Sunday, November 8, 2015

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 10: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 10

Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • This MasterChef Asia Episode is all about celebration and innovation as Singapore celebrates its 50th year of independence. Guest judge and Pastry queen Janice Wong graces this episode by showcasing some of her beautiful dessert creations to provide some inspiration to the contestants .
  • It's interesting to note that all of the remaining contestants has cooked a top 3 dish at least once in the competition. Ha leads the way, putting up a top 3 dish for 4 times already.
  • Finally, a dessert challenge! This episode is all about being innovative with desserts so the dessert guru Marcus and French-inspired patisserie Blanche should have this in the bag. 
  • It's not easy to create a plate that has so many complex elements that blend together beautifully.
  • The contestants will be judged based on the story that they put on the plate and how their desserts taste. Each contestant has 2 and a half hours with full access to an open pantry to communicate a story of celebration through their food.
  • Blanche wasn't in the game today right from the get-go. She's also consistently been one of the least impressive performers over the past few episodes she survived. She might be in trouble today.
  • I like Lennard's dessert concept - he was making a strawberry dish that will highlight the colors of the Singapore flag. I'm looking forward to how he will plate it up.
  • Leong seems like he's all over the place at the start of the challenge. He was slow to think of a concept but he did grab ingredients that work quite well together. It's Leong, so that does include some alcohol. 
  • Marcus wanted to make a green tea inspired dessert because of Singapore's love for tea. I think it's interesting but wouldn't that be too one-dimensional in terms of flavor?
  • Jasbir was making Chai spice infused ice cream. Now that sounds delicious and I'll probably try making one at home pretty soon. 
  • The thing about this challenge is that if you put more elements on the plate, your put yourself at greater risk of the plate not being coherent. If you don't have enough elements, it's going to be a really disappointing plate at this level of the competition. 
  • That said, it seems like Leong and Ha has so many elements on their dishes while Blanche doesn't seems to have enough elements on the plate with just the French macarons.
  • Nice tip from Janice Wong of laying out every element on a tray to see if the flavors go well. That was a useful tip and I think i'll use that when I'm making my own desserts.
  • Interesting concept from Priya, trying to combine 3 desserts inspired from 3 different countries on a plate. It's ambitious but I'm concerned that it all won't blend too well together.
  • The most interesting for me is the number of contestants that has black pepper in their desserts. I mean, black pepper is a very savory ingredient so that's a bit surprising.
  • I didn't realize that Leong has a strong tendency to cook with alcohol in every challenge in the competition up until the point where they showed flashbacks of the previous challenges. He does love his booze! 
  • Blanche's macarons looked horrible when she took them out of the oven. After seeing those dilapidated pieces, I thought she was going home for sure.
  • When Leong's dessert toppled over in Marcus' oven, I thought he screwed up a component of Marcus' dish. Good thing Marcus covered his tray before putting it in the oven. Jasbir was nice enough to let Leong borrow her oven. 
  • Once Blanche's maracons puffed up, it looks like she has one foot out the door. It looks so unappetizing and I'll be amazed if she can still save herself from elimination. 
  • Ha had trouble removing her gelatin from the mold and that might be a sign that it's too hard to eat. 
  • For what seems like the first time in the competition, the judges didn't like the dish that Ha put up. The dish itself looks beautiful, but the flavors didn't blend coherently - particularly the goat's cheese. Ha's weak with dessert and she might go home on the back of a dessert challenge. 
  • Marcus made green tea 3 ways to highlight it with different textures the dish really impressed the judges. Everyone expected Marcus to come up with a winning dish tonight and he delivered. 
  • Jasbir came up with a really beautiful plate in this challenge. It looks like a huge plate of candy fun with the colors complementing each other really well and the judges loved the flavors that she put into it. 
  • When Blanche presented her dish to the judges, the final plate looked better than I expected. Unfortunately, she made too many errors in the execution including getting the macarons wrong (too dry and unappetizing)  and using pandan flavoring rather than fresh pandan so she should be in the bottom tonight. 
  • Leong's dish looks like a sailboat in a plate. It's an amazing concept and I don't think there is much more you can do with it to make it better. Based on the comments from the judges, the flavors that Leong put up blend really well and if he keeps cooking like this he might win the competition. 
  • The components of Priya's dish that didn't blend together well. The risk she took of putting 3 different dishes from 3 countries on the plate didn't pay off. 
  • Lennard's dish looked very beautiful. But his use of Parmesan cheese didn't work too well with the other elements he put on the dish.
  • The contestants that put up the top dishes in this challenge were:
    • Marcus
    • Leong - winner
  • Leong won a challenge for the first time and I think he deserves it. Leong has grown into such a great cook throughout the competition. If he keeps on improving he does have the ability to win the MasterChef Asia crown.
  • I think Jasbir should have been the third member of the top 3. She put up a great dish and she deserves to be recognized for that.
  • The contestants that put up the bottom dishes in this challenge were:
    • Lennard
    • Ha
    • Blanche - eliminated
  • It seems like this is the first time that Ha put up a bottom 3 dish. Desserts are her weakness and she might go home on the back of the next dessert challenge. Both Ha and Lennard were in the bottom because they used cheese in their desserts.
  • At the end of the day, Blanche went home because she put up an uninspired dish that had too many elements wrong. I think it was the right call and it was her time to go. 
  • I liked this episode a lot because it shows how much the contestants improved in terms of their plating skills. Coming up with the desserts that they did in 2 and a half hours was very difficult and it was amazing that they pulled it off. 
Here are my picks for MasterChef Asia Top 5 (in order):
  1. Ha - winner
  2. Leong
  3. Marcus
  4. Jasbir
  5. Lennard

Here's a list of what each MasterChef Asia team cooked today. 
  • Singapore
    • Lennard Yeong - Parmesan Panna Cotta with Strawberry Ice Cream and Black Pepper Tulle
    • Woo Wai Leong - Financier with Vermouth Cherries and Mascarpone Kaffir Lime Sorbet
  • Malaysia
    • Marcus Low - Green Tea 3 Ways with Passionfruit Curd and Pistachio Crumble
    • Jasbir Kaur - Coconut Candy, Milk Cake with Chai Ice Cream and Pomegranate Sauce
    • Taiwan
      • Blanche Chu - Pandan Butter Cream Macaron with Pandan Vanilla Panna Cotta
    • Vietnam
      • Doan Phuong Ha - Coconut Sponge Cake with Chamomile Coconut Jelly and Goat's Cheese Fruit Salad
    • India
      • Priya Barve - Gula Melaka Pandan Kulfi, Mango Sago Panna Cotta and Semolina Cake
    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


    1. I've always waited for your recap because it's amazing how detailed you are in the things being said in the episode itself. I agree that at this level of the competition, there's no more room for mistakes and slight negative comment might already put you to the bottom 3 (just like what happened to Ha and Lennard this week).

      1. Oh definitely. It's also great to see that all the remaining cooks have improved since their first say in the competition. While there remain to be some inconsistent cooks (Lennard and Marcus) where they can be top performers one night and bottom performers the next, they seem to be a lot better now. MasterChef Asia has grown quite entertaining to watch! :D

        Thanks for dropping by and I'm glad you enjoy this series on MasterChef Asia!

    2. i agree with mr/ms unknown :) thanks chef jay for sharing your thoughts and giving us a recap of masterchef. we don't have cable tv at home coz nobody has time to watch tv...however, I noticed that when the filipino contestants got eliminated..updates and videos of the latest episodes seem to be delayed. :) oh well...mabuhay ang Pilipinas! hehehe

      1. Thank you for regularly dropping by Ruben, I really appreciate it! :) They do release each MasterChef Asia episode online a week after it has aired on cable, so you can watch there!

        As for the updates, I swear it was unintentional! Haha. I try to publish this every Saturday at 7pm but you know, life happens at times. I'm going to be busy this Saturday as well somI might publish on Friday morning instead. Haha. Let's see!

        See you around Ruben! If you do have any questions or article requests, I will do my best to accomodate them

      2. no pressure jay! :) who's your bet to win? i guess Ha, Marcus and Leong will be the top 3...but i'm not really an expert viewer...just enjoy watching people cook...

      3. I think Ha will win, although I'm rooting for Leong to win. He irritates me at times but I think he's a great cook and he probably has improve the most since the start of the competition. Haha! Oh yes, they are a joy to watch!

    3. Thank you Jay for recaps...I beg to differ to who winning. I go for Jasbir, Ha, Leong, Marcus in that order..justification...Jasbir been the most consistent producing moderate to great dishes..

      1. It's always a pleasure to write these, so I appreciate the support! I agree, Jasbir has been a solid competitor throughout the competition and I am really impressed by the level of consistency in which she puts up good food.

        Ha, on the other hand, has been making spectacular dishes consistently, but with a number of failed experiments. Based on previous MasterChef Australia and US winners, that seems to be a recipe for success. If Jasbir does step up and put up really amazing dishes, I think she has a fair chance to win it all as well!