MasterChef 2011: The Weekly Serve

Welcome back to The Weekly Serve – Pedestrian’s weekly MasterChef column penned by resident expert, Katie Head. Nom nom om om om….

One week, seven episodes, four judges, two Maggie Beer appearances, twenty-six shattered dreams and voila: say hello to the official Top 24 Masterchef contestants for 2011.

During a week of challenges that included a basic skills boot camp, fishing, cooking with Australiana produce, recreating Maggie Beer’s shortcrust pastry and wowing the judges with a ‘desert island’ dish, twelve standout contestants were straight through to the Top 24, leaving the final twelve to be chosen from last nights Ultimate Taste Test Of Terror* + Invention Test elimination challenge.

Matt Moran stalked into the turbine where the contestants have been cooking for the majority of the week on Cockatoo Island, silver dish in hand, sadistic smile in place. I’m starting to see a pattern between baldness and evilness here: Matt Moran, Adriano Zumbo, Dr Evil, Rex Hunt, Amber Rose…

Moran whipped the lid off the signature consommé from his restaurant Aria, telling the contestants there were THIRTY ingredients in the relatiely simple-looking dish (cue collective audible gasp) and it was time to get guessing.

But this was just a teaser to the real elimination challenge though – an Invention Test with a twist – each contestant was only able to use the ingredients they had correctly identified in the Taste Test Challenge. Queensland contestant Sun, 31, didn’t see that coming. Sun needs to open her eyes.

Sun is concerned:

For some people, like metal-face stud adorned Matt, 23 (VIC) this meant having the luxury of cooking with 20+ ingredients. Others like Ellie, 20 (QLD) were faced with what could easily be a recipe for disaster** with limited ingredients and NO meat proteins. Yikes.

BEST DISH – In a producers dream come true, I thought Ellie actually pulled off the best dish with some amazingly crisp and golden looking fried wontons filled with perfectly runny egg yolk. Looks like the judges felt the same way – Ellie is through to the Top 24, culinary dreams still intact.

WORST DISH – That would be the majority of the contestants who were eliminated last night whose dishes we never saw being cooked, tasted or judged. Sayonara guys – the show is going to be exactly the same without you.

WHO CRIED – Unbelievably it was dry eyes all around last night with not a tear to be shed by either the twelve contestants whose dreams had been crushed by the end of the night, or the twelve contestants whose Masterchef adventure has now truly begun.

MOST OUTRAGEOUS USE OF PRODUCT PLACEMENT – That would have to be the crocodile cooking challenge we saw on Wednesday night. Cooking crocodile on Cockatoo Island against the backdrop of Sydney Harbour – Is this Masterchef or a Tourism Sydney commercial?

QUOTE OF THE WEEK“It’s like someone flushed the toilet on my memory” – Jay, 31 (NSW).

See you next Monday.
Love, Katie.

* Might not actually have been called this.
** Sorry. Am planning on avoiding food-related puns in future.