Ooh, this could be fun. Will anyone do a savoury dish, I wonder?
TV blurb says: The three best performers in the invention test must create a dish using popcorn as the core ingredient. The winner will then need to out-cook the professional guest chef for immunity.
So, is it wrong to be watching MasterChef while eating spaghetti from a can? Shh, don’t tell George. Betcha Gaz has done it, though.
Nicolette seems to be the only one who knows what she’s doing for the popcorn challenge. Con is blitzing popcorn with melted what chocolate – I hope he’s going to strain it. But then, he confesses he doesn’t even eat popcorn. Anastasia disappointingly faffed around and tried to cook a giant chook breast with only 15 minutes to go. She’s lucky it’s not an elimination challenge. And she does not know how to pronounce miso.
Con seems to have forgotten popcorn should be prominent, instead building a dessert he obviously had in mind and then trying to shoehorn the challenge to fit.
Do we need to add Not Another Bloody Parfait to the lexicon? Will Nicolette’s dish be too sweet? Anastasia has to fry her sliced chicken and loses her popcorn crumb in the process. She’s no chance. Sad, given she did so well the other day with her maple syrup squid and Spanish quail.
The judges taste and they love his jelly and mousse but there is no popcorn flavour. Is he being secretly paid by Pedro Ximenez?
Anastasia’s dish is tasty but there’s hardly any popcorn.
Nicolette’s popcorn parfait looks interesting and the judges like the plating. Shannon says she showed restrained use of salt and they state the bleeding obvious: she has won. Well, that was a bit of a letdown as it was no competition at all.
— Jimmy Wong (@jimmywongeats) 17 May 2016
Guest chef immunity challenge
It’s the chef from Ricky’s at Noosa: Braden White.
— #MasterChefAU (@masterchefau) 17 May 2016
Nic gets to choose from shellfish or fish. Nicolette freaks out because she loves desserts. And Ricky’s specialises in seafood. She picks fish and has 75 minutes to cook. Hopefully Shannon will give her lots of advice. She’s doing confit salmon and has to fillet a massive fish. She is working smoothly but slowly.
She is yet to start pin boning as Brayden – with the obligatory tatt sleeves – picks out mulloway.
The chef is chopping white onions at super ninja speed and he’s talking the contestants of the gantry through his cooking process.
Poor Shannon is doing his best to add tension by yelling stuff like “your reputation is on the line” – God love him.
With less than 20 minutes to go Nic hasn’t started cooking her fish. Her oil is too hot, so she takes some out and adds room temp oil. Now it’s too cold. It’s a Goldilocks moment. We know the judges eat the dishes cold, so why not have started cooking the salmon ages ago – if she stuffed up one piece she would have had time to do a second.
Up on the gantry the airline captain is worried Braden’s fish will keep cooking in the pan after he takes it off the heat.
Thanks to Braden I now know how to make fennel dust from carrot top and fennel fronds. I love a good bowl of dust for dinner.
Time’s up and Nicolette definitely kept her cool for someone who’s only 19. Perhaps she knows more about savoury dishes than she let on.
At least we went one day (probably really two days) in the MC kitchen without someone stacking it.
Time to judge
— #MasterChefAU (@masterchefau) 17 May 2016
Nic’s dish looks pretty and delicate and I’d love to eat that crispy salmon skin right now. She got a bit lucky with the confit working. The judges love everything about it but note she hasn’t trimmed the brown bit from the salmon, which gives away who cooked it.
And then Braden’s dish is placed in front of them and it looks so beautiful – and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t believe in flowers on plates. The judges are in plating-up heaven just looking at it. George is itching to get the tweezers out but instead disassembles it with a fork and spoon. “What a clever dish,” George says. Matt loves the different textures but the fish is overcooked. So the comment from the airline captain wasn’t a red herring after all. Ooh. Gaz says it’s a minute overcooked but still delicious.
Gaz 8/10 George 9/10 Matt 8/10 and Matt’s the only one they show commenting on the overcooked fish.
Matt 9/10 Gaz 8/10 George 9/10.
She won! That’s a surprise – well done, Nicolette. Braden must be dying inside but Ricky’s is definitely not short of customers.
Tomorrow night two teams have to recreate dishes from Melbourne restaurants Huxtable and Pei Modern and have to memorise the ingredients and processes. I would suck at this. Sadly for Huxtable any publicity to be gained from being on MC is too late, as this message is on their website: We regret to inform, after 5 and a half years Huxtable Restaurant has closed for trading.
Sunday is the start of Nigella week, so expect lots of lingering shots of her licking spoons.