MasterChef – Home Cooking Week begins – Sun, May 7

There’s not a sous vide machine in site tonight as Home Cooking Week starts on MasterChef.
So we should at least get a week free of failed ice creams.
Tonight’s blurb says: Each judge has placed three of their favourite ingredients into the mystery box and contestants will have 75 minutes to create a remarkable dish for a chance at immunity.

Here are the mystery box ingredients:

Yes, they went to the bother of constructing a jail cell to lock up the fancy cooking equipment – and Georgie even throws his tweezers in. Hooray – keep ’em there!
I hope this isn’t one of those mystery boxes where people go straight for the protein. Only the top 5 dishes will get tasted, so expect 19 people to get zero airtime.
The older lady (sorry – don’t know names yet) is making a pineapple tarte tatin – yum.
Molecular wunderkid Callan is freaking out a bit but while he thinks he makes a tuille – at least he’s not just standing there.
Sarah is cooking prawns with a pineapple salsa. Pia is creating ricotta doughnuts with pineapple syrup – could be a winner.
There’s another tarte tatin but Eloise from Adelaide is sexing it up with a chilli caramel. There’s a lot of talk about whether her rough puff will work within the time given. I’m guessing yes.
Uh oh – wunderkid has chopped a lot of stuff up but is now frozen. But we know he makes it through because he’s in the promos for challenges that are at least a few weeks ago.
Caramelised pineapple prawns with a chilli and pumpkin caramel and kerrfir yoghurt cream.
Melbourne accountant Diana has a Malaysian background and she’s doing Mexican prawns with pineapple salsa. We get a flashback, so she must be tasted.
Since Pia is making doughnuts they, of course, send Gaz over to quiz her. But Pia strikes me as someone who knows what she’s doing when it comes to all-round cooking skills.
Risk manager Sarah (who is all about risk taking with her mad good hair) is going down the prawn oil route, which is always popular with our judges.
Uh oh – Eloise has forgotten to put her oven on. Rookie mistake. Ask someone else if you can share, Eloise!
Golden Ball Belle Michelle has made a pineapple ring with desserty elements.
We see a lot of camera shots of beardie lawyer but no info as to what he is cooking. In fact, the only bloke who made the edit is wunderkid.

Picked for tasting
Funky Hair Sarah gets the thumbs up for her prawns with pineapple and caramelised pumpkin. Well done – she seems to understand flavours. I’m getting a Matt Sinclair vibe from her.

Pia’s ricotta doughnuts look so enticing on the plate. Presto and Gaz say they are light but could be even fluffier.
Diana is picked for her grilled prawns with with parmesan taco type things and pineapple salsa. Delicious.
Golden Ball’s roasted pineapple is next. They like it.
Of course, Eloise is last. Is her pastry underdone? Gaz shoves a big slice in his gob and Georgie winces and daintily cuts himself a little piece. It IS cooked and they love it. She gets the triumphant music.

I think it’s between Sarah and Eloise. The winner will get an advantage in the Invention Test. And it’s Eloise.

Invention Test
She gets to choose from fennel, haloumi and mussels. I adore haloumi but surely fennel is the more versatile, as it can be sweet or savoury.

Ooh – she picked haloumi! Excellent. That will freak out some people.
They have 75 minutes.

Winner Eloise is making a haloumi tasting plate with a sherry reduction. One of the blokes is talking!It’s Pete the crane operator. He’s doing lamb rack and, taking inspiration from Heston B, is putting cubes of apricot gel through his mashed potato. Wow.
Karlie from NSW is making haloumi fritters crusted in sesame seeds. Doctor Ray is making a vegetable stack. Hmmm … sounds a bit MasterChef 2010. One of the girls, Eliza, is in panic mode, eyes darting all over the pantry – uh oh. But she pulls it together and decide to do a haloumi and mint pastie.
I’d really like to see someone pull off a dessert.
Funky Sarah is creating a pickled beetroot and haloumi cigar with whiting. Groovy.
Irish Lee is creating snapper with crushed spuds and haloumi. It doesn’t sound like enough of the “hero”. The judges are worried also. He decides to scrap the snapper and grabs filo pastry from the freezer. Noooo!
Sarah is getting even more airtime and she’s great at talking to camera passionately about food. I want this girl to stay in for a loooong time.
Crane driver Pete is also told there’s not enough haloumi in his dish. “I’m bloody destroyed,” he intones laconically.
The doctor is still making his veg stack. Mate, you’ve stacked it so hard you’ll fall right into the bottom three.
Pete changes tack and makes a haloumi and dukkah salad with a slop of vinaigrette on it. Oh dear. Mate, you should have kept your original dish and just added more haloumi stuff to it.

The judges taste
Funky Sarah’s whiting: They love it. The fish sauce gives Gaz goosebumps. “Two in a row,” says Presto admiringly.

Advantage winner Eloise’s tasting board: Gaz likes some elements but isn’t keen on her fritters.
Blonde bob Tamara’s haloumi and lemon macarons: “Inventive.” C’mon – she made a dessert and it didn’t rate 10 seconds of airtime? And macarons in that time? That’s tough.
Trent’s smoked haloumi with charred onions: “Delicious.”
Older lady Benita’s polenta haloumi chips with pippis: “you’re finding your mojo,” says George.
Nurse Jess who draws her own cookbooks’ Middle Eastern cheesecake: Gaz is happy.
Irish Lee’s baked haloumi filo: He knows it sucks as he serves it.
Karlie’s sesame-crusted fritters with grapefruit and honey syrup. Presto’s impressed because it looks so different. “Yum,” he says.

Doctor Ray’s stack: Gaz says the haloumi was lost in the huge mound of vegies. Presto says it’s way too 80s.
Crane driver Pete’s haloumi dukkah: He’s sad and the judges are sad, too. “That’s not a dish,” says Gaz. George tells him not to be too creative because he’s not Heston. But when people go all Heston they loooove it! Talk about mixed messages.
Eliza’s haloumi, pear and mint pastie with fig jam: Triumphant music. “Simple, delicious, yum. Something that makes utter sense,” says Gaz.

Bleeding obvious top three
Eliza’s pastie, Sarah’s whiting and Karlie’s sesame fritters.

Bleeding obvious bottom three
Doc Ray, crane driver Pete and Irish Lee.

Tomorrow night the boys have a cook-along-with-Gary elimination challenge. It’s roast chook. And we have a return to the days of undercooked chook. Noooo!

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They certainly haven’t learnt any humility during the off season


Sarah can cook but photogenic she is not.
Lee looks out of his depth.
Haloumi is hard to be inventive with. A haloumi inspired cheese board is not very inspiring. A lot of those dishes looked pretty ordinary apart from the skinny white haired girl, forget her name.


Her ratty sweaty hair while she is cooking makes my stomach turn.
She’s on me shite list.
Sorry can’t help it.


I think you are refering to Karlie with the sesame haloumi balls.


Can I claim an early dislike? self-styled pastry queen Eliza jangles all my nerves.


I think Eliza is judges pet


I’m nowhere near the “name” stage.


She lost me with her impromptu rendition of “I am the baking queen”


Cant remember what she cooked at the audition but she didnt get an apron. Not a baking queen in my eyes.


That was the crime that damned her in my eyes!


I am finding all the skinny blonde chicks hard to tell apart!


The scrawny blonde, Karlie, does that croaky voice thing one minute, then high-pitched the next – what’s with that?
So far, they’re all pretty uninspiring and charmless, and the formulaic, predictable nature of the show continues.
For Chrissakes, give me someone to root for or someone to ‘hate’ … anything!


George on the top three, “Wow, girl power!”

Oh, fuck off, George.

brain dead dave

It gets bad. Tonight there was a promo for the Budget and the pensioner payment. There was just some footage of a roomful of mature women/senior citizens working out in a gym. “Pensioner Power”

Will George be so enthusiastic if Benita jags a spot in the top three?

Thanks for the recap , Juz.


Clearly they are going to ditch Benita fast so that won’t happen!


Thanks Juz.
So we have 3 girls for the top 3 & 3 guys for the bottom 3. Anothey guy going home.
Sometimes they praise simple things, other times it’s not fancy enough for MasterChef. Very contradictory.
Yep, usually they are impressed by someone emulating their beloved Heston. But they had a go at that poor bloke.


He should have had confidence in what he was cooking and then just added more haloumi. Doesn’t he know that the judges do this kind of sh*t to the contestants and that when they change their dish in the last 10 mins the usually fail.


Daily Tel has an article on the house they are living in. 5 bedrooms, 7 females in one room. If someone can explain how to copy and paste …….


Are you on a phone? Go up to the web address at the top and hold your finger down on it. It should come up with Select All. Choose that, come back here and hold your finger where you want it to go. Select the Paste option


Thanks for the tutorial Juz (and the recap).


Remember the 3 stooges spruiking about all Top 24 are winner quality? What BS
I cant see Benita and Pia lasting much longer. Benita is just out of her depth in some challenges. Pia is very good with Italian cuisine. Not sure she can cook anything else.

Dont get me wrong. Both ladies can cook delicious food in thier kitchen but not MC winners.

Some of the others are not much better.


You are so right LP but they had to have a few token home cooks (who are not pretty young things) to get rid of early.


Exciting reports that George was out of control at the A League grand final. The best line is the taunt ” pay your staff, you dodgy b*****d”!


Hmmm I think George is under a bit of pressure…maybe he should have paid his staff fairley!!!


Well the judges certainly haven’t changed. Funny isn’t it that 2 of the bottom 3 were victims of last minute criticisms while cooking. Seriously in 75 minutes three judges can’t make the rounds in the first 30 minutes to check all contestants are on track ? Why wait until 8 minutes left to totally derail someone’s idea ? And why is whiting and haloumi in the top three, but snapper and haloumi is clearly not “heroing” the haloumi ?


Yes and why bother giving them advice when it is too late to change the dish. If they don’t follow the advice they get hammered and if they do they throw together something substandard.


Totally agree, Julie. And there is also a gender issue in there as well.

Also, why is a vegie stack ‘so 80s’, but doughnuts and pasties are praised to high heaven. I thought Ray’s vegie stack looked really yummy, and had plenty of haloumi – any more would have been OTT.

This episode was the epitome of inconsistent comments and judging.


Rating not great for MC. Stop giving advice to MKR about how to produce a good show.

brain dead dave

Ma$terchef~ judges are bastards to the contestants

MKR~ contestants are bastards to each other.

All done with smoke and mirrors to deafening computer muzak.


They said in a magazine article that they won’t tolerate contestants being nasty to each other. But it’s ok for the judges to be nasty to them it seems.


Just as in past seasons there may be 23 contestants but you don’t see the judges tasting all of their dishes.
I can’t believe they spent so little time on the macarons. That was a VERY inventive dish. More inventive than the ones that placed in the top 3.
Once again different season, same old stuff.
I will give them credit, though, for caging most of the equipment. No ice cream, no sous vide, etc. 🙂

brain dead dave

Gary, George and Jowl$y in the cage would have made the ratings soar.

George is lucky he’s not in prison for real.

brain dead dave

I’m loving cruel Gary prowling the kitchin, asking cheffy, food related questions like “are you shaving yet?” to Callan the boy wonder. Didn’t take much from Gary and George to get him blushing like a tomato.


I used to love MC but I am just about to give up. The contestants seem to cook what were popular last series. More spheres, more crispy skin salmon, more pork belly, ice creams, sorbet and some dishes with foam etc etc.

I just want some delicious food that wr can cook at home.


My thinking too LP – the joy of the early MC series was that the judges were supportive and that dishes were cooked that could be replicated (and that viewers wanted to try).
I watched last night and the whole episode I was waiting for the ‘dish dropping drama’ – I didn’t realise it had been on Thursday till later – but the fact is I wasn’t too disappointed that I missed a night. I remember when every episode was a must.

brain dead dave

I might as well mention the “f” word again here~ fennel.

Have we had a fennel sphere or ball yet? Sous vide fennel hasn’t been done.. Bring it on, creative amatas..

Keep up with Gary. Why the fennel would one want to do that? He actually can do something besides sling shit at amatas? What a night this promises to be.


Yes mixed messages rule! One minute simple and tasty is the best, next minute, not enough complexity – sigh! I thought they way they ripped apart the vegie stack was rude. He had a go, used the “hero” ingredient but because it wasn’t shoved in the corner of the plate with a serving size big enough for a mouse, it was a deemed an 80’s disaster!


Out of all the dishes, this is the one I would like the eat. Surprising that Ray uses this dishes when he wants to hide vegies from his girls.


Two other things that annoyed me:
1. As if those ingredients were staples in any pantry. What on earth was that fermented milky thing? And George’s mother has stocked her pantry with fennel, mussels and haloumi for over 40 years? (btw, what was that show where the contestants went into someone’s house and had to cook the manky stuff they found in the fridge?)

2. Cooks panicking because they don’t have an icecream churner. What is wrong with custard, whipped cream, sauce – all can be zouped up in modern ways? They really need to get over the obsession with icecream.