Masterchef…degustation challenge.

The contestants turn up to Circa in St Kilda to do a 7 course degustation and each of them have to do a course on their own.  They each need to make, plate and serve 40 dishes!!!  They do a knife pull to work out who will cook which course and Reynold managed to get number 7 and they all think it is fixed.  Billie got 1, Georgia 2, Matthew 3, Sara 4, Jessie 5, Jessica 6 and Reynold 7.

The cook is a staggered start and when they get into the kitchen they’ll be told what their hero ingredient it.  They each have 2 hours and 15 minutes to prep and then 30 minutes to plate and serve and they’ll have another contestant able to help them during plating up time.  George and Matt will be tasting the food and Gary will be running the pass.

So Billie’s up first and marron is her key ingredient and is doing a cold dish with the marron and avocado.  She’s busy doing stuff and forgets that she’s got fennel jam cooking and it burns…oh dear, no more fennel jam.  So she decides on a fresh marron salad.

Georgia goes in and her key ingredient is celeriac…can’t say I’ve ever seen it or had it, can’t get it in Country Town 2.0…or even a few hours from here in the closest major town.  She decides on making soup, but Gary thinks it isn’t exciting.  She decides to do a tuille that sits across the plate, but she’s still all over the joint in a mad panic.

Next in is Matthew and his key ingredient is tuna.  He’s planning on doing a ceviche and Gary likes the sound of it.

Sara goes in and her key ingredient is quail…and right before she went in she said she hoped it wasn’t a poultry, oh well honey, you’ll manage.  She’s doing the quail roasted with sweet corn puree.  1 hour down of her time and Sara hasn’t cooked anything, but has cut up a lot of quail…oh honey get a wriggle on.

Time for Billie to plate up and serve and Jessica helps her.  Gary thinks her dish looks beautiful when it is served.  She made marron tail with avocado puree and marron salad.  George thinks it looks beautiful and fresh.  Matt likes it.

Jessie starts cooking and her key ingredient is lamb and she wants to do lamb with lentils and a carrot puree.

Time for Jessica to start cooking, her key ingredient is plums and is thinking of somehow combining sweet and savoury.

It is time for Georgia to serve and she’s got a tuille saga going on because she burnt some of them and is still cooking and not serving.  Reynold comes to help her and she’s a ball of stress, she’s wasted 5 minutes of the 30 minutes of service time.  Gary is in her ear about serving her dish and she’s still busy putting topping on the tuilles and then starts pouring soup of different amounts and isn’t overly caring.  There’s 16 more to plate up and she’s running around mad looking for more soup…she ran out of soup.  Originally she planned on 40ml per serve, but she put a lot more than that, so she has to empty some bowls to put the soup in the pot, add milk and then combine it to make more.  She served everyone with 3 seconds to go and bursts into tears and Gary hugs her.  Finally George and Matt get to eat the celeriac soup with buttermilk and a black pepper tuille.  Matt likes the tuille, but not the topping and isn’t overly excited by it.

Time for Reynold to start cooking and his key ingredient is chocolate and realises that he can’t be as out there as he normally would.    But he manages to burn some of the chocolate because the heat was hitting the bowl while it was trying to be melted…oh heck!!!

Time for Matthew to serve and Billie helps him and he has 10 plates out before you know it and gets them all out with over 6 minutes left of his 30 minutes.  He made tuna ceviche with rhubarb and Matt and George both think it looks very elegant and George thinks it is degustation to a tee.

10 minutes to go and Sara gets asked if there is a sauce for her dish and manages to whip one up, even though she was busily cutting the quail breast.  Her service time starts and she’s got quails everywhere.  Georgia is helping her and the food goes out rather quickly and they’re all out with 10 minutes to spare in her service time.  Her dish is quail with miso corn puree and blackberry vinaigrette and Matt thinks it is pretty and both his and George’s plates are identical.  George loves it and thinks it is the best dish they’ve tasted today.

Jessie has less than 10 minutes to go and hasn’t finished searing the lamb and her lentils don’t look great and some are mushy and some are hard and she’s all stressed.  Then decides to pickle some carrots to freshen the plate.  Service time starts and she’s still not ready, Matt’s helping her and he’s just standing around and finally she cuts some lamb but it’s undercooked and Gary is worried.  Halfway through service time and no plates have gone out.  She gets them all out with 1 minute to spare and then gets all teary with Gary.  She made lamb with lentils and a carrot and orange puree.  George notices the lamb juices all over the plate and that the lentils look overcooked.  Matt comments it took a long time.  Then George says the carrot wasn’t pickled.

Time for Jessica to serve and she’s got Sara helping her and she doesn’t start plating up until almost 5 minutes in, but gets them all done with 4 minutes to spare.  She made black plum with goat’s curd and thyme and straight up George says it must be the bridge between savoury and sweet and he loves it, but it doesn’t show much technique.

Reynold is serving up with Jessie helping him and he gets them done with 2 minutes to spare.  His dish is given to Matt and George and they don’t look overly impressed, but George says they have high expectations.  He made chocolate crumble with chocolate cremeux and strawberries.  George loves that there’s not many items on the plate, but the cremeux is too loose and there is too much crumb and Matt’s not keen on it.

Decision time.  Sara got dish of the day and is in complete shock and she is safe.  Billie is also safe.  Georgia is in the elimination.  Matthew is safe.  Jessie is in the elimination.  Jessica is safe while Reynold is in the elimination.

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