MasterChef judge Melissa Leong has ever so eloquently clapped back at a viewer after they criticised contestants for cooking “curries all the time”.
During last night’s pressure test, contestants were asked to recreate Khanh Nguyen‘s pork wellington, complete with a crackling pork lattice. Being a pressure test set by a renowned chef, the challenge was a departure from an invention test or team challenge, where contestants have a little more freedom to cook/experiment with what they want.
But last night’s challenge was all about this unreal fusion of pork wellington and banh mi.
The way my mouth watered.
Following the episode, one viewer commented on Mel’s Facebook page that they loved the dish and wanted to see more like it, instead of contestants cooking curries.
“A little sick of seeing 1 or 2 cooks cooking curry, their specialty, to stay in the comp,” the viewer said.
Well, Mel had quite a bit to say to that.
The food journalist explained that curry is a style of dish that stretches across all parts of Asia, the Middle East, Africa and beyond, with thousands of variations of it.
“What you’re saying is that a European oriented competitor should only cook one stew in the competition, even if they had dozens of really great ones of different kinds?” Mel responded.
“You want someone to vye to win a competition, but not play to their strengths because you don’t see or understand the nuance, variation and technique in what they do? Why? Read that again.”
Read that again.
I’m just going to put this here. #MasterChefAU pic.twitter.com/y2uhszzfqL
— Melissa Leong (@fooderati) June 15, 2021
This sort of commentary, especially about curries, isn’t exactly new to MasterChef discourse.
To be honest, any contestant who plays to their strengths, whether that’s dessert or pasta, will cop the exact same criticism. Always. Full stop.
Does it matter?
Well, like what Mel said: why the heck wouldn’t you play to your strengths in a cooking competition that could lead to glory (and $$$ and countless book deals)? If it was me, I would cook Mi Goreng all day every day until my gut-wrenching elimination in week 1.
MasterChef Australia continues tonight, 7.30pm on Channel 10.