Masterchef Recap: Sunday 27 April

My super scientific Masterchef rankings:

1st: Kasey and Karena: Sitting on 19/20, these ladies have a three point lead over their competitors. That should be enough to see them into the final, and boy do they deserve it.   These two remind me of Aaron from last year’s Masterchef NZ who was clearly the favourite/one-to-beat right from the beginning.

2nd=: Nikki and Jordan and Jaimie and Bec: You could make arguments for why both of these duos deserve to be in next weeks final. I want Nikki and Jordan to make it, but I am sure a lot of people want to see Jaimie and Bec in the final so may the best duo win.

On with the show:

Tonight the three remaining duos will cook for Peter Gordon. He is very well known in the chef/restaurateur/writing world and has his finger in many culinary pies, so to speak – too much for me to mention here. The contestants will be scored, and those scores will be added to last week’s scores. The pair with the lowest score will claim the bronze medal, while the other two duos will fight it out in next weeks final.

Totals so far:

Karena and Kasey: 19/20

Nikki and Jordan: 16/20

Jaimie and Bec: 16/20

 

When the contestants walk in Bec’s notices that there are only two judges (Simon and Ray), which means, in her words, that they automatically know there is a guest chef. Ahhhh, they have had 2 judges most weeks…? It is more of a budgetary constraint that hint of guest judge. Most likely they saw the guest judge in the make up room.

Tonight’s challenge is to recreate Peter Gordon’s Otago saffron linguine with paddle crab, pine nuts and Parmesan. The broth is a dashi broth enriched with butter and cream (basically a beurre blanc sauce). Thanks to good ol’ google I can tell you that a dashi broth is a traditional Japanese stock, while a beurre blanc is a French hot butter sauce. Combining the two is traditional Peter Gordon fusion cookery. This isn’t a challenge to show their own creativity; they need to show they can follow a recipe exactly and produce something as close to his dish as possible. The dish looks “deceptively easy” according to Karena, but once the contestants smell the dish, they can tell there are many layers of flavour. Each duo will have to create perfect pasta and the stock, plus cook and clean the paddle crab, and they will have one hour to complete the challenge.

Peter has a noticeably nurturing approach to the contestants in comparison to the way Simon and Josh yell at the them. As Kasey and Karena point out, a mix of both approaches is needed when mentoring and training new chefs.

The girls in pink begin by making the dashi stock, because it needs time to infuse with the seaweed, soy sauce and mirin. With 30 minutes to go, Kasey begins shredding the crab.   Peter tastes Karena’s dashi stock. He also tastes the other duos and notices that everyone’s tastes a bit different. Karena doesn’t add the full amount of butter to her sauce because she thinks it tastes too buttery, so she hides the extra butter under her counter. I wonder if Peter and the other judges will notice. Kasey is stressing out about her pasta but Peter helps her to get it sorted. She only has 5 minutes to get it cooked. Karena is worried about whether she has over-reduced the sauce. Ray begins the tasting and he has his thinking stare on. He is not sure about the sauce and can only taste butter. Lucky she didn’t add the rest of it! Simon says that at the end of the day it is good, but it isn’t a 10/10. Peter wanted more broth in the dish, and thinks there is too much fat in it, which is from the butter. I really think that these two could have a really funny cooking show; they have a similar natural banter with each other as the two lads from The Block last year.

Jordan begins by making the pasta, which she has some experience with. She needs to get it sorted soon so there is time for it to rest. The pasta is a bit dry, but Jordan trusts the recipe. Nikki is organizing the dashi stock and toasting the pine nuts, which apparently isn’t a good idea because she usually burns them. Today she has success though! Nikki is struggling to get the crab meat out, but Jordan shows her that she wasn’t looking in the right places for the crab. Jordan is struggling to form her pasta in the pasta machine. She seems to have sorted it out and in the end she has well-formed pasta. As Nikki and Jordan take their dish up for tasting, they don’t think their dish looks as refined as Peter’s but Simon thinks the presentation is excellent – even the pine nuts (well done Nikki). Simon gives them the death stare that we are all familiar with…what have they done wrong? We will find out after the break. Oh the drama! Simon says the sauce is too thin and a little on the salty side but the pasta is perfect. Peter agrees with Simon’s comments, and overall he thinks that the flavour is good. Ray thinks that everything has been done great but the balance in the sauce is not there. Side note: Jordan has one dread hanging over her face, which I wish Nikki would fix for her.

Bec begins by cooking the crab while Jaimie works on the pasta. Jaimie tells Peter Gordan that she would prefer to make her pasta by hand than follow his recipe. Hmmmm, I know who I would trust out of those two. She has a think about it and reconsiders. Jaimie and Bec are slower to make their pasta so they have less time to rest it than the others. Bec as eaten a lot of crabs in Singapore so she understands the texture that it needs to be. Haha – Bec calls him Gordon instead of Peter – someone is a bit stressed! Jaimie is also noticing that her pasta is dry, but her pasta looks a lot drier than the other duos – it is a crumbly mess. She can’t make a new one because she doesn’t have any more ingredients. Peter lets her know that her pasta is fine, she just needs to use some of it. Jaimie seems like she has stayed calmer today than in other challenges and it seems like they have learnt the art of shutting fridge doors. Simon says there is a lot of pasta and a lot of pine nuts in their dish, but he thinks that the stock has the best flavour. Peter also thinks they have served too much pasta. He thinks they have the best balance of the three dishes. Ray thinks their sauce is the best because he could pick up on all the flavours. I was hoping they would have a shocker. I just don’t like how much they want to win. I am all for confidence and aiming to win, but while they are great cooks, Jaimie and Bec just REALLY BUG ME.  They don’t have the like-ability factor of the other two duo’s (end of rant).

Judges scores:

No scores will be given tonight, as they will be shared tomorrow after the final challenge of this week. I think they aren’t sharing the scores because that way they can change them if necessary based on tomorrow night’s results – tricky producers!

I think if the scores for tonight’s challenge were shared, Jaimie and Bec would be one point ahead of Nikki and Jordan and Karena and Kasey. That means it is crucial that Nikki and Jordan have a winner of a challenge tomorrow night.

Tomorrow’s challenge will also have a score out of ten and then all the scores will be added together, with the lowest scoring duo heading home. Tomorrow night they are cooking two beef dishes from Michel Louws (previous Executive Chef of Huka Lodge).  He has a very interesting haircut – a bald head and one little stalk of hair at the front. I hope he is a better chef than hairstylist.

 

 

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  • Mara

    Great review Roger. Im hoping for a Kasey and Karena vs jordan and Nikki final too!

  • Graham

    Had the feeling of a filler episode to me, i almost get the feeling they want Bec and Jamie in the final and are padding the semi out until Nikki and Jordan make an error so they can get rid.

    • roger

      I definitely agree with you. Hope it backfires on them tonight.

  • Jon

    Of the blonde and dark couple (friends – one’s a Canadian) – the dark haired one looks continually peeved off and gives the camera confused looks when the blonde talks in the talking head shots. Anyone else noticed that?

    • roger

      She is probably thinking, JAIMIE SHUT UP.