MasterChef – Tues, June 21 – immunity challenge – what’s a rocher?

The four contestants who impressed in the relay invention test cook for immunity. Does the winner of the first round have what it takes to out-cook guest chef Victor Liong from Lee Ho Fook?
This will be an interesting one, as Karmen, Intense Matt, Trent and Elena are all decent cooks. And, look at the tweet below – Karmen has a sense of humour, too. I just hope she doesn’t try to plate up anything fragile that she will smash with shaking hands. Stay away from tuiles tonight, Karmen.

People keep trying to tell me burgundy is back, but Matt’s suit is doing nothing to convince me this is true.
He tells the contestants tonight is a skills test with a dessert theme, so Karmen gets a hige grin on her face. They must separate 12 egg yolks; create five perfect ice cream rochers (that’s a quenelle done with only one spoon, apparently); and spin sugar to a 30cm-high conical shape. Intense Matt has never even spun sugar before.
They’re pretty even in the egg-cracking leg, and all smash a few in the rush. Karmen finishes that round first, then IM, then Trent and Elena.
Karmen plans to take the rocher round slowly and get them right but IM and Trent are racing through, with Trent using his fingers to plop them off the spoon. They must have told the contestants the correct technique before the challenge. IM smashes out five rochers that he knows are dodgy but Gaz only lets one through. Trent’s are also wonky.


Meanwhile, Karmen is already on to her spun sugar. Elena has taken her time and it pays off – she catches up and is the second person to start spinning sugar.
IM and Trent slow down with their ice cream and finally Gaz lets IM through, then Trent. It’s still pretty close, though, as Karmen is waiting for her sugar to caramelise and hasn’t started spinning. Shannon urges her to take it easy.
Her caramel is ready first and out comes the head massage tool to flick back and forth. Trent has a go but his caramel looks too light, while Elena’s seems dark. IM waits til the right time and goes nuts with his flicking. He’s catching up quickly – height and longer arms are probably an advantage here. He takes his pile over to be measured and he’s done it! Good one, Intense Matt!
Skills tests are always fun to watch, although not as exciting as name the cake or ingredient, as there’s no play along at home element.
Matt is definitely top three material and, interestingly, he’s not active on social media – unlike some other contestants. Does this mean he goes all the way? Or he’s just not a Twitter kind of guy.

Guest chef Victor enters and how lovely to see a chef who looks like an engineering nerd rather than a tattoo artist – although he does have a Harry-style teeny topknot.
IM gets to pick from overflowing benches of ingredients A to N and M to Z. IM wants the kingfish, so chooses the former, to cook it crispy-skinned with blue swimmer crab broth. He’s definitely had hours of practice filleting fish and is a real chance here.
It’s Victor’s time to cook and his face drops when he realises what’s on the table for A to N. I like him even more when he tells confessional: “Ah, bugger – there’s no soy sauce, there’s no sesame oil.” He decides to do a crayfish in order to show “oriental decadence”.
IM is trying to make a crab broth to better the prawn head version with which he won an immunity pin last time.
Victor is having trouble balancing his sauce without any M to Z ingredients – IM has the advantage of having cooked in the MC kitchen many times. Victor grabs a can of coconut cream to add to his sauce and is happier.
IM starts straining his broth through muslin and manages to add some unintentional smoke when he sits it too close to the burner. Cue yelps of concern from the gantry and cool-headed Shannon tells him to pop the flaming saucepan saucepan in the sink. Victor even pops over to check on him and offer assistance. Luckily IM has plenty of soz left over.
Victor is only serving crayfish and coconut soz because he thinks less is more, but Shannon urges him to do something else to impress the judges. He doesn’t seem too fussed until Harry leans over the gantry to tell him to listen. Eventually Victor decides to add some mushies and cauli.
On the other side, IM is going hell for leather with a million techniques and is working hard to balance his broth. He’s doing George-style plating.
Victor’s plate looks pretty, too, but neither of them used tweezers.
Victor pops over for a lick of IM’s soz and says he’s impressed.

The judges taste


Victor’s roasted crayfish with coconut and armagnac soz: Gaz is salivating just looking at it. Matt Preston says the soz is well balanced and they agree the cray is perfectly cooked. Sounds like a high score.


IM’s crispy skin kingfish with crab broth: Gaz says it looks pretty but Matt thinks the bits of crab on the side seem superfluous. They love the taste of the broth and it’s all well cooked. “Sublime,” says Gaz.
They do the “oh, it’s so close” thing, which is usually so fake as there have been some shockers in the immunity pin round this season. But this time they both seem great dishes.

The scores
Scores for IM’s fish: Gaz 9 George 9, Matt 9 = 27/30 Fab scores but now I’m worried Victor will get 10s.
Scores for Victor’s cray: Yep, 10s all round.
Well done, Victor, but poor IM – any other week he would have slayed the competition.

Victor says some really nice things about IM being intelligent but ambitious and jokingly offers him a job.
Fun fact: Victor’s LInked In profile says he has a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Hospitality Administration/Management.

Tomorrow night
The contestants must cook three courses of finger food at an outdoor cinema team challenge. It looks like Brett and Harry’s blue team stuff up their quantities, but it could be a storm in a tea cup. And then on Sunday, Heston Week begins. Crack out your goggles and nitrogen canisters.



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29 Comments

  1. Trent reckons it’s like makin’ a “crockenbush” Flamin’ ‘ell !

    There’s a lot more than sugar spun on this show…nightly.

    I think this is the very same muzak as The Amazing Race. Cheap and nasty.

  2. A little disappointed to see IM doing a dish so similar to his last immunity challenge, but that seems to be the theme this year.

  3. I’ve tried hard to like IM, just can’t get there. He can certainly cook and that’s what matters. Trent made me laugh, trying to spin the sugar that wasn’t ready. I like Karmen, would have like to see her cook for pin.

  4. Loved it Juz. But luckily they explained what a rocher is! Never heard of it before. But I’m no yardstick – cooking shows introduced me to quenelles in the first place.

    However tonight saw the unwelcome return of gesticulating Mimi in the commentary box. Not good.
    The guest chef was super nice. I have a soft spot for that kind of dorky dude.

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  5. I knew that they were never going to give Matt another pin tonight, but he was robbed big time.
    His dish had way more elements and complexity (as they say in the classics), and everything was perfect.
    The chef, on the other hand, was just going to do crayfish & sauce – till Shannon told him he needed to do more.

    Who is he supposed to be mentoring .. the amateur or the pro? I noticed that Matt didn’t get – or need – any advice from Shannon.
    He has to be the clear favourite to win this comp. No one really comes close to his capabilities.

  6. The only way IM will be booted is if it’s one of those 100-step dessert challenges and he misses putting enough gelatine in, or something like that. Whenever it’s “here are ingredients – make something” he’s super strong. He’s obviously been practising stuff like knife skills, fish filleting, presentation etc. Good on him.

  7. I think chef Victor was doing a bit of acting regarding creating his dish. I don’t think he needed Shannon’s suggestions to add things to the dish. Think there was a bit of scripting and play acting here to make the competition more exciting. JMHO
    Theresa shouting down from the gantry to professional chef: “Do you have something crunchy?” LOL
    Matt….cooks almost the same thing he did in a previous immunity challenge. Would have liked to have seen him cook something different and more innovative. However, he does have a lot of skills and I think that he will probably be MC 2016. Trent & Brett are the very dark horses.
    Never heard of a rocher except for ferrero rocher candy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Getting to the point where I would rather see ABPC than “crispy-skin” whatever flavour fish. Can they do anything else with fish?

  9. Thanks for the great recap Juz.
    Why don’t they use egg separators? I would be lost without mine.
    Rocher, what the fuck is that? I’d never heard of it before last night. What ever happened to good old fashioned scoop? I have a lovely ice cream scoop with a penguin handle.
    I’ve never spun sugar either & was fascinated by the process. Good on Matt for getting through.
    That was a good choice picking the a-m. All the relevant spices are in there – chilli, garlic, ginger. No oil but there is butter. I felt sorry for that chef in the pantry saying he wanted to use sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce knowing none of them were there.
    Matt did so well, apart from nearly burning the place down. If he’d been up against any of the previous guest chefs he would have won. When he got all 9’s I knew the other chef would probably get all 10’s. Such a shame, I would have liked him to win another immunity pin. It would have been well deserved.

  10. Note to self: if ever in Masterchef, don’t listen to advice from Shannon.

    Shannon was the one who told Matt he didnt have enough spun sugar to make a 30cm tower.

    And he was wrong.

  11. Karmen needs to tell her programmer to increase her frame rate… she shoulda had that challenge in the bag but her spinning sugar speed was not quick enough.

    Mimi needs to be careful for one day she’ll actually knock herself out with her gesticulating.

    Quagmire is doing my head in.

    Matt keeps looking at me with his two sets of eyes and I’m freaked out.

    Having Chloe withdrawals…. not enough Chloe last night.

    Worst season evah!

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