Saturday, September 19, 2015

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 3: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 3

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 3: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 3
Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • This episode features the first ever MasterChef Asia Mystery Box Challenge! Each contestant has a limited box of ingredients that they can cook with along with a limited staple pantry box. 
  • The judges will only be tasting the 3 most outstanding dishes so it comes down to taste, execution, and plating. Whoever wins the mystery box challenge gets a huge advantage in the succeeding Elimination Test.
  • For this mystery box challenge, the contestants had a box full of chicken, carrots, thyme, corn, asparagus, lime, yogurt, apple, and nori. The contestants had 60 minutes to cook an amazing dish using these ingredients.
  • The contestants looked genuinely nervous at the start of the challenge. It's a very different sight from the confident looks that you would normally see in MasterChef US or MasterChef Australia. The contestants should be a bit more competent in their ability, they're the best home cooks in Asia.
  • I'm really hoping that Lica can bounce back from under-performing in the previous two episodes. Rico may be a fellow Filipino as well, but I don't think he has what it takes to win it all.
  • I'm not sure how much time Leong spent helping Blanche, but it may cost him the challenge. Blanche looks like she's always be asking for a bit of help from her fellow contestants, she also did that in the first episode with the piping bag.
  • Marcus was pretty smart when he smoked his dish. Once again, adding a bit of flair and theater in his presentation. That's so Marcus.
  • There are a lot of subpar plates across the room in the mystery box challenge. Marcus and Leong, though, really stepped up in plating their dishes. 
  • Priya, Leong, and Marcus had the top three dishes during the mystery box challenge. Marcus deserves the mystery box win. The smoke escaping from the bowl when the judges opened the cap was so beautiful. 
  • Too bad he still had to cook in the invention test. The contestants had to cook Asian soup and the advantage that Marcus had was that he was tasked to choose core ingredient that everyone must cook with. 
  • Marcus had to choose between ginger, chilis, and garlic as the core ingredient in the invention test. It was pretty smart of him to choose ginger.
  • The contestants had only 30 minutes to cook a great soup. Leong was right, it really is challenging to make a great, flavorful broth in just under 30 minutes.
  • WHO HAD THE BRIGHT IDEA OF LETTING THE CONTESTANTS USE KNORR CUBES IN MASTERCHEF? It's a tragedy! A shame! You can notice the knorr cubes on almost every frame during the elimination test.  
  • I was pretty surprised that Lennard struggled so much in the challenge - Asian soup might lead to his downfall.
  • Rico was making a Tinola and Meatball soup, which sounds like a disaster. This was an Asian soup challenge, not an Asian fusion challenge. I was thinking that he might be eliminated because he didn't listen to the instructions. You won't see Tinola and Meatballs in Filipino kitchens.
  • Lica juiced the ginger to extract a lot of flavor from the ginger. Smart move Lica! 
  • I'm pretty excited for Jasbir's dish. She's the spice queen so I was expecting her to cook something amazing for this challenge.
  • Marcus, Leong, Sandrian, and Lica had beautiful plated soups. I do hope more contestants step up with plating more. 
  • The contestants with the top dishes were:
    • Marcus - Best Dish
    • Lica
    • Jasbir
  • The contestants with the bottom dishes were:
    • Stefan - Worst Dish
    • Lennard
    • Rico
  • Marcus won the invention test! He chose the ingredient he was most comfortable with and it paid off. He proved to everyone that he has the potential to win it all by having the top dish in both the mystery box challenge and the elimination challenge.
  • Lica cooked her son's favorite dish and it paid off. I'm happy that a Filipino finally got into the top 3 of a challenge. 
  • Stefan had the worst dish of the night and was eliminated. I'm not sure why, maybe the soup just tasted weird. I was expecting Rico to go because he went fusion and looked like he had pasta rather than soup, but he lives for another episode. He won't last very long unless he starts improving his cooking game in the next episodes. I hope he steps up and wows the judges.

Here's a list of what each MasterChef Asia contestant cooked in the invention challenge. 
  • Philippines
    • Rico Amancio - Tinola Meatball Fusion Soup
    • Lica Ibarra - Sinigang with Miso
  • Singapore
    • Lennard Yeong - Ginger Lemongrass Broth with Shrimp and Noodles
    • Woo Wai Leong - Beef Shortrib Soup with Caramelized Onions and Dashi
    • Sandrian Tan - Myanmarese Inspired Soup
  • Malaysia
    • Marcus Low - Coconut Broth with Prawns and Croutons
    • Jasbir Kaur - Tom Yum Lentil Soup with Crispy Ginger Strips
  • Indonesia
    • Stefan Pratama - Indonesian Carrot and Ginger Beef Soup
    • Vonny Lestari - Soto Ayam
  • China
    • Alice Peng - Chinese Fish Soup with Tempura Ginger
  • Taiwan
    • Blanche Chu - not shown
  • Vietnam
    • Doan Phuong Ha - Northern Vietnamese Beef Pho
  • India
    • Priya Barve - not shown
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 3, check it out here.

Further reading you might like:

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Chef Jay


  1. may I know what the redmart pantry staples were?

  2. may i know what are the redmart pantry items available in this episode? especially the one in the purple box, i cant seem to see its name !

    1. Hi Ryan, i'll whip up a post for you with all the pantry staples this weekend!

    2. Here you go Ryan! :D