Update January 15, 2010: ABCTV has released a sneak peek of MasterChef Australia Series 1 (2009) runner-up, Poh Ling Yeow’s new cooking show, Poh’s Kitchen.
Update December 10, 2009: Wow, MasterChef Australia has a lot to account for, even though the original MasterChef in the UK has been going since 1990 over there, no other countries were interested until the Australian version made it a huge hit here and ending the year as the most watched TV show of 2009 in Australia, now following New Zealand and the US versions going ahead in 2010, France has joined the queue to produce their own version of MasterChef!
Update December 8, 2009: MasterChef Australia Series 1 runner-up, Poh Ling Yeow, will host her own cooking show, Poh’s Kitchen, to be screened on ABC1 in 2010
Update November 4, 2009: Gordon Ramsay to front US MasterChef / Fox orders ‘Idol’-style cooking competition starring Gordon Ramsay
Update October 29, 2009: This year it is Celebrity MasterChef Australia, next year it will be Junior MasterChef Australia to follow Series 2 of MasterChef Australia in 2010
Update October 2, 2009: MasterChef Australia to air in the UK
Have been neglecting this blog recently due to a very busy few weeks. Sorry for not responding to all your comments, will try to answer in the coming days when I find more free time. Anyway thought I would just do a quick post to update this blog…
Finally the wait is over, MasterChef Australia (MCA) returned to our TV screen last night (September 30, 2009) with the first episode of the celebrity version. The 18 local ‘celebrities’ competing for charities are
Faustina “Fuzzy” Agolley (TV presenter), Anna Bligh (Queensland state premier), Michelle Bridges (trainer of Australian’s ‘The Biggest Losers’), Kathleen De Leon (former Hi-5 member), Rachael Finch (Miss Universe Australia), Peter Fitzsimons (writer), Wendy Harmer (comedian/children’s book author), Simon Katich (sport – cricket), Alex Lloyd (musician), Indira Naidoo (newsreader), George Negus (journalist/TV presenter), Ryan O’Keefe (sport – AFL), Kirk Pengilly (INXS), Alex Perry (fashion designer), Peter Rowsthorn (comedian/TV presenter), Eamon Sullivan (Olympic swimmer), Josh Thomas (comedian) and Simon Westaway (actor). (Note: crossed names are eliminated, bold names advance to semi-final.)
The first episode was quite good but not as frantic and exciting as the main version. Understandably, they have to do it this way for the celebrity version with the format more like the British original (6 heats, groups of three –> 2 semi-finals -> final) as these contestants are not able to commit themselves for a full 2 months to the show. Thankfully it is only one 1-hour episode a week, so not as much commitment for us audiences as the main version. But it is still a shame for the two contestants who get eliminated after cooking just two dishes, and we don’t really get to see how good they really are if it happens to be a bad cooking day for them on the day of competition.
However, I am so glad they kept the ‘Pressure Test’ segment in this version as it was one of my favourite segments in series one of MCA.
I also liked the way they have tweaked the celebrity ‘Pressure Test’ by having a choice of two recipes to choose from, more dilemma and gamesmanship for the contestant who has to choose! The introduction of the 90-second-lifeline available to each contestant is great. At least each contestant now have the opportunity of asking for a once only 90-second-duration-help from the chef if they run into problems with the chef’s recipe.
By the way, Gary was on 9am yesterday preparing his Beef Bourguignon used as a taste-test in the final of MCA and he’s also going to be on again today together with George demonstrating the dessert that created a sensation in series one, the Croquembouche. So just go to the links given to see the video clips and get the recipes if you are interested. And for those awaiting the cookbooks, the first MasterChef Australia cookbook will be out end of November, featuring recipes from chefs and contestants. I’ll buy it just for Adriano Zumbo’s recipes if they are more comprehensively written than the ones given out on the website.
Apart from Celebrity MasterChef Australia beginning its run on TV this week, there are so many new TV shows starting their new season currently I don’t know where to look! I’m already hooked on ‘Glee’ after just two episodes. Then there are all these other free-to-air shows which I’m trying to find time to watch too – 7th season of NCIS (wow, what a fantastic opening episode of the new season with the rescuing of Ziva!), first season of NCIS: LA (hmm, not too sure, may not be essential viewing, not as good as the original), second series of Torchwood (thankfully being screened on ABC2 now with no commercial breaks and with a consistent timeslot after being treated badly the first time around on Network Ten), Midsomer Murders (the last episode of the 12th series airs this coming Sunday), Jonathan Creek (‘The Grinning Man’ episode, looking forward to this old favourite returning to TV after 5 years, to replace Midsomer Murders’ timeslot, on October 11, 2009), FlashForward (but missed it on its debut on Monday, might try to catch it when it is being repeated Friday), Spicks and Specks (always a perennial favourite), Heart and Soul (enjoyable!), Yellowstone (third and last episode airs this coming Sunday, beautiful and amazing scenery!), Burn Notice (last few episodes of 2nd season, hopefully going straight into 3rd season after that), Lie to Me (new season starts next Tuesday), and finally The Amazing Race (15th season starting next Thursday). Hmmm, busy, busy, busy!
Ep 2 October 7, 2009 Contestant Recipe – Filipino Caramel Flan / Flan de Leche (Kathleen de Leon), it was so good Gary triple dipped!
Ep 3 October 14, 2009 Contestant Recipe – Vanilla and Strawberry Panna Cotta (Anna Bligh), quick and easy and won praises from the judges.
Ep 4 October 21, 2009 Pressure Test – Lemon Curd Layer Cake with Fresh Passionfruit (Stephanie Alexander) and her other version from ‘The Age’ in 2005, hahaha the look on the judges’ faces were classic when Wendy Harmer presented a pool of passionfruit puddle on her layered crêpe cake and congrats to Simon Katich for winning despite the fact he has no sense of smell!
Ep 5 October 28, 2009 Contestant Recipe – French Crêpes with Crème Patissiere and Strawberry Salad (Rachael Finch), which made George feel warm and fuzzy!
Ep 6 November 4, 2009 Dessert galore! Wow, 4 desserts presented in this episode, 2 desserts made by contestants for their ‘Signature Dish’ segment, and 2 desserts from renown pastry chef, Katrina Kanetani of ‘Pier’, to choose from for the ‘Pressure Test’ segment:
Contestant Recipe – Chocolate Ripple Cake (Peter Rowsthorn), a classic Australian non-cook dessert with a twist from Peter;
Contestant Recipe – Pandan Crêpes with Coconut Crème Sauce (Faustina “Fuzzy” Agolley), a modernized version of Kuih Dadar as a restaurant dessert;
Pressure Test – Sumac Strawberries and Cream with White Chocolate Sponge and Ice Cream (Katrina Kanetani), however her other dessert, Chocolate Crème Brûlée with Cherry & Hazelnut Financier & Sorbet, which looked scrumptious as well, will not be available as it was not chosen for the ‘Pressure test’, but as a treat for you chocoholics here’s her recipe for Double Chocolate Mousse with White Chocolate Foam.
And from the sneak peek for next week’s semi final, it looks like Adriano Zumbo’s Croquembouche is BACK!
Ep 7 November 11, 2009 Semi-Final 1. Looks like the semi-finals and the final (2 parts, Tues Nov 24 & Wed Nov 25) are going to follow the weekly segments in the main version, so I guess Adriano Zumbo’s Croquembouche (a different one from series 1, this new one is apparently a chocolate-swirl croquembouche, drool…) will probably be on during the finals as next week they are all cooking in a professional kitchen in a hotel. Tonight’s episode was Mystery Box and Invention Test.
The Mystery Box included 1 lamb backstrap, block of dark chocolate, ground coffee beans, 1 potato, 1 orange, 1 beetroot, bunch of mint and a bowl of spinach leaves.
For the Invention Test, they got paired up into 3 teams to cook 2 dishes each team. The theme was Christmas Lunch. As usual the winner of the Mystery Box challenge (which was Eamon) got to choose the core ingredient(s) for the Invention Test. The options were: option one – turkey & mixed dried fruits; option two – ham & white chocolate; option three – seafood & fresh summer fruits. Option three was chosen for the classic summer Christmas lunch menu. The seafood included snapper, crabs and prawns and the fresh summer fruits included pineapple, papaya, mangoes, pomegranates, bananas, coconut, passionfruits, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.
Again this episode was full of desserts (6 desserts altogether):
Mystery Box – Orange Soufflé Crêpes with Chocolate Sauce (Michelle Bridges) NOT AVAILABLE, this recipe failed it was not cooked through due to time limit
Mystery Box – Chocolate Fondant with Orange & Mint Soup (Rachael Finch) NOT AVAILABLE
Mystery Box – Chocolate Mousse with Espresso Brûlée and Orange and Mint Salad (Eamon Sullivan), this recipe won the Mystery Box challenge.
Invention Test – Steamed Puddings with Brandy Cream and Berry Sauce (Rachael Finch)
Invention Test – Pavlova Stack with Berry Coulis and Summer Fruits (Eamon Sullivan)
Invention Test – Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis (Simon Katich), this recipe was not set properly due to the time limit and lost the challenge for Simon leading to his elimination.
Ep 8 November 18, 2009 Semi-Final 2. No recipes available as the contestants were cooking in Altitude restaurant at Shangri-La Hotel for this episode, they used the restaurant’s recipes.
Ep 9 November 24, 2009 Semi-Final 3 (or was it Finale part 1) Pressure Test – Chocolate Swirl Croquembouche (Adriano Zumbo), what a beautiful dessert with the sugar butterflies resting on the croquembouche, using 2 types of choux puffs, vanilla cream puffs and chocolate cream puffs! Three and half hours to make the dessert, wow…
Ep 10 November 25, 2009 Finale
And the First Celebrity MasterChef Australia is… Olympic swimmer Eamon Sullivan! Wow, what an incredible young man, to come back from just 2 points out of 10 in the first round (mistakenly called rosemary ‘thyme’ in the taste test for the Paella dish) to scoring 30 out of 30 in the second round for his ‘Chocolate Delice’ in the dessert Invention Test, and 27 out of 30 in the third round for the Pressure Test. Who would have thought he is such a good cook for a professional swimmer!
Invention Test – Chocolate Delice with Salted Caramel (Eamon Sullivan), scoring a perfect 10 from each of the three judges.
Invention Test – Chocolate Cake with Chocolate-Dipped Raspberries and Cream (Kirk Pengilly)