Saturday, October 31, 2015

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 9: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 9

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 9: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 9
Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • This MasterChef Asia takes the contestants to one of the most popular entertainment destinations in Asia - Hongkong Disneyland.  They had the morning off to enjoy the sights and sounds of this magical place before they have lunch at Crystal Lotus restaurant.
  • It was funny watching Ha enjoy some of the rides even though she was afraid of heights. I think we were able to get a glimpse of the contestants that we don't normally see when they're cooking and get to know them a little better. 
  • The teams are faced with their first pressure test (isn't it a bit late into the show?) where they had to replicate one of four Rudolf Muller's award-winning dishes. These are the;
    • Roasted Beef and Veal Tenderloin
    • Salmon and Cod Timbale
    • 5 Spice Veal and Beef Short Ribs
    • Slow Roasted Lamb Loin
  • The contestants had to replicate a Rudolf Muller dish within the time frame. They were given a recipe and all the ingredients they needed to make this dish at their station in the Royal Banquet Hall
  • All the dishes were really complicated with a lot of different elements prepared using a number of cooking techniques. This challenge is no joke and it will really test each contestant's knowledge of flavor and cooking despite being handed the recipe - a challenge that will show us who the real contenders are. 
  • I would probably choose the Roasted Beef and Veal Tenderloin since it seems to be the easiest to get right (it's also what I want to cook) and avoid the Salmon and Cof Timbale because it's so easy to overcook. 
  • I wonder why this is the first pressure test in the competition. I mean, this challenge is probably one of the most iconic challenges in the MasterChef kitchen and it really helps develop the cooks to do really well at the end of the show, provided that they don't get eliminated of course. 
  • Blanche and Sandrian had the option to swap the Salmon and Cod Timbale they were supposed to cook with Priya and Jasbir because they don't eat red meat. Blanche swapped with Jasbir but Sandrian wanted to stay with the fish. The judges decided to give Priya a fighting chance by giving her the fish dish anyway. I don't think it was a fair decision because vegetarians had to cook with meat in both MasterChef US and MasterChef Australia.
  • Ha says that she doesn't like to follow recipes on the dot and she always goes by taste. Isn't Ha such an awesome person? I want to cook like her some day. 
  • It was Sandrian's first time with the induction stove. I'm not sure how her pan caught fire. I mean, I have been working with an induction stove for so long and it never caught fire!
  • This will be extra challenging for Marcus in particular and Blanche. Marcus is the dessert guy and I'm not sure how well he'll perform when tasted to make a savory dish. Blanche seems all over the place all the time and it would be interesting to see if she can pull off such a complicated dish. 
  • Blanche made a number of critical mistakes. First, she put chicken in her sauteed vegetables so for sure some of the chicken flavor was infused in the pot. She also put the veal skin and ox tongue together in one pressure cooker which might make the flavor a bit confusing. 
  • Leong, Jasbir, and Ha seems very much in control throughout the challenge. I'm really impressed by their ability to create a wonderful dish under pressure. 
  • It's a good thing that Ha felt really nice today, advising Lennard to check the beef he was cooking in the pressure cooker. If she didn't do that, he would have been eliminated because the beef was sticking at the bottom of the pan. 
  • Jasbir was very smart in the way she approached cutting the fish, taking into consideration the overall height of the fish in the original plate. Sandrian, on the other hand, was quite clumsy. 
  • Blanche was so behind throughout the challenge and she actually gave up in the middle of the pressure test. I wouldn't be surprised if she went home tonight. 
  • The best dishes of the night were prepared by:
    • Jasbir
    • Ha - winner
    • Leong
  • Ha deserved this win. She made a very beautiful dish that the judges couldn't stop eating. Ha also won the previous individual challenge so it seems like she's the MasterChef Asia contestant to beat. 
  • Leong has been solid throughout the past few weeks. His fellow contestants know that he's a force to be reckoned with in the competition. I think he has the skills to win it all, despite the fact that he is a bit hard-headed.
  • The worst dishes of the night were prepared by:
    • Lennard
    • Blanche
    • Sandrian - eliminated
  • Sandrian went home tonight because she made a very disjointed dish. It might have been the wrong decision because Blanche also deserved to be eliminated tonight because she made a number of mistakes as well. I think Sandrian got more elements wrong, which is why she went home.
  • I was surprised that Lennard was in the bottom three tonight. His performance has been disappointing over the past few episodes. Did he peak in the first episode?
  • Overall, this was the best MasterChef Asia episode so far. We were able to see the contestants prepare MasterChef quality dishes and we now know who among the remaining contestants can cook under pressure. I hope that we see more dishes of this caliber moving forward. 
Here are my picks for MasterChef Asia Top 5 (in order):
  1. Ha - winner
  2. Leong
  3. Jasbir
  4. Marcus
  5. Lennard

Here's a list of what each MasterChef Asia team cooked today. 
  • Singapore
    • Lennard Yeong - 5 Spice Veal and Beef Short Ribs
    • Woo Wai Leong - Slow Roasted Lamb Loin
    • Sandrian Tan - Salmon and Cod Timbale
  • Malaysia
    • Marcus Low - Roasted Beef and Veal Tenderloin
    • Jasbir Kaur - Salmon and Cod Timbale
    • Taiwan
      • Blanche Chu - Slow Roasted Lamb Loin
    • Vietnam
      • Doan Phuong Ha - 5 Spice Veal and Beef Short Ribs
    • India
      • Priya Barve - Salmon and Cod Timbale
    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?

    Further reading you might like:

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    Chef Jay

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