Thursday, September 10, 2015

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 1: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 1

  • Anybody else want to skip the opening credits, the one where they were introducing each contestant, because of the song?  
  • The three MasterChef Asia judges are Audra Morrice, Susur Lee, and Bruno Menard. They each bring a lot of culinary experience to the table and I can't wait to hear some of their thoughts on plating, taste, and techniques in future episodes. 
  • As for the 15 contestants, the show features 3 contestants from the Philippines, 3 from Singapore, 3 from Malaysia, 2 from Indonesia,  1 from Vietnam, Taiwan, China, and India. It's a bit sad to see that there are no contestants from Thailand, Hong Kong, or South Korea. Apparently, some contestants didn't make the cut because they couldn't communicate in English. 
  • The Filipino contestants are Jake Aycardo, Lica Ibarra, and Rico Amancio. I do hope one of them wins it all and becomes Asia's first MasterChef. Go Philippines! 
  • The prizes seem quite generous, although they are a mouthful. For the full list of MasterChef Asia prizes, check out the MasterChef Asia Primer
  • The very first task in the MasterChef kitchen was for the contestants to cook the one dish that best represents who each of the contestants are in just 90 minutes. It was nice for us to get to know each contestant better - particularly their strengths.
  • Marcus from Malaysia tried to do too much. I'm not sure what he was thinking when he said he was making ice cream as one of the 12 elements of his dish. Won't it melt while he waits for the judges to call his name? He needs to pull back.
  • Some contestants made quite a number of mistakes in the first episode, I can imagine most were not at the top of their game because of opening episode jitters.
  • I really appreciate how the judges were giving a lot of quality advice on each contestant's dish during the cooking process and again after tasting each dish after they have been plated. It shows how much they care about each contestant producing something amazing on the plate. 
  • The judges seem a bit crowded when they were tasting each dish. I would prefer a format similar to MasterChef US, where each judge comes forward separately.
  • Plating needs a lot of improvement. I can count 9 plates that I would consider beautiful and the rest were just carelessly placed on the plate. 
  • The contestants with the top dishes were:
    • Jasbir
    • Ha
    • Lennard - Best Dish
  • The contestants with the bottom dishes were: 
    • Jake
    • Sophia - Worst Dish
    • Rico 
  • Hands down to Lennard! He almost didn't get a dish out because he was putting too much meat into the Ravioli. but I'm happy he did. He deserves the win.
  • Two of the bottom three contestants were Filipinos. Bummer. I'm happy that none of them went home in this episode. Rico made a lot of mistakes, especially with overcooked seafood and the use of Saffron. I'm surprised he wasn't sent packing. It was Sophia who was sent home.
  • I am personally rooting for Lennard, Lica, or Jasbir to win it all. I'm rooting for these three contestants. I'm on the ropes with Ha, she seems great in the kitchen but I'd have to see how she performs in the next few episodes. 

Here's a list of what each MasterChef Asia contestant cooked today. 
  • Philippines
    • Jake Aycardo - Pulled Pork
    • Rico Amancio - Paella Valenciana
    • Lica Ibarra - Sea Urchin Risotto
  • Singapore
    • Lennard Yeong - Lobster Ravioli
    • Woo Wai Leong - Crispy Snapper, Nori Jam, Lime Powder
    • Sandrian Tan - Spicy Thai Fish Cake
  • Malaysia
    • Marcus Low - Chocolate Citrus
    • Jasbir Kaur - Chicken Curry with Cumin Rice and Roti
    • Sophia Zulkifli - Chicken Confit
  • Indonesia
    • Stefan Pratama - Southern Fried Pork Chop
    • Vonny Lestari - Beef Rendang
  • China
    • Alice Peng - Steamed Chinese Treasure Dumplings
  • Taiwan
    • Blanche Chu - Choux a La Creme Patissiere
  • Vietnam
    • Doan Phuong Ha - Cha Ca (Pan Fried Fish)
  • India
    • Priya Barve - Mango Shrikhand Tart
You can watch the full episode for free at

MasterChef Asia Recap and Thoughts for the week's episode will be released every Saturday at 7:00pm PHT. 

I would love to hear your thoughts on the episode, so please do leave a comment. Who do you think has what it takes to win MasterChef Asia?

For my MasterChef Asia Recap and Thoughts on Episode 2, check it out here.

Further reading you might like:

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