Sunday, November 22, 2015

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 12: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 12

Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • We're down to only Five MasterChef Asia contestants! This MasterChef Asia Episode is all about Food and Travel. The contestants had to cook food that tells us of their travel and food experiences across Asia. 
  • This episode is also the first double challenge, where each contestant was first given the task of coming up with a steak sauce that would pair well with a medium rare steak in just 15 minutes. The contestant with the best steak sauce gets 60 minutes to cook and the contestant with the worst sauce gets a terrifying 20 minutes to cook their travel-inspired dish. Everyone else has 50, 40, and 30 minutes depending on how delicious their steak sauce was. 
  • Priya and Jasbir can't eat any beef, so the steak sauce challenge will be extra difficult for both of them. If one of them wins it, that would be pretty impressive.
  • I don't envy the poor soul who has to cook a delicious dish in just 20 minutes. If that contestant isn't going home, It's going to be a miracle. 
  • There is a lot riding on this challenge because the contestant with the most impressive dish gets an Air Asia ASEAN Pass and the winning dish will be the inspiration for a dish served on Air Asia X. As with all challenges, the contestant with the least impressive dish will get eliminated. All the contestants have full access to an open pantry.
  • In the steak sauce challenge, I would also go with the Marcus route and try to make a Red Wine Jus because it pairs really well with steak. I can't believe that Leong was trying to make an Asian Hollandaise Sauce, I would imagine it to be great with some eggs benedict but not sure how well it pairs with a medium-rare steak. 
  • That was pretty embarrasing for Jasbir, not only did she make a horrible sauce (with cream that split) but she also didn't have time to place the sauce in the serving jug.
  • Great concept from Ha as the combination of fresh oregano, wasabi cream, and miso apricot jam seemed a bit peculiar for me but apparently it works and the judges loved it! 
  • Ha won the steak sauce challenge and Jasbir (rightfully) ranked at the bottom. I would be pretty amazing if Jasbir is still in the competition at the end of this challenge, she's on an uphill battle trying to put up an amazing dish in just 20 minutes.  
  • Here's how much time each contestant will have: 
    • Ha - Miso Apricot Jam and Wasabi Cream (60 minutes)
    • Priya - North Indian Korma Sauce (50 minutes) 
    • Leong - Asian Flavored Hollandaise (40 minutes)
    • Marcus - Bacon, Mushroom and Red Wine Jus (30 minutes)
    • Jasbir - Honey Mustard Sauce (20 minutes)
  • Ha has 60 minutes to cook and she spent so much time inside the MasterChef Asia pantry. She seems calm and composed since she does have a huge advantage over the other contestants in this challenge. She's from Vietnam, and she's trying to make a salmon and eggplant dish inspired by her travels in her own country which seems a bit safe fo me. 
  • Priya was cooking a dish inspired by her Indian roots, which is a vegetarian dish from the north of India. It seems like she's peaking at the right time and she is becoming a stronger competitor each week but it would have been great if she showed a bit more versatility by not cooking an Indian dish.  
  • Leong was also making a vegetarian dish made from cauliflower. I think the idea is great, but what's with the vegetarian dishes in this challenge?  
  • Marcus ran to the pantry once his 30 minutes began. He was gunning for a Thai-inspired prawn dish because he loves Thai food so much. It seems like he was in a mad rush and it was interesting how he added shrimp paste oil to enhance the shrimp flavor. I love Thai cuisine myself so I'm rooting for Marcus to make an amazing dish. 
  • Jasbir was making a prawn curry. It seems like she's been making curry in every challenge, which is sadly a bit one-dimensional. It makes sense because in 20 minutes you need to cook a dish you have practiced a number of times but it would also be great to see a bit more versatility. 
  • Towards the end of the challenge, it seems like there were some contestants who might not make it in time. I was a worried for Leong, Ha, and Jasbir because they all seemed a bit out of sorts during the last 5 minutes. 
  • The judges was worried about Leong's dish because the dish might be a bit too mushy and that he might be serving baby food, even with the toasted pistachios and the raisins. I hope he executes the flavor properly, for his sake. 
  • That's some beautiful color on Priya's pirathas. Jasbir's roti, on the other hand, didn't look as appetizing as she have that much color on hers.
  • Leong really did serve baby food. He forgot to put the raisins and the pistachios on the plate, elements that would have added some some crunch to an otherwise mushy cauliflower dish. 
  • Ha also left out the micro-herbs and the crispy salmon skin, which would have added flavor to make her plate a more balanced dish. 
  • Jasbir went up and presented a prawn curry to the judges and she nailed it. The judges sang praises for everything on Jasbir's plate except the roti, not bad for 20 minutes of cook time! 
  • The contestants that put up the top dishes in this challenge were:
    • Priya - winner
    • Jasbir
  • The contestants that put up the bottom dishes in this challenge were:
    • Ha
    • Leong
  • At the end, it was down to Ha and Leong. I was quite convinced that Ha was going home but when the judges finally announced it I could feel my heart sink. The judges made the right call, she made the worst dish in this challenge. While it wasn't a horrible dish, the very thin margin of error was enough to send her packing. Here I thought she was going home on a dessert challenge! 
  • I hope Leong bounces back from this. I'm now rooting for either Leong or Marcus to win it all because they are versatile and instinctive home cooks.  I'm not sure Jasbir would go far if you take away her signature curry dishes. 
  • I'm still not convinced that Priya has what it takes to win it all, so she remains at the bottom of the ranking for the remaining 4 contestants.
  • We down to the last 4, only 3 episodes left in MasterChef Asia!
Here are my picks for MasterChef Asia (in order):
  1. Marcus - Winner
  2. Jasbir
  3. Leong
  4. Priya

Here's a list of what each MasterChef Asia team cooked today. 
  • Singapore
    • Woo Wai Leong - Brown Butter Cauliflower Steak with Aloo Gobi Sauce and Yoghurt
  • Malaysia
    • Marcus Low - Thai Style Prawns with Spiced Maynnaise and Thai Vinaigrette
    • Jasbir Kaur - Prawn Curry with Arugula Salad and Flat Bread
  • Vietnam
    • Doan Phuong Ha - Salmon, Caramelized Pineapple Sauce, Rice and Pan Fried Eggplant
  • India
    • Priya Barve - Stuffed Parathas with Dahl and Raita
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. What did you think of Ha's elimination? 

What would you like to see improve in the show for MasterChef Asia season 2? 

Further reading you might like:

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Chef Jay


  1. Yes, I like to rivalry of Marcus and's a bromance in the kitchen! :) Battle of the spice queens...interesting top 4...Priya is becoming a dark horse in the competition...oh well...may the best homecook win! thanks Jay for the recap.

    1. I never thought of it that way. HAHA. Bromance indeed! Priya is becoming the dark horse, I didn't think she would even reach the top 10. This is going to be a fun top 4, I do hope that they have one of those 'bring back eliminated contestants' episodes!

    2. ohhh....wild card! i like that..but personally i think our filipino delegates are not strong contenders...i'm not sure...maybe because our knowledge of food is not very wide..however, it's still a dream that filipino dishes will star in the culinary world....we need more technique for homecooks...enough of the frying and sauteing... :)

    3. Lica was actually quite strong. Not as strong as Leong or Ha but she was a solid competitor. Let's hope that MasterChef Asia Season 2 has a great Filipino cook in it! Why don't you join? haha

  2. Me? I'd be eliminated on the first challenge! i won't pass the audition even..yes, Lica was strong but maybe lacked confidence...why don't you join? hahaha..boomerang on the would be fun to see a crazy filipino homecook...someone who has the talent and personality! :)