MasterChef – Sun, July 17 – mystery box

The top six contestants now face a mystery box challenge containing some of the hottest ingredients being used in the world right now. The winner will gain the advantage going into the invention test.

What do we think the hottest ingredients in the world are? Surely beetroot has to be there.


The mystery box contained camel’s milk, matcha, pisco (brandy), cobia (also known as black kingfish), kohlrabi, mushroom leaves, kaiserfleisch, gochujang (Korean fermented chilli and soybeans).
Surprise, surprise – none of them has cooked with camel’s milk before.
“I didn’t even know camel’s milk was fit for human consumption,” says Intense Matt. At least most of them would have tried kohlrabi and kaiserfleisch is a type of bacon. They have an hour to cook a dish, with the usual pantry staples, minus cow’s milk.
IM is heroing the cobia fish by dry curing it in salt, sugar and matcha powder.
Seafood lover Harry also goes the fish, with the gochujang for a spicy sauce and kohlrabi, smoking the cobia bones to add flavour. The judges seem impressed with his ideas.
Mimi is also using cobia with a kaiserfleisch oil. I hope not everyone is using the fish. Can’t someone do a matcha and camel’s milk dessert?
Trent is wet curing the fish in the brandy and chilli paste and says he wants to use the camel’s milk in a soz. Glowing Elena is curing hers in the brandy and is doing crispy fish skin and she is pickling the mushroom leaves and doing a chilli caramel.
Elise is doing a dessert – yay! Oh, no, it’s a matcha parfait – Another Bloody Parfait. And she has the red moulds of death out. I’m glad she’s at least doing something different.
IM is worried his massive chunk of fish won’t cure in time – can’t he just cut it up smaller so the dry cure penetrates the flesh more? Instead he vac seals it so the cure is forced into the flesh. He’s made a kohlrabi leaf fritter for texture.
Trent says the camel’s milk reminds him of fresh cow’s milk, as it’s “a bit funky”. Matt Preston warns him to taste his camel’s milk soz with the fish.
Elise is soaking thin kohlrabi slices in the pisco brandy and and is candying others. IM is making a savoury custard with the camel’s milk and chilli paste. Matt P tastes it and says it’s sweet, so IM adds vinegar from the pantry staples.
Does this mean Trent’s camel milk soz will also be too sweet?
GE is making a million veg elements to go with her fish … In MasterChef – we have kings of savoury and dessert queens – is she the vegie queen?
Harry is finishing his fish over the gas flame to give it char. IM is happy with his fish and his blobs of custard look like cool egg yolks on the plate, but GE has overdone her chilli caramel and it’s too globby. She plates it anyway. The challenge is almost over and Harry’s fish is not cooked enough – no wonder, it’s a chunky fish.
Mimi had hardly any air time – yet again. So she hasn’t won.
The judges taste


IM’s fish with savoury custard: The judges love the look of it. “There’s more than a few things I love about,” says Gaz. The kohlrabi leaf is crunchy, the custard and the cured fish delicious. Matt says IM is a “true original”.


GE’s fish and kohlrabi: Gaz loves all the textures but the caramel is too hard. “It’s a really good dish,” says Matt, apart from the caramel.


Trent’s fish with camel’s milk soz: Yum, says Gaz. He likes the crispy textures. They like it but aren’t raving about it.
Mimi’s fish with kaiserfleisch mayo: George likes the flavours but her ratios are off. It doesn’t warrant a photo on the MasterChef twitter feed.


Elise’s matcha parfait with kohlrabi: “You’re a master of the parfait, so why not exploit the fact in finals week,” says Gaz. Matt says she’s on trend using savoury items in a dessert: “Hot ingredients, hot dish.”


Harry’s fish: George tries to amp up the drama by questioning whether the fish will be cooked. Cue extremely loud dramatic music. But it’s cooked perfectly. Matt says his use of smoke was inspired and loves the “jellified fat”. Don’t we all love a bit of jellified fat? “This is a dirty streetfighter of a dish and I like it,” he says. George just has a “wow”.

And the winner is
Everyone did a great job, yadda yadda, but Harry won. He gets the choose the advantage aka kiss of death for the invention test.
He gets to choose from a using a smoking gun, sous vide machine and liquid nitrogen.

He picks liquid nitrogen (which he used to great effect to make frozen fruit burst in one of Heston challenges) and Elise looks stoked but IM freaks out. They have 60 minutes and an open pantry.

Invention test
A worried IM reckons everyone will do ice cream so instead he’s doing a coconut mousse with raspberries. Harry is making fennel sorbet, a strawberry granita, a black sesame dacquoise (aka cake).
GE wants to stand out by cooking a savoury dish called “Cool as a Cucumber”. Vegie Queen! She’ll use the nitro for a yoghurt snow over cucumber done several ways, with pops of mint, dill and apple. Uh oh – Talking TV regulars Julie and Carole will be gagging at the thought of eating cucumber.
Mimi is making a foraged mint slice. Does MasterChef have a forest nearby? No, she’s going to chuck a desserty soil on top of some mint ice cream and the diner has to dig for their dinner.
Uh oh – more voiceover of IM saying how nervous he is. And he’s split his cake mixture, according to the judges. But he keeps on going.
Trent is making coconut cake with Chinese five-spice ice cream and a “con-fit” pineapple.
Elise is, of course, doing a dessert: saffron mousse domes with a crumb and orange blossom ice cream. The judges are worried she’s been heavy handed with the saffron, but she forges ahead.
Meanwhile, GE hopes to win over the judges by soaking cucumbers in gin. Mimi is adding loads of mint to her ice cream but it’s not strong enough in flavour. Is there no peppermint oil in the pantry she could sneak past the judges?
Elise’s ice cream freezes well with the nitro. IM drops spoonfuls of his coconut mousse into the nitro but he’s not happy with the result. Quick – do an ice cream, IM!
Trent seems under control but I’m worried his dessert will be too sweet.
IM is plating up but he’s not happy, so cuts his cake in half. Then regrets it. He’s not been in the right headspace this whole challenge. Bottom three for sure.
GE’s dish looks so pretty and Harry is thrilled with his fennel sorbet. Again, no beetroot this episode!

The judges taste


Elena’s cucumber dish: George loves it – it’s refreshing and interesting. Matt says using one ingredient many ways is very modern.


Mimi’s mint dish: Will it be minty enough? (Do we really care at this stage? These Sunday night episodes do drag on. I’d rather they broke up the mystery box and invention test over two nights.) It needed more mint – it was a mistake to puree it as it changed the flavour. They love the idea; not the execution. There’s another one for bottom three.


Trent’s coconut cake with “con-fit” pineapple: The judges say it’s not quite right. The textures of sponge and ice creamar good but the five-spice flavour does not go with the coconut and pineapple [Should have done cardamom, Trent.]. “When it comes down to pressure into the bottom three, I’m not buying it,” says Gaz tersely.


Elises’s saffron mousse: It looks a bit bare on the plate. Gaz says it tastes like Christmas flavours and they like the ice cream. Matt says it needs some fresh orange to offset the other elements.
IM’s cake and coconut mousse: “I think you’re in a bit of trouble,” says Gaz. “It’s a cake you might buy in a shop and take home for tea. “It’s you on an off day,” says Other Matt. IM know it’s rubbish and there’s no pic of it on the MC twitter feed.


Harry’s black sesame cake with fennel sorbet: Harry certainly has a flair for the dramatic with his plating, using the charcoal plate to make the colours of his strawberry granita and fennel sorbet pop. Gaz says he’s taken the plating up a notch. You can tell they’re going to love it. “Beyond delicious … it’s sophisticated and well thought out, says Gaz, adding the techniques are very cheffy. This will be their fave dish of the challenge. So, having the advantage was not the kiss of death for once.

The judges decide
They loved Harry and Elena’s dishes and I’m guessing Elise will be third because they need to fill the spot.
That means bottom three for tomorrow’s pressure test are IM, Trent and Mimi. Let’s hope for the boys’ sake it’s not a dessert.

Tomorrow night
Oh no – it IS a dessert – and it looks super intricate. Mimi has to be the fave for this one.


Hopefully the footage of IM talking about how rubbish he will be is just a red herring.



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64 Comments

  1. If it’s not Beetroot I promise i’ll eat my beautiful fresh fennel flavoured parfait without the beautiful burned lemon sauce.

  2. We are not far off. From MC Facebook

    Tonight’s advantage will see one Contestant pick a cooking method: sous vide, liquid nitrogen or smoking. What would you pick?

    Pleeassee, can we see something else. I thought sous vide was so last year.

    • Ma$terchef ~ taking boredom to a whole new level. Bring it on $hinEnemadol.

      Parfaits , jews , goat’s cheese, ice cream , smoking , sous vide, greatest evah dish of all time…………yeah? Passion, Dreams. We’ve seen it all.

      It’s time to deliver some quality, Ch 10. This wasn’t in the brochure. This is the fennel straw.

  3. Left hand drive cars or picture reversal? Just before it shows Harry stepping out of the car, we see a woman (driver) sitting behind the wheel which is on wrong side.

  4. Did I see some clump match a in Elise’s parfait. You are supposed to make a paste before adding matcha into other ingredients

    • I also always did a paste first with the matcha and then mixed it into the liquid. Did not have lumps… but I also thought she had lumps in her mix.

  5. Well I’ve seen the red silicone thingies, there’s going to be a parfait and perhaps Matt needs to sous vide his fish to cure it. No beetroot tonight though. Harry as usual very confident – at least if he wins we won’t have to look at his face on remaindered cookbooks.

    • I think the girls look very tired – too much travelling in a short space of time. The judges of course, with first class travel, look fine.

    • With a riot in his mouth. He earlier said “rack up the pressure”, whatever that means. He’s not having a good night.

      “Celebrating the cucumber” No, enough!

  6. Promo showed Matt in deep trouble which means he will be safe.

    Harry is with the fairy now with all the praises from the judges.

  7. WHY on earth does Elise (she of the really bad hair tips) keep being saved week after week? My mother made parfaits in the 1970s. They were easy to make, crap back then and remain so. Elise is positively deluded in her “ability”, as she keeps “playing to my strengths” … which means concocting ridiculous parfaits time and time again. She is officially beyond embarrassing.

  8. I think Mimi’s gone. The other two look in some “trouble” in the promo, whereas Mimi is not shown at all.

    That’s an a old chestnut from the producers’ tired, tiny bag of tricks. Gotcha.

    Looks like liquid nitrogen again tomorrow night. Everyone cooks with that, yeah? Cos’ the sky is just the start……and there’ll be liquid nitrogen at Coles,yeah? Dreams. Flavour .Simplicity.

    P.T.Barnum or P.T. Bunkum, Jowl$y? Fail

  9. Actually getting sick of that one-dimensional bogan, Elise, and her never-ending frozen mounds. She must wear a silicone mould around her neck, so it’s never far from reach.
    And why does Elena always name her dishes? A bowl of cucumbers is not a short story.

    Once again, the pressure test is some convoluted dessert with 100 steps. This is getting ridiculous – I almost miss Maggie Beer’s horrible chicken terrine.
    Almost.

    Given Harry’s sudden elevation to superstardom, maybe he is getting groomed for the win, after all.
    He’s very popular with the Facebook crowd who think he’s straight.

      • I just checked out his tweets and …. surprise surprise – it’s retweet after retweet – not an original bone in his body.

    • Oh gawd – desperate times indeed to think even fondly of that terrine!
      I think they have to do desserts because most people can’t do anything but desserts.
      Much as I hate the Ego-formerly-known-as-Harry & the gesticulating wannabee I am getting so sick of indistinguishable parfait mounds that I’d put up with them to ditch Elise.
      But I agree that Harry is being set up for win. Copying the dish he just ate and then prefixing everything with ‘beautiful’ is a recipe for winning.

  10. In finals week, more than one element of the mystery box should be required to be used. Nothing was especially tricky or bizarre. The camel’s milk was unusual, but not earth shatteringly so.

    Elise did a molded parfait. How ingenious and unexpected from her bag of trick.

    None of them are innovative. Even Elena, whom I tend to favour now, has started to cut all her components into little different-sized circles. Tonight was boring. Once the judges started hallelujah-ing Harry, I’d had enough.

  11. I think they are grooming Harry for the win as well. :S Horrible, horrible choice. He is so… unlikeable… If they have two in the finale it might be Harry versus Elena. As she is too similar to Billy from last year it’s even easier to put him through as the winner.

  12. Harry was smart. By picking the liquid nitrogen, he is making sure that the savoury people have to make desserts and put them out of their comfort zone and hopefully send them to the pressure test.

    Only Elena managed to do a savoury dish

    • Very true. Definitely strategic game play. In saying that, I guess you have to make use of any advantages that present themselves.

  13. In the first round, Harry’s fish definitely looked overcharred and if I had ordered that I would have sent it back.
    Second round was supposed to be an invention test but it was just another lack of invention test.
    Elise states that her saffron mousse dish was missing something and she was right. It was missing inventiveness and innovation. It was just a repeat of past dishes and almost an exact replica of her first dish in this episode. She must have a silicone obsession.
    Mimi’s dish…foraging in the forest looked like poop in the forest and how many times have we seen a “foraging” dish.
    Cucumber soup was different than the others because it wasn’t dessert but it wasn’t inventive.
    Three hot techniques LOL…I think we have seen sous vide, liquid nitrogen and the smoking gun ad nauseum. They are no longer “hot” or “inventive”, at least IMHO.
    What an overall boring episode! Best season evah….NO…most boring season evah! I was looking forward to their journey to CA and even found that lacking.
    I can only hope that they are NOT grooming Harry for the win. Maybe they are just leading us astray and Matt or Trent will be MC 2016. I like Elena but not the year of the female if they are continuing with alternating male and female winners each year.

  14. MC’s FB page is full of complaints about parfaits, red silicone moulds, Elise etc. They seem fond of Harry, but also lots off complaints about his cockiness – he will not be a humble winner, if chosen. Judges – well, what can I say, they should NOT be involved in the final.

  15. Harry is definitely being set up for the win….

    It’s a boys year…and the produces probably think they get to kill two birds with one stone and be extra PC.

    Can’t stand Harry… loves himself so much, constantly stroking himself…. his finale dish will be “cream of some young guy known as Harry”

    Would be surprising to see Mimi eliminated in a dessert… I suspect Trent may be the one to fall…. got his airtime beefed up last week… I think Trent to go then Elena, then Mimi, then Matt with Elise and Harry in the final (as Elise will be the easiest to convincingly beat).

  16. I can’t help wondering if everyone here will spin on their backs wagging their legs and screaming if Elena doesn’t win!!!

    I’d rather Matt won, myself. But gosh it is boring this year, the last few weeks just seem to be going on and on and it’s so much of the same. I can’t put my finger on it, but I just don’t care. For me, apart from Matt and Trent, all the ones whose ‘journeys’ I was invested in watching left far too early.

    Still, it’s a grand production and visually pleasant to dip in and out of, now and then.

    • I’m team intense Matt and I think quite a few people here are also.
      I’m team Elena and Trent also. But under no circumstances ever would be team Harry!
      I totally agree it’s boring. I’ve never watched less.

    • I don’t expect Elena to win ,simply because it’s a boy’s turn. I do hope she wins, because she’s done it without tattoos, piercings and blowing smoke up her own arse for dishes that have been copied.

      I picked Elena and I.M. for final two with Trent for third. There is no emotional investment in the outcome. Because Ma$terchef is not a fair dinkum competition.

      Harry is a garden variety copycat and kitchen grub. For some reason , the judges have fallen for his grab bag of cliches and self serving adjectives and crawled up his arse. I noticed him wafting a dish last night ~ like a person who enjoys smelling their own farts.

      I suppose Elise is limited but then I have some grudging respect for the resilience shown in the face of the tsunami of rudeness she faced from Gary and George earlier in this miserable debacle of a competition.

    • No leg wagging or spinning for me. AFAIK, most people here like IM. I don’t mind Elena, even picked in the top 3 of who I think will win. Who I want to win is another story.

    • I won’t be throwing a tantrum if Elena doesn’t win; I’m not that invested in the result. I like Elena because she rarely panics or over-analyses every thing to death.

      I don’t really care who wins this time…well, I’d rather not see Harry take it out, but the number of f’s I give is very, very small.

      It’s been a long, tedious season and a big letdown.

  17. Elena and Matt seem to be the only ones who are even attempting (but not always succeeding) to do something a little inventive. I like Trent but he is a bit erratic.

    The only dish I thought looked appealing last night was Elena’s dish in the mystery box, because she broke out of the present-a-mess-on-the-plate rut and layered the ingredients beautifully. I can’t find the recipe on the website.

    In looking for the recipe, I noticed how “blonde” this final six are. Even the brunettes are quite fair.

  18. I dont think there is any set up – the people complaining about Harry being a favourite also complained about Chloe being a favourite. I think Harry did two great dishes last night. The fish looked great.
    The problem I have is someone like Elise following the same formula and getting through: A parfait or ice cream or sorbet (somethign to put in those bloody molds) plus a soil, something crunchy and something fresh and something salty.

    And the judges swoon. The others tried a savoury not because they couldnt do a dessert but because it was a challenge to use the fish etc.

    I would be pissed if I was in the bottom three tonight and looking up at Dome Queen Elise yelling encouragement during the challenge..

  19. Thanks for the great recap Juz.
    They obviously don’t watch The Amazing Race as they had to drink some camels milk to get their clue in Dubai. That’s all they drink over there. I’ve heard it’s very sweet.
    They said the mystery box was filled with the hottest ingredients of the moment. I thought they were weird ingredients. Disappointed no one cooked with the bacon thingy.
    You know me too well Juz, I was gagging at Elena’s dish. It sounded revolting.
    Poor Matt really struggled with that cook. Nothing went right for him. And of course the judges conveniently walked by just as his cake mixture split.

  20. I hope Matt or Elena win , not a girl’s turn this year but Elena seems the most down to earth with no sob story, we didn’t see much of her in the beginning so didn’t really get to know her that much. And Matt seems like a nice guy with his heart in the right place. I’m sick of the parfaits and sorbets as well.

  21. Harry Houdini. Escaped in a world that validates “burnt” lemon and where the same technique applied to fish allows it to rise from the ashes as acceptably “charred”. “Burnt” fish isn’t a good moniker, but even recipes for blackened fish rely on the darkening of spices rather than incinerating the skin.

    • I just read that over my afternoon coffee, Liberty. It’s a beautiful building but no restaurant seems to last there. It’s a massive space. I know the reviewer – if he says it’s bad it must be woeful.

  22. Sportsbet has GE to win with IM as the runner up.
    Mimi has no chance, and Trent and Elise are even stevens next.
    BTW, as part of the gossipy article, it was mentioned that Trent and his partner have plans to open a restaurant in the Canberra region.
    No mention of Harry.

    • Harry want to do take people out to the Great Barrier Reef and than give them a feed. Not sure where he will cook.

      • I have been out to the reef a number of times (family in Port Douglas). All the boats offer food (it’s a long way out).
        It is seriously competitive and the food has to be (and is) seriously good. I wish him well.

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