The Hotplate…Oh la la

I half watched this when it was on the other night because it was on tv while I was out for dinner, so I only caught bits of it, but I caught up watching it on the weekend.

We’re off to Phillippe and Pascal’s restaurant for this episode and straight up Christina and Tania say they’re nervous, well Phillippe’s had 45 years experience and has owned Chez Pascal for 29 years and of course does French provincial food.

Bless him Phillippe gets into the restaurant and puts on a chef’s hat, Pascal’s worried about his t-shirt though, he doesn’t want to get it dirty, honestly Nols would be happy if that happened.  Phillippe gets on with making a mousse for a roulade, Pascal peers onions very very slowly, no rush there mate.

Scott and Tom check out the menu and Tom thinks it’s stereotypically French, but worries if it is too old school, Scott wants it to be classic but modernised.  The menu has snails and brains and Scott worries they’ll polarise the other, this might be fun if they order them…next thing you know Phillippe’s got Pascal preparing the lamb’s brains.

Oh dear, Phillippe’s managed to get water into the salmon roulade bag while it is cooking, which he says hasn’t happened the other 1,000 times he’s made it and he’s hoping they won’t order it, that means I bet they will order it.

Pascal gets the table set and we get a Liam comment about being OCD on cutlery.  Phillippe meanwhile is stressing about not having a drink and pours a wine for himself, might as well be relaxed.

Scott and Tom look at the dessert menu, but Scott’s worried when it says not served with cream or ice-cream.  Tom think’s that’s two fingers up to modern food.  Phillippe is getting the crepe ready and Pascal asks what he’ll say if people as for cream or ice-cream, “leave, the door is there, have the crepe how it is” says Phillippe oh bless him.

Scott and Tom stroll down the street, Tom complete with a suit and tie and pink socks and Pascal meets them at the door, strange how Pascal was wearing his t-shirt with 6 seconds to go, but meets the judges with a new shirt on.  Scott say the restaurant looks like a step back in time to Paris in the 60’s.  Tom thinks it looks old school, but not kitsch.  The others arrive with a wine bottle each and Christina’s worried that it’s next door to a funeral parlour.  Poor Vanessa is underwhelmed with how outdated it looks and Aron thinks the rest of the night will be drab.  The ladies and Liam all think Pascal is a very sexy maître de.  Conrad’s worried the carpet is dirty and doesn’t like carpet in a restaurant, oh honey deal with it.  Liam worries about skirting boards, honey, honey, honey, you both need to deal with it.

They look at the menu and everyone notices the snails, the brains and the no cream or ice-cream line, oh well it’s not your restaurant guys so suck it up and get on with it.  The judges order the salmon roulade and lambs’ brains for entrée.  For main they order duck breast with mandarin liqueur and rack of lamb and for dessert they order chocolate pudding and crepe Normande and Scott asks for ice-cream and Phillippe’s not overly happy.

Pascal dries off the brains, flour them and fries them in oil and butter.  Poor Nols is stressing about eating brains.  I can honestly say I’ve had them before and I remember them not having much flavour, mind you they were cows’ brains and were crumbed and fried.  Phillippe goes to open the roulade, it feels okay when he touches it, but they have to cut it and pray that it’s set, but he thinks it looks beautiful.  The roulade sits on a bed of horseradish sauce.  The brains is served with the brains on the plate and garlic butter sauce over the top.

They serve the entrée and poor Nols is ready to vomit.  Conrad and Liam aren’t keen with any of the presentation, they wanted kapow and it took a backseat according to Conrad and no seat according to Liam, just eat the damn food boys.  Nols at least tries a bit of the brains, but one mouthful is all she can manage.  Tania manages an even tinier mouthful.  Eli and Maria love the entrees and Christina wants to know if they ate the same entrees as she did, because the entrées don’t suit Christina’s palate.  Phillippe is shocked that most people left most of the brains on the plate.  Scott talks about the lambs’ brains and says the dish was spot on, even if it wasn’t to everybody’s taste, but the presentation is a bit old school.  Tom likes the mousse, but wanted more horseradish and says that Phillippe’s technique is magnificent.

They get on with the lamb and duck and Phillippe says he’s serving the lamb medium rare, too bad if that’s not how you like it.  But then Nols says that she wants it well done, oh dear honey you’re in trouble.  Phillippe’s cooking everything in lot of butter and Pascal asks why, well butter makes everything better of course…ask a silly question get a silly answer Pascal.  Of course he’s cooking the vegies in butter as well.  Plus he’s making sauce for both dishes, but oh dear, one of them is about to boil over, just as he says you have to be very careful when making sauces as they can over boil.  The sauce has over-reduced, so is too sweet and Phillippe goes to save it and starts yelling out in the kitchen and the others are a tad worried because they can hear him.

They take mains out to the others, they’re both served with 1 potato, a few carrots and a few beans.  Phillippe tells Nols that this time he’ll make sure she’ll eat and she asks if it’s well done and he cracks up laughing, sorry Nols it’s not well done and he won’t cook it well done.  Conrad loves how the lamb is cooked.  Christina and Tania both love the sauces.  Poor Nols thinks the lamb is too pink for her, but Christina will love it.  Liam is all OCD about the number of beans, all because he only got three beans and others got 5 or 6, it’s a damn bean, don’t stress about it mate.  Phillippe and Pascal come out and Tom talks about the duck, he was worried that it wouldn’t work with it being mandarin, but he loved the sauce and babbles on about it.  Scott talks about the lamb and he’s not keen that the same vegies were served with both dishes, but the lamb was spot on it and gives him goose bumps and the sauce was perfect.  Then he says he’s looking forward to his crepe with ice-cream and Phillippe can only laugh.

The puddings are ready to be steamed and Pascal asks about ice-cream, but Phillippe says he doesn’t have any ice-cream in the restaurant, “if Scott wants ice-cream he can walk down the street and buy it”…oh dear Scott you’re definitely not getting ice-cream.  The crepes are ready, but Pascal’s worried about the chocolate pudding, he thinks they don’t looks right, but Phillippe says they’re ready because it’s a chocolate fondant and Phillippe and Pascal keep arguing over it until Pascal leaves the kitchen.      They left them for a while then put them on the plate and Phillippe’s happy as he was right and not Pascal.  I’ll tell you though I’d want some cream or ice-cream with the crepe.

They take out the dessert and Pascal says the crepe Normande is never served with cream or ice-cream, Phillippe says that’s what he was told when taught how to make it 40 years ago.  Liam’s giving them points for boring looking meals as all of them have looked boring, honestly I can’t want to see how exciting your cooking looks!!

Oh dear the fondant is too strong for Christina’s palate…oh love.  Then again Liam thought it was too intense as well, and he’s stressing over the cutlery, focus on the food honey.

Scott talks about the crepe, he says it was sensational but wanted ice-cream.  Tom says the fonday was very chocolatey but delicious.

Scoring time…Conrad and Liam…Liam says he wouldn’t pay to go there and would only go if it was an 80’s theme night and he was wearing his Jason Donovan gear…honey I’m concerned that you own Jason Donovan gear.  They score them 5/10.  Lozz and Nols give them 6/10.  Eli and Maria score them 6/10.  Christina and Tania give them 5/10.  Aron and Vanessa score them 4/10.  They got 26/50 from the other teams.

Scott scores them 7/10 for the food and 8/10 for the experience.  Tom scores them 7/10 for the food and 6/10 for the experience.  Their total score is 54/90 putting them on top of the leader board after 2 nights of cooking.

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The Hotplate…Modern Australian

Just letting you know I haven’t seen all of the episode with Phillippe and Pascal as I was out for dinner and caught bits of it, but that and the Masterchef finale post will be done this weekend.

Aron and Vanessa are cooking today and they do modern Australian.  Vanessa is usually at the front of the restaurant and tells her hubby to tell her what to do in the kitchen and he tells her not to get bossy like she does at the front of the restaurant…oh bring it on, this may be fun.

Aron’s working with the theory that he’s talked the talk already, but now needs to walk the walk.  God bless Vanessa because he tells her to get beetroot from the fridge and she has to ask if it is a beetroot and then cuts herself within seconds.  “You’ve got to be careful hon, I don’t have time for this,” gee he’s so caring and sympathetic in the kitchen.

The judges check out the menu and they say they’re travelling across the world, Tom, critic judge, is excited about the vegetable tarte tatin.  Vanessa wants to cut the pumpkin and Aron won’t let her, he doesn’t want her to cut herself again, then he gets distracted while the caramel is on and it gets a tad too dark…mate concentrate already.

Tom and Scott are both excited about the sound of the barramundi main, but they also think there’s a lot going on in it.  Mind you Liam says “my expectations are higher than a drag queen’s stiletto heel” oh dear lord.

Scott loves pav for dessert and goes on and on with a heap of adjectives about how much he likes it, Vanessa says desserts are her forte and now she feels the pressure because she’s never made meringue before, seriously hon??  I’m over you asking how much your hubby loves you while you’re in the kitchen, focus on the damn food!

Half an hour to go Vanessa goes to set the table, then bloody Aron comes in and tries to take over, he doesn’t like how it looks and makes her re-do the table and with 15 minutes to go he’s screaming for her, honey you did tell her to re-do the table!

Poor Vanessa’s trying to do the biscuit base for the banoffee pie and Aron’s screaming left right and centre and she’s all flustered and confused, he needs a chill pill soon.

The judges arrive and say that Aron and Vanessa look relaxed and Vanessa bless her says it was stressful.  Scott and Tom aren’t keen on the light coloured bench seating in a practical sense, or the over worn seats, but love the leopard print seat covers and say they’ll match Tania’s outfit.  The contestants arrive and Conrad isn’t keen on having walked through the carpark of a shopping centre.  Tania thinks if the way the place looks is shown in the food her and her mum are in trouble…seriously I’m not sure décor and food match on levels, but whatever you think love.

Conrad’s going on about the forks and doesn’t like the prints on the wall, the carpet, the cutlery or the glasses, gee not half fussy.  Liam thinks the menu is like the cafeteria menu at the United Nations, but that’s without being pretentious of course.  Conrad likes that kangaroo is on the menu, but Christina won’t eat anything off the coat of arms, or Skippy.  Nols is worried because of how Aron has talked the other two nights.

They’ve ordered for entrée tiger prawn stack and roasted baby vegetable tarte tatin.  For main barramundi and kangaroo and for dessert pavalova and banoffee pie.

Scott asks Phillippe what he thinks about a vegetable tarte tatin and he says it’s fine, but he chooses not to serve vegetarians.

Oh hell Nols is telling Pascal how sexy his shirt looks and Liam says “there was no water on the table, but there were plenty of jugs” because of Tania’s cleavage.  Then Pascal says he’ll take his shirt off at Nols’ place if he gets the perfect crayfish…oh heck.

Aron’s plating entrée and suddenly decides to add a smear of avocado and Vanessa’s not happy at all, but he is happy with the smear and he thinks they look great.  Now to turn the tarte tatin over and he thinks they look perfect.  Vanessa tells Arin to “hurry the micro up” with his micro herbs and he tells her to take a breath.

Liam thinks the entrée are pretty in a 1997 way and they don’t taste as good as they look and there’s too much avocado mousse.  Christina thinks the potato rosti wasn’t great.  Phillippe says the tarte tatin isn’t really a tarte tatin because of the caramelisation.  Then Emi it is better than the other food they’ve had so far.

Scott talks about the tiger prawn stack and that there’s only 4 ingredients in it, the prawns, rosti, avocado and cocktail sauce.  He wasn’t keen on either of the sauces and thinks the avocado mousse was an after though, but loved the prawns…well Aron’s not happy.  Tom talks about the tarte tatin, he liked the pastry, but hasn’t seen laps of balsamic in a long time, but wanted it on the tatin and wanted more vegies as well, it didn’t overly satisfy.  The judges say they don’t want nice, they want awesome.

Aron’s giving Vanessa the silent treatment because of the reviews and doesn’t want to cook…make suck it up and prove yourself.  Aron’s still being negative Nancy, even when he starts on the main course, Vanessa tells him to get on with it and to talk.  Finally he starts to talk again.

Back in the restaurant Christina and Nols are stressing out about the kangaroo, you have to try it and of course Nols wants the kangaroo cooked through and roo is definitely not good when too well done, it needs to be rare.  Pascal even offers to undo another button if Nols tries the kangaroo, come on honey try it for some chest action.

I’m not sure about how they’ve plated the dishes, for the roo there’s sweet potato mash, the 4 slices of roo, glaze around the mash and then beetroot jam on top.  The barramundi is skin side up but then the salsa and lemon butter sauce are on top of the skin…doesn’t that defeat the purpose of nice crispy skin???

Well Nols tried the glaze from the kangaroo, but not the kangaroo and the glaze was too strong for her.  Christina couldn’t go near the kangaroo so didn’t even try it.  Liam and Conrad think it’s a shame that Nols and Christina didn’t try the kangaroo.  The others are annoyed by how often Christina says “for my palate”…honey you didn’t even try it, I’m not sure how much your comments on the kangaroo glaze count for because of that.

Tom talks about the barra and says they’ve nailed it and the fish is perfectly cooked and loves the combination of the salsa and lemon butter sauce.  Now dear old Aron is overwhelmed…mate you’re up and down like a rollercoaster.  Scott talks about the kangaroo and he loved it, especially with the beetroot jam on it and says the sauce was perfect…see what happens when you try the meat and sauce together Nols and Christina???  Oh and he thinks it is the dish of the competition so far.  Then Tom says they have a chance to win it if they keep cooking that well.

Then Conrad says “I hope he stumbles on dessert, not being too vicious,” oh mate are you serious????

They get to dessert and it looks very very very sugary…oh look even they say it is a very sweet dessert, so they cut it smaller.  Hell it’s got biscuit base and a bucket load of caramel on it.  Then they check the meringues and when they break it open Arin’s happy with his missus.

They serve the meringues upside down and then think they’re too large so they need more cream and more fruit, which means the plate banoffee pie slices start sliding because of the cream on them…maybe they should have done the meringues first.

Nols ate the pav and most of the banoffee pie, then Liam thinks he’s borderline diabetic and wants the insulin.  Christina goes on about her palate again and Liam’s ready to puncture his ears with a dessert spoon if she says it again.

Scott talks about the pav and how a good pav is, thankfully he enjoyed it, but it was a bit big but because it’s pav you can be generous and Vanessa should be proud of her first attempt.  Tom talks about the banoffee pie, he says it was decent, then goes on about it not being absolutely amazing and not turning people into a puddle of tears.

Scoring time Lozz and Nols give an 8.  Phillippe and Pascal give 6.  Christina and Tania give 3…holy heck ladies, that’s a bit low.  Conrad and Liam are at loggerheads.  Liam says he won’t go higher than 6, so they score them a 6.  Marie and Emi score them a 7.  So they get 30/50.

Scott gives them 8/10 for the food and 7/10 for the experience.  Tom gives them 8/10 for the food and 8/10 for the experience.  So all up they got 61/80 and they’re in the lead and safe from elimination.

Next we’re off to Conrad and Liam’s restaurant Duck, Duck, Moose and Conrad’s ready, while Liam wants the Valium…I can’t wait for this one.

And in an after note…I’ve just watched the preview of Conrad and Liam’s restaurant and it was a 48 minute preview that only left off the judges scores…but I’m not giving away any details on it other than to say it is worth watching.

The Hotplate…premiere

So we have a new show starting, The Hotplate, but on another channel at the same time is another new food restaurant reality show, so I’m deciding which one I like and will continue watching.

There’s Aron and Vanessa who are married and do modern Australian food.  Phillippe and Pascal who are father and son and have a French restaurant.  Emi and Marie who are best friends with a Japanese restaurant.  Lozz and Nols who are friends and have a seafood restaurant.  Conrad and Liam who are partners who do Asian fusion.  Christina and Tania who are mother and daughter with an Italian restaurant.

They all arrive in Fremantle to meet the judges and they’re all restaurant owners and they’re playing for $100,000.  The judges are Scott Pickett, a chef, and Tom Parker Bowles, a restaurant critic (yes he’s related to Camilla).

Round 1 they have to cook in their restaurants for the other teams and the judges and they have 3 hours to prepare without any of their other staff and they’ll be judged on food and the whole restaurant experience.

Christina and Tania are first and they’ve got on tops of the same animal print, but heck Tania’s got the cleavage on display and they’re yelling at each other in the car.  So they own Christina’s in Middle Park, a Perth suburb, and they’ve had it for 20 years and then we’re told they live together as well as work together.  Christina reckons that Gordon Ramsay has nothing on her volatile temper…oh this could be fun.  Then Tania says she’s quit about 20 time, obviously hasn’t stuck to quitting.

They get to their restaurant and say that the judges can order anything from the menu, so they’re prepping a lot of things and we find out that Tania doesn’t work in the kitchen normally, oh this is getting better and better.

The judges look at the menu and discuss it, because apparently it is a window into the soul of the restaurant.  Then the cheffy judge says he wants to know if the pasta is bought or made.  Now Tania’s making pasta for the first time, but Christina says that usually they buy fresh pasta for the restaurant…oh heck.

The judges look at the dessert menu…apple crumble and sticky date pudding, yes you’re right guys, they’re not Italian.  God bless Tania “mum does the spoon have to be that big, it’s too bloody big mate”…between that, the cleavage and the leopard print I’m enjoying her so far.

Turns out that Tania is a maître de who has won maître de of the year in WA.  Bless her when her mother pulls her top up to cover some of the cleavage and she pulls it down.  The judges arrive and Tania races over to greet them and kiss them on the cheek.  The judges have a look around and see all the awards the restaurant has won, but say it reminds them of a Mexican cantina.

The other contestants stroll down the street.  They’re met with a popping champagne bottle and a drink and they all see the awards on the wall.  Conrad says it looks nice, Liam’s response is “are you sure?”  Then he tells us that they’ll be honest, but not necessarily honest nice guys.  Conrad’s not keen on the fake plants and Liam thinks there’s enough plastic to fill Pamela Anderson’s brassiere, oh bless him.

We’re introduced to the others.  Conrad and Liam have been together for 15 years and do Asian fusion, Conrad’s in the kitchen, Liam’s out the front and they’re food snobs.  They’re also from WA.

Arin and Vanessa met at the restaurant and Vanessa was a waitress, they’re now married and have a 1 year old.  Arin’s the chef and Vanessa is out the front and they do modern Australian.

Eli and Marie are best friends with a Japanese restaurant.  Eli is out the front and Marie is in the kitchen and they learnt the Japanese cooking in Japan.

Lozz and Nols are friends and they run a restaurant at Toorain airfield in Victoria and they specialise in crayfish, straight from the plane to their holding tanks.  Lozz is in the kitchen and Nols is out the fron.

Phillippe and Pascal are father and son, Phillippe is the chef and Pascal is out the front and has to explain the menu a lt.

They check out the menu and comment it’s a big menu and must be a family restaurant, Arin’s confused by the Tex-Mex items on the menu.  Conrad’s over reading Christina’s name on the menu.   So each judge chooses an entrée, main and dessert and that’s what everyone will be eating.  So they order for entrée minestrone and fungi alla griglia.  For main they order fettucini con pollo and bistecca Christina and for dessert they order sticky date pudding and apple crumble.  Thankfully Tania asks how everyone wants their steak cooked for bistecca Christina.

Everyone’s curious about what the special sauce is, because the menu doesn’t give any hints.  Liam says he’s not on a game show so he shouldn’t have to guess what it is.  Tania’s doing the mushrooms and starts screaming about how Christina wants it done and walks away and the others can all hear the yelling.  Oh heck Nols is flirting with Pascal something shocking and asks if he’s single…honey, honey, honey.

The minestrone’s been on the stove for almost 3 ½ hours and it’s going a bit mushy, oh dear Christina’s starting to stress a bit now, that’s what you get for getting pushy about the mushrooms that Tania was cooking and not focusing on the soup.  They’re still going on about the entrees and they’re screaming loud enough that all the others can hear them.

They take the food out and Liam says he’s in front of his Olympic swimming pool of minestrone…oh honey, you’ve got a line for everything.  Then he says it’s over-processed and has all been blended together.  Conrad tastes the mushroom and most taste the barbecue sauce and think it’s not overly special “special” sauce unless they make the barbeque sauce themselves.

Christina and Tania go back into the dining room for feedback about the entrée.  Critic judge Tom talks about the mushroom dish and asks about the special sauce and she sauces she made it from scratch, every part and he asks if she made the barbecue sauce and of course she says no, he enjoyed the dish.  Cheffy judge enjoyed it, but would have preferred more of it made themselves.  Then he says what a good minestrone is, but says they didn’t get there with it and it was quite mediocre.  Tom says it was under seasoned and poor Christina is gutted.  Then Tania tells Christina she wants to give up and go home…honey how many times have you already quit the restaurant???  You’re going nowhere.

Strangely enough Tania goes back into the restaurant and they get on to making the main course.  One is going well, then they test the homemade pasta, but it’s too dry.  Well Christina you said it, you should have made it yourself and not left it to Tania.  So they use the fresh pasta that they buy.  Christina’s taking over and Tania’s telling her to put the steaks on and then Christina says “you cannot rush good food” oh honey all the others heard that comment.  She finally gets the steaks on while Tania starts plating up.  Holy heck that’s a lot of food mashed potato, steak, vegies, another steak and mushroom sauce all piled up on top of each other.

Main course is served and the others are in shock about two steaks on the plate and the portion size overall and aren’t really keen on the presentation of everything piled up.  Vanessa and Arin like the pasta, Liam wants to half the portion size and doesn’t want to lose his 28 inch waist, but Nols is happy with the portion size and thinks that Christina doesn’t want people to walk away hungry.

They come back for comments and Christina’s worried about the plates with half a meal left on them.  Tom comments on the steak and mushroom dish, bistecca Christina and says it was “absolutely bloody lovely” except it was too generous and slightly under seasoned.  Scott comments on the pasta and was pleasantly surprised, but would have liked a bit more chicken, but isn’t sure it is authentic Italian.  Tom asks if they make the pasta or buy it, thankfully Christina says it is fresh pasta that is bought in and Tom says not to be ashamed of that.

They go back into the kitchen to do dessert, the sticky date puddings look perfect when they’re out of the oven, but the apples are overcooked, holy heck girls focus already.  Conrad says that the desserts aren’t Italian and Liam wants to see the vanilla bean in the ice-cream as it says vanilla bean ice-cream, gee not half fussy.  They put the crumble onto the apples now that extra are made and it seriously looks like there are more crumbs than apple, oh my goodness me.  Now the butterscotch sauce.

They serve dessert.  Conrad’s worried about the ice-cream being in a ramekin and sitting in the butterscotch sauce, gee he’s hard to please.  Liam’s got my ration concerns about the apple crumble, I’m hearing you there mate.  Arin compares the sticky date pudding to a hockey puck.  Now Liam can’t see the vanilla speckle in the ice-cream.

They go back for comments, Tom comments on the apple crumble and he has my ratio problem as well.  Scott comments on the sticky date pudding, he says it’s heavy and steaming it might improve it.

Now everyone has to score on the food and the dining experience and have to write it and leave it in the bill folder…finally we see and hear Phillippe, we haven’t seen him for ages, there’s been no comments from him, well I guess Liam and Conrad have talked a lot!  Phillippe and Pascale give a 4, Conrad and Liam give a 4, Aaron and Vanessa give 4, Lozz and Nols give 4 and Emi and Marie give them 6.

They go back for the scores and Tania’s comment away from the others was that the main thing was that they didn’t quit, no comment required.  They get told the guest teams scored them 23/50 and Christina isn’t happy, she thinks it is embarrassing.  Scott comments on each dish, which we heard before basically but says the experience was fantastic, he gives them 5/10 for food and 7/10 for the experience and says the should be proud.  Tom talks about each dish as well then says how great it was to see Christina and Tania working together.  He scores 5/10 for the food and 8/10 for the experience.

So they get 48/90 for the total score.  Christina thinks the others gave them a low score because they feel threatened, yeah not likely hon!!

Next up is Phillippe and Pascal in Sydney.

Masterchef…

Now I know the finale was on the other night and yes I did watch it.

But, I watched it with a friend who decided they needed to come over and watch it and doesn’t really know much about the show.

So I couldn’t really sit there and type while they were on the other chair in the lounge room, so the post on the finale will have to wait until I re-watch bits of it and type it up.

Masterchef…semi-final

Tonight is the semi-final…or if you believe the ads part 1 of the final, but seriously there are three left and there is this episode and one other.  We have Georgia, Billie and Jessica and just putting it out there I would be happy for Georgia or Billie to win…I wouldn’t quite feel the same about Jessica, I just haven’t been a huge fan of hers at any stage through the competition, I’m not sure why, but I haven’t really connected with her cooking.

Oh look even Georgia says it is semi-final day when she first appears on camera.  Georgia says they each have to serve 20 people main course and dessert.

They walk into the Masterchef kitchen to see applause from Gary, Matt, George, Shannon and all the eliminated contestants.

So they were told last week what this challenge was so they could plan and prepare, and it’s not just 20 guests, it’s 20 guests and the 3 judges and they have to do it on their own.  They have an open pantry and four hours of prep time.  They’ll be judged on deliciousness and Shannon will be a guide and support for them in the kitchen.

Georgia and Billie are at their benches planning onto paper first, while Jessica runs into the pantry to get her ingredients.  Jessica’s doing a roast pork belly for her main course.  Georgia’s doing seafood for her main course with about a dozen different elements on the plate…holy heck!!  Billie’s doing braised shanks for her main along with lamb backstrap.

½ an hour is already gone, gee that went quick.  Jessica says she’s keeping her main simple and refined while her dessert is the more complex dish.

Billie starts making ice-cream for her dessert.  She’s doing a version of a spider drink, sounds interesting if you ask me.

An hour has now gone, only 3 hours left.  Georgia has started freaking out as she’s doing her fish, plus her hands are shaking which is having an impact on the fish.  She needs to take a deep breath and settle the hell down, Shannon tells her they’re not the best looking fillets he’s ever seen and she says she’s freaking out, oh honey we know that!!  Then Shannon asks about portion size, Georgia says she’s doing 80 grams, he says to do 120 grams as 80 grams is entrée size…oh dear, more fish to do.

Jessica starts on her dessert, she’s doing grapefruit and popcorn domes, um okay.  Shannon’s not sure about her dessert and wants to play devil’s advocate with less is more.

Shannon talks to Gary and George and says that he thinks Billie is showing what Masterchef is all about and that Georgia is struggling.  For dessert Georgia is doing a frozen dessert with a yoghurt parfait and a sorbet.

Billie is wanting to roll the meat into a cylinder, but it’s not rolling all that well…oh dear.  She changes her mind about the cylinder idea.  Then she remembers the roast rhubarb that she had in the oven, she burnt them, oh heck honey.  Go and get some more rhubarb.

Then Jessica realises that she’s burnt the crumb in her frypan…oh heck they’re all having trouble now!!!

90 minutes to go and Jessica says she’s going to redo the crumb and now she’s added popping candy into something, oh dear.

75 minutes to go and Billie’s stressing about how to plate the lamb because the cylinders won’t work, but then she thinks that it can be done in squares instead of circles.  Thankfully this time she remembers the rhubarb that was in the oven and gets it out in time.

One hour to go and Georgia’s listing off all the elements that she hasn’t done yet, include smoked trout bones mayonnaise…what the heck???

25 minutes to go and Jessica gets the pork out of the oven and is happy with how it looks, then she does a smoked yoghurt.

The guests start walking in with 15 minutes to go.  Billie is almost ready for service, she’s got her squares of meat ready and is a lot calmer than the other two appear to be.

Matt thanks the guests for coming, while Shannon is telling Georgia to be plating up as there are only 2 minutes to go.

Shannon calls the first dockets and the eliminated contestants are screaming, gee you would hate to want to dine in peace and Georgia’s still not ready and now thinks she’s over-complicated her main course.  Billie gets her first plates out, but the other two are a bit slower.  Jessica gets some plates out, but nothing from Georgia yet.

The judges get Billie’s main course, braised lamb and backstrap with peas and pear and mint puree, and they think it looks and smells beautiful and comment that it shows that she’s a country girl, but also shows how far she’s come.  Gary can only say “wow” to start with, he thinks it is absolutely delicious and he thinks she’s clever for how she’s done both bits of lamb.  George loves both bits of lamb.  Matt loves the whole dish and how the little things take it from mum’s lamb roast.

Finally Georgia has her first plates out, just as Billie gets her last four out…oh Georgia honey, I’m over hearing Shannon saying “come on Georgia!”  He keeps telling Georgia to hurry up and the poor love starts having a teary, plate the food already darling.  Bless her for saying she’s not going to give up or remove any elements, honey you’re wonderful.

The judges get Jessica’s main course, pork belly with smoked yoghurt shiso and poached quince.  George says she’s nailed it from a visual point of view.  Gary loves the crackling, no surprises there, I mean the man has social media accounts called crispy crackling.  He’s decided he’s eating the whole lot.  George is mesmerised by the dish.  Matt says she’s made the quinces savoury and it’s the best crackling he’s had in the competition.

Georgia’s got 12 plates to go when she realises that Billie and Jessica have finished serving their main courses.

The judges get Georgia’s main course, cured ocean trout with crispy skin, cucumber and apple.  Matt counts 11 elements on the plate before they taste it.  Matt says it is a technicolour explosion of a heap of different flavours.  Gary loves the balance of flavours in the dish.  George loves it because of the chefiness of it and the flavour.  Matt thinks it is amazing that one person was able to make that by themselves.

Billie is all set to pop the champagne for her dessert and Shannon does the tester and it looks seriously good and the eliminated contestants all yell and cheer.  Jessica starts taking her domes out and they have worked.

Georgia finishes serving main course and then has a panic because of how many elements she still has to do on her dessert.

Billie’s dessert goes out first to the judges, dill and rhubarb spider.  Matt says it looks amazing and is a spider and he’s excited before he tries it.  George just says “oh my gosh” and Matt says “oh my goodness,” no other words are required.  Gary says it is sensational.  George says it’s bought the spider up to date and they all think it is spectacular and Gary says it is an adults’ only dessert with the champagne in it.  George says if you got that at a restaurant you would want to meet the chef and say thank you.

Jessica’s dessert goes to the judges, grapefruit and popcorn, and we go to an ad break before any of them can comment, what more do we expect???  Matt says it looks amazing, Gary says it looks pretty.  George says she’s come a long way in terms of presentation, understatement there.  They smash open the dome to see what’s inside it, then they’re all surprised because it’s not what they expected.  Gary really loves it.  George says the popping candy is Heston like and yummy, but he can taste gelatine in the gel in the middle.  Matt thinks the sponge is a bit heavy for him and he questions if white chocolate, popcorn and grapefruit belong together.

Georgia’s on track for a change, bless her, she’s in a good space plating up her dessert.  Her dessert goes to the judges, mango sorbet with vanilla yoghurt parfait.  Matt says it smells amazing and looks beautiful, but it’s been hard watching Georgia and they can see the pressure on the plate.  Gary says the quenelles aren’t shiny and perfect as they should be.  George says that it is his favourite dessert because he’s got creamy, icy and crunchy in it and it is beautiful.  Matt loves it as well.  Gary says that it is very moreish.

The last of the plates go out and the girls hug and Shannon says they served 46 dishes each to 60 diners and the 3 judges in an hour and 15 minutes which is restaurant time.

Gary says that right now he can’t make a decision, he needs to really think about it.

When everyone’s gone the judges stand in front of the three girls and Gary says that the six dishes were the best they’ve ever tasted in the competition and they were well conceived, creative and delicious and all three of them would be fabulous finalists.

George tells Billie how amazing she is, not just in the kitchen, but as a person and that her lamb dish was his favourite of the three main courses and both her dishes were free of negatives and she’s into the grand final!!!  Thank god for that!!!!  Bless her she has a bit of a teary and she’s in complete shock, god love her.

Now it’s down to Georgia and Jessica for who is in the grand final and who is eliminated…and of course we’re off to an ad break.  Matt says it comes down to the food they cooked today, him and Gary thought that Jessica’s pork was the best main course of the day, but they questioned the gel and the sponge elements of her dessert.  With Georgia they thought there was so much going on with the main course but it was all in balance, but the rush was seen in her plating of her dessert.

Matt says it is the toughest decision they’ve had to make all season.  He says that deliciousness always wins out and Georgia is in the grand final because of how delicious her dessert was!!!!!!! Yes!!!  She’s in shock and crying and shaking and wants to throw up, oh honey take the moment for what it is!

Then Gary says a lot of lovely things about Jessica before telling her that it’s time to join the others and she asks for a hug first, then she races over to Sara who is crying as she hugs her.

God love that we know that Heston will be part of the grand final…we all know I love a bit of Heston!!

Masterchef…four becomes three pressure test

I’ll start this by saying that I read online before the episode that Masterchef accidently leaked who was eliminated a few hours before the episode.  The Masterchef people claim the facebook post was human error…no good removing it minutes later as a lot of people screenshot it and the newspapers all reported on it.

Billie, Jessica and Reynold are up for elimination and because Georgia’s safe she’s decided to cook them all breakfast, bless her.

They get to the kitchen and are met by Matt and George, Gary’s not there because he’s sick.

The chef coming in has numerous accolades that Matt lists, he’s also the highest ranking Australian chef and has the number 10 restaurant in the world, Brett Graham from The Ledbury in London.  He says the dish he’s bought in has broken a number of chefs in the past.  They have to recreate his flame grilled benito with pickled cucumber, Celtic mustard and shiso.  It has avocado puree, pickled cucumber, cucumber jelly that is in a roll with various things and the fish.  Reynold says the fish will either make him or break him…yep it’s that simple.

So they have 2 hours to make the dish and 5 minutes at the end of cook the fish and plate up.  Jessica starts off by drawing what the dish looked like so she could use it later on, the others don’t.  Billie looks through the ingredients and sees they’ve only been given one fish.  She starts gutting her fish.  George asks if Reynold sketched the dish, he says it is in his head and George likes that he’s confident.  Reynold’s grateful he did fish at The Press Club so he has half an idea of how to do it today.

Brett and George are watching Jessica fillet her fish and says she done a brave move with the way she’s done it.  Billie’s feeling frazzled while filleting her fish, especially with Brett and George watching.  Reynold’s filleted his fish and seems happy with it.

Next they make the picked cucumber and Jessica cuts it the same way that Brett did.  The cucumber goes into a vacuum bag with picking liquid.  Reynold has kind of forgotten how the wedges looked, the image in his head is blurry and he’s now regretting not drawing the dish before…oh well too late now.

30 minutes are down…Billie’s still working on her fish and hasn’t started on her cucumber yet, oh honey get a wriggle on, Georgia’s on the balcony and she’s worried about Billie finishing the dish.

Reynold’s now making the cucumber jelly and he’s happy with how it looks and feels comfortable making it.  Brett comments on how good it looks.  Then he gets on to the avocado.  Jessica’s done her cucumber jelly and is doing the avocado puree, she thinks she’s done it well, then Brett comes and tastes it and says that it is very nice.

Jessica then starts on the dressing, while Billie’s finally got her cucumber into the pickling bag while making the jelly and chopping up avocado.  Jessica gets the charcoal onto the stove and puts the fish bones on the steamer to smoke.  Then gets onto the rest of the dressing.  Reynold gets on to the dressing, he decides to grate the garlic on the microplane instead of slicing it like the recipe says and Brett and Matt notice.

Billie’s onto putting the fish bones on to smoke, while Brett and Matt go and taste Jessica’s dressing and they nod to each other, but she is too busy chopping to notice.

Half an hour to go and Billie’s dressing as boiled and she goes to grab the smoked bones.  Oh no…Billie realises that she hasn’t had her burner on and her stuff hasn’t been smoking.

Jessica gets onto the tartare rolls with have fish, cucumber and avocado and dressing.  The outside of the roll is cucumber jelly.  Reynold gets onto his tartare rolls and he’s not stressing as much as Jessica about making them.

Jessica gets onto making the crispy shallots, so does Reynold.  Billie’s now onto the tartare rolls.

5 minutes to go and Jessica starts plating up and grabs out the drawing she did earlier.  Billie gets her shallots out but they’re too dark and taste bitter, so she tries again with mere minutes to go.  Reynold starts plating up but didn’t do a drawing and is regretting not having a picture, but is happy with how he is going.  Billie’s shallots are ready with 2 minutes to go.  Reynold says he’s done and Georgia asks where the pickled cucumber is so he puts it on, but he can’t remember how much needs to be on the plate and puts two pieces on with seconds to go.

Time is up and Reynold goes over to Billie’s bench and sees that there should have been only one piece of pickled cucumber on the plate.

Billie cooks her fish and chars the skin then finishes plating up before taking her dish into the judges.  The judges all comment that the dish needs more dressing on it.  They think the fish is cooked beautifully.

Jessica is next.  She cooks her fish, but it stills to the rack it was on while she was charring the skin and of course we go to an ad break before we know if she gets it off without breaking it.  Oh dear, she tore the skin.  George is excited about the pool of dressing, even though it has the tore skin.  Matt says it looks like all her food, a little bit messy and a little bit chaotic, but you know the flavour will be there.  Matt loves the sauce, he’s moaning and groaning about it.

Last up is Reynold.  He starts cooking his fish and even though the recipe says to only cook it skin down he flips it over for a few seconds.  Then some of the skin sticks to the rack.  They notice the skin that’s come off and that there are two bits of cucumber.  The judges talk about the cooking of the fish and they notice that it was cooked on both sides.  George loved the jelly and how fine it was.

Decision time…Matt says there was one detail that they couldn’t overlook, Reynold’s fish was overcooked and dry and he has been eliminated!!  Bugger I liked him.  George says amazing things about him and poor Reynold starts crying.  George asks him how many desserts he’s made in the Masterchef kitchen and he thinks it’s been 15.  George says it’s been 27 and he shouldn’t matter if he can’t cook fish perfectly, because his desserts are absolutely amazing and that he’s the best pastry cook they’ve ever had in Masterchef and he has to walk out of their with his head held high and bless him Reynold’s having a teary.  Oh George all that was just a tad too sweet!!!

Masterchef…The Press Club challenge.

Now I’ll start this by saying I was out for dinner at the local pub while this was on and watching it there, so I’ve re-watched it as we were talking the whole way through it, but there were some interesting comments made while we were watching it that I will add during this, admittedly we really started paying attention when the food was being served.

So the contestants arrive at The Press Club Projects, which is where George tests ideas for his restaurant The Press Club before they go onto the menu and he says that he’s handing the keys to The Press Club over to the four contestants and Georgia wants to faint and is terrified.  They’re cooking George’s food, in George’s kitchen for 35 of the best chefs and restaurateurs from Australia, but George will be in the kitchen with them.

The person who makes the best dish is straight into the semi-final, the other three are through to elimination.  They’re cooking a four course menu of dishes that are currently on The Press Club menu and they’ll do a course each.  Course 1 is a green Greek salad and they have to make one of the breads.  Course 2 is whiting cooked in lamb fat and they’ll make the second bread.  Course 3 is an onion and leek dish that is served with lamb skewer.  Course 4 is dessert and is George’s version of a crème brulee served with a snow made in liquid nitrogen.

Jessica’s advantage is to pick which course she wants to do.  She decides on course 3, the lamb dish.  The other three decide through a knife pull.  Georgia picks first, then Billie, then Reynold last.  Georgia chooses the salad, Billie chooses the dessert, leaving Reynold with the fish course.  Billie says she chose the dessert because of how hard it was when she did it in the Marco service challenge.

There are 4½ hours of prep time before service starts.  George takes them into The Press Club kitchen and they each have the dish they’re cooking in front of them and the recipe and he tells them they have to go like the clappers.

Jessica starts on the lamb belly.  Reynold’s feeling under pressure about cooking the fish and George says it is the day for Reynold to prove something.  Reynold gets the treacle bread dough on, then gets on to the whiting.  Georgia gets on to her Easter bread dough.  Billie gets on to making tuile, she has them ready, but the tray is too big for the oven…oh well, time to do them again.

God love George in the kitchen, yelling and screaming and a lot of “Yes George” being said.  Reynold’s working rather slowly on the fish, he has to gut, scale and pin bone the fish.  Georgia starts on kale puree but it’s just water coming through the sieve, so she blends it more and it works.

Two hours down and Reynold is still working on the fish.  Jessica’s up to step 10 out of 53 and she’s starting to freak out.  Billie’s made ganache and starts whipping it, but is splits.  So she has to make another one, but it has to be in the fridge for an hour.

90 minutes to go and finally Reynold’s gutted and scaled the 20 fish, but he hasn’t filleted or pin-boned them.  George tells him not to worry about falling behind and to move and gives him a pep talk.  He starts making the black garlic puree.  Jessica starts on the fondant potatoes as well as the leek cannelloni which are filled with chicken mousse.  She has to do 40 cannelloni, but she only has enough mousse to do about 30, so George tells her to make more mousse.

One hour until service and Georgia has to go and get the herbs for her salad and goes over to the community garden at Federation Square and she runs there and back.  Reynold’s back to his fish and he’s struggling to fillet it.

Guests start to arrive upstairs and George says there are 15 minutes to go until service starts.  The contestants freak when they see who some of the guests are.  Somehow Jessica manages to scrape out chicken mousse enough to fill 37 cannelloni which is enough for the 35 diners and the 2 judges.

George says that when the dockets come in he wants Georgia to get the salad to the pass in four minutes.  Service starts plating the first of the salads.  George tells her that they look spectacular and if they all look like that he will love her.  Georgia is loving the pressure.

Billie goes back to her second lot of ganache and starts whipping it and it has worked this time.

Georgia’s dish is taken to the judges “monokhromos’ green Greek salad with kale puree…I’ll say our comments when watching it was that it looked pretty good and we would want to try it.  Gary says it looks beautiful and it is almost identical to George’s.  Gary thinks she has done well.  The guests all love it as well.

Georgia also made tsoureki.

George tells Reynold that it’s time for the fish soon and George says that Reynold may need to ask for some help from one of the others and Billie starts to help him with pin boning the fish then gets back to her dessert.  Jessica is also stressing about not having enough time and is starting to get overwhelmed.

Reynold is plating up the first of his whiting.  The fish is covered with lamb fat on both sides before cooking and Reynold’s stressing about cooking the fish perfectly.  The first plates go out and oh dear one of the guests sends his back because the fish is undercooked.  George just says to get another one and fix the problem.  The judges get the dish, ‘the whiting that wants to be lamb tzatzizi’…our comments were along the lines of what the heck and that it looked pretty good and when the first one went out raw one of the comments was “brother boy there better keep a better eye on that damn fish, he can’t be sending it out like that”.  Gary says it’s not as sharp, clean and shiny as George’s dish.  Matt says the finer details aren’t perfect.  Gary loves the black garlic and the yoghurt together and there isn’t enough lamb fat on it.

Reynold also made treacle bread.

Time for Jessica to start service and she’s having a teary.  Georgia says she’ll help her once she’s cleaned up.  She starts freaking out completely and says she can’t cook everything and plate everything.  One of our comments at the time was “gee sister girl’s already crying, just cook the damn food already girl”.  George says there are smiles from the customers and that’s what it’s about and she’s still having a moment while cooking and George and Georgia are helping her with George doing all the plating.  Then two of the leek cannelloni end up on the floor and she doesn’t have any spare…oh heck!!  We were saying that we knew she needed extras.  She tells George she doesn’t have any spare, he tell her to make the decision of what to do, cut them in half or not serve them, but she has to explain to the customers.  So off she goes to tell them that they have half leek cannelloni on their plate and amazingly she doesn’t cry in front of them.  George is proud because she stood up to them and tells her that she picked the hardest dish.  She gets back to the last of the dishes and Georgia keeps supporting her and plating up and George is still on his little pep rally.  The judges get the dish ‘the devil’s footsteps’ lamb with potato and leeks.  Gary says the onion is delicious as it the lamb, but he’s not keen on the fondant potato which needed another 15-20 minutes.  Matt loves the lamb and the onion puree and thinks if there were one or two less elements she would have done an amazing job.

Billie’s time to step up and she’s already plating the first desserts before George calls for them.  Then she asks for the liquid nitrogen and she’s worried because she’s never used it before.  She puts on the goggles and gloves and starts making the snow.  She gets through service quite easily.  The judges get the dish, crème brulee a la grecque with commandaria snow.  While we were watching one of the others was all over the joint about the liquid nitrogen as they’d never seen it used with food before, but they were quickly impressed.  Then when they saw the tuile melted at the table we were all excited about the dish.  Matts says it looks amazing and Gary says he had no problem finishing it at all.  Gary says the only thing was the mascarpone cream was slightly heavy, but that’s a small thing.

Service is over and George gives all the contestants a beer and that even though he doesn’t drink beer he’s having one with them because he needs it as well.

Decision time…Gary says it was an unforgettable experience for all four of the contestants.  George says about how great it was to see Georgia and Billie help Jessica.  Matt says that Reynold and Jessica are into the elimination…our comments at the time were along the lines of “f… me dead, sister girl’s crying again, she’s got to stop that crying already”.  Then says that every table said the entrée and dessert were the stand out dishes of the day.  Matt says they loved one dish slightly more than the other, it was sweet, salty, a little acidic, but it was also still very very green and Georgia’s in shock when he says that Georgia has won the challenge and is through to the semi final.

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