From pork chops to goneburgers

LUCY CORRY
Last updated 09:12 18/02/2013

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It wasn't lady meat but that didn't help high country farmer Johnny Trevathan avoid the Masterchef chop.

The bearded straight talker, whose first-week appearance seared itself on to the screen with his quip that he didn't eat chicken because it's a "lady meat", joined seven others on the way out when he couldn't handle a pork chop.

Episode two began with the 24 contestants split into four groups and sent to four Auckland restaurants to have their knife skills and kitchen nous tested. It also gave Volker Marecek, executive chef at The Langham, to utter one of the night's best lines: "Hurry up now, take your finger out of your bum and move!"

Laidback Raglan IT dude Aaron Brunet, mum of four Vanessa Baxter, broody barman David Jamieson and hospitality manager Suzanne Huber all passed with flying colours, exempting them from the next challenge.

However, purple-haired Hawera hairdresser Rachelle Harrop, eternally perky Trent Godfrey, aptly named wine and spirits manager Chanel Liquori and self-effacing Ganesh Rai weren't so lucky and we won't be seeing them again.

Those that survived the initial cull were then subjected to that old Masterchef staple, the mystery box challenge. By the looks on some of their faces you'd have thought they were going to have to make lasagne out of Romanian cart horse, but it turned out all they had to do was cook a pork chop.

Even so, that task was too much for Trevathan, who served up "a plateful of mediocrity" (according to Josh Emett) and "one of the worst things I have ever seen on Masterchef" (as described by Simon Gault). Trevathan was sanguine about his failure and hopefully we'll see him on an upcoming episode of Country Calendar instead.

It was goodbye and good luck too to Tracey Mace, Alex Ford and Natalie Young. Mace voiced what they were probably all thinking - "I don't want to go home on the back of a poorly cooked pork chop" - but there were thankfully far fewer tears than last week.

There are now 16 contenders for the 2013 title and I think it's time to place your bets. I'm putting some early money on those dark horses Elliott Brookes and Chris Matthews, who seem to have appeared from nowhere, while interior designer Kelly Kaihua also has the look of a Masterchef winner about her.

Who are your early favourites, or do you think it's too soon to tell?

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