in a salad and spices looked nice but she was criticised for no juice which meant her chicken was dry. Maybe she should have stuck with the pork.

Kylie’s pork when served up did look pretty bad it was like a hunk of meat on a plate like you would get at one of those medieval theme dinners. She was told there was no re-invention, though she had done some good vegetables. Marco told her there was no re-invention in her dish.

Top three were Sarah, Nick and Rhett, with Nick winning for best dish. Does this give him an advantage in the Quickfire challenge tomorrow night?

Bottom three was Akuc, Kylie and Tracey. Akuc was safe as she cooked her meat on the bone, and Tracey’s crackling was crunchy so that made her safe . In the end Kylie’s vegetables could not save her and she was eliminated.

Marco kindly gave her a farewell speech saying the salad of Rabbit she had brought to him gave him great insight into what she was like. However he did not elaborate on what exactly that insight was. At least with Kylie gone it will be easier to identify who Sarah is as those two did look alike.

Masterchef: The Professionals on Sunday to Tuesday nights on TEN.

February 3, 2013   29 Comments

Masterchef Australia Hugely Popular In India

Masterchef Australia is seen by more eyeballs in India than it is in Australia. WAToday states over three million people can watch each episode and the judges are superstars. Interestingly when it is screening in India – five per cent of my readers are from there. It will be interesting to see if George Calombaris extends his food empire to the sub-continent. If he is smart he will.

Also the contestants should get over there and try and extend their 15 minutes by doing cooking exhibitions and pushing products and endorsements.

It is no surprise they are looking at fast tracking the next series to India. However no word on whether Masterchef: The Professionals will be shown over there.

Masterchef: The Professionals this Sunday is another re-invention test and as you can see from the promo above they have to razzle up the Sunday Roast. Also on Monday it looks like they are copying Top Chef and doing a Quickfire challenge. By the way copying Top Chef is not a negative thing. You get the feeling Tracey and Akuc may be in trouble next week.

Masterchef: The Professionals on Sunday to Tuesday on TEN at 7.30pm.

February 1, 2013   8 Comments

Masterchef: The Professionals – The Team Player Is The Fall Guy For The Losing Team

When Matt Preston was giving the contestants the run down on tonight’s restaurant challenge one of the aspects he said the chefs would be judged was team work. In the end this did not turn out to be true. Sure when you are in a team challenge  you want to win so the team is safe, however the contestant has to ensure their own dish does not become collateral damage under the disguise of teamwork.

This was the case in this episode.

The red and green team were battling it out in a service challenge in the Masterchef restaurant. They were under pressure because they only had two hours prep and two hours to serve 115 people, they also had to serve a la minute, that is, to order. It was the same captains as the Zumbo challenge which was not something that Tracey or her teams wanted. Cameron had clearly repressed his stuffed up tempered chocolate and was again slating the loss on the Zumbo challenge to her.

Cameron likes talking himself up and tonight we heard he had worked at some fancy three hat and Michelin Star restaurants, so clearly he thinks he is a culinary superstar in training. He talks the talk but yet to see him walk the walk.

Again in the Masterchef restaurant the contestants were given the dishes they would have to make. Each team had to cook an entree, main and dessert.

Red team had a Linguine With Seafood  for entree, Steak with a Broad bean Salad and Jus for main and Chocolate Fondant for dessert.

The alpha males Rhett and Cameron were working together on mains and you would think they would have it under control, but in the end they did not have enough time to make the broad bean salad. Rhett spent his two hours prepping the steak, and Cameron made the sauce which in the customers thought was too greasy.

Sarah who is also a confident cook, does not suffer fools, she said she took the fondants as she knew she could do it, hinting she was a bit underwhelmed with some of the others.

The green team had a Lamb Rump with Zucchini for entree, Roasted Mulloway for main, and Passionfruit Souffle for dessert.

Nick was on the main and was taking a lot of time to prep the fish. He hauled Kiah off desserts to help which meant he was unable to complete his prep the way he wanted to or be as organised going into dessert service.

Nick who kind of bumbles through was looking like he was in trouble with the fish still not prepped when service started however apart from a few bones and undercooking one lot it was called dish of the day. Considering he is a private chef he was not getting stressed from the “heat” he was getting from MPW during service so props to him for that. Deaf contestant Bonny should have received some kudos for her work on the main as well. Maybe being deaf means she can tune out of Marco’s repetitive orders easier.

Props should also go to Michael who was captain on green team. He is impressive and expect to see him in the show for some time.

The brown team got to sidestep this pressure and were able to eat with Matt Preston. Cassie who has had this pleasure twice now seemed to enjoy it more with her team mates and not having to critique by herself. Luke, who is one of my favourites, was not shy in holding back what he thought, but what he said seemed to make some good points.

Cameron and Rhett beef main was savaged with the sauce criticised and Matt Preston saying these two high end chefs had turned it into a banquet meal. Their egos must have deflated a tad from this comment.

Kiah who was on dessert and was only able to get back to his station in the middle of service had to line his ramekins with butter and sugar. He had been hoping to have them lined up in the fridge ready to go when the dessert orders were called. The souffle ended up being sent out under cooked, however if he had had more time during service he could have test cooked a souffle to see how long it would take in the ovens.

Sarah on the other team managed to get her fondants cooked to perfection however her hazelnut praline was too chewy according to Matt. At least she walks the walk as well as talks the talk. Hope she sticks around for awhile as well.

The red team ended up getting the win, which was a surprise considering the dish of the day the mullaway was on the green team. However the entree and dessert got the red team over the line.

In the end Kiah was the scapegoat for his teams loss as there really was no one else they could eliminate. He must have been frustrated by this as he had not been given the opportunity to do his dish properly by his other team mates. Would Nick’s mullaway made dish of the day if he had not prepped it all? Kiah was a team player but in the end it saw him excised from the show.

Masterchef: The Professionals on Network TEN from Sunday to Tuesday nights at 7.30pm.

January 29, 2013   33 Comments

Masterchef: The Professionals – The Re-Invention Test

Is this Masterchef: Professional show on amphetamines compared to the original version as again tonight there was an  another elimination. Very different from the amateur version of the show where two people were eliminated a week. However tonight it looked like the chefs were realising that being on a reality TV show was not just going to be a walk in the park cooking dishes from their repertoire to take home the $200,000 prize, but they would have to cook like they have not done in years.

The traditional invention test now has a twist it is now the re-invention test. The chefs had to make the dish new again.  The dish they had to re- invent was decided by knife draw with Matt Preston saying it was about taste, technical ability, daring and creativity that would be evaluated. The chef with the worst dish will be eliminated.

Akuc was not happy when she pulled out fish and chips as she said she had neither cooked or eaten it. She has worked in Neil Perry’s Spice Temple but at this point she was probably wishing it had been Rockpool, which has a seafood based menu.

Nineteen year old Cassie seems to have found a fair bit of confidence from her win last week and was talking herself up but unlike Anthony she was actually creating some very good dishes. Even putting her money where her mouth is by putting foam on the plate. Matt  said she was a serious threat in the competiton. Her career will have no harm done by being on this show and she will be able to work in any kitchen in Australia after this.

Rhett who works in a seafood menu cockiness started fading this episode as he knew if he was eliminated it would be humiliating as he is head chef in a seafood restaurant. He was going to make  fish tacos but after a chat with Matt Preston (I suspect we did not see it all in the edit) he realised this dish was not going to cut it. He changed his dish to Crispy Coral Trout Wings. He thought he might put it on the menu when he got back. Hopefully he would do something with the rest of the fish.

However the judges loved his dish with Marco saying he could go right to the top of the profession.

Rhys was feeling confident as he liked working with seafood, he also revealed his past history with drugs and cooking saved him. Interesting profession as it is chicken or the egg when it comes to illicit substances. Yes I am looking at you Anthony Bourdain. However he was freewheeling making a beer and coconut batter, something he had not made before. He dished up a sashimi and another seafood bite a bit like what Anthony had tried to do in the previous episode but he managed to pull it off and Marco thought he had a flair for flavours.

Chrissie the single mum who has been out of the kitchen for awhile appears to be keeping it simple. In fact her Snapper En Papillote was something we would see on the amateur version of the show. From the start she was having some technical issues with it that Marco pointed out.  He told her the salsa verde was not good and the dill overpowered the snapper.

Akuc’s  too literal take of the dish was  Chick Pea Battered Fish and Chips with an eggplant and peanut butter sauce was never going to cut it. Matt Preston said there was failing in technique but he said her creativity might save her. This was code for she was going to have to hope someone dished up something worst than hers.

Chrissie managed to do this with her snapper.  After her harsh criticism she burst into tears but the upside for her sobbing got Marco whispering in her ear. This cannot be a negative thing.

It was no surprise the top three were Cassie, Rhett, and Rhys as they were the only three good dishes the viewer saw this episode with Rhett winning the dish of the day.

The bottom two were Akuc, and Chrissie with Chrissie eliminated and it was the correct decision. Tomorrow night all the chefs will be out of their comfort zone with a mega comfort challenge. Most of these contestants will have barely baked a cake or dessert so it should be very interesting indeed.

Masterchef: The Professionals on TEN, Sunday to Tuesday night at 7.30pm.

January 27, 2013   60 Comments