Friday, August 04, 2017

Masterchef #10

Last time it was the Italian restaurant challenge, in which the red team lost and now face elimination. It seems the whole programme is about them making hot chips: much as I love them, I can’t see an hour’s worth of TV here. We start with seeing Josh’s difficult year - beaten up by someone stealing his car. No-one is ever ready to go home, yet they keep have the contestants saying they’ll fight to stay, not ready to go home.

Today’s challenge about taking an ingredient and making it exciting - big spiel from Matt. Celebrate the potato. Not just chips - they have to make a dip as well. Wow. Then there’s round two, for the bottom four. I wonder if Eloise’s oven baked chips and aioli will make the cut? Triple cooked chips seem popular. Benjamin is doing curry sauce - Gary gets very excited. But has he chosen the right breed of spud? Michelle is making a pasta sauce for her chips - but has never cooked chips before! Ah - Eloise must have heard me, is making a smokey whiskey sauce as well. Jess is doing crisps and chips - double whammy. Pia doing what? Nachos, or just the topping we might expect on them. Poor Michelle - throws her chips out, as had not par-boiled and they just went soggy. Can she get new chips up in 15 minutes? Josh has problems as well - he has baked his chips, but too much butter means no crunch. Maybe deep-frying is the answer? Eloise’s chips are paler than I am! Fryer for her as well.But don’t they know that yanking the heat up just burns and leaves the interior non-fluffy? Eloise seems to have got hers looking right - but she doesn’t try one.

Judging. Arum - triple cooked and BBQ sauce. Crunchy, addictive plus good sauce - right “dippyness” on the dippometer. Benjamin’s chips - waxy, non crispy - not saved by a great sauce. Nicole - some sort of polenta crust on her chips - she’s safe. Sam - pale chips but crunchy with a chicken gravy. Tamara - “really yum”, so she’ll be safe. Samuel - double cooked with aioli: “that is fantastic”. George: “you could cook us lunch later”. Josh - four way cooked chips! Not that crispy.
Eloise whiskey sauce for her chips (above) - her rescue attempts have worked! Matt: “100 mile queue in Scotland”. Gary: “anywhere”. May have a winner here! Pia - can’t hope your dips will get you through. Chips not crispy, not what they should be.
Jess - chips not cooked. Crisps great, but she didn’t put them up! Michelle - sauce delicious but chips not only not crisp, soggy.

Three standouts: Samuel, Arum and Eloise. Bottom four: Benjamin, Josh, Pia, Jess and Michelle have all under-performed, but Pia just scrapes through, the rest go to second round. Any dish heroing the potato. Jess - salt and vinegar chip dessert, chocolate ganache, balsamic gel, potato mash dumplings, white chocolate.
Michelle - potato curry with chips on top (grandma’s dish).
Josh - gnocchi, tomato sauce, smoked speck. Is an hour enough? Benjamin - sweet potato doughnuts. Too much moisture? Go Michelle - she seems sweet, and so young.
The others seem to like her. Is cooking potatoes whole the right thing for Josh? He did it to keep moisture out, but cooking is very slow. Chop em up! Ricing looks like real hard work - are they actually cooked? They do get boiled then fried, so that must help. How are the doughnuts? Look good - but soggy. Jess is deep frying her dumplings, they look real good! Josh not a happy man. Benjamin has nothing to spare, so doesn’t know if his extra cooking has worked. Dish I’d most like to eat - Michelle’s.Poor Jess - did the most, has de-stress tears.

Judging: Michelle happy with her dish, smiling, no longer terrified of the potato. Matt calls her curry a warm fuzzy bowl of Indonesian love - it’s delicious”. They all love it - good for her. Camera switches to her - smiling radiantly.

Benjamin - meagre offering “more food on that apron than you have on the plate”. Wanted to take a risk - even though only four in round. They look good - cooked? Ad break before we find out. Variable - Gary’s is OK, Matt’s is not cooked. Jess - pushed so hard, wants to get to next level, achieve the impossible. Dish looks real good. And? Dumpling totally cooked. Absolutely fabulous, perfect balance, party in my mouth. Is she the winner of this round? Josh - worried. Says his gnocchi "should be super smooth" - does he even believe it? George looks worried. Ad break - what was he going to say? Under-cooked. Delicious sauce.

They tell Michelle she’s safe, she dashes to the others for a hug, can’t even hear the judges. Loser - between Josh and Benjamin. Should be Josh, as at least some of Benjamin’s food was cooked. Yep - he’s safe. Does being #22 really change your life forever?

In other food news, there have been two important nation competitions and one less so in the last couple of weeks. Most important for me is the 2017 Bakels pie awards. Very few South Island winners (there is a local mushroom and black pepper silver award winner) but luckily I will be spending time in the North Island this summer. There's a steak pie with my name on it in Kihikihi and the winning pie (Venison, Mushroom, Bacon and Cheese) is in Taupo.

Maybe a couple of steak and cheese pies as well - Waihi Bakery and Ed's Cafe in Mt Wellington. A former national winner, from Tauranga, has won the bacon and egg pie - maybe I'll try that? We also had the bacon, ham and pork awards. The bacon winner is a Wellington butcher, but there's a local bronze winner I've been meaning to try - Deep Creek Deli.

After a gap of a few years, there has also been a nationwide hunt for the best chip. This one I don't really trust - I love chips, but the primary criteria in this competition is the healthiness of the chip. Only those with a particular fat content get judged - the last time they run the competition, I went to the national winner in Waimate and was not impressed. This time round, the winner is So Fine Seafoods in Lower Hutt. There is also a People's Choice award, Mr Chips in Masterton won. There's a list of runners up - none featured well in the judged rounds, which tells me something.


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