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Category Archives: Australian

aussie rules

I could use my recent accident as an excuse, but I won’t.  Lounging around, nursing a fractured metatarsal, I set to work, doing really important things like catching up with lots and lots and lots of Masterchef.

Masterchefs Australia and New Zealand aired on Watch only for its British counterpart to crash the BBC party a few weeks later. Back were the familiar Aussie faces of Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris.  George is nearly half the man he used to be and looking very well on it too.  In the New Zealand kitchen we have Simon Gault, Josh Emmett and the fabulously named Ray McVinnie.  Josh has been in place since season two when Ross Burden bowed out due to ill health.

Josh, Simon & Ray

Josh, Simon & Ray

After a brief flirtation with Canada, it’s clear that my heart still lies in Australia.  Canada was good, don’t get me wrong, but the competitive element was ramped up pretty high with mystery box winners having the opportunity to remove a cook from an elimination round, catty comments and deathly stares.

One thing in Canada’s favour?

Bacon.

Lots of bacon.

And not a croquembouche in sight.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

“why you pursue something is as important as what you pursue”

Okay, I admit it.  I like Marcus Wareing.  There.  I said it.

Can you fault his skills as a chef?  No.

Can you fault his ability to grow an impressive beard?  Maybe.  But you’d be wrong.

Chef Wareing has even inherited Michel’s twinkly eyes and cheeky smile.  WHAT IN THE HECKY DECK IS GOING ON?  I think there must be something in the Masterchef tap water.

look into my eyes, look into the eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes

look into my eyes, look into the eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes

A new series.  A new scary chef.  A new format.  A new location.  The same Gregg Wallace.  Well, you can’t have everything.

Anyone fortunate enough to take a tour of the Ram brewery in Wandsworth would have walked the walk past the Masterchef studio and, yes, I totally strutted my stuff like an amateur cook on a mission.  We were under strict instructions: no peeking and no photos.  Sadly it’s in the process of being turned into shops, flats and all things hip but at least we got to spend some time with the wonderful master brewer, John.

The new surroundings accompany a tweaked format.  We now have a VT to introduce our professional chefs which is a nice touch.  I like getting to know these men and women, judge them on their hairstyles and dodgy tattoos, find a potential favourite or two then have them kicked out 10 minutes later.  Oh, bye, Jogi!  I’ve eaten in your place, it was quite tasty, thanks, but I’m glad there wasn’t any pasta on the menu.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

OzMC the Unending Ordeal*

*in a good sense

G&GIs OzMC the crucible for all the best MC trial-by-concept moves? The just-ended O/G MC (feat.Toad&Gregface) seemed oddly and anxiously in its shadow — with the introduction of Toad’s make-my-masterpiece test a hurried and blodged redux of a Gary&George move. Natalie is lovely and clearly a deserving winner — in a very strong amateur final three — but the series seemed skimped and hurried, with the cutaway-to-gurning factor higher than ever. Too much cheaty editing. JohnT seemed uncharacteristically stressed in the later stages, also (and Gregface more unwatchably over-parodic; all these tics he doesn’t really earn by DOING anything except eating and letching).**

Thing is, Gary&George (&Matt&Matt) give themselves so much generously longer, with their 90-mins masterclasses following the trials, and the endless succession of high-end cookery names cheerfully coming in to present the masterpieces to be there and then made at sight (and taste), and really almost none of them being as d!ckishly brittle as the worst sleb-chef guests on O/G MC. (I’m judging by 2011, which I’m currently watching on Really: it’s more than three months in, and we’ve just reached their final three. 2012 I haven’t seen.) Read the rest of this entry »

 

hey now you’re an all star get your game on, go play

So, during the ridiculous, TWOANDAHALFHOUR season finale of Masterchef Australia, I told Carsmile “so, apparently as well as a Celebrity version there’s an All Stars series like what Top Chef do!”.  A few minutes later, after the confetti fell and the credits rolled, what happened?  A trailer for the aforementioned All Stars Australia!

ROCK.  AND.  ROLL.

I’m familiar with the concept: former competitors return with previous years represented.  They take part in challenges in order to win money for a chosen charity.  As far as I can remember, where Top Chef All Stars differed is that winners do not compete – it’s a chance for those who failed to try one more time.  In this, the first All Stars for Masterchef, there are two previous champions (with the remaining one being absent due to telly commitments).

Masterchef Australia All Stars

Does it include the 2012 winner?  A little too soon, me thinks.

This was originally aired during the London 2012 Olympics for three weeks.  I think even me, with my love for all things Masterchef would have felt my enthusiasm flag.  As it was, I watched a few episodes here and there then abandoned the show only to return for the 90 minute finale.

Maybe I’m used to the Top Chef mentality where the contestants are already professional chefs and the competitiveness never wanes.  Back in Sydney, there’s a very relaxed atmosphere, a little too relaxed for my liking; laughs, silliness and what seems to me like faux shock and anguish at the thought of revisiting disaster dishes.  Take it seriously, guys! ;)

It also gave me the opportunity to savor the beauty and vastness of the MC kitchen along with the gorgeous house on the hill in which they live.  Season five will relocate from Alexandria with a new home yet to be decided.  Hopefully it will be Melbourne so when we eventually fly over for the comedy festival and a trip to Chris and Julia’s Josie Bones, I can say we’re in the home of Masterchef, yay!

 

whinging pomms

The nights are putting in but I still get my hit of glorious sunshine in the form of Australian Masterchef.  To make me feel at home this week the producers brought a little bit of Britain to Sydney.

Once a week George and Greg give an hour long masterclass.  They remind us of what was in the mystery box and make some helpful suggestions.  Occasionally a guest will appear through the huge MCK (as they call it) doors.  This week, as soon as Greg introduced the guest ‘chef’ as an ex-model, I knew Ms Pascale would sashay through the kitchen with a big smile towards her Kitchen Aid.

The contestants look thrilled as always (there MUST be times when they have no idea who the head chef or food critic is but they hide it well) and Beau looked particularly delighted to see her; Read the rest of this entry »

 

greece is the word

With lots of shows cued up on my telly box and the weather waaaay too hot for lil’ ol’ me I decided to have, not quite a marathon, more a fun run of a few of these summery episodes.

One that stood out, initially for good reasons, was ‘Lyndey and Blair’s Taste of Greece’.  One of the myriad Australian shows on the Good Food Channel, this was a 13 part road trip across the Peloponnese for a mother and son.  We are introduced to Blair Milan as an actor and voice-over artist and his mother, Lyndey, a presenter and all round culinary expert.  The moment Blair speaks he is clearly an actor, handsome and confident, appearing in Home and Away among other shows.

They seem to have a great relationship and when they stop in Athens to visit the Agora Market to point at the goat heads, Lyndsey exclaims “having brought him up to be knowledgeable about food I was surprised at how squeamish Blair was – so I decided to make him eat some tripe soup!”  The gelatinous soup is served …

L: “It’s an acquired taste”
B: “Let’s see how acquired … :( it’s not the best thing I’ve put in my mouth!” Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

reader, i mangled him

James Reeson.  WHY?  Why are you relaxing on the sofa of your modern, Australian, open planned apartment in khaki shorts and baseball boots?  “Today I’m gonna make a chocolate filo fruit basket and a lovely oxtail soup – OOOH, they’re all so TASTY!”

The enthusiasm keeps coming, terrible jokes, and boring stories.  Heard the one about his dad living in the UK not being able to sell oxtail soup coz, yuck, oxtail’s GROSS?  He renamed it end of year soup instead and people started to order it!  Y’know, ‘end of year’ – you eat it in the winter and the tail is near the rear of the beast … [sigh] or something.

This is all meat and potato stuff – well, not literally.  This is similarly styled to Justine’s Everyday Gormet; home kitchen style studio, no messing around.  Unfortunately though James likes to mess around.  He flips his leeks in the air like Tom Cruise with a cocktail shaker and, in a particularly embarrassing bit, after peeling a cucumber into pretty ribbons he decides to lay one across his forehead to alleviate a headache then demonstrates how it “looks like a long TONGUE! :)”

FFS, James.  Get on with it.

The food itself (sorry, got a bit sidetracked there) seemed nice enough and not too difficult.  The standout dish was the lamb salad on a bed of cos lettuce (“why is it the best?  COS!”), tomatoes and the ribboned gourd.

It seems James is a local lad afterall, starting off in Bristol then hopping across the Channel to work in Paris.  Look, I’m sure he’s top bloke but I don’t think I can take any more tomfoolery, you dag.

 

 
 
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