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Category Archives: Masterchef Australia

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 »

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“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 »

 

don’t be afraid of it, it’s only a biscuit!

Dear Katy Brand,

Why oh why oh WHY did you start so well, with your pasta skills and your perfect pastry and ruin everything with a plate of custard and cat poo?  Now, chocolate tortellini filled with raspberry mousse sounded perfect. The white chocolate and cardamom sauce less so but it could have been enough to get you through.  No, what am I saying – if everyone else had a good day, you were definitely on your way out.  *SIGH*  Oh well, at least my other favourite, Shane Lynch is a dead cert for the final three …

Katy Brand

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!

 

plato is boring

So said Friedrich Nietzsche.  He also uttered the words: “A pair of powerful spectacles has sometimes sufficed to cure a person in love.”  This is certainly a more relevant comment for Masterchef Australia’s Alice, a delightfully kooky teacher looking to move into the culinary world.

In an America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) spin, the final ten are flown to a foreign land to forage for local ingredients, work a shift in a restaurant and cook for a legendary chef or two.  On a recent episode, their first task was to cook in the grounds of the beautiful Villa Aurelia (O RLY?) for non other than Massimo Bottura from the three Michellin starred Osteria Francescana.  Alice, quite frankly, lost it.  Not screaming, wobbly-legged nuts as greeted Jamie Oliver but our gal proper lip trembled her way through the introductions, teary eyed at meeting her food hero.  “There are heroes you meet and it’s a near religious experience.  To meet Massimo … it’s like meeting Nietzche!”  Bless.

Hipster glasses? Check. Ironic t-shirt? Check.

Alice and Wade did very well with their squid ink gnocchi and artichoke (Massimo: “ah, you’re thinking in monochrome – I LOVE IT!”) but Andy and Kylie fared less well with the coratella (Massimo: “hmmm, it’s not touching my soul”).   Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

jamie, jamie and the magic touch

Seeing as my earlier Nigel Slater post had me singing XTC constantly, I don’t hold much hope with this one (look it up, kids)!

So, the inimitable Jamie Oliver is back on our screens with not only his ’30 Minute Meals’ (coz that clearly wasn’t fast enough) but also his ’15 Minute Meals’.  All Jamie, all the time.  I think even I might struggle with all the excitement.

There was a recent elimination task on Oz MC; cooks had 30 minutes to grab ingredients from the pantry and cook whatever they liked.  The bottom three moved on to the next round and had 20 minutes to do the same.  The bottom two then had a whole FIVE minutes to rustle up a storm in the kitchen.  Pretty crazy scenes, I can tell you.

COCK!

’15 Minute Meals’ begins with a visual riot of a title sequence.  Buffalo Stance blasts out of my speakers as our host flings basil, crushes chillies and generally makes a split-screen mess.  I pity poor old Jules who, I presume, has to clean up after him.  Read the rest of this entry »