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Masterchef Australia Moving To Melbourne

Well it has been confirmed now that Masterchef Series Five will be filmed in Melbourne.

Great news for Melbourne and its chefs. It will certainly highlight the what Victoria has to offer. NSW as usual won’t realise what they have lost until it has gone, with production jobs, free advertising for their top restaurants and the showcasing of the city to tourists. Masterchef is currently showing all over the world including Sweden and India. Here were my thoughts on the matter when it was first rumoured to be moving.

The move may also indicate the judges are entrenched for next season.

Network Ten and Shine have announced:

After four incredible seasons based in Sydney, MasterChef Australia is spreading its culinary wings and

heading south to the home of Australian food culture – Melbourne.

The recent sale of the Alexandria kitchen in Sydney sparked a search for a new location and an exciting opportunity to find a new home for the much-loved cooking show.

Network Ten and Shine Australia are pleased to confirm that season five of MasterChef Australia will be filmed at the Melbourne Showgrounds, starting in early 2013.

Network Ten Chief Programming Officer, David Mott, said moving production of MasterChef Australia to Melbourne would lead to a fresh look for one of the most powerful and beloved brands on Australian television.

“This is an exciting move for MasterChef Australia’s viewers and sponsors,” Mr Mott said. “What better way to explore fresh, new cuisines than to head to what is arguably Australia’s food capital.

“The Melbourne Showgrounds offers an exciting opportunity to create a new environment for MasterChef Australia, with a new kitchen, new challenges and new locations in Victoria’s acclaimed food and wine regions.

“We figure it is way past time we let our contestants loose in Melbourne. We can’t wait for MasterChef Australia 2013.”

Shine Australia Chief Executive, Mark Fennessy, said: “Since 2009, MasterChef Australia has enjoyed a wonderfully successful run in NSW. Filming in Melbourne represents an exciting new chapter for the world’s most popular cooking show.”

Applications for series five of MasterChef Australia are now open at

August 20, 2012   11 Comments

Masterchef All Stars – The Finale – Was Callum Set Up For The Win?

Was that a Maggie Beer Masterclass or was it the Masterchef All Stars finale? Maggie basically told Kate how to cook a pheasant when she basically had no idea. She also told Callum that he needed  a dish to centre his meal, and hinted to Chris to put in black pudding into his potatoes.

Also does Maggie Beer pay for that product placement that occurs of her products when she guest judges on Masterchef or are they their in lieu of an appearance fee? Not that there is a problem with that. However the stock used was hers this episode when previously it has been another brand.

Tonight was just a bit of a let down. Contestants were awarded 8 out of 10 for undercooked protein, and the final dish was one that Callum who made top two had cooked in his previous Masterchef final. More on that later.

This was a finale that did not feel like a finale. Traditionally in the other seasons they have had to cook a entree, main and dessert, but tonight it was two challenges.

The first challenge had Maggie Beer as guest judge. They had to cook a family meal for the four judges plus the other Masterchef contestants. This was keeping with the feel good factor of the series.

Interestingly in the best of the best final, two of the All Stars in the final served up under cooked protein in their meal. Poor Aaron Harvie would have had to go through drive through MacDonalds on his way home, as he was the one who got dished up the inedible part of the poultry both times.

Kate cooked a stuffed pheasant with sides of beetroot. Hers was under cooked and her sides were rushed as she ran out of time. Chris Badenoch made salt crusted chicken, even though Maggie gushed that it was cooked,  it looked pretty red in the middle and on the bone joints. Aaron could not eat his. Also his carrots looked burnt as well.

Callum was putting together a vegetarian meal, which confused Dani as she must not have realised what vegetarian actually meant as she asked him what meat he was going to cook. However her bewilderment was probably correct. As Maggie Beer and Matt Preston queried what was the dish that was the centre of his meal. He then decided to cook a pheasant. His at least was cooked through.

Chris scored all eights for his meal, Callum scored all nines, and Kate scored all eights except for Gary who played bad cop and gave her a seven. She was eliminated.

Also lucky for Callum that Maggie was a judge as they are both from the Barossa Valley and she is a big fan of his.

Then it was Chris versus Callum for the title, and then Peter Gilmore revealed they would have to make the Snow Egg, the same dish Callum cooked in his season two final.

How was this fair? Why not just get Peter to present a different dessert. The judges and Peter Gilmore were a bit sheepish about it, saying that it was not the same as last time. This time it was with jackfruit instead of guava, and Chris was shown how to plate it up. However Callum was standing there as he was getting this tutorial.

By the way Peter Gilmore who is a great judge needs to lose some weight he looks like he could have a coronary at any moment, and he is quite young.

Props to Callum for pointing out to Chris that he was using too much Jackfruit. However both of them had issues but in the end after much coaching by Peter Gilmore and George at the plating up stage Callum won the title.

Callum being quite magnanimous gave Chris $10,000 of his $25,000 prize money to his charity, however it did not feel like we had seen the best of the best cooking tonight.

August 19, 2012   82 Comments

Masterchef Professionals Could Be Happening – Who Do You Want To Host?

The whispers around Masterchef Professionals appear to be getting louder with reporting that they are casting around for some overseas talent to host the show.

This format would see professional chefs duking it out for the Masterchef title, and there should be no shortage of people applying as it will raise their or their businesses profile. reports:

Media sources say Channel 10 is considering MasterChef: The Professionals for the second half of 2013.

Producer Shine wants major international food identities to host the series.

It is believed that the world’s biggest celebrity chefs – including Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal - are on Shine’s short list.

One of the hosts of the British original, double Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jnr, is also a possibility.

“They are chasing massive international names,” a source close to the production says.


Network TEN has dismissed the rumours as wild speculation.

“No decisions have been made about MasterChef for 2013,” a TEN spokesperson says.

“No decisions have been made about its format. Matt, George and Gary are very much still part of the MasterChef family.”

Preston, Colambaris and Mehigan will remain as judges for next year’s fifth series of MasterChef Australia, rumoured to be relocating to Melbourne.

Hopefully the rumour of Masterchef Professionals is true, and who would you like to see host it?

August 18, 2012   34 Comments

Masterchef All Stars – And The Finalist Are…

The majority of the challenges in Masterchef All Stars have been fantastic and this episode was no exception. Justine, Callum and Chris had a three round cook off with each round the main ingredient being their favourite with a points awarded at the end of each round. Hopefully we will see something similar next series.

It was no surprise that Chris chose beer, but apparently “dessert queen” Callum choosing mushrooms was. Justine was quite canny in choosing chestnuts even though in the end it did not give her any advantage.

I must say I am suffering a bit of Masterchef fatigue, and one of the issues is the judges. Even though we were wondering where Matt Preston was last week, when he returned it was great to see him and his particular type of judging style.

Maybe next year on Masterchef Series Five they rotate through the judges. Keep the three as staples but maybe just not on each episode every night. When Gary had two weeks off when he hurt his knee it was great to see him come back and in fact it helped the viewer realise what he brought to the show.

The same with George and his kind of zany intensity let us miss him a bit so we can enjoy it when he is on our screens. This would also allow for fresh faces and new personalities to be introduced.

The first round was Callum’s ingredients mushrooms. Callum won the three points, Justine scored the two points for her seafood and mushrooms and Chris came last in that round with his Calf Liver and Sweetbreads dish.

The second round was Chris’s ingredient beer. Callum decided to to Beer Pannacotta with a chocolate mousse, whereas Chris did a seafood tasting plate with fish, and stout battered mussels.

Justine made beef fillet, pomme parisian with a stout jus. She burnt the potatoes which meant she came last in that round. However Chris’s beer gastronomy title has now been taken by Callum who won the round and a place into the final. In fact he got the bench tap by Matt Preston, something which has not occurred since 2010. This says a lot about the last two seasons, however I would be curious to know which dish in 2010 received this accolade.

Gary also thought it was the best dessert he had eaten all year in either the Masterchef kitchen or at a restaurant.

Chris and Justine had to cook with chestnuts they both decided to cook quail. Chris was making a stuffed quail similar to his audition dish and Justine’s was pan fried with lentils. They both looked great but in the end Chris pipped her at the post to grab the last spot.

There is now one person from each season battling it out for the All Stars title, Gary took the time to say it was not rigged but it was the best cooks through.

Who do you want to win Masterchef All Stars? Will Chris find redemption in the taking out the title? Will Callum fulfill the promise he showed in season two or will Kate show the skeptics that she actually is an all round cook?

August 17, 2012   71 Comments

Masterchef All Stars – Another Conspiracy Theory Bites The Dust

Well the Julie, Kate, and Callum finale conspiracy theory has fallen over with the elimination of Julie.

I wonder what percentage of the conspiracy theories on this site have had legs – less than 25 per cent? Oh well it is always fun discussing them.

It was the final five tonight and Matt Preston was back and he brought with him Curtis Stone who was the guest chef.

While he was there Curtis gave George, Gary and Matt a masterclass on how to be a reality TV cooking judge both in eating style and commentary. His time on Top Chef Masters and America’s Next Great Restaurant has certainly helped he was extremely articulate about the dishes he was tasting.

However first the remaining contestants had to cook his Lobster Raviolo in a Keep Up with Curtis Stone cooking challenge. The All Stars have to keep up with Curtis as he cooked this dish. These are great challenges and the first one we saw was in Series Four this year with Kylie Kwong. Hopefully they will continue to be in the Masterchef format.  And yes there will be another Masterchef next year and applications are now open. 

Chris Badenoch always looked comfortable in the challenge his tactic was not to think but just follow. Callum stuffed up his stock by making four litres of it, and Justine and Julie fell behind.

In the end Chris won and was safe from the elimination challenge.

The next challenge was to cook a dish from one of Curtis’s four favourite ingredients, pork, broccoli, artichokes and apples.

It was no surprise Kate Bracks made a dessert of Apple Sorbet and Macadamia Crumb, with a mini toffee apple. Curtis criticised the thickness of the caramel but otherwise thought the dish was delicious.

Julie was in all sorts of bother. She was unsure if she would have time to cook her dish she tied up her pork belly rashers and put them in a pressure cooker they then unravelled. With fifteen minutes to go she had to regroup and cook a pork medallion. Her dish looked a bit brown she had placed the meat on fennel. Curtis said the flavours were good, but said the dish looked messy on the plate. The pork looked undercooked, however Curtis was unfazed by that.

Callum selected artichokes to cook however he had never made them before. He crumbed and deep fried them and then put them in a salad. Is this a first? Crumbed, deep fried vegetables on a salad? Matt Preston was more critical about the sauce than the salad.

Justine made two artichoke dishes a modern one with calamari and an older style dish which the hero ingredient was served with Bearnaise Sauce. Curtis was a bit confused about the two dishes on the one plate.

In the end Callum was very lucky that Julie’s pork dish was under cooked, and not plated well as the Series One winner was eliminated.

August 15, 2012   35 Comments