MasterChef Wed – free labour for George

Contestants are cooking at Press Club, the brainchild of judge George Calombaris. With the Press Club announcing it will soon close, the top five take to the kitchen.
You can read more about George’s plans here.
No MC tomorrow as Ten is airing the Adam Goodes doco The Final Quarter. The usual episode and masterclass screens on Sun, and it’s the one where the contestants pick mystery box ingredients for the judges.



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84 Comments

  1. Its a lie from George to say these Top 5 are cookng and serving the final meal in The Pressure Club.

    The final service was on the 29 June and cooked by George himself.

    Tonight they are only serving his employees.

  2. I was going to watch tonight, then there was just a promo and two words have changed my mind.

    Ice Cream. Yawn. Jowl$y is literally shooting his load over it.

    Stick it in your blast chiller, Ch 10.

    • These truly are the best of the best. Only a genius, true Ma$terchef could elevate a vegetarian meal by ADDING MEAT.

    • The whole vegetarian concept of that dish went down the drain when a side of pork was served with it. Simon elevates his dish with a surprise and WHAT a surprise. Here’s your veggie dish and btw some smoked pork comes with it and you can choose whether or not you want to eat it. Totally stupid.

    • George actually suggested the meat idea to Simon. In fact, as well as selecting the produce to be “hero-ed”, he gave each contestant suggestions as to what to cook.

      • Simon could have stood his ground and not added the pork. Maybe he should have used lamb instead to go with his sheepish behavior.

  3. “Welcome to the $tress Club”

    A restaurant closes. Zzzzzz. Like a new born baby , it happens every day. It’s not like The Beatles breaking up, George.

  4. George informs us that mushrooms come out of the ground. I’m learning heaps tonight.

    Onion jam sounds delicious. (Spew) I know where you can “jam” that.

    • George’s employees mean so much to him, he got caught underpaying them. Yeah, George has not stopped babbling ” You gotta move faster!” and “Last Service” . He’s like a Captain of some culinary Titanic.

      The avalanche of dandruff going into slimy Simon’s overdone pork. The Press Club?……press charges for that unsanitary effort. His hair is swishing like a blonde ponytail but the detritus coming out of it isn’t on the menu.

  5. Shovel, shovel, anyone got a shovel to shift this bullshit? I’ve only been watching for a few minutes, but am rolling on the floor laughing. George telling them to work clean, hahahaha, tell Larissa to keep the fucking tasting spoon out of her mouth. Judges have been babying this lot through the whole competition and now all George can tell inept Tim is to get it together. What does that mean? Jesus, what a farce this is this year.

  6. Did any of them forget to mention how honoured they were to be cooking for The Press Club … for the ‘last time’ … about 50 times each?
    That buffoon, Timbo, even managed to cry at the gravity of the event – not once, but twice. By the time George had to console him, he was a river of tears. Ugh.

    Now that the religious experience is over … time for a promo for George’s new restaurant. Like he said, one door closes … Electra opens. The man is a commercial beast.

    If the so-called pre-dessert was a sorbet with cold elements, why would Nicole (who has so much to do) choose an ice cream and mousse? Something warm and more substantial would’ve made more sense. But they liked her mediocrity anyway.

    Such pathos when a lone George slowly looks around and turns off the lights.
    I’ve been to that place a couple of times – overrated, and I would have happily turned off the kitchen lights.

    • Yeah, I choked up when lonesome George turned off the lights and disappeared up a staircase. Flogging a dead Trojan horse. A Greek Tragedy.

    • Timbo’s dish looked even more woeful than his usual standard. It’s like a really crappy Sunday night special thrown together with whatever was going off in fridge. But he actually started with good quality ingredients!
      Potato flavoured butter with onions. YUCK.
      Luckily these diners “work” for George so already know their way around disappointment .

      • But his was one of the top two dishes. Pureed potatoes, onion jam, olive tapenade, croutons and potato foam. Seriously…this is a top dish.
        George basically got him to choose the potatoes and also suggested the foam.

        • I remember back when the contestants had to do things like create thousands of canapes, make 5 different things with 5 identical ones on a plate, big challenges for actual diners who picked favourites or paid for things. . . now we have people who fail at “cook whatever you think you can manage and we couldn’t possibly expose you to real people”.

          I get why they don’t do the “fix this dish” challenge anymore (which was a personal favourite of mine). These lot are only adept at making the dud dish and proved incapable of fixing anything (Tessa and possibly Larissa excepted).

          I hate myself for saying this as her portrayal on the show was so woeful she was deeply annoying – but Abbey was better than this.

      • I agree about Timbogan’s dish. Why didn’t he do a lovely punchy skordalia with those potatoes, then top it with his olive tapenade, bake some pencil thin twists or some pita chips or even do an olive heavy play on a seven-layer Mediterranean dip served again with some kind of olive and rosemary cracker. What he served was awful. Yet it was deemed better than Knickers and Slimy’s dishes. Imagine how bad they must have tasted. Very poor cooking at this stage of the competition.

  7. This entire episode was one giant PR stunt for George’s new Elektra venture. He is like Maggie Beer – always on the hustle, keen to get their brand out there.

    George was micromanaging everything like a maniac control freak – he basically told them what to do, what other ingredients to pair with their ingredient, and literally lead them to what they should cook and gave them the concept. I saw him helping out, plating up etc. At one stage I thought he might take over cooking Tim’s dish. But the menu was weird. A degustation should flow and link to the previous dish, but no-one seemed to reference the dish before them at all.

    The thing that got to me was George fussing about crumbs on the bench, but not at all worried about Slimy continually running his fingers through his hair before touching the pork, not to mention him having his sweaty hair loosely flapping above everything he cooked. That was stomach churning. As were the glimpses of Nicole plating up with her horribly chipped, flaking nail polish – surely that’s a big no no in a fine dining restaurant. It looked so tacky and unhygienic.

    They need to dispense with the fiction of “blind tasting” as the other two stooges must have recognised just who cooked what. A tartare first course – that must have been Tessa, who has done that before. The heavy handed dish simply called “Olives and Mash” had Timbogan written all over it. A lentil dish with a “smoke” element is Slimy on a plate. And a refined palate cleanser blending sweet and savoury notes must be Larissa. And then ice cream, strangely served with chocolate mousse (a la Sizzler style) could only have been from Schnitty Queen.

    Tim really came up with a lot of sentimental tosh tonight, which worries me slightly. The crying (not once, but twice), the being called son or brother by George, the ocker touches like “Bloody hell, I better get cracking” … the touching edit he got. Maybe it was to distract us from the train wreck of a dish he served (hilarious that it was one of the top 3 – those other two must have been shockers). But I fleetingly wondered if they were softening us up for him being part of the finals. Please, no!

    Slimy showed his coward streak tonight. He had a vegetarian dish in mind, but allowed himself to be talked into “seasoning it with meat”. Wtf? That was totally bizarre. If George had suggested that to Larissa or Tessa, they would have listened politely, immediately binned the idea the second George’s back was turned and confidently gone on with what they wanted to make. Slimy’s slavish devotion to brown nosing is not paying off as he doesn’t seem to have any set, decent ideas of his own, nor does he understand flavour and technique.

    I’m still calling a third place for Larissa, despite the positive editing. The competition is Tessa’s to lose. I can’t work out how they are going to do the eliminations given the time frame left, so I wonder if they are going to have three people in the finals. I’ve seen that format before on the last three seasons of the US version of Masterchef.

    • Still totally in sync with you here OzSwede. I am thinking they are going to pull out the “favourite fails at the final hurdle” for Larissa. They are clearly willing to forgive Simon ANYTHING – given his specialty is Burned Bits on a Plate, that is truly hard to rationalise. The only time he doesn’t dish up Burned Bits is when they are monochrome bits on a plate. And all teeny – if I just get cauli scrapings on a plate I want a LOT of cauli scrapings.
      I reckon the reason I like Tessa is that even though her butter sauces are on high rotation, at least they look tasty and not likely to poison you. Plus she appears to have access to funcitoning tastebuds and when something tastes “disgusting” she has some ideas about fixing it. Everyone else?? Bung the charred and inedible on the plate and wait for the praise to flow.

      The level of intervention required to get the Best of the Best through semi-finals week is staggering. George pointed them at things and told them to cook them, which is why we had so much of the ingredients listed as the dishes – he just forgot to tell them what to NAME their creations. We had olives and mash, chocolate honey and orange, lentils. It’s a shopping list, not a menu.

      I clocked Nicole’s fingernails chipping into the dish also – erk. Between Larissa’s saliva and Simon’s grease the consolation prize (if you had to eat their food) is that at least you could frame them for a crime as you would have sufficient DNA.

      • Yes, I do get the uneasy feeling that Larissa is being set up for a mighty fall. I hope not as she is smart, versatile, strategic and can combine interesting flavours as well as flexible enough to change tack if she thinks a dish is not working out.

        And yes, you hit the nail on the head with the names of the dishes. It WAS a shopping list! Part of the experience in food at a restaurant is in the descriptive names that pique your interest. I’d never order “Olives and Mash” or “Lentils and Mushrooms” and if I did order the latter, I’d be unhappy about a slab of pork being there that wasn’t mentioned.

        The lack of basic kitchen hygiene in a professional kitchen was dreadful. You’d think the health department would join the ATO and come down on George like a ton of bricks. The contestants seem quite happy to don the chef whites and parade around as though they are professional, so it should be obvious that they needed to dress the rest of themselves appropriately – safe shoes, hair covered, no nail polish, sweat bands if needed etc.

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    • Love reading your observation, ozswede. You may be right. 3 finalists for the Grand Finale. MC Australia supposed to have the best format but going down the US version. If that is the case, just cook a 3 course meal for the winner. That is like MKR
      Poor form.

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  8. The funniest thing I saw with two of the stooges yesterday was G & G’s dismal performance on Celebrity name game. Highlights included
    – failure to get the answer herbs with a clue “in your pantry- ___ and spices”
    – having no idea Katy Perry sang the theme song to Masterchef,
    – Gary giving clues to the word Lentils – “It’s a pulse, they’re round, they’re brown, you put them in Stews” followed by a dismissive snort “never mind you’re not a foodie – pass”.

    But my favourite was in the final round – the contestant desperately giving clues – “He’s a chef – he’s bald – he makes edible forks….” Puzzled look from George or Gary (can’t remember which one it was) who replies I have no idea – Pass!!”

    • I saw it. Horror movie.Gary and George are about as sharp as bowling balls. Don’t need a brain to be a chef on their effort .Tres embarrassing.

      “He’s a chef , short, bald, assaults strangers at the soccer and underpays his staff, yeah?”

          • well, der. He scored the use of $8m for a very long time and only paid $200k interest. For George, those $$ were certainly very close to his heart!

          • The fine is on top of having to pay back the money to the employees. However, as said, he has had the use of the money in the meantime. How do you quantify loss of reputation, though? Hopefully, the best quality staff will keep well away from his future ventures.

    • Yeah, this was all over the news this morning. When I checked the forum, I saw this topic “free labour for George” and thought, well, that’s topical … but it turned out to be a poorly-timed coincidence.

      What’s the bet that his fraud doesn’t make the channel 10 news?

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  9. Not sure where to post this but the soft serve “millionaire ” from mafs has been banned from business for 3 years – some dodgy goings on.

    • Justin. Perhaps he’d spent more money than a millionaire but wasn’t a millionaire. He was a cold fish , who needed touch therapy intervention via the sexperts to get him to thaw out with a smoking partner. Obviously learned how to massage people in the business world.

      That show seems to attracts sharks and hustlers masquerading as suitors/ grooms. Can’t imagine why for the life of me.

      • The men are shysters, frauds and hustlers, the women are attention-starved abusive bogans.

        It’s amazing they haven’t had a perfect match yet, really, isn’t it?

  10. Usually they eliminate the contestant that cooked the worst dish in the service challenge. Jess got elimination last season. But this season they don’t get eliminated. Just go into another easy elimination to try to save some.

  11. T Bone Tim “idolizes” George and gets teary. Got to be kidding me, son, brother, man, whatevs. George’s rap sheet just keeps getting bigger….like a souffle.

  12. Ha ha. Georgia is on Everyday Gourmet today. Memories.The judges loved her.

    George apologises to his staff on Ch 10 news tonight. Damage control. Great for Finals Week.

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    • Yeah, the revelations coming hot on the heels of this emotional “closure” of his beloved restaurant are all just a bit of a serendipitous coincidence. Or more likely a complete set up! He knew the shit was about to hit the fan, so he put on a feel good episode where he’s the soft, helpful, wonderful father figure to his staff in order to counteract the negative publicity. Damage control at its clumsiest, because once the dust settles, he’ll open Elektra as a “reformed man having discovered the error of his ways”and simply hire an creative accountant who is better at hiding the true profits.

      If it wasn’t for Heston, I think Georgia would have won that season. The judges praised every dish she put up and Billie was quite behind in the finals until Heston pulled out one of his wanky desserts and was impressed by the way she worked and promptly offered her a job. So the stooges were blindsided as Heston hadn’t got the memo about Georgia winning – he chose based on real talent. I bet they won’t make that mistake again.

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      • “Suck it up or leave!” was what one underpaid employee at Hellenic Republic was told. George is being sliced and diced on The Project as I type. Jowl$y tried to be supportive.

        Bet George wishes he had an Ammunity Pin now.

        • Thanks for the tip about The Project. I’ll wait for that to be uploaded onto one of the streaming sites and take a squiz. I laughed at your crack about the Ammunity Pin – comedy gold 🙂

          I see that there is a call for him to be removed from Masterchef: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/george-calombaris-underpayment-scandal-calls-for-celebrity-to-be-sacked-from-masterchef-20190718-p528dj.html So far Ten are standing behind him, but if the show’s sponsors get jittery and jump ship, then he might be in trouble, as money talks in this game.

          I worked in a restaurant as a kitchen assistant when I was at uni and they were underpaying back then (and sacking anyone who complained). No unions allowed on site either. I had to come in about 20 minutes early to get a steamer for the dim sims switched on and ready for the first customers who often arrived as the doors opened (damn pensioners!) and I NEVER got paid for those 20 minutes, nor for the same time after my shift officially ended where I had to set up for the next day. I really needed the job to pay rent etc and it had to be at night so as not to clash with lectures so I put up with it. Young and stupid, what can I say.

          • As with most big stories on The Project, it’s withheld until the last ten to 15 minutes. It mentions amongst other things that the knives are are out to have George aliminated from Ma$terchef.

        • An $8 million underpay means his restaurants were ripping off a lot of staff over a long time. I’m in no way excusing Columbaris, whose fine should be double the amount underpaid to his employees. But did none of those employees compare their pay slips to their hours worked? Did they not know their award rates? Really, what the fuck, no one called in their union? I don’t care if it’s George or Heston or whoever else has been caught recently, how can this sort of thing go on for a long time with no one blowing the whistle? In any industry, is no one checking that their pay is correct?

          • Hopefully, the employees took it out on George and went nuts on “staff drinks” and stole food. Then George had $ 20, 000 disappear mysteriously from his business. Boom boom, shake the room. I worked in a restaurant and one waiter took off with the entire payroll. Swank joint and all. So many are too busy to notice.

            Project reckons 75% of hospitality businesses could be underpaying. Still, George is taking a mighty big chomp.

          • Von, perhaps some of the staff realised, but they couldn’t do anything about it. I knew I was being shafted by the restaurant owner when I worked there (I worked at least six unpaid hours every week), but I needed the job and as I was classified as “casual” even though I worked six nights a week, every week, then he could sack me with no notice, and no redundancy payments and just hire someone else on those same terms.

            Anyway, I bet George didn’t underpay himself! 🙂 And I recall that he has been one of the main instigators for pushing the government to do away with penalty rates for retail and hospitality workers, so it’s been a gripe of his for ages.

            From looking a little closer at the story, there are some points in George’s favour. It was the firm itself who discovered the wage shortfalls and they self reported to the Fair Trades Commission, plus they immediately paid the arrears to the workers. That’s something positive at least. Both those points deserve to be noted.

            Also, in a firm that size with over 500 employees, it’s not George who is personally sitting down and filling out the weekly pay packets. He’d have a HR section for that and they no doubt had payroll software to run the system. It appears that employees had been incorrectly classified, so the payroll software would have had the incorrect compliance configured. It’s a confusing industry as well, with people working split shifts, some part time, some casual, different classes depending on position in the kitchen etc.

            I’m not excusing them, but it can be hard as well as perplexing to keep up with everything, though of course that is what the payroll department in any organisation is paid to do. That it was George who was fined is explained by it being his responsibility, as ultimately the buck stops with the big boss.

          • It is a paradox that we are noting now. I believe DD to be underpaid at Subway atm, but every way we look, doing anything (except encouraging her to get a different job) has negative consequences. If we intervene, they may take it out on her, (and who wants their parents stepping in to protect them anyway). If she complains her shifts will be cut and she will be labelled a troublemaker. We have left it to her, and she says it doesn’t worry her, so we ignore it now, because as a junior she will be moving on soon. I hate that they can get away with it, though.

          • Our son was underpaid in his first job – a Christmas warehouse popup place and we agitated the manager as we felt he didn’t have a lot to lose. Pretty sure we would have not intervened if it was a job he wanted long term!

            It actually did turn out to be a genuine error and I must say she did actually fix up the pay for everyone, not just our boy. He got heaps of shifts afterwards too, so I think she was trying to prove it was all genuine and he wasn’t getting scapegoated! So there can be good outcomes.

            Mind you, when he was looking for a more permanent gig we encouraged the Kmart/Coles type place after that experience. His girlfriend gets paid cash from a dodgy small business and her parents are always trying to figure out whether to intervene or not – knowing she won’t get shifts if she makes trouble. . . It is NOT good.

      • In reply to Ozswede:

        Good analysis re Georgia. At that point, it was very scary as it looked to the viewer that they were going to carry her to the win. We know better now, that the carried favourite is usually let fall at about fourth or so, because they know that the public won’t buy any cookbook or magazine with them ie they are not marketable. At this point, the quality winner “suddenly” appears as a surprise, as if they hadn’t been quietly producing the best work for weeks.

        • I was thinking about that point too OzSwede and trying to work out whether Simon is the Fake Favourite or is it just Tim, who surely couldn’t be seen as a winner?

          But I can still remember the Georgia love and how outraged we all were!

  13. It was only a couple of weeks ago that an article reported how much GGM were deified in places like India and UAE. They are treated like rock stars and have people waiting for them at the airport, crowding outside their hotels etc.
    All because of Masterchef.

    This scandal might not affect their overseas popularity, but here, the Calombaris brand has taken a big hit. He is getting hammered, and his reputation will forever be tarnished. I’m sure he’s now hired some PR spinner for damage control.
    And Ch 10 will try and weather the storm in the hope that people have short attention spans.

    In any case, Masterchef, itself, has bigger problems than a dodgy judge.
    eg. The eye-watering boringness and sameness and with a complete personality by-pass. Cook whatever you want, garden in play, hugs, run out of time, hugs, don’t want to go home, hugs …
    It’s GroundhogDayChef.

    This show needs a lot of ‘seasoning.’

    • Rating has not been great this season. Ch 9 will just have shows to entice the viewers.

      Even on Wed, without any big shows on Nine, rating just above 700,000.

      Even on Twitter world, people are bored with this lot of contestants. One of the Top 3 worst season.

      • Will it matter, though, as long as ratings are passable and Coles is happy to continue to sponsor? And various tourism bodies

        • WA week has not been rating. Since the ratings has dropped for the past few years, they didn’t get any airline who will sponsor.(Also CH 10 is asking for a high price)

          Like last year which is the 10th anniversary, they really wanted an overseas trip. I think the judges were thinking of going to Spain. No sponsor for that trip.

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