The Hotplate…grand final

Nothing like a bit of dramatic music to start the show, with a red carpet entry for the two teams that are competing in the grand final.

Then a bit of a recap of all the teams and the competition so far.  Finally we hear they have 4 hours to cook the 4 courses and they’ll be judged only by Tom, Scott and Guillaume with scores out of 10.

Vanessa goes on to say that they want to win for their son, which is all good until Marie gets all teary and says she wants to win because she’s pregnant with a little girl and Vanessa all worried about Marie now and tells her to take it easy.

Emi and Marie are doing a crab chawanmushi appetiser, which is a Japanese egg custard, and a smoked eel teriyaki for entrée, for main they’re doing duck breast with kombu broth and a Bird’s nest matcha mess dish for dessert, a take on Eton mess.

Aron and Vanessa are doing smoked salmon mousse with dill for appetiser, prawn ravioli with shellfish cream and butter poached marron for entree, venison with sweetbreads for main and caramel parfait with peanut dacquoise for dessert.

The other contestants arrive all frocked up and yes Tania is wearing leopard print and then Marie tells them she’s pregnant and Phillippe asks Vanessa if she has any news and she tells him her and Aron might start practising after tonight.

They start cooking and Vanessa is struggling to use the machines and isn’t sure what she’s doing because she can’t find anything…strangely enough the butter would be in the fridge hon.  You shouldn’t need to ask your husband where it is.  Then she gets on his back because he’s taking too long, bless him for telling her that it’s her fault because he’s having to help her.

Marie gets the chawanmushi on and halfway through the cooking time they’re not set at all and doesn’t want to tell Marie, but of course Marie notices that Emi’s panicking and tries to get her to settle down and then they start talking in Japanese, thank God for subtitles!!  Then she realises she didn’t put enough eggs, there’s 30 minutes to go, get a new mixture on honey, they cook for 20 minutes, make a decision and make it now!!  Batch number 2 gets into the steamer and they’re panicking about cooking 10 at once instead of the normal 6, oh well time is of the essence.

Aron and Vanessa make a green chive oil and then get onto some fried potato bits to use as garnish.  10 minutes to go and amazingly Emi’s chawanmushi is setting.  Aron and Vanessa get on with the plating, they cut out a pretty circle of salmon mousse and then start fluffing about.  Emi and Marie top the chawanmushi with spanner crab, roe, white seaweed and some stock, then they realise they haven’t added shallots on them.

Time is up then Emi and Marie’s husbands walk through the door, followed by Aron’s mum and sister.  They run over and hug, hug, kiss, kiss and then race back to serve the food to the three judges that are sitting in their own private little room away from the others.  I think Christina’s palate was overly confused by the chawanmushi because of the crab being in the egg custard.  Tom rattles off a lot of adjectives about how great the chawanmushi is, Guillaume says how perfectly cooked it was and they set the bar high for the next dish and Scott loves it.  Phillippe enjoys the salmon mousse, Conrad thinks it is elegant, but says the chawanmushi was exquisite and is sitting on the fence.  Scott thought the mousse was fantastic, Guillaume wanted some more smokiness in the mousse and wanted his palate excited…I think he was channelling Christina.

Aron and Vanessa start on the entrée, with Aron working on a shellfish cream and poor Vanessa struggles to get the Thermomix going.  Then Aron goes on about having an Italian heritage and gets onto making a pasta which Christina and Tania love no end.  Christina is struggling that Emi and Marie are using foods that aren’t familiar with her palate, oh honey suck it up and move on.  Then she stresses because they’ve bought pre-smoked eel and they’re adding more smokiness to it.

The judges are talking about the entrees and Scott’s worried that Aron and Vanessa are using too much seafood in their dish.  Then he starts on preparing the marron and Vanessa bless her says that marron rhymes with Aron and then freaks about the poop chute while he’s pulling it out and asks what it is.  The judges talk about Emi and Marie’s entrée and wonder if it will be done over charcoal on the special grill.  Oh yes, Marie has her white charcoal and then puts the eel over the coals and next thing you know there is smoke going everywhere!!!  With a minute to go they’re plating madly and Aron is straining the shellfish cream over each plate.  Marie is sounding like a broken record repeating everything, which makes Emi notice how stressed Marie is, honestly each line is said over and over and over and over and over and over again.

They take the dishes to the judges and Marie’s not feeling confident after seeing the dish that Aron and Vanessa cooked.  Liam’s comment on Aron and Vanessa’s dish is “this selfish queen loves the shellfish queen” and Phillippe compares it to a first kiss.  Guillaume says that Aron showed technique and knowledge with how well the marron was cooked, but he wanted bread to scrape up the sauce.  Scott goes on about Aron’s “noona”…mate it’s nonna, not noona…but anyway.  The judges taste Emi and Marie’s dish and the music goes up and up.  Then we see the husbands who are over excited.  Christina thinks it’s too dry, Lozz liked the eel and now Liam is being the fence-sitter for the first time and isn’t happy about it.  Scott loved the salad and thought it cut through the eel, but his eel was overcook and a touch dry for him…only a few mere seconds though, but honestly how can you tell it’s a few seconds dry.  Tom says that the eel was great, but the ravioli was perfection.

They get onto main and poor Nols cops the wrath of the conversation as Aron and Vanessa are cooking venison rare and sweetbreads…in other words Bambi and offal…but he’s not worried about Nols.  Marie gets the duck onto the coals to grill it and says when once she starts she won’t be able to talk for a while…well that’s a bonus right now.  Then there’s smoke everywhere and Aron and Vanessa can’t even see Emi and Marie on the other side of the kitchen.  Finally they’re into the oven so the smoke settles down.  Then Aron gets onto cooking the venison and he says he’s never cooked it before…honestly why not practise before.  Emi and Marie add Japanese artichoke to their pan of vegies, but they say it looks like witchetty grubs, and they say it won’t be to Christina’s palate.  Then they add some lichen which can only picked off a cliff once a year and only grow a millimetre a year.  Aron’s trying to cook sweetbreads and oil goes everywhere, onto his face and all over Vanessa.  Then bless her she keeps saying they’re cooking veal, he keeps saying venison, but she’s too stressed to remember that it’s venison.  Marie’s cutting the duck, but her hand seizes up, she had arthritis in it and it’s making it almost impossible to cut the duck.  Vanessa’s too busy yelling at Aron to hurry up with a few minutes to go and she’s left to plating while he’s got 6 pans on the go.  She asks if it looks okay on the plate and he doesn’t even look over, she thinks it’s like when she asks him how she looks, well honey you should be used to it.

Time is up and Aron’s worried about how Emi and Marie’s dish looks.  Emi and Marie take their dish in and they feel super-confident and pleased with how they did.  Naturally enough there’s some Japanese music playing while the judges pour their broth and try their duck.  Emi and Marie’s husbands love the dish.  Nols loves the dish and Conrad is completely in awe.  As for Liam he’s lost for words, but can’t stop talking, “there’s a traffic jam of superlatives in my mouth and I can’t stop choking” and that’s just about the broth.  Scott thinks the duck was cooked perfectly, Guillaume loved the vegetables.  Tom says the first taste of the broth was too salty, then it took over his mouth and changed and it rendered his speechless, which Scott says it didn’t…he’s as speechless as Liam was.  They all try the venison and Aron’s mother comments that Vanessa has stepped up and Nols is looking for a bit of cooked venison, but her palate isn’t coping.  Scott says the venison was cooked to perfection, Guillaume said the sweetbread was missing the wow factor.

The teams get on to making dessert.  Marie gets onto making a yuzu curd for it.  As for Aron and Vanessa they’ve got it all made because Vanessa worked on it earlier, so they have to plate it up.  But then they can’t work out how to cut the parfait or the dacquoise.  Vanessa just wants Aron to hurry up and tells him to shut up…gee honey take a breath already.  Emi puts dragon fruit jam on the plate, the cream, then yuzu curd, then strawberries, then they put matcha powder and Marie keeps telling Emi to not put too much on there.  Aron decides to put chocolate on top of the dessert, he melted it and put it on acetate, but it keeps breaking while he’s getting it off after cutting it in circles, so he decides to shave it and now thinks it looks incredible and sexy…umm I like chocolate but don’t think it looks sexy on anything.

Time is up and they’re all relieved, especially Vanessa.  Emi and Marie take their dessert to the judges and are worried that their dessert is rather simple.  Aron and Vanessa take their dessert in and think it is the best dish they’ve cooked so far.  Emi and Marie’s dish is tasted first and Nols loves it and goes on about the lemon curd, Liam thinks it is elegant and loves a hot mess…oh bless him.  Tom loves the think wafers of meringue and Scott thinks it is miles ahead of some of the other desserts Emi and Marie have done, but didn’t get the jam, Guillaume wanted to see more risk.  Aron and Vanessa’s dessert is tried and personally I don’t think it looks sexy at all.  Phillippe liked the parfait, but says he won’t talk about the dacquoise after saying it’s sticky…oh Phillippe.  Christina thinks it’s like a deconstructed snickers bar and is set to inhale it.  Tom says it was on the brink of being totally sweet, Guillaume liked the dacquoise.

Scoring time…just get on with it, the show’s already been going for nearly 2 hours…but no, they start with talking about all of the dishes to the two teams first and Tom nearly gives Marie a heart attack straight up, she’s pregnant mate, settle back on the heart attack moments for her.  They speak for almost ten minutes and then go to an ad break…just give us the scores already, I’m over waiting.

After what seems like the longest ad break in history we get back to the show.  Aron and Vanessa get 7/10 from Guillaume, they get 8/10 from Tom and 9/10 from Scott giving them 24/30 and bless her Marie is the first to say well done to them.

Emi and Marie get 9/10 from Tom, they get 8/10 from Guillaume putting them on 17…they need an 8 or more to win.  They get 9/10 from Scott and win on 26/30!!!  Thank goodness for that!!!

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The Hotplate…second grand finalist decided.

Lozz and Nols are cooking tonight, and it will either be them or Aron and Vanessa into the grand final against Emi and Marie.

Nols is a tad over-excited, hugging Lozz and hugging the apprentice when they walk into the kitchen.  They’re doing poached rhubarb and an ice-cream for one dessert and Nols starts by whinging straight up about being over, for goodness sake honey, you’ve only been working for a couple of minutes.  Then she starts sooking over never being said by the others as a team that might win…no offence honey, but your food needs to be amazing for you to win!!

The other dessert is a crème de menthe tart with Chambord granita and I’m wondering why it’s got a heap of marshmallows in it…ummmmm okay I believe it for now, mind you they’re two big tarts.

The first entrée is pipis, clams and prawn veloute, well we are at a seafood restaurant.  The other entrée is a poached crayfish salad and Scott wanting to taste salt water, not rinsed crayfish and Nols has to run the cooked crayfish to the ice to cool them.

The mains they are doing are a sesame crusted marlin and a snapper bouillabaisse…well the bouillabaisse may be interesting with Phillippe and Pascal trying it.

The others start to arrive and of course Tania is in a leopard print top again and Liam thinks he’s overdressed, as he always does.  Then with a couple of minutes until their 3 hours is up Lozz realises she hasn’t made the oyster mousse and starts majorly stressing and freaking poor Nols out, honey take a breath already.  Liam comments they’ve got the relaxed dinner, while the others will be majorly stressing and that Aron’s undies will be wound up tighter than Miss Piggy’s spanks…oh snap darling!!

Lozz is trying to be a little bit fancy by making an edible sand with potato, panko crumbs and herbs, as you do when you want to look flash.  Mind you the others are worried about the crayfish salad as it has a “secret sauce”…well that might be interesting, or not…then Lozz decides to add the crayfish roe and Nols is not liking that idea at all.  But amazingly, her palate likes the sauce.  Then they try to cut the crayfish fancier than normal and Nols is struggling as it’s falling apart, but won’t let Lozz take over.

The others are talking and Aron finds out it was Nols that had the poop chute left in the prawn at his restaurant and he mentions the bones he had in the fish at their place last time…god I hope something happens tonight.  Then poor Conrad is in complete shock that neither Christina or Tania know what pipis are…oh dear, save them all.

Lozz and Nols serve entrée and Aron thinks they look really good and is starting to worry, even Conrad thinks it looks amazing and the pipis look elegant…wow I’m impressed that he’s so impressed.  Oh dear, Aron thinks the secret sauce tastes just like thousand island sauce and Marie notices Aron and Vanessa picking the dish to shreds…no surprises there.  Conrad labels his entrée as the entrée of the competition so far and all Christina can say is “Wow, wow, wow.”

Tom loves the seafood in his entrée, he thought the sand was okay.  Scott thought the poached crayfish salad looked amazing and the crayfish was cooked perfectly, but the sauce lacked depth and it needed seasoning.  Then they get told that Conrad thought it was the best entrée so far and both Lozz and Nols are completely shocked.

They get onto main and star steaming the snapper and check on the bouillabaisse broth.  Bless Phillippe for telling us how a bouillabaisse should be, I’m not sure it will be quite like that tonight.  Lozz crumbs the marlin, then cooks it and we find out she’s never cooked it before…oh dear, I see a problem happening.  Plus of course she’s not overly familiar with corn puree either and hope it’s smooth enough…I have to say it looks great on the black plate.  Conrad gets the snapper in bouillabaisse broth because it is literally just fish in the broth, with no mussels on the dish, which of course Lozz realises and she decides to cook them and send them out separately and apologise for forgetting them.  Nols bless her goes to Christina and Conrad and says “we had a disaster in the kitchen and forgot the mussels,” honey you could have said it in a better way.

They take the dishes to the main table and straight up Vanessa comments that the puree is too lump and then Aron says the snapper is dry and Vanessa yet again wants salt, salt, salt and Aron thinks the mussel is raw while he’s eating it…oh I love a bit of drama.  Phillippe liked the snapper, but not the bouillabaisse broth as it needed seasoning.  Then Vanessa goes on about how she’s glad the dishes weren’t perfect, but feels sorry for Lozz because she’s been trying hard…honey, honey, honey I’m confused.

Tom says the snapper looked great and the fish was perfectly cooked, but then says that one of his mussels was totally raw and still had the beard attached…holy heck!!!  Then he compares the bouillabaisse broth to a ladylike damsel in distress as opposed to a dirty rough pirate and of course there was no seasoning…gee very descriptive.  Scott loved how the marlin looked, he wanted a smoother puree, but the marlin was cooked perfectly.

They get onto dessert and Christina talks about her days in the 70’s when she was drinking grasshoppers, then talks about hotpants and somehow  next thing you know Christina is saying that if it is the best dessert of the competition she’ll wear hotpants to the grand final…holy mother of god, say it isn’t so.  Then for some reason Lozz decides to make a deep fried custard as part of the rhubarb and ice-cream dessert.

Dessert goes out to the table and of course Aron’s not keen on it, the quinelle of ganache isn’t perfect and the ganache isn’t smooth enough.  Surprisingly Vanessa enjoyed her dessert, but it wasn’t at the same level as the dessert she made in her mind.  Tom enjoyed the ice-cream and thought the rhubarb was perfectly cooked.  Scott wasn’t keen on the dense whipped ganache, but enjoyed the tart even though he doesn’t like crème de menthe and says it would have been perfect if it was just the tart and granita and not the whipped ganache.

Conrad, Liam, Christina and Tania say goodbye to Lozz and Nols and it’s time for the other teams to score them.  Emi and Marie give them a 6.  Phillippe and Pascal give them a 6 and Aron and Vanessa give them a 6 as well.  So that already gives them 18…but we have to go to the hangar for the final verdict and scores, why they can’t just tell them is beyond me…and of course there’s an ad break first as well.

We’re in the hangar and Lozz and Nols need to beat 71.  They get 8 from the other diners, 18 from the other contestants, putting them on 26.  Tom scores them 21, putting them on 47, they need 25 to get into the grand final.  Scott scores them 21, giving them a total of 68.

So the grand final is Emi and Marie against Aron and Vanessa.  For the grand final they have to cook 4 dishes in 4 hours and the winner gets the $100,000.

The Hotplate…the first grand finalist is decided…

Aron and Vanessa are cooking.  They’re doing a wallaby ragu for entrée with ricotta gnocchi…oh dear Tom’s never had wallaby before…and then poor Vanessa is crumbing something and Aron is taking over and carrying on about how she’s crumbing because she doesn’t have one wet hand and one dry hand and he can’t cope with that.

Then they start on a pea foam, which concerns Tom no end and Scott’s stressing about pork jowl…whatever the heck that is…oh we learn that it’s pork cheek and of course Aron’s never cooked with it before, honestly mate haven’t you heard of don’t try something new when you’re cooking for guests????

For dessert they’re doing poached pears and a chocolate mousse and Vanessa goes on about her natural cooking ability before pouring cream all over the bench and then asking if a teaspoon is smaller than a tablespoon…oh hell!!!  Then she tries to double 1&3/4…and struggles but somehow she came top of the state in maths, I kid you not!!!

The other dessert is a raspberry crème brulee tart, the tart shells look, but I can’t say the same about the raspberry that she’s putting into it, then she attempts to put the crème brulee in there.  Aron’s peeling prawns for the other entrée and poor Vanessa’s not going anywhere near them, bless her.

The other contestants arrive and god love her Tania’s in a leopard skin frock, oh honey how I love you in a good leopard skin frock.  Then Phillippe is a real gentlemen and pulls out the seat for one of the ladies…oh darling you are too sweet.  Christina tells Conrad and Liam to hurry up to the VIP naughty table, of course Conrad isn’t having that…he’s calling it the VIP table…are we surprised??? No of course not!!!  But Liam is impressed with the pretentious feeling in the restaurant, it’s his kind of air…oh honey.

God love Nols when Aron says they’re serving wallaby…she looks worried, I’m more worried about Christina’s palate when it comes to that, I’m thinking she won’t have that…strangely enough Nols orders the prawns instead of the wallaby and Christina and Tania hope it’s not wallaby on the menu and Liam tells Christina there’s no wallaby on the coat of arms, so there’s no excuse for her not to eat it.  Turns out 16 people ordered the wallaby and 14 ordered the prawns.  Lozz still thinks that her entrees will be better…darling I can’t wait to see you cook next.  Scott makes the fatal mistake of asking Lozz how much planning she’s put into this round and she turns on the waterworks and says how stressed she is and tired she is, oh honey, we’re not falling for that!!

Entrée goes out and they look spectacular, even Liam is impressed!!!  It’s all seeming good until Tom pulls something out of his mouth and we go to an ad break…damn!!!  Turns out it was a little bone…oh no.  Phillippe and Pascal both love the gnocchi.  Christina loves the prawns and then Lozz has a poop chute in her prawn!!!!!!  Tom says the gnocchi was almost prefect, then he says about the bone and says he still doesn’t know what wallaby tastes like.  Scott asks about the broth for the prawns and it’s based on chicken stock, Scott wanted more bollocks in it, then Scott mentions the poop chute in someone else’s prawns and poor Aron is devastated, well of course he should be.

While they’re waiting Christina and Tania are discussing Liam’s outfit and the poor bugger wishes he was deaf.  Meanwhile in the kitchen everything seems to be going well…until the pea foam is put on the plate, it looks good for a minute or so then starts to collapse.

Mains get taken out…and Marie thinks the dish she’s gotten looks a lot like hers, right down to the dark plate.  But all the people eating the pork aren’t overly keen on it…too much fat, not enough meat.  Scott asks how often they’ve cooked pork jowl and Aron’s stressing when he says he’s never cooked it before, then Scott goes into a story about how it took him 12 months to learn how to cook it, Aron’s stressing more and more and wants to hide under a chair…but of course there’s an ad break.  But then Scott tells Aron that it was sensational and that it’s not to everyone’s palate…oh where is Christina???  Then Scott tells Aron that he did push himself and should be proud of himself.  Tom on the other side wasn’t expecting the herb crust how it was, but it just about paid off and he loved the fried fetta and asked about the foam and wonders if it was a pure foam and thankfully he doesn’t like pure foam.

For dessert they’re hollowing the pears, crusting them with hazelnuts and then filling them with the mousse…mmmm yum, yes thanks I’ll have one of them.  Then Aron’s starting melting the sugar on the brulee tart and of course Phillippe’s been making crème brulee forever and a day, but of course Pascal is wanting warm custard in the tart and not cold custard.  I think they look great, but Liam’s not liking how excited Vanessa looks, his words are “she looks as excited as I do when I find one sock in the washing machine”…I never would have guessed he did his own shopping.  Nols thinks the pear dessert is perfect and most of them think the fennel biscotti brings the dish together and Pascal is ready to hug and spoon the crème brulee…oh this is going to a whole new level of weirdness.

Scott tells them that every element of the pear dessert was spectacular and Vanessa’s in shock and almost teary…oh bless her.  But of course he wanted more crème anglaise.  Tom says that the crème brulee tart was the best dessert that he’s eaten in the competition and Scott asks if Vanessa is the secret weapon!!!

Scoring time…so far Emi and Marie are on 79, Phillippe and Pascal are on 63.  They scored an average of 8/10 from the other diners and they got 20/30 from the other teams, so they’re on 28 so far.  Tom scores them 22/30, so they’re on 50…they get 21/30 from Scott giving them 71.

Emi and Marie are through to the grand final!!!  Whilst Phillippe and Pascal are out of the competition…oh how I will miss Phillippe’s cooking!

Next up is Lozz and Nols and it is either them or Aron and Vanessa into the grand final!!! Bring it on!!!

The Hotplate…elimination…Italian vs French

For the elimination we have Phillippe and Pascal up against Christina and Tania and Phillippe is feeling honoured as well as terrified about cooking for Guillaume…oh bless him.

The three ingredients they have to feature are pork, fennel and almonds and of course Christina knows nothing about fennel, oh he palate won’t be enjoying that and Tania’s freaking out about dessert after the salt saga from the last time that she cooked.

Christina’s off to a bad start cooking the entrée and cuts both thumbs while cutting fennel for a fennel puree.  With 1 minute to go they’re plating their barramundi and puree but dear Tania thinks the barramundi is mushy and the puree isn’t fine enough and is too lumpy.  Christina gets over the top and frantic and then tells Tania to shut up…ummmm mother dear are you seeing a pot or kettle anywhere???

Phillippe and Pascal are doing a salad that has black pudding amongst other things.

Entrée is served…Christina and Tania go in with their grilled barramundi and fennel puree with fennel and orange salad.  Phillippe and Pascal go in with Salade Paysanne with seasonal vegetables, black pudding and speck.  As for Christina and Tania’s dish, Tom liked the puree as did Guillaume, Lozz loved the whole dish.  Tom wasn’t keen on the fish…or in his words “it wasn’t awful, but it was slightly overcooked and not seasoned”…such a polite way of putting it.  Scott thinks it’s scary that the puree is the star of the dish and not the fish.  As for Phillippe and Pascal’s salad Marie loves it, while dear old Aron feels like a rabbit with all the salad and he can’t decide between two mediocre entrees.  Tom thinks it was “a very respectable offering”…oh sounds like he could be a royal.  Scott thinks it needed a bit of fine tuning.  Guillaume enjoyed it.

They start on main…Christina and Tania are doing crumbed pork chops with peperonata.  Tania’s going on about thinking of someone when she’s bashing the pork…mmmm I think mummy dearest is in the line.  Phillippe and Pascal are doing pork fillet with braised vegetables and mustard sauce and they’re sautéing some brussel sprouts, but they even separate the leaves…gee they’re getting fancy.  Tania’s crumbing the pork chops, but of course Christina carries on about being too busy to check them…which means she’ll have a sook later on.

Phillippe and Pascal get a go on the tart base for their dessert and get the base into the oven, while Christina’s screaming on Tania to “cook those porks,” Tania bless her has a good laugh and Christina puts oil into the pan that already has butter in it.  Pascal checks on the ice-cream and he’s worried because it’s really runny, but Phillippe’s not worried…until he says he doesn’t think it will set.  Pascal decides to have a crack at the anglaise and thinks he can do it better than his dad…oh bless him I hope he can.  Christian’s still screaming about the cutlets, Tania fries them and puts them in the oven…anything to shut her mother up.  Christina has already cooked the broccolini in water and now has them in a frypan…honey, it’s a green vegie, and it doesn’t need to be fried.  5 minutes to go and Phillippe and Pascal are plating, but they forgot about the brussel sprouts and speck until 2 minutes to go.  Now Christina wants the Italian flag on the plate…red from peperonata, white from the pork and green from the broccolini…oh honey seriously, it does not look spectacular to say the least, especially with the peperonata in a little dish on the plate.

The judges try Christina and Tania’s dish first…amazing with the other contestants old mate Aron loves it and dear Nols loves it.  Guillaume likes the pork cutlet and likes the peperonata, Tom thinks it worked, as for Scott he’s not keen on the broccolini, Tom shows that it looks overcooked and floppy, but it’s undercooked and crunchy.  They all try Phillippe and Pascal’s pork fillet and Emi can’t talk while muching on brussel sprounds, Nols can’t find any mustard in the sauce, Aron isn’t keen because it isn’t a whole meal.  Scott thinks it’s a bit too well cooked, only a minute or so…gee fussy.  Tom wanted more mustard in his “well behaved sauce” he wanted “naughty sauce” and poor Guillaume thinks the vegies are raw…oh no!!!

Time to focus on the dessert.  Phillippe and Pascal get onto the apples, until Pascal gets Phillippe focused on making frangipane cream and dear Pascal is worried that it’s grainy.  Christina and Tania get onto their dessert, Tania’s making a honey and almond mix, puts it in the oven and says “they’re looking good” and bless him the French flirt Pascal says “you’re looking good” and god love mother dearest who tells Tania to focus.  Old mate Arin’s worried about the frangipane tarts going in the oven with 20 minutes to go, he thinks they’ll take 30 minutes.  Christina gets onto flambéing some cherries…oh and of course they’re not fresh cherries.  Then Tania gets out the panna cotta to check them…and bless her they’re not set, back in the fridge they go.  Christina and Tania start to plate and Christina wants it to look refined…amazingly the panna cotta looks good and Christina is screaming that Tania is back…honey plate the damn food and stop screaming!!  Phillippe gets the tarts out with 4 minutes to go and he thinks they’re ready, Pascal says it they’re not right he’ll take his father to the guillotine…gee talk about stressful.  Oh no there’s a couple of wonky panna cottas going on for Christina and Tania, the last couple aren’t great.  Time is up and there’s a father son hug and a mother daughter hug…oh bless them.

Dessert is served.  Phillippe and Pascal serve their apple and frangipane tart with spiced anglaise and Christina and Tania serve their vanilla bean and almond panna cotta with honey almonds and amaretto cherries.  Phillippe and Pascal’s apple tart is tried first…oh dear Vanessa has raw apples and doesn’t like it at all, well honey you’re not keen on much.  Marie thinks it is delicious with the anglaise all over it.  Scott thinks it needed another 10 minutes, Tom wanted it more cooked, his apple was raw.  Guillaume likes the “sashimi style apple” because it brings tartness…bless him he’s a tad nice.  Time to try the panna cotta and Tom wobbles the plate around to see what it’s like, then we see all manner of weird facial expressions.  Marie enjoys the panna cotta as does Nols.  Vanessa bless her wants wetter cherries and Aron thinks it’s boring and doesn’t know who he would score higher.  Guillaume thinks it’s work in progress, Tom says it’s not quite right and starting to sag, but tastes nice and likes the honey almonds.  Guillaume is worried about the dried cherries and why they used fruit that’s not in season.  Scott thinks neither dessert is perfect.

Decision time…Scott says Phillippe and Pascal’s entrée was a perfect start to the evening, Guillaume says the barramundi wasn’t great because of the flour on it and Christina’s guttered of course.  Pascal is guttered when Guillaume says that their vegies were raw in their main.  Tom says that he loved Christina and Tania’s pork and Tania has a teary bless her…for a non-cook she’s going great!!  Scott talks about the tart and says it needed longer and Tom gushes over the crème anglaise…oh look Pascal’s doing well for a non-cook as well.

Tom says that it was really close, but one team showed more technique and all three judges agreed…and we go to an ad break of course.  Finally we hear that the best dinner was served by Phillippe and Pascal and both Phillippe and Pascal have a teary as does poor Tania.  Then Christina says that she’s very proud of her daughter…and Tania’s stoked hearing that.  Scott then says that they’ll miss Christina’s palate and they all laugh…oh that damn palate.

The four remaining teams are in the final round.  They get told they’re relaunching their new look restaurant for 30 diners arriving at the same time, oh and their staff are back to help them.  The top two teams will compete in the grand final for $100,000 and Emi and Marie are up first.

The Hotplate…time for a French revolution

We’re off to Chez Pascal with Phillippe and Pascal and they’re all set to do the makeover, oh dear, I’m worried about what will happen and bless him Phillippe is scared about what will happen because it’s looked the same for 29 years.  Oh Phillippe, take a deep breath and enjoy the experience.  They’re going to reupholster the chairs, redo the carpets and the mural is being taken down and both Phillippe and Pascal are a bit emotional about that…oh bless them both.  Phillippe has a teary and Pascal almost cries, it’s the first time he’s seen Phillippe cry, oh honey you need a hug, good thing your son is there to do it.  Then they get new cutlery, crockery and glasses.  Phillippe even admits that he didn’t think it would look that beautiful, but it looks really beautiful…oh Phillippe you are wonderful!!

Scott turns up with the box of food…he’s got ocean trout for the entrée and he wants the fish to be the star.   He wants braised lamb neck for main with a sexy new twist.  Then for dessert he has chestnuts and wants a modernised version of Gateau Mont Blanc, which is a chestnut cake.  Now Phillippe says he hasn’t changed the menu since 1986…oh heck.  Phillippe decides to confit the ocean trout for entrée to be served with pickled vegetables.  For main they’re doing lamb navarin, which is a traditional rustic lamb casserole.  He decides to do a white chocolate and celery sauce with the dessert…what the???  There are no other words.

Scott and Tom arrive and Tom’s first word is “sexy.”  Then both he and Scott think it looks a lot fresher and now has Pascal in it as well as Phillippe.  The others arrive and everyone except Aron and Vanessa think it looks great.  Aron and Vanessa think they haven’t done enough.  Phillippe welcomes them and starts having a teary, next thing you know Christina’s having a teary and so is Nols, oh ladies he needs a hug.

Phillippe goes and checks the fish, but the oil is at 64 degrees, but it should be at 55 degrees…oh heck, that’s a worry.  Nols had no idea what confit meant and Lozz explained it to her and it’s all good until Scott says it might be rare of medium rare and asks Lozz how she’ll go with it, mate have you not learnt.  Christina’s palate is in love thinking about the fish…back in the kitchen the oil is at 80 degrees and Pascal’s worried, but Phillippe says he’s watching it…holy heck…I’m worried.  They take it out and Pascal thinks it looks overcooked, Phillippe thinks it looks fine though and they start debating between themselves.  They start the fish over again and Phillippe decides to do it in the oven and not on the stove like before, but he’s never done it in the oven…hooley dooley honestly now’s not the time to make lots of changes.  Aron’s going on about how long it’s taking and Tania thinks he’s gone to catch the fish and poor Christina is starving.  Thankfully Phillippe is happy with how the second lot looks and is laughing up a storm in the kitchen.  Tania thinks it looks amazing and she can see Pascal’s influence and bless Pascal when he says “Nollsy baby would you like one that is a little bit more cooked?” such a sweetheart.  But then Nols realises she’s the only one that can cut into their fish, the others have raw fish.  Christina’s palate is struggling, along with her eyes, but she’s downing wine with each mouthful, or lack of mouthful and of course it’s not to her palate.  Scott says it looked fantastic, but his trout was raw.  Tom says it was fine as sashimi, but not as a confit trout…oh bless him, such a polite way to say it.

They get onto the main and Pascal is worried about the potatoes as they’re meant to be crispy and he doesn’t get how they’re crispy and he’s not sure about the plating, he doesn’t want it to be meat and 5 vegetables, he’s on Phillippe’s back about his vision with plating…honestly Pascal it is casserole, you can’t make it look really pretty.  Pascal tells Phillippe not to put too much sauce because Scott said not to focus on the sauce, oh well that doesn’t stop Phillippe, he puts plenty of sauce.  Oh course Aron has his negative Nancy pants on again and says there’s nothing modern about it, I feel like saying if you can’t say something nice, say nothing.  Emi and Marie are concerned about the potato because the menu says crispy potato and it’s not crispy.  Poor Vanessa says she hasn’t been to a restaurant in ages that serves peas on the plate….honey come to the country, you’ll get them every day of the damn week.  Phillippe and Pascal think the dish will redeem their entrée mistakes.  Scott says he asked them to reinvent the dish, it was cooked perfectly, but it wasn’t a new modern, twist, it was the old Phillippe.  Tom mentions the non-crispy, lumpy mashed potato and it was a great dish but had no wow factor…oh dear.

Marie says it is her favourite dessert and one she always gets when she goes to Japan which confuses Christina’s palate no end, until she calls it Chateau Mont Blanc and everyone laughs and she has no idea why and Pascal says the others are laughing at him and Phillippe…oh mate, nothing of the kind.  Then they try doing chestnut puree noodles and they look a bit wrong if you ask me and Pascal’s worried and confused and it’s not a great look for him.  Then Phillippe releases he didn’t cook the chestnuts in the sugar syrup which didn’t make them smooth…oh dear.  Plan B comes into play.  Then they put the white chocolate and celery sauce on the plate and then get onto the spun sugar which looks pretty, but it is a very small dessert.  Tania’s all set to wear the spun sugar as a fascinator for Melbourne Cup…how does one respond to a comment like that????  Aron thinks that can’t be what the dish is meant to taste like and honestly I hope the wind doesn’t change given his facial expressions.  Thankfully Pascal thinks the comments on dessert won’t be great.  Scott says the dessert was a miss, not a hit, but he liked the celery and white chocolate sauce and the Mont Blanc was like an avalanche.  Tom thinks it wasn’t great, but it’s important that Phillippe and Pascal are still smiling at the end of the night.  Phillippe apologises because of his disastrous night, oh honey you’re a rad too sweet and Christina is all set to have a teary for him as is Lozz.

Scores… Lozz and Nols score them 4/10.  Christina and Tania give them 4/10.  Emi and Marie score them 4/10.  Aron and Vanessa give them 4/10.  They get 16/40 from the other teams.  Tom scores them 13/30.  Scott scores them 14/30.  They end up with 43/100 putting them in bottom place so far after three teams cooking and Pascal thinks it was a generous score given their night.  Emi and Marie are next.

The Hotplate…Wings and Finns…no it’s now Wings and Fins

We’re back to Wings and Finns, Lozz and Nols restaurant at Tooradin airports and they’ve got the $20,000 and 72 hours to do the makeover and thankfully they decide to remove the second N from Finns first.  So it’s now Wings and Fins with Fins spelt correctly.

They’re making a 5m bi-fold door to open the restaurant up to the views and they’re giving it a more beachy view.  They’re planning to put a huge propeller in the restaurant and it hasn’t arrived and is apparently 3 days away…well that’s no good.  Then of course it starts pouring down rain, oh Nols, however will you cope with the rain???

Thankfully we skip from day one to day three and of course there’s no propeller so far and they haven’t put in the bi-fold door yet, but it is sunny.  They’ve even got new plates and glasses and then of course the propeller finally arrives.

Scott arrives at the restaurant with a box of food and tells them they have to use the crayfish shell and make a crayfish bisque for the entrée.  For main course they have to use a garfish and Lozz isn’t keen on that because of how small they are, but he says that not everyone who goes to the restaurant can afford a huge crayfish.  For dessert he wants them to use quinces, which Lozz hasn’t touched before in her life, I’m hearing you girl, neither have I.

90 minutes until the others arrive…they decide to do a crayfish bisque with prawn ravioli for entrée, scallop stuffed garfish with okra and beans for main and poached quince and cheese board for dessert.  Lozz gets the bisque on and gets onto the pasta dough and adds some parsley to the dough.  Nols gets the quinces peeled and into the pot to cook, then goes to stir the bisque pot and a crayfish shell goes flying into the heat.

An hour to go and Lozz is onto filleting and deboning the garfish, honestly why did he chose those fish???  Then she stuffs the fish with scallops and wraps them in prosciutto.

Nols starts making mixture for a tuille, but it is all lumpy, which annoys the heck out of Lozz…oh well time to start over again.  Then Lozz puts the bisque into the blender to crush up the shell and it gets everywhere, all over her and Nols and all over the tuille mix…tuille mix number three coming up with 10 minutes to go.

Scott and Tom arrive and notice the new sign straight up and the put the tuille into the oven as the 90 minutes is up and they head into the restaurant just as the judges walk in and Tom’s comment is “wow!”  Scott thinks it’s a light wonderful space and Tom’s going on about every last thing, even the cutlery and how much better it all looks and of course they think the propeller is impressive, I’m not sure about Tom calling it handsome though, I mean really it’s a propeller!!!

God bless Aron for his cockiness straight up, saying that the makeover won’t threaten him and Vanessa, it’s only based on the kitchen, but then goes on about how they should have gotten wine glasses…gee mate, jump around much.  But everyone loves how amazing the place looks.  Then they hear the menu and they’re rather impressed and say it’s a step up from the first time they were there.

They get onto the pasta, Lozz rolls it and Nols helps to fill it, then Lozz seals them and cooks them.  Nols gets to fry the leek and it all confused about when to put salt and pepper on them, oh hell, she is so not a cook.  Lozz starts stressing about is the pasta cooked and Nols gets all flustered getting a plate to put one on so they can test it, the poor love is running everywhere around the kitchen.  The dish looks great and Lozz has included every part of the crayfish in the bisque.

Of course it is a small portion size for Aron, the raviolo isn’t filled enough with him and dear of Christina is busy taking a sniff of the bisque, and another sniff and another sniff…honey no need to raise the bowl to your nose.  Vanessa says the dish has absolutely no flavour and Emi says it is strong in flavour…okay I’m confused.  Tania isn’t disappointed with losing her bisque virginity and Pascal thinks you should only use your virginity to a Frenchmen, while Phillippe wouldn’t have sent the bisque out.  Scott loves that they made the pasta themselves, but wanted more filling, he’s channelling Aron for a moment.  Tom thinks a bisque should be filthy and over the top, while what he ate was like a fish soup and was a mermaid’s sigh and not Neptune’s roar.

Tom asks Christina about garfish and she says she’s a lazy eater so doesn’t normally eat it or buy it because of how many bones are in it…oh heck honey, there is no suitable response.  While Vanessa’s never had okra.  Then Lozz makes a sauce with capsicum, tomato and adds tabasco sauce to it and it’s got a bit too much kick for dear Nols, but she knows she’s not feeding her palate.  The dish looks lovely.  Emi says “wow”, god bless her, she’s just so nice.  Marie likes the fish, but isn’t keen on the stuffing.  Phillippe thinks the fish was magnificent.  Aron’s having a sook about it being a boring dish that doesn’t tie together.  Tania loved it, but dear Christina had a couple of bones and scales and that wasn’t to her lazy palate.  Tom goes on about each component of the dish, he loved the fish, he loved the okra, but wanted more punch in the sauce to make it a superb dish.  Scott thankfully got no bones and liked all the components, but thinks it wasn’t cohesive.

They get onto dessert with poached quince, quince chutney, blue cheese shortbread, almond tuille, mascarpone, ricotta and vanilla creme anglaise.  Of course Aron thinks it doesn’t sounds fancy enough because the dish says quince and cheese board…just wait until you see the plate mate.  Lozz is making the creme anglaise and of course the gas is off…oh honey focus on the cooking.  Christina’s palate doesn’t just want biccies and a quince chutney.  Back in the kitchen they’re going on about the tuille and Nols is sure she did pistachio and not almond…oh dear.  Now poor Lozz can’t find the fine sieve to strain the creme anglaise, honestly where do people hide things in these kitchens???  Lozz thinks the dishes look spectacular.  Aron thinks the dish has everything except the kitchen sink…negative Nancy is calling darling she wants her negative pants back.  Poor Pascal is confused about the creme anglaise and Aron thinks it is all condiments and is a big mess.  Emi thinks it was sophisticated and is better than Aron’s deconstructed lamington.  Phillippe goes on about how much he hates when people do dishes like that and thinks it is terrible and our dear Christina thinks he was over the top.  Lozz thinks it was the best dish she’s done tonight…oh honey, I’m worried for you.  Tom says the quince was poached perfectly and asks how it should have been eaten, then says he respects them for leaving the comfort zone, but he doesn’t get it.  Scott asks how they felt about the dish and says it’s great that the respected what they did and that the dish is going to be controversial…you don’t say mate.  He loved each bit, but didn’t get it all together and Nols says she’s standing by it and Lozz gets all teary…honey, honey, honey, you did well.  Tom says Lozz’s technical skills aren’t in doubt, Scott comments that each dish is getting better and better.

Scores…Christina and Tania give them 6.  Emi and Marie score them 5.  Phillippe and Pascal give them 5.  Aron and Vanessa score them 6.  So they 22/40 from the other teams.  Tom scores them 17/30 and Scott scores them 18/30.  Their total score is 57/100 and they’re in 2nd place.

The Hotplate…transformation time

So I got to watch the last episode while I was in Sydney, more on that later, and as annoying as Conrad and Liam are, I’m actually a bit sad they’re gone because they bring a lot of personality to the competition.

Anyhow, we’re onto the next round where the teams get $20,000 and 72 hours to renovate their restaurant and have a menu makeover, then they cook again.  Aron and Vanessa are up first, they’re making the restaurant lighter and brighter.  Aron’s stressing through the makeover, while Vanessa’s all cool and calm.

Now it’s time for the menu makeover and Scott front’s up to the restaurant with a box full of food.  Scott says him and Tom want sophisticated version of classic Australian dishes.  They want a chicken pie for entrée, surf and turf for main with Balmain bugs and eye fillet and a modern lamington for dessert and they’ve got 90 minutes.  They decide on a chicken and shitake pie for main, then an Italian style surf and turn and a deconstructed lamington for dessert.

Oh bless him, during the preparation Aron gets a cramp and Vanessa is definitely not too worried about it and tells him to have a baby and then see what pain is like, oh honey you’ve got no chance of sympathy.

They start on the lamington and they’re doing a pannacotta, sorbet, jam and goodness knows what else, I’m not too sure about the sound of it, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong.

Aron gets the pies done and Vanessa thinks they look like boobs, oh heck, now I’m worried.  Then Aron decides to try different ways with the bugs and the judges are arriving in 6 minutes, gee mate, get a wriggle on.

Time is up and they haven’t even set the table…plus the judges are strolling down the street and Tom’s got his pink socks on again.  The judges say “wow” as they enter the restaurant and Scott thinks it feels modern, alive and contemporary.  The other contestants arrive and Phillippe likes the look of it, he thinks it looks spunky and the makeover is to Christina’s palate…oh bless her and her palate.  Marie says how she hated the leopard print before and gets the evil eye from Tania, so she says she hated it on the chairs…well Christina and Tania weren’t liking that one little bit.

Tom strolls into the kitchen and asks about the pie and says it’s a risk putting the raw chicken into the uncooked pastry…oh well too late now, can’t go back and change things.

Christina’s not keen on the idea of pie as an entrée at a sophisticated restaurant, and bless Lozz and Nols as they came from a pie shop before getting the lobster restaurant, but Nols isn’t sure about the tamarind sauce as she’s never had it before, but the pie is being served with a tamarind caramel sauce.  Thankfully Aron and Vanessa decide to get a pie out to check if it is cooked, but they’re not 100% sure, so put them back in the oven for a couple more minutes.  Oh dear Nols isn’t keen that the pie is dry and says that Aron’s failed, but then says that it tasted delicious.  Pascal bless him says that the pie is like a little B cup boob.  Christina’s palate thankfully liked the pie and Tania thinks it’s the most exciting pie she’s ever had.  Scott says the pie was sensational and perfectly cooked and the tamarind sauce took away the dryness of the filling.  Tom says they’ve nailed flavours and may be the team to beat.

For the main Aron rattles off a list of different components for the dish, holy heck there’s about 8 different things on the plate.  Aron cuts the steak ready for the plates, but puts a piece back on the grill for Nols, mind you she doesn’t think she’ll get a well done steak.  Then Aron plates up a well done steak for Nols but covers it in the jus because he doesn’t like how it looks.  They take out the main, prosciutto wrapped beef fillet with Balmain bug and Pascal thinks it looks like a restaurant refined surf and turf and Nols is ecstatic about her well done steak, until she cuts into it and it’s still a bit pink for her.  Emi wants more bug on her plate, she’s not happy with only half a bug.  Christina and Tania think it’s too safe, as does Emi.  Tom says the steak and bug were cooked beautifully and the jus was good, but he didn’t know why it was there because it took over the garlic butter and everything else.  Scott wanted wow factor, but couldn’t find it and he definitely looked for it.

Dessert time…oh dear, Aron’s stressed about the sorbet because they haven’t gone near it since they put it in the freezer and Vanessa thinks it is too coconutty…oh honey, it is a lamington after all.  Amazingly the jam set.  They get onto the sponge by microwaving it in a takeaway coffee cup for 40 seconds, because apparently that’s how top chef’s do it…ummmm okay, whatever you say.

Now we find out that Phillippe has never had a lamington in his whole life…the others are in shock.  Mate you’re in for a rude shock when you see what they’re doing.  Oh dear they start with a chocolate smear on the plate with some coconut, then the sponge crumbed and guess what Marie guesses that’s what they’re going to do, I’m thinking it won’t be to Christina’s palate as she doesn’t like deconstructed things.  Aron tries to get the pannacotta out and we go to an ad break, because of course they need to build the drama.  Oh look they’re perfect, so much for building drama and Aron says they’re like boobs, so the others got boobs for entrée and for dessert, so they got a pair, are you kidding???  Then he isn’t happy that Vanessa smears a bit of jam…mate I wouldn’t be annoying her right now, just get the food out there.

Christina thinks it looks like a big mess and wants to know where the lamington is, Nols is the same, and she wants to know where it is as well and hopes it tastes like a lamington.  Vanessa thinks the others look blown away…ummm no, they’re in shock, not blown away.  Christina thinks it is clever but she’s not sure.  Emi and Marie are confused by the smear as Aron said if you can’t eat it don’t put it on the plate and they can’t get the smear off the plate…then again Marie can’t say “you have to walk the walk and talk the talk.”  The others mostly enjoy the dish, but don’t think it is a lamington.  Tom says it look sophisticated and sexy, but doesn’t like a smear that you can’t eat…ummmmm he’s channelling Marie and that the dish was fun and clever.  Scott says it is a dish he would come back for again and again and again, yes we get the hint.

Scoring time…and Tom says that the other teams all have to score directly to the hosting team and the other contestants are all shocked…as they should be!!!  The teams score out of 10 and Tom and Scott score out of 30 each giving the total score out of 100.  Phillippe and Pascal give them 7/10.  Emi and Marie give them 7/10.  Christina and Tania give them 7/10 after saying they don’t normally score high.  Lozz and Nols score them 9/10, which Christina doesn’t agree with.  So they got 30/40 from the others.  Tom scores them 24/30 and Scott scores them 23/30.  Their total score is 77/100.

Next up is Lozz and Nols.

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