Drawing a quick summary of last week’s Masterchef SA episode set in idyllic Nederburg as well as Coco Reinharz, celebrity guest chef; Episode 6 of Masterchef SA truly threw a spanner … or should I say ‘spoon’ in the works for the contestants.
Sam (red team leader and winner of last week’s team challenge) was given the royalty to choose the main ingredient (Seafood) for the Curry challenge set upon the contestants, whom each had to individually cook and brew up a perfectly harmonised seafood curry incorporating Samantha’s other ingredient Star Anise. Given only 75 minutes to complete the challenge and only 2 minutes to collect their seafood ingredients contestants were frantically grabbing and running to make sure they got enough of what they needed to harmonise their curries. Black pasta, Egg noodles and Chinese noodles were some of Thys’s grabs as Lungi chose bananas and peaches for sweetness. Sarel trying nervously to combine yoghurt, cardomon, fennel, garlic and prawns whilst Isle burnt her chin trying to get closer to her pan to ‘hear’ her mustard seeds pop. Ilse testified that mustard seeds are only cooked when they’ve popped and all the buzz in the kitchen was making it difficult to hear the mustard seeds pop. Judges walking around giving comments here and there, with Pete proclaiming that he absolutely loves eating curry and if he could he would just eat curry all day long, he seemed to be setting very high standards for the contestants to reach. Added to that, he also mentioned that he would be quite upset if they did not get this challenge right.
Judges standing in their circle of pressure, as I like to call it, collaborating secretly about their individual opinions of the challenge, were noticing that some of the contestants were struggling to blend and harmonise those tricky elements of what makes a curry dish spectacular. Although Sarel was anxious about cooking this dish, he also said that he was just going to have fun and do something crazy, and one might say he stuck with his guns in that comment as oyster sauce and soy sauce was elaborately added to his prawn curry. One could only imagine how delicious the air must have smelled in the Masterchef kitchen with all those subtle and strong aromas floating about, boiling, sizzling and cooking, blending and folding into one another … all trying to be the dish that blows the judges away and has the best blend of all the flavours.
Well, it was off to tasting time and one by one the contestants were called up. To highlight the tasting was when Chef Benny told Deena (whom was winner of today’s challenge) that his curry dish had actually taken him back to Durban where he used to live and enjoy the best curries. Lwazi’s critique was not as pleasant as his curry was incredibly bitter to the taste, prawns not cleaned properly and under-cooked and was unfortunately a dismal failure to judge Pete. Although initially nervous about her dish Lungile’s Prawn Curry had proper side accompaniments, good flavours, well-cooked prawns, enough flavoursome sauce and the little side dishes were a perfect accompaniment to her delectable curry. Following in Deena’s footsteps was Thys’s curry dish that chef Andrew described as “hacking through a forest.” It might only have been his 3rd time cooking curry, but he mastered it true Masterchef style as his forest mesh had been described as having a little treasure inside it, which of course had him in 2nd place as runner up to victory this evening.
It was not a good day in the Masterchef kitchen as Chef Pete’s disappointment was very obvious via his comments such as: “I have never been so disappointed at a tasting and looked forward to a tasting as much as today” and “I have had better curry from grade 10 home economics students.” Bottom three dishes to go head-to-head in a cook off of one of Andrew’s acclaimed recipes were Sarel, Lwazi and Sue-Ann.
Standing in the Masterchef kitchen with Benny and Andrew talking the three through their challenge, everyone wondered where is Pete? As they were informed of their dish which was Salmon cooked three ways, Pete walked out of the pantry holding a big cold salmon in his hands, plopping it down on the kitchen table and informing the three that they not only had to perfect the Salmon cooked three ways, but also had to fillet their own Salmon. Informing the contestants that they will be under scrutiny from Andrew when he won a Gold award in a competition with 18 Acclaimed chefs around the world, as his winning dish was the one they were about to “tackle” on.
Only 90 minutes were given to complete the assignment with this delicate piece of fish that needed to be filleted, NOT hacked, bones tweezed out, each fillet the same size as the others and its skin removed. Lwazi got to good start filleting the fish as well as Sarel who hoped that he could only be judged on filleting. Sarel managed to finish his Teriyaki Salmon first and thus has a lead above Sue-Ann and Lwazi. With only 30minutes left, adrenaline running high the clock ‘tick-tocking’ away the minutes and everyone rushing and running around, Lwazi said that his biggest challenge was that little quail egg which was so small in comparison to his big hands.
To add pressure to the test, the Salmon had to be poached in the perfect temperature oil, seared completely but not well done, with a perfectly poached quail egg and the Teriyaki Salmon had to be bursting with flavour as well as have the spices and lemon juice perfectly in harmony with each other.
The 60 second mark had been reached and the judges made the final count down as the three nervous contestants cooking off against each other finished their last plating. With Sarel’s dish to be tasted first, he announced that it was one of the most amazing dishes he had ever cooked in his life, and to his utter surprise, the judges thought his dish was amazing and that he should feel very proud of himself. Lwazi was soon to follow, but his poached salmon was overcooked and too firm, the teriyaki too raw with unbalanced lemon and seasoning and Andrew felt that his Salmon should melt away in a person’s mouth and Lwazi just didn’t meet those requirements. Sue-Ann last, but not least, feeling like her life was hanging in the balance of three mouths, having sacrificed so much to take part on Masterchef South Africa, had very good feedback from the judges even though she too did not have enough lemon juice in the salmon teriyaki and poached her other salmon fillet a couple seconds too long.
Called out first was Sarel, whose Masterchef lifespan had not run out and was deemed safe and could return to the other remaining contestants. A nervous silence followed after which Lwazi was the unfortunate one and eliminated due to his inability to master the Masterchef Three way cooked Salmon. Lwazi left the Masterchef SA kitchen and said that he felt proud of what he had achieved and was willing to give himself a pat on the back for what he has managed to achieve so far in Masterchef.
The nerves are getting more rattled and the vibe is getting more serious in the kitchen as episode 7 promises to entertain South Africans as well as surprise them. We can all look forward to seeing the contestants in Simonstown next week, cooking an entire animal in the pressure test and cook for the South African Navy Crew members. Keep those recipes coming!
What do you have to say?