Sunday, July 16, 2017

Masterchef #7 & 8

First up is a pressure test - Lee, Ray and Pete face elimination. Oddly, we get a bit of the backstory for just the first two, some self-reflection from all three. Gary cooks a dish in front of them - they have to cook the same dish in the same time, just following his lead, and finish within 10 seconds of him. Still home cooking week, so no special equipment. Matt lays it on a bit thick about what they’ll be doing. At least he says what it is - roast chicken, peas and potatoes. Break chicken down. Fry to give colour. Ray behind. Then he burns his chicken! Breast into oven, bones into pan. Vege prep - now Lee is behind, Pete even more so, has done it wrong.

Pea custard.Hard to see where the guys have got to. Ray and Pete maybe OK. Pea custard is blended pea and spinach, seasoned, then baked in the oven. Ray gets the cream amount wrong, 3 times what he needs. Lee has now caught up. Taste the jus. Cut the potato just right. Pete goes up, measures his against Gary’s. Ray still on the custard! Frying raw potato in butter - to be fondant potato. Fire! Ray’s butter has caught fire, set off the alarms! At least its not his jus. Lee’s doesn’t look much like Gary’s, Pete’s is much better looking. Gary’s custard not set, but Pete’s is. Pea puree. Ray has caught up! Pick your best chicken breast - crisp in pan. Lee not paying attention, “going rogue”, chicken quite pink. Pete is looking like the winner. Serving. They’ve made four pea custards - but only need a quenelle. Ray’s is still sloshy. I like the way that Pete keeps going up to check Gary’s version. 10 seconds to go! They’re all somewhere in the ballpark. Big hugs all round.

Gary and Matt taste Gary’s dish! Just as well they like it. Pete’s feeling good, recovered from yesterday. Did enjoy it. His plate looks like a banger, very close to Gary’s. George motors through his! Just as good as Gary’s? Would they say if it was better? Ray: you guys are tough critics, but my daughters are way tougher. Spuds too dark, yet hard. Matt’s is right. Chicken and sauce seem to be OK. Lee: shattered by what I’ve done, but proud. Colour is popping, very appetising - but chicken is “absolutely not cooked” - sad because so much is right. All he needed   to do was turn his chicken in the pan. “Undercooked chicken always sends you home.”

Next episode is the immunity challenge for the top three - Karlie, Sarah, Eliza. Sarah - "I’m riding the wave, I stand a chance". Once again, Shannon Bennett (now GQ Chef of the Year) is there to mentor - it seems to have an impact on Sarah; she's star-struck, blushing “Please let me stop talking”.  

Eliza also confident - "I smash it out, every time I hit the kitchen". Karlie - not so much. Round one: new, quick dinner recipe - they get 32 minutes to cook dinner, family meal for four. One time only in the pantry. Karlie slow packing basket. Eliza grabs everything - herb and macadamia crust lamb, frenched! Slow! Will push to the final second, but will her lamb even be cooked. Smokey eggplant puree. Parsnip chips. Sarah - braised bok choy (looks nice, with the soy and ginger, caramelised ends), vinaigrette with Asian flavours, barramundi. Matt impressed? Lot of punch in the vinaigrette. She’s stoked with her dish. Karlie also Asian styled - lamb loin, pickled mushroom. Left a couple of important things in pantry. Lamb perfectly cooked. Eliza’s? No - way off and 2 minutes to go! Into the pan.

Judging: Eliza - lamb cooked OK - except for Gary’s. Good flavours, a lot going on. Karlie: Clever pairing, super delicious. Sarah: knows hers is left of centre - who likes bok choy? Looks fabulous. Gary - "getting a little burney". He never eats bok choy - but this is "revelation". So delicious, smashing says Matt. George - happy to sweat for it. Thumbs up all round. Go Sarah. She’s done it - no huddle, even.

Round 2 - Victoria’s Young Chef of the Year - Sarah knows who he is, “I’m just scared”. Jared Di Blasi - started when he was about 16.

Judges’ personal fridges are the pantries. I’m enjoying Sarah’s combination of confidence and freaking. She has to choose fridge without seeing what is inside! How well does she know the judges? She picks Gary - veges, chillis, sauces, meats, herbs - good choice and bang on in her expectations. Scotch fillet, potatoes, pickled mushroom - how to elevate? Western and Eastern - marinate steak in XO oil. Shannon - how well does mash mesh with Asian flavour? Pommes anna. Burnt! Back to the mash. Nice char on the steak, properly medium rare. Her dish looks good. Judges - Gary a bit confused by the mash. Good elements and connected, deft hand.

Jared - whiting, all sorts of sauces and herbs. Sushimi. Does whiting work? Shannon: enough to impress the judges? “I’m in trouble” but he’s barely started. Certainly not my sort of thing.Uses rest of fish to make a sauce. Back to fridge - make some pickle, fry some kale. Fish not sliced, 3 minutes to go. Delicate - George thinks appetising. Raw fish with cooked fish broth - “interesting”. Gary - “beautiful”. George shocked it came out of home fridge. Matt - the sauce is “supercharged pot of joy”. On brief for home cook?

Both really good - who wins? Sarah - 7, 8, 8 (Matt a bigger fan of the pairing than Gary). Jared - 9, 9, 9! Still no way that I’d eat what he cooked.


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