MasterChef 2011: The Weekly Serve

The Weekly Serve is a weekly MasterChef column penned by Pedestrian’s resident MasterChef expert, Katie Head. Today she reviews the start of season three in which 50 hopefuls, three much-loved judges and a whole lotta food puns take centre stage.

Here’s your first serve…

On Sunday night over 1.5 million Australians tuned in to watch the season premiere of Masterchef Australia – that’s about 200,000 more viewers than the number that tuned into tv’s alleged “night of nights”.

During this the first week 50 culinary hopefuls will be whittled down to the official Top 24 Masterchef Contestants who’re symbolically recognised with the totemic monogrammed apron and OH&S approved chunky black boots.

Last night’s episode of Masterchef had contestants facing off against some of cookery’s least-threatening items: mayonnaise; chicken; potatoes. It was a basic skills test boot camp in which competitors were taken through a series of entry level cooking challenges.

First up potatoes – these needed to be peeled and chopped to create batons of perfection ready for deep-frying into what we know as chips. Cue the judges’ mention of several annoying chip-related puns such as “it’s crunch time” etc. Next up was making mayonnaise from scratch, followed by ‘jointing’ a chicken. (In the salmonella-friendly Australian climate, I was more than a little concerned with the amount of high-fiving and face-rubbing that went on post-chicken chopping.)

The 15 people who gave the worst performances went on to a penalty round cook-off and we said goodbye to 5 more contestants we hardly even know yet and are therefore not worth mentioning.

BEST DISH – There weren’t a whole lot of dishes going on last night, but the bottom 5 contestants from each basic skills task went into the bottom 15, and these guys had the unenviable task of making scones. Last time I made scones, you could have played shot put with them. Anyway, until the real cooking starts, I’m going to say the best dish is the lifesaver, Hayden from NSW. Because he’s a dish. Get it?

WORST DISH – The worst dish is probably Alex the Machinist from WA. Those earlobe-widening earrings give me the heebie jeebies but, based on an unfounded but apt generalisation, they are a good sign he’s destined for a career in the hospitality industry.

WHO CRIED – Guys, episode two and we’ve got tears already. Last night it was a poor woman named Tanja, who was so afraid to touch – and thus irreversibly taint – her scone dough that she ended up with weird blobs. They tasted good but wouldn’t have “been able to be sold in a café”, according to George. Tanja and four others got the boot. And then there were 40.

MOST OUTRAGEOUS USE OF PRODUCT PLACEMENT – Whatever styling creams, gels, sprays and waxes the two rockabilly-inspired hipsters are currently using to style their locks.

BEST USE OF CELEBRITY GUEST – Not Matt Moran who has officially joined Gary, George and Matt for the “amazing journey”. He’s an enduring media whore. Maggie Beer, who appeared in the promo clip for tonight’s episode, was definitely more exciting.

See you on Monday.
Love, Katie.