M-chef recap: Fridge friction

MIKE KILPATRICK
Last updated 05:00 11/02/2014

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Another Monday night, another episode of our favourite cooking challenge show, Masterchef New Zealand. Which duo will be the subject of Simon’s scorn and Ray’s stare this time?

The teams had to cook a main course and a dessert - but they could only use the ingredients in one of the 13 fridges in the kitchen.

There were vegetarian and student fridges in there, but thankfully not my beer fridge. It has less content than Kim Kardashian’s brain. It’s like a mystery box challenge but with Fisher and Paykel sponsoring instead.

But it’s pretty clear these aren’t really fridges from around the country - there’s no way any self-respecting scarfie student in Dunedin has a fridge that clean.

And the acting as the judges appear surprised at all the contents is worse than Dick Van Dyke’s in Mary Poppins. At least look like you’re trying, Josh.

Catherine and Jack draw one of the vegetarian fridges, much to their disgust. They’re concerned about the lack of ability to season the content. (Salt, Catherine and Jack, that’s the secret to everything!)

Glynn and James opened their fridge and there were at least a dozen beers in there. They might not be able to make anything Masterchef worthy, but they can get blasted and leave the kitchen with a smile on their faces, at least.

The judges are impressed by the quality of ideas and cooking in there - they reckon they are way better than the contestants at this time last year.

Except winner Aaron of course. Stevie Wonder could see he was going to win from the very first episode.

There are some interesting ideas from the teams - a sweet pork pie might have made it onto my plate at one point in time. But green pea ice cream? I’m all for invention, but that’s pushing it into bizarro world.

If Paul and Brigitte don’t pull off their horrible ice cream with blueberry pie it could well be them at the bottom of the pile.

Ray appeared most excited about Glynn and James’ broad bean guacamole - it’s amazing what gets the judges dribbling at the mouth.

But Simon was in the exact opposite mood. Elizabeth was making ice cream and two different teams were trying to help her work out the machine.

“You help each other? That’s so nice. Let me get my goddamn violin out,” says Simon. I’m guessing our usually friendly owner of Euro drew the ‘bad cop’ card for this episode.

Disappointingly there doesn’t appear to be any huge disasters - every team appears to be in control and there are no clear favourites to go home as the tasting comes around.

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Is it too much to hope for the teams to come to blows, or at least have some kind of stand-up argument? What’s the point in having duos if they’re not going to melt down?

Melanie and Cerry delivered a fusion tuna tartare, pan-seared tuna and an omelette cake. The tuna tartare impressed both Ray and Josh, but the seared tuna doesn’t do it for either of them.

Fiona and Bronwyn served up Spanish-style grilled vegetables and a deconstructed date ice cream cone. Josh hated the main, except for the bread, and only the ice cream from the dessert. I think we have our first team in trouble.

Tanisha and Verena presented pan-seared venison and a blackberry tart with marshmallow topping. Simon loved the dessert - meaning they’re safe.

Next up is Catherine and Jack, who served up Asian-style stir fry pasta and a summer strawberry tart. Ray is smiling and not looking over his glasses so our Whakatane students live for another day. They could well be the winners of this episode.

Jenn and Elizabeth walk up next and their dishes look… well, I’m pretty sure no scarfie would have touched either. The Dunners cabbage cannelloni looked like someone puked on a plate. The dessert, a pear and Moro tart, looks like a five-year-old child put it together.

Jaimie and Bec bring the standard back up with their delicious looking mushroom and chicken terrine main and poached fruit and sabayon. The chicken is a touch dry, but otherwise their dishes are faultless - another success.

Nikki and Jordan delivered an impressive tamarind duck stack with ‘quackling’ for their main, with a pineapple tarte tatin for afters. Their presentation is praised and Simon is impressed enough to declare “Hallelujah” and “sex”.

Funnily enough they are two words that are often heard together in the Kilpatrick household too.

Trudie and Shelley’s chicken and bacon lasagne with an upside-down mango and chilli cake is middle-of-the-road, according to Simon, but that’s good enough to stay for another week in the kitchen.

Next up is Paul and Brigitte. Their poached crayfish looked okay but the green pea ice cream looked more like a cup of coffee that’s gone off than dessert. But what does it taste like?

And it worked, according to Simon. Seriously? I don’t know what to think any more. Peas have their place, but in a dessert is not one of them. I would have kicked them out for such an insult.

Sam and Collette hope they’ve done enough to scrape through. Their pumpkin and pork pie draws a groan from Josh, and their berry surprise surprises with just how bad it is. We have another couple of candidates for the bottom.

Glynn and James delivered “bollocks on a plate’’. Whether that’s good or bad we have to wait and see. The dessert is a “train wreck” but the tasty main should be enough to keep them safe.

Mother and son Jon and DonnaMarie served up their prawn chowder and cheesecake and it looked delicious. Unfortunately the main doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as it looked but their cheesecake impressed Simon.

Last but not least, Karena and Kasey delivered a pan-friend salmon fillet and deep-fried bananas. Yum!

Their presentation is immediately blasted, and despite being perfectly cooked their salmon dish lacks ‘‘oomph’’. It’s not a disaster, according to Simon, but Josh reckoned it could be enough to send them home. 

It’s time for the eviction. If I were a betting man then Jenn and Elizabeth are my favourites to go, but given I never win I’m likely wrong.

Catherine and Jack and Nikki and Jordan presented perfect dishes and take the top two spots. Both teams have really laid down a marker for the standard of dishes expected.

After the middle-of-the-road teams sit down we’re left with the three worst teams - Jenn and Elizabeth, Glynn and James, and Fiona and Bronwyn.

And, of course, I’m wrong. Jenn and Elizabeth have been regulars at the bottom but have escaped again and it’s Fiona and Bronwyn, who have shown some nice touches in the kitchen, who are dismissed.

Karena and Kasey are more upset than the ladies after losing their ‘surrogate mums’. It’s the first shock eviction and, hopefully, won’t be the last.

Next Sunday night the teams are heading on a field trip to the Duke of Marlborough Hotel and oysters are making their first appearance.

Who’s going to be shucking great and who’s going to be shucking awful? Join us next week for the answers.


- Fairfax Media

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