Sunday, June 3, 2012

Masterchef Australia - Episode 9

The first immunity challenge of the season. Having won the invention test Ben must go head to head against a professional chef and be blind tasted. This challenge was a bit unusual in that rather than the professional bringing a dish both must cook the professional brought his crew and Ben was allowed to choose two fellow contestants to assist him in creating a three course meal based around a core ingredient - lemon. The two groups were tasted course by course in a head to head judging and each course had a dish chosen as the winner for that course. The first course had Andy cooking a snapper ceviche taco for Ben that lost out to a sashimi snapper in lemon ponzu sauce prepared by one of the crew. Both dishes were well executed but the finesse of the professional carried the day.
sorry for the fuzziness - it was the best I could snip!
The second course was truly the meat of the battle, pitting challenge winner Ben against the head chef, Dan Hong. The professional prepared a better, more enjoyable, dish - a lettuce wrap - but lost the challenge due to his failure to feature lemon in the dish. Ben's winning dish suffered from some undercooked, unwanted prawns.  The judges felt that removing the prawns would have improved his ravioli dish on multiple fronts.

The final course pitted Emma, the young, budding pastry chef against the other crew-man for dessert.  Emma ambitiously chose to make a lemon cheesecake.  A move that won approval and awe from the opposition, but ultimately failed to carry the competition.  Some small flaws in execution, which caused huge stress from the 19-year-old, still left a highly palatable dish that the judges enjoyed, but it was beaten by an extraordinary effort from the opposition.  The professional created a deconstructed lemon tart that he presented in a stemless wine glass.  The dish combined multiple textures and temperature with creamy lemon custard basing the dish and a reported tart and delicious lemon granita on top sandwiching a shortbread crumb and candied lemon peel.  The presentation and execution were simply unbeatable.

No immunity pin and a rather dubious one point for the challenger who rather won by default in his round.  Though by no means a win, I should state that there were not true disasters - unless you wish to qualify undercooked prawns as such.  I would call it more of a minor error.  The contestants put forth a fairly credible effort but they simply couldn't outdo the professionals, even with the lead time they were given.

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