MasterChef – Tues, July 19 – Alla Wolf-Tasker

The top five contestants must cook five dishes from the menu of the Lake House in Daylesford under the guidance of legendary chef and owner, Alla Wolf-Tasker.
Here’s the restaurant’s sample menu
Chef’s tasting menu is $155, including coffee and dessert.

Only two contestants will be safe, out of Intense Matt, Glowing Elena, Harry, Mimi and Elise. Plus they’ve decided to increase their risk of hypothermia by making them stand outside in short sleeves in a place that’s on the chilly side even in summer.
GE is looking even more glowing than usual in her talking heads – is she living on beetroot and fennel smoothies?

The contestannts each have to recreate a Lake House dish for 40 guests in only 2.5 hours, over a staggered start. They do a knife pull and it’s:
Smoked eel Harry
Chicken Mimi
Roo Elise
Plumns GE
Blackberries IM

IM must be hoping third time’s the charm with this dessert dish after his liquid nitrogen disaster and rocky start to Christy Tania’s chocolate cake.

Harry is off first and has to fillet a swag of eels. What do you call a group of eels? A school? Google says bed, fry or storm. He’s an eel fan and, being Harry, is not at all daunted.
Mimi’s chicken dish looks delicious while Elise’s roo looks simple, when no doubt it’s not. There’s a fair bit of airtime devoted to getting the kale puree right, so it will be problematic.
Harry is ready to crack on with his eel dish but – whoops – it’s full of bones. Alla says he didn’t fillet it correctly so he will need to pinbone them. All seven eels. Seven! Instead he chops out most of the bones and hopes he has enough meat for his roulade.
GE’s plum dessert looks delicate and spectacular. Matt’s blackberry dessert has the forest floor look about it. and Alla says it’s called a Country Ramble. There are aboout 20 different elements on the plate – it will be very hard to plate up 40 of these dishes, let alone cook all the bits. At least there are no chocolate domes involved.
Mimi is freaking out and is still rolling up her chook when service is ready to start. It looks like Mimi has copped the death dish here, plus she’s having one of her brain freezes – and she knows it. She’s forgotten to get her stock on. She’s come back to earth with a thud after the success of her Christy dessert. George comes over to “inspire” her and amid her tears he comforts her with a curt “get it together … you hear me”.

The judges taste

Harry is serving his eel and beetroot dish (beetroot’s back, baby!) and he’s had to make his roulade smaller because he had less protein due to his filleting error. The judges comment that it does look different but he’s cooked it well. Matt says it’s now a beetroot dish rather than an eel dish.

Mimi’s chicken She knows the soz isn’t right but has to serve it anyway. “Certainly the wheels have fallen off the wagon,” says Gaz. While it’s tasty, it’s different to Alla’s dish. The lack of jus gras is a problem.

Back in the kitchen: Elise is happy that her kale puree is vibrant green – and Alla is, too. She seems in control, until Alla asks her if she’s taste it. Err, no. C’mon, Elise! It’s a basic step. And now your puree is apparently horribly bitter and you don’t have time to do anything about it. She’s put too much native mint in. With only two of the five contestants safe after tonight, it looks like Mimi and Elise will be in the elimination challenge. It’s hard to imagine GE stuffing up and IM is on his redemptive “OMG – I can do desserts” arc.

The judges taste
Elise’s roo: They like the look of it. Everything is cooked well – except the horrible puree that is spread all over the plate.

Back in the kitchen:
GE is doing a talking head about how problematic the fruit strap-looking element ofher plum dessert could be. So it will be fine. Meanwhile, IM is losing kilos sprinting back and forth between two microwaves, nuking siphon sponges like a madman as only four at a time will fit on the tray.
Uh oh – GE is having jelly dramas and it looks a lot paler than Alla’s crimson hue. Instead of rolling the jelly logs – which keep breaking – she has to cut a slice to drape over the plate.

The judges taste

Elena’s plum and rosemary dessert: Gaz loves the rosemary sorbet. Everything is great except the plum gel was too thick.

Back in the kitchen it’s IM’s turn and he’s in a happy place. “You’re mis en place is fantastic,” Alla praises him. “You’re a champion, Matt.”

The judges taste

IM’s blackberry Country Ramble: They are impressed and we’re getting the swelling music. They love it. “Everything on there is spot on,” says George. It’s very close to Alla’s dish. Matt says it’s not out of place in the restaurant.

The judges decide

They are outside again and Alla is wearing a parka as the sun sets while the poor contestants are in their short sleeves. Gaz says the standout dish belonged to IM. He’s knackered but delighted. Good to see you back in form, IM. Mimi and Elise are bottom three. GE had gel problems but her flavour and other textures were great, so it’s Harry who’s bottom three.
Yay – our two favourites are through to the quarter finals.

Tomorrow night
They have to reinvent their audition dishes. Looks like Elise did something chocolate and Harry, of course, seafood. I’m guessing Mimi did dessert. They have to show how much they’ve grown – ahh, remember the heady days when we though pannacotta was the height of sophistication – so expect sous vide machines, smoking guns, parfait, liquid nitrogen and beetroot.



  1. Harry decides to fillet the ‘beautiful’ eel his way and Alla is not impressed.

    Think Alla is regretting the decision to appear on MC just about now.

  2. I have just tuned in to hear Harry say, ‘I guess I should have followed the recipe’. So situation normal?

  3. How did they manage to rig the knife pull so that the savoury cooks got desserts and the dessert queens got savoury 🙂

    • Yes! she was great – a talented chef who didn’t yell and rant but made it clear what her standards were.. . Plus, she recognised Matt as a great performer!

    • Yep, and she is using a tall saucepan, where basic science says that a large frypan would evaporate much more quickly. Surprised the chef didn’t point that out.

  4. This season’s cookbook should be called “Beetroot: Fifty-Two Ways with a Touch of Fennel.” Harry takes an eel dish and ends up “heroing” the beetroot.

    • That was hilarious – even when making eel it comes out with Beetroot on a plate. . . fabulous.

  5. So Matt will go through to finals. Second one ? All of them made mistakes. Harry’s not enough eel or Elena’s thick jelly ?

  6. Those poor contestants. It must be freezing. Alla (such a beauutiiful lady) is in a thick coat.

  7. Actually Alla should be the new judge on MC. She doesn’t shout and give advice and very encouraging to the contestants

  8. Oh happy days!! Brookie boy, gesticulater and sphere girl all In the bottom.
    I finally feel rewarded for sitting through so much drivel.

  9. Had to record this episode, and just finished watching. Never been a fan of Matt but I can say for sure that his work ethic is so much better than the others. Harry was just plain lazy with his eel filleting. Mimi needs to stop dribbling when things don’t go her way. Elise forgot the #1 rule. Taste, taste, taste. Elena – didn’t come undone till her gel wouldn’t roll. A slightly thick unrolled gel that didn’t effect the overall taste beats a small serving of eel that got lost amongst the beetroot.
    I mentioned last week how disappointed I was that they were at Maude and didn’t serve customers. Now I see why.

  10. Great result.
    Now Matt can add Dessert King to his repertoire. But seriously, his dedication, focus and all-round ‘nice guyness’ should be rewarded. Way too good for just a food truck.

    Harry, of course, is safe as houses, and even he knows it, judging by his total lack of concern going into elim.
    Looks like the mould-whisperer will be doing a dessert, as usual, and worrying about something setting .. as usual. Don’t care which one goes, but I think it’s Mimi and her quivering jaw.

    Alla Wolf-Tasker was terrific, and her name’s even better.

    • Great recap! Are we all strangely buoyant today? Or just me!
      Will tomorrow score on the Beetometer gauge?

      • First I saw John and Benita on a Play School birthday special and then my two faves “won” the MC challenge. It’s all good.

  11. I am looking forward to the upcoming elimination round. This was the best episode this season because Harry, Elise and Mimi are all going to the elimination round and one of them will be eliminated. The only thing that would make it better would be if 2 or all 3 would exit the MC kitchen.
    LP….agree that Alla Wolf-Tasker would make a great judge. Very supportive and calm. Was nice to not hear someone yelling “push, push, push”….or “yes, George”, “yes, Gary” over and over again.

  12. There’s no way that Matt’s chocolate was tempered – dull-looking and no crunch when Gary bit into it. But well done otherwise, it should be the highlight of the series for him, to receive that praise from the chef. I didn’t think Elena’s gel looked any thicker than the original but hers was certainly paler and maybe had less gelatine because it was breaking so easily. Why on earth didn’t Elise put her sauce in a frypan instead of a pot, and why did she do enough kale puree to feed a small African nation?

    Watching the final announcement was hard. Both Mimi and Elena looked so fragile, I felt so sorry for them. Mimi seemed to relax after she had been told the result, obviously the suspense was excruciating.

  13. Thanks for the great recap Juz.
    I was really worried for Matt when he got dessert & thought he got the short end of the straw, but he did great. He excelled himself.
    Harry was excited to get eel & said he cooks & eats it all the time. Then he doesn’t know how to debone it? Why didn’t he ask the chef how to do it? Never eaten eel & not sure I want to.
    Poor Elise missed out on dessert. She did ok except for her kale. Don’t blame her for not tasting it. It’s kale. Why didn’t the chef suggest something to help with the bitterness?
    It was lucky she asked Mimi about her stock when she did although it was still a bit late. Why didn’t she just add some cornflour to thicken it?
    Good on Elena, she did very well with her dessert. A shame about her jelly but it didn’t seem to detract from it too much.
    Really glad Elena & Matt were safe.

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