Masterchef NZ Recap: Sunday 16 March

Welcome to my first ever recap of anything ever!

Right, before the show gets under way tonight I thought I would give my rankings for the Top 7 at this stage in the competition.

Highly Scientific Masterchef Duo Rankings:

7.  Glynn and James (Light blue aprons) – These guys seem to me like they entered the competition for a bit of a laugh and are surprised that they are still here.  They came on Masterchef having never done any baking. What the truck?!  They both CAN cook, but I see them as least likely to win in the end, and it seems as though they would agree.

6.   Trudie and Shelley (Teal? aprons) – Perennial middle-of-the-pack-ers, these two can definitely cook, and work well together.  They aren’t usually in the bottom two, but they aren’t usually at the top either.  I bet they can make a good sunday roast though, they seem like those mumsy types.  They are running out of time to show they have what it takes to win…

5.  Jaimie and Bec (Purple aprons) – These two showed they could handle the pressure of the elimination challenge last week, but similarly to Trudie and Shelley, they haven’t really shown themselves to be anything more than also-rans at this stage.

4.  Jack and Cerry (White aprons) – These two are still getting used to being a partnership so they are a bit of an enigma to me at present.  They are individually, however, talented cooks.  If they can get in sync with each other, they could be here for a few more weeks yet, especially if any challenges suit their asian cuisine strengths.

3.  Tanisha and Verena (Green aprons) – These two sisters work well together and have been at or near the top in the challenges so far.  They are able to cook a wide range of cooking styles and stay cool under pressure.   I can see them on the podium, but to me, it is looking like a bronze medal at this stage.

2.  Nikki and Jordan (Dark blue aprons) – This mother and daughter pair have had some great successes on this series of Masterchef and complement each other well.  My money is on the dread head and her mum making the final.

1.  Karena and Kasey (Pink aprons) – These two sisters from Maketu have long since established themselves as firm favourites to take out the Masterchef crown.  They seem to be able to do little wrong, regularly take out the dish of the day prize.  It would be nice for Maketu to have more than mince pies and a drug cultivation problem to be famous for.

So there we have it? Do you agree or disagree with my predictions?  Will the boys be eliminated this week or will it be a shock elimination of one of the favourites?

On with the show…

Tonight the duos are cooking rabbit dishes, for guest chef Ben Bayly.  The contestants always seem to ooooh and ahhhh when these “celebrity” chefs are wheeled out, but I hazard a guess that half the time they have never heard of them.  I even heard a fake ‘wow’ tonight (or am I just cynical).  Google tells me that Ben is head chef of The Grove restaurant in Auckland (Supreme Winner of the Metro Audi Restaurant 2010 & 2011) – no rabbit on their menu at present I notice, but he must be a fan.

I personally have never cooked rabbit, but nor would I go on a cooking show.  If you were a contestant on The Block you would make sure you knew your hammer from your skill saw before turning up to renovate.  In the same way, before going on a show like Masterchef, its pretty obvious that you need to know how to:

  • Cook variety of unique food items e.g. rabbit, offal, octopus
  • Tell if steak is cooked to an exact medium rare
  • Create the perfect whitebait fritter in minutes
  • Fillet a fish
  • Cook and assemble a croquembouche
  • Remember a shopping list with only five minutes in the pantry

So really, I don’t want to hear any whining, moaning or crying about having never cooked rabbit before; it’s called preparation and planning people!

When the contestants walk in they see mystery boxes plus a huge wooden box at the front – an extreme mystery box perhaps?

Inside each of their mystery boxes are pasta machines.  Lets hope they have practiced how to make pasta before coming on the show. The large box contains a rack of skinned rabbits.  Simon is the pun master and he is away tonight so we are spared a bunch of horrible rabbit puns.

Tonight’s challenge is to create a restaurant quality entrée and main course in 90 minutes.  They must include pasta in at least one of those dishes, and both dishes must use rabbit. Cue a bunch of comments about having never cooked rabbits, or tasted rabbit.  Trudie mentions that where they are from, they just shoot the rabbits.

It sounds like working with rabbit could be tricky due to lots of little bones and techniques needed, according to our celebrity chef, so it should cause a lot of drama for the contestants.

The pantry run is as stressful as ever.  I think this would be the part that would freak me out the most.  I am sure sometimes they run in and then forget everything they need.  Someone needed ricotta urgently, Jaimie knew there was ricotta somewhere but couldn’t help.  I think she secretly knew where it was all along.  Nice tactic purple aprons!

Dishes and cooking:

The pink team are serving up mushroom and rabbit ravioli with mushroom consommé’ and rabbit leg with prosciutto.  They are taking some ideas from the restaurant they went to last week for winning the challenge, and molding them to work with this challenge.  Good thinking girls!  They prepared two rabbit legs in case one didn’t work which is smart.  The first one wasn’t cooked through so they could use their spare.  They weren’t feeling confident with their dish and prepared themselves for bad feedback.  Josh likes the consommé’, he calls it glorious.  Josh thinks that the rabbit leg was a bit dry and that it needed to have a sauce.  Overall though, their feedback was positive.

The green team is making a gnocchi dish with beetroot and rabbit balls (bunny balls as Ray calls them), and cannelloni with a ragu filling. Will they have enough time is the question?  Their dishes have a lot of steps and they are doubting themselves on their pasta. As Josh points out, they seem rattled tonight.  Could this be our shock elimination?  At serving time, Josh likes the beetroot and thinks that the cannelloni with ragu filling is delicious.  Ray calls it the dish of the day!  These two must be safe.

The purple team is feeling confident with their meal of rabbit belly with poached lobster salad and chocolate pasta with rabbit ragu and celeriac puree.  They do seem to be getting pretty stressed with each other though.  Ray likes the feeling of the chocolate pasta.  They are struggling with the plating of their celeriac puree.  The pressure is getting to Bec in particular.  They are so out of it during serving that they can’t even explain what their dishes are when Josh asks.  Josh wants to know why they have celeriac puree. No wonder they couldn’t figure out how to plate it, it wasn’t needed.

The white team have taken their eyes off potentially winning, and have decided to take a happy go lucky attitude towards the competition and just see how far they go.  They are serving up crispy salt and pepper rabbit and sweet and sour rabbit leg.  It looks to Ben the celebrity chef as if they have too much egg in their pasta.  Jack thinks it will be fine. They actually look like they are having a great time tonight! Josh asks them how much they would charge for it, and he says it is worth about $1.50.  He is complaining that they haven’t served up much of the rabbit, but they enjoy the stuffed rabbit leg.  Ben likes the techniques they used but thinks that the pasta is a disaster.  Jack still thinks his pasta is marvelous.

The dark blue team is being brave tonight with a whisky and rocket risotto with rabbit loin.  Risottos are notorious for being disastrous in Masterchef, so that will be interesting.  They are also making an open ravioli with rabbit ragu.  Dreadhead’s rabbit looks perfectly cooked and they seem happy with their dishes.   Once again they were cool, calm and collected tonight.  Ray loves the open ravioli, and the risotto is bang on!  Josh thinks the rabbit is slightly undercooked by minutes.  He thinks that in a restaurant it would be sent back.  “Rabbit is the hero and the rabbit is under”.  This isn’t looking good for my second ranked duo.

I didn’t catch what the boys (blue team) were making and they didn’t show them explaining it to the judges.  Once again Glynn talks about how they are surprised they are still here.  I am too, to be honest.  They were not covered much at all in this episode so I don’t know how well they worked together or what went down.   Ray thinks that some of the rabbit is undercooked, but that they managed the flavours well.  I think they fluked it.

The teal team are providing a lot of the drama tonight.  They are serving beetroot and rabbit ravioli and rabbit loin.  Shelley’s ravioli isn’t working well tonight and she is swearing a whole bunch.  The purple team beside them are quite happy to hear them so stressed.  Shelley grabbed a hot pot and now her hand is burnt. Classic stress mode.  Ray thinks the pasta is too thin and the sauce is too lemony.  Ben the celebrity chef can’t even finish his mouthful because of how dry and salty their rabbit is.  The teal team thinks that the judges are being a bit harsh.  Let me go and get my violin.

Elimination:

There are quite a few teams who got negative comments so it is possible that about five teams are in jeopardy.  The two top teams are the pink and green teams!  These two pairs have been at the top regularly so it is not a huge surprise, but well deserved.  The other duos seriously must hate them!

All five teams are in the bottom tonight, so tomorrow night’s episode will be an elimination challenge cook off.

Quotes of the night:

  • Jack: “They can screw themselves if they don’t like it.  I like it my way.”
  • Shelley when her sauce plating wasn’t up to standard: “Well you just f****n do it!”
  • Shelley on Ben’s judging: “He says what he thinks about 15 times, and I was like…ok…shut up”.
  • Josh’s tip: “Essentially it [rabbit] is a chicken that hops guys”.

I will be back tomorrow night to recap the elimination.  As you can see, brevity is not my strength, so if you made it through the whole recap, well done!

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  • Ralph

    Thanks for the recap. Its good to have them back! I agree with your rankings by the way.

    • Roger

      Cheers, I think the top 3 in my rankings deserve to be the top 3 teams in the end (at this stage anyway).

  • Jenny

    Nice recap! Shelley was on fire tonight! I hope the boys go home.

    • Roger

      Thanks! I agree that the boys should go home. I am sure they didn’t aim to have purposely bitter pesto tonight. Fluke much?

      • Glynn Rudolph

        The day before the challenge we read a recipe for bitter orange pesto in one of the many many many cooking books populating the house. True I swear. Read both recaps now, very cool. Was wondering when someone would pick it up.

        • roger

          You have made a big of a comeback in my rankings after the last couple of weeks. Think I have been wrong about you, possible dark horses!

          • Glynn Rudolph

            Pitch black baby.

  • Mara

    Great recap! I wasn’t able to watch it tonight so this has been great thanks. Not surprised to see that the pink girls did great again tonight.

    • Roger

      Yeah and they aren’t over confident or full of annoying false humility either.

  • K

    cripes Regan, hold onto this one!

    that is one very good recap.

    • Roger

      thanks!

  • K

    There’s something really likeable about Cerry. I don’t think she’s going to go all the way mind you.

    I’ll be very surprised if Karena & Kasey aren’t in the finals, and either Nikki & Jordan or Tanisha & Varena.

  • Jeseta

    Great recap – try to work on that brevity? 🙂 – I have to say I really like the boys. They are the underdogs! and they seem so lovely I’m so glad they’ve stuck around whether it’s deserved or not! I think Nikki and Jordan started off as the ones to beat but they have been a bit hit and miss lately. I think they’ll have to up their game to make it to the finals tbh, someone could come from behind and eclipse them later in the game. Kasey and Karena are obviously the most consistent and talented team, it’s their game to lose.

    • roger

      Yeah I agree with you on Nikki and Jordan. I hope they sort it out because they do seem like really great cooks. I’ll work on the brevity haha, this was the edited down version if you can believe it 🙂

  • Jason

    Nice recap but a bit of research might have made you aware that Ben is also Head Chef at Baduzzi restaurant where rabbit is on the menu. The rabbit ravioli is exceptional.

    • roger

      Thanks for your feedback. I did check that menu but couldn’t see it on their menu. http://media.wix.com/ugd/a33c67_d438e1a50a604eee915a287a50f4b406.pdf I would love to try rabbit ravioli! I think I will have to give this restaurant a go next time I am in Auckland. I also see that Ben has been announced as a judge on NZ My Kitchen Rules.

  • Maggie

    I don’t watch Masterchef, but wow – awesome first recap! 🙂

    • roger

      thanks, you should be recapping The Great Food Race. I chose Masterchef and haven’t got around to watching TGFR on demand.

  • Glynn

    Hehe, I’ve no idea why Simon said what he said about baking. The question in the show was ‘Have you done much baking’, not ‘can you bake’. We can make a cake, I swear!

    Not that that first challenge does much to support my claim. Nice recap btw.

    • roger

      Haha, nice to see you on here! I realise we are only getting the highly edited version of your experience on the show!

  • G

    I wouldn’t mind trying Rabbit ravioli. Sounds delicious!

  • S

    Great quote highlights! I enjoy reading those