MasterChef 2011: The Weekly Serve

Welcome once again to The Weekly Serve – Pedestrian’s weekly MasterChef column penned by resident expert, Katie Head. Soup’s up!…

Dream come true alert: Last Friday, the kind folks at Channel 10 sent me my very own Masterchef apron. Seriously. It’s got my name on it, and I didn’t even need to peel a single potato. Here is a pic. Don’t think my grin gets much wider than this:

Now that the blatant self-promotion / obligatory Channel 10 shout out is done, let’s get back to business and recap the week that was.

Monday had out contestants battling it out with dishes that inspired them to wander down the culinary footpath in the first place. Hayden, 24 (NSW) won the challenge with some delicious looking ‘moules frites’ and went on to battle a celebrity chef on Tuesday for a coveted immunity pin. The celebrity chef was 100% Italian stallion Alessandro Pavoni from Ormeggio in Sydney (The Spit), except actually Hayden cooked off against Alessandro’s apprentice, Alex.

Whatever the reason for doing this, Hayden won by 1 point and secured the first immunity pin of the season. I for one am glad that kid will be around for at least 2 more weeks. Also, remember last week how I mused that bald = evil? Alessando has completely dispelled that particular hypothesis. Lucky I’m not a scientist, right?

Just like seasons past, Wednesday = Red and Blue team challenges, with the losing team facing elimination on Thursday nights. The Reds were the first to fall this year after narrowly losing an all-night bread-baking session to the Blues. In a COMPLETE personal upset, Red team captain Tom, 29 (NSW) and ciabatta stuffer-upper Kumar, 62 (NSW) put themselves up for elimination in Thursday’s ‘The Round’ challenge and Tom became the first contestant to fall for 2011. Sniff.

One Alessandro Pavoni featured Friday Master Class later (i.e. must-watch and repeated on Saturday afternoons if you actually have a social life and miss it) and we’re up to last night’s ‘hopping’ Mystery Box Challenge.

In past Mystery Box challenges, contestants have had 30 minutes to produce a dish using as many or as little of the ingredients presented to them. Last night contestants had to use all 11 ingredients that included, rabbit, leek, carrot, mustard fruits, olives, butter, lemon, lemon thyme, swede, pancetta and garlic.

BEST DISH – Craig, 43 (QLD) produced the dish I would have most liked to chow down on last night. Baked rabbit loin, wrapped in pancetta with swede chips and a glossy-as-all-get-out looking sauce. He also fashioned a candy looking carrot out of a REAL carrot. Top marks Craig.

WORST DISH – Chelsea, 34 (VIC) who accidentally took Hayden’s pasta out of the fridge instead of her own, and then spent the rest of the episode lamenting that she could be going home for using Hayden’s pasta, because she’s Italian so of course her pasta would have been better. Dudette, did you not see him win immunity on Tuesday? Chelsea narrowly avoided being in the Bottom 3 – possibly thanks to Hayden’s pasta? Who knows.

WHO CRIED – Ellie, 21 (QLD) found herself in the Bottom 3 after cooking what she feared was overcooked bunny, but was in fact almost completely raw. She’s not ready to go home yet, and the tears spilled out, but she pulled herself together pretty well. Also, after receiving one of Matt Preston’s pocket hanky to mop up her tears, in hindsight I would have turned on the waterworks too.

George gets pocket handkerchief for Ellie

MOST OUTRAGEOUS USE OF PRODUCT PLACEMENT – Ski Yoghurt. Rachel, 45 (WA) “casually” takes a spoonful of Ski Yoghurt for breakfast before entering the Masterchef Kitchen, followed by an ad for a competition for Ski Yoghurt, followed by a regular ad for Ski Yoghurt. That’s way too much acidophilus bifidus for me, thanks.

BIGGEST BEEF – Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely hooked on Season 3 already, but am I the only one finding it way too obvious RE: who is going to be in the Top 3 and the Bottom 3 in Mystery Box/Invention Test challenges? I get that with 23 contestants still in the running it would turn into Marathonchef if we saw everyone’s dish being cooked and tasted, but a little element of surprise wouldn’t go astray.

See you next Monday.
Love, Katie.