MasterChef – May 8 – Marco’s here

It’s the start of Marco Pierre White week, so I know some of you will be glued to the screen while others will nick off to another channel.
The TV blurb says: The contestants have 75 minutes to create a dish from Marco’s mystery box of ingredients with rewards and hazards for the top and bottom three.
I so hope that when he does his “Yes, Marco! Yes, Marco!” call someone responds with “Polo!”.

MPW enters and shakes hands with the contestants, who immediately go weak at the knees. Contestants will have 75 minutes to create something out of his mystery box of chicken, cinnamon, bacon, potatoes, lemon, parsley, olive oil and honey.


Judges are only tasting five dishes today. Winner gets an advantage in the invention test.
Intense looking dude Matt – he of the disc earrings – is doing a gnocchi and jus with crispy chicken skin. Marco tastes his jus as it’s cooking and gets the usual flick of the eyes over the bifocals.
Charlie – pro golfer with the nice hair who was in the bottom three last time but pulled through with his choc ginger whatsit – is making honey semifreddo. MPW asks if it will set, so it will either work spectacularly or be slop. Mimi, who’s been a strong contender thus far, is also making honey semifreddo. Uh oh. C’mon, surely someone is doing ravioli? No?
Cecilia – she of the brain injury – is freaking out and faffing around while everyone else is cooking frantically. She’s missing her kids and feels a bit lost. Fifteen minutes in, Gary comes over to prod her into action and he’s wearing his cranky pants. Finally she gets going to make a burnt butter ice cream because it’s something her daughter would like. She’s pushing it to get that set, even with a blast chiller.
MPW scares Con by staring at him until he redoes his ricotta.
Chatty Nidhi from SA is doing pepper lemon cream chicken with paratha and lurves MPW. She tells confessional: “He’s like a coconut – he’s hard from the outside but inside he’s really soft and a beautiful person.”
With 15 minutes to go we’ve only checked in with a few people so we knows already who’s being tasted. We haven’t even touched base with ranger Miles or the siblings.
MPW gives Intense Matt advice on turning gnocchi and uses his fingers, so Matt has to follow suit to show he’s cool, too. “Can I just say this is probably the greatest day of my life,” he fan boys to MPW as his fingertips melt off.
Cecilia is getting her act together, whipping up meringue and spun sugar to add flair to her dish but, sadly, the delay has cost her and her ice cream hasn’t set.
Time to judge
First up is Nidhi, who is delighted. Her dish looks rather beige so she is not a fancy pants plater like some, but it’s the dish she makes when she needs cheering up – given how happy she seems she can’t make it often. “And it’s full of fat – so I like it.” The producers must be so happy they cast her. “I 35 years I’ve been in this industry I’ve never sen a dish look like that taste so good – it’s delicious.”
Next up is Intense Matt with his pan-fried gnocchi with lots of crunchy elements. Gaz is in heaven: “Savoury, chickeny, bacony cereal.”
MPW loves the soz: “I don’t think that you realise how clever you are … genius in your hands.” Matt says it’s better than even his recent wedding day. Oh no he didn’t!
Mimi is praised for her cake and ice cream’s flavours but not her fussy plating. Cecilia is picked – well they have to, because they need someone to cry because her ice cream melted. Her plate looks full of complicated dessert techniques. “It’s like the lightest lemon meringue pie in the world,” MPW says. The melted ice cream still tastes good.
The last dish tasted is Charlie because there was no one else cooking, apparently. charliedesert
It looks so cute and simple, but inviting. Cue the dramatic music. Charlie is quietly cacking his dacks.
“This without question is the greatest dessert I’ve ever eaten in the MasterChef kitchen,” MPW intones, saying it’s Michelin starworthy. The violins are soaring; Charlie, consider yourself redeemed!
He’s the winner so gets to pick the advantage for the comp’s first invention test, so off they trot to the pantry and …

Invention test
… it’s meat galore and the dessert enthusiast comes plummeting back to earth. Oh, Charlie. Don’t you know ..
Cause you’re hot then you’re cold
You’re yes then you’re no
You’re in then you’re out
You’re up then you’re down

It’s a meat and three veg challenge. I like it. Charlie gets to choose beef, pork or lamb and three of about 10 veg.
MPW advises him to pick bones – that’s the beef, I guess – because they will scare most people and give you great flavour. Charlie looks freaked out, but having “bones, bones, bones” intoned at you by MPW in a voice from beyond the grave will do that to anyone.
Charlie ends up picking lamb, carrot, onion (spring onions, brown, white or red) and parsnip – bloody hell – everyone’s going to do the ever-present parsnip mash.
Intense Matt wants to do koftas but can’t find lamb mince. Dude, you’re in MasterChef – make your own! A fellow competitor kindly sets him straight.
Con is doing lamb two ways ( which just means double the chance to stuff things up) with parsnip chips and an onion custard – yes really.
Cecilia is making a parsnip surprise, which will be parsnip stuffed with the other elements because she thinks it’s something her son would like. The judges try to steer her elsewhere but she’s set on it.
Zoe – who had the multiple Greek grannies in her audition is doing a Middle Eastern lamb and smoked parsnip puree.
Nidhi is excited to but an Indian spin on classic Aussie ingredients with a lamb shank curry, but her idea to do a carrot dessert on the same plate is a worry.
Poor Intense Matt is having trouble with the fancy mincer. Maybe like me he just has one of the old school crank handle types. Can’t Gaz come and snarl at him how to use it properly?
Instead he uses some of the minced fat and some hand-diced lamb – good on you, Matt.
Charlie is in fact using bones to make a jus, as per MPW’s advice, to go with parsnip puree lamb backstrap. Boring but he just needs to not be the bottom.
Ooh, who’s this blonde girl making quinoa flatbread? Olivia the restaurant manager – how nice to finally meet you.

This is Olivia. She's been in the comp all along. Yes, really.

This is Olivia. She’s been in the comp all along. Yes, really.

And here’s another red shirt getting camera time – it’s Nathaniel with a twist on shepherd’s pie.
Nidhi’s curry is looking good but she’s not watching her carrot and milk in the saucepan. Who’d have thought a camera shot lingering on boiling milk creeping up to the top of a pot could have us on tenterhooks?
Damn it – it’s burnt but she hopes just putting everything in a clean pan will do the trick.
MPW has a little bonding with Nidhi as he tastes her onion mixture: “Your use of spice is genius.”
Cecilia is happy with her mega stuffed parsnip but it’s screaming bottom three. And then she pipes “for Nathan” in tomato sauce on the plate.
Plating up time and there are a few cases of undercooked lamb.

Time to judge
Just spotted a brunette pony tail girl up the back (not Greek Zoe) who I’ve never seen before. The red shirts just keep coming.
Nidhi is first. You know MPW is serious because he takes his glasses off to speak to her: “I wish you had a restaurant where I live. I’d be there every week.” Matt loves the carrot pud: “It’s better than anything I’ve ever had in India.” Nidhi, I really hope you have a market stall/food truck/takeaway shop lined up here in Adelaide so I can judge for myself.
Con tries to keep a stiff upper lip as he serves up his raw lamb rack. Apart from that, it’s all too sweet. Poor Con.
Newly discovered Olivia serves up a “forest floor”. Everyone loves the quinoa crackers and the dish in general. “Never change your style,” says MPW.
Mimi’s dish looks fine but nothing spesh; Harry (tall blond who “harvests his own seafood”) dishes up a take on pot au feu (French beef stew) but George says the flavours aren’t right; Anasatasia – who? – has undercooked her lamb; Brett (who?) gets in trouble for serving carrot granita with roast meat.


Nathaniel knows his shepherds pie sucks as it’s not finished and the judges agree.
Intense Matt serves up a platter full of koftas, flatbread and various side dishes. He’s done a lot of work. Gaz says he’s nailed it.That’s two hits in a row – go Matt!
Charlie’s plating looks gorgeous but will his soz get the nod? “It doesn’t do it for me,” says MPW, saying his sauce is too robust. Charlie is crushed.
Here comes Cecilia’s weirdo parsnip but no doubt her son is stoked to have his name on TV again. “It certainly doesn’t look very appetising,” says Gaz. The judges speak very kindly to her about missing her kids and George tells her to put her “head down and bum up”.
Greek Zoe serves up her Middle Eastern spiced dish and George goes for seconds on the lamb – her dish is his pick of the day. She’s nailed the smokey flavour. Marco agrees.

So, who’s sitting pretty for the immunity challenge and who’s in trouble?
Top: Nidhi, Zoe, Olivia. Bit sad Matt isn’t up there as they seemed to adore his dish.
Bottom: Con, Cecilia, Nathaniel. No surprises.
MPW gives them a pep talk about pushing on.

Tomorrow night: It’s the keeping up with Marco challenge. Hopefully this will suit Cecilia better than following a written recipe as she’s mentioned that is more challenging for her, and I’d like to see what she can do dessert wise when she’s given time.



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47 Comments

  1. There are too many people for this to be interesting. I am sure that we haven’t been introduced to everyone. And why does all the food look the same?

  2. Only 12 dishes shown tonight and after last week still 4 people we haven’t seen yet.

    No Jimmy or Therese tonight.

  3. Zoe and Olivia’s back stories will need to be shown on Tuesday.

    Cecilia, Nathaniel, Con….given the focus on Cecilia tonight she is gone tomorrow.

    • Not being cruel, but there are cognitive affects of a brain injury which we saw tonight. The problems getting started on the Mystery Box and then the fixation on doing something for the other child even though it was not quite appropriate for the challenge. It is not going to be pretty once the accumulative effect of sleep deprivation and producer manipulation comes to the fore.

      We are a bit concern for some of the other contestants. A week in and some of them appear a bit emotionally unstable already. The crying…by Top ten…no…

      • I actually forgot she was the one who dropped out last year. Surely they would require testing beforehand to ensure she was mentally and physically able to compete?

        • Sharing a house with 23 others would bring its own challenges, including sleep deprivation. The limited contact with kids would be so hard – she obviously underestimated that.

      • Yes, MasterChef are going to look like right bastards if she has trouble tomorrow night. They’d better not keep her around for drama’s sake if she deserves to go home. Hopefully the exposure gained on the show will be enough for her to be successful producing her amazing desserts in an environment that doesn’t affect her health.

  4. Failing a total conniption on her part, I think they’d like to keep Cecelia in – after all, they’ve invested a lot of time in her back story; comeback kid etc.
    Maybe Nathaniel will go because he barely existed anyway and has a lousy haircut.

    There does seem to be an inordinate, premature amount of crying and emotion this year. They’ve been in the comp. for 5 minutes, and some of them are basket cases! Where do they get these people; do they scour psychiatric wards?

    And Nidhi really nidhis to start doing something other than curries. That ‘adorable’ guilelessness can only go so far.

  5. There were lots of superlatives used tonight, even from Marco. This is what, episode 6? The judges need to take it down a notch, so the rest of the series doesn’t feel like an anticlimax. Maybe there are many, many more super spectacular, magnificent, wonderful, stunning, and breathtaking dishes to come. And the contestants need to calm down, too. All the drama is too reminiscent of MKR.

    I’d forgot that Cecilia was the re-entry. Her parsnip surprise sounded and looked woeful, even without the dedication. I knew the raw lamb rack dude was going to mess up when he said that a rack doesn’t take long, so he would leave it until last. Nidhi is obviously going to be flavour of the week, but she needs to show some versatility. Same goes for all the dessert kings and queens who get the vapours when presented with a piece of meat to cook.

    I’m annoyed that there seem to be so many one-dish wonders this year. Perhaps one of the unknown faces from tonight will turn out to be an all-rounder, because I’m getting bored. Thankfully, Marco is around to cheer me up.

    How many times did parsnip frigging puree rear its ugly mushy white head tonight?

  6. Still don’t know who more than half of the contestants are.
    Too much time spent on Matt, Cecelia and Charlie.
    Agree with Maz that Cecelia may be dealing with some cognitive problems. It’s going to just get more stressful for her. Both of her dishes looked very juvenile. She is having difficulty coming up with dishes and is dedicating everything to her children, creating something that one of them would enjoy.
    Have no clue why they brought her up to the front for the mystery round dishes. I can’t believe that there were no other contestants who created a better dish.
    Charlie: Marco telling him he had made the greatest dessert in MC history….LOL. Charlie looked like he was going to faint when he saw the meat and veg. This is NOT a baking competition but an all around competition so you can’t depend on desserts to save you.
    Nidhi…I hope she can cook something other than Indian.
    The tears, the drama, the over the top praise….too early in the season.

  7. Again we have been dudded by the 3 stooges. How can that be the best Dessert ever????? Reynold is safe as the best Dessert King on MC.

    Nidhi is great with Indian food. What else can she cooks? We have to wait and see.

  8. Lots of parsnip purée and carrot smears
    Lots of hyped up praise and plenty of tears
    Lots of “Best ever” and “That’s Clever”
    Lots of lamb back straps and raw lamb crap
    Lots of loud Muzak
    . . and that’s all the facts

    • Off topic, sorry. Lola, or anyone, really, how do you get the accent on “puree”? I have tried several ways and I cannot get it to work for me. Not a big drama, but it is annoying.

      • Von, it can depend on what device you are using. I can’t get it on my laptop but it works on my desktop and, I think, my iPhone.

  9. It’s a cancer afflicting many reality shows atm.

    “In the history of of MKR this is the greatest ever whateva , blah , blah…

    “”This is the greatest whateva I’ve ever eaten on Ma$terchef”

    “This is the greatest eva audition on The Voice”

    That’s just from this year’s paltry offerings from the bullshitting networks. Believe this hyperbole, you’ll believe anything.

    This is the greatest post ever written in the history of social media.

    Can Charlie cook? He sure as hell can’t shave.

  10. Thanks for the great recap Juz.
    I was juggling last night, I was watching the Logies & watching MasterChef during the ad breaks. It was a very late night for me, the Logies went an hour over.
    I’d forgotten too that Cecilia was the brain injury girl who came back. I had hysterics at her parsnip plate with for Nathan written in sauce. She didn’t cut the end bit off & didn’t look like she peeled it. It just looked weird. I didn’t think there was any way they’d taste her first dish with the melted ice cream. Don’t they usually only taste the dishes that look really good when they are only tasting 5 dishes?
    That guy who made the best dessert ever, well it must have tasted great since it didn’t look much.
    Those keeping up with Marco challenges, I hate them. They are ridiculous.

  11. So this year looks like:

    1. Parfait year! Waiting for Nidhi to do an indian parfait soon.
    2. Ignore 75% contestants… already we probably can guess about 12 who will be eliminated due to them not getting any screen time.
    3. The year of plating… since there’s really no new things that can be brought to the table (sous vide, frenching, any other technique has been done to death), and no new wonderful food trends worth bringing to the table (although there was brief mention of quinoa)… so focus will be on who will plate the prettiest.

    I’m tipping this to be the worst or 2nd worst season eva! (2014 so far is the worst). Especially this season will be filled with celebrity or special weeks just to boost ratings (Marco week already… Heston week, Nigella week, Trip to US week)…

    I’m tipping Cecila to stay… (unless she steps down citing issues) and all other dessert people as we need a complete set of dessert people to keep Nigella week exciting.

  12. Ah, I’m enjoying it this year. Love the cameras beaming in on their earnest worried little eyes waiting to hear the judge’s verdict. So pleased for Charlie, for his moment with Marco. I hope he buckles down and starts to work on his savoury skills in his spare time in the house. I’m even adoring Nidhi, who I found insuffereable in the audtions. The stuff with first Teresa and then Cecilia faffing about not knowing what to do is painful to watch. I hope Cecilia pulls herself together tonight.

    There are loads of them I couldn’t give a toss about, but it really makes me smile to watch this show and see people being so open with all their raw feelings, and their wacky reality tv hopes and dreams of a wonderful new life at the end of it. I find it really heartwarming. Especially after the spiteful muck that is MKR. I just love it – hearts on the line (with a well-seasoned soz).

    • Gary and George provide spiteful muck in spades for the show, so no need to harvest it from the contestants.

  13. Marco advised one contestant that “lamb is delicate”. Just how much do they mollycoddle their sheep in England? That didn’t seem sage advice to me. (Sage, rosemary and thyme is more like it, teamed with flavoursome Aussie lamb from a parched paddock.)

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