Saturday, November 28, 2015

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 13: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 13

Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • There are only four MasterChef Asia contestants left! In this MasterChef Asia episode, the contestants face their first restaurant takeover. Each contestant is in charge of one cooking up a signature dish from Fresh Les Amis Restuarant, Singapore - one of Asia's best restaurants.  
  • The contestants look great wearing their chef jackets. All the remaining contestants have grown so much throughout the competition. They're putting up a lot more complex dishes as we head into the final few weeks and it's great to see the competition building up.
  • All in all, the contestants will be serving 40 VIPs with each contestant cooking up 20 dishes. They had 3 hours to prepare and cook the dishes.  
  • This is going to be a difficult challenge, the contestants have to put up consistent restaurant-quality dishes with loads of flavor. They don't have much room for error since Chef Bruno will be overseeing everything in the kitchen. 
  • Here's the dish that each contestant will have to replicate: 
    • Priya -  Crispy Apple Tart with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
    • Leong - Omi Beef Tenderloin with Capers, Onions, and Garlic
    • Marcus - Sea Bass with Baby Leek and Mussel Veloute
    • Jasbir - Dark Chocolate Souffle with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream 
  • Priya had first choice and picked the Apple Tart, which is probably one of the most difficult dishes in this challenge because it has to be very thin crust of pastry and slices of apple. I would have chosen either the Beef Tenderloin or Dark Chocolate Souffle.  I would try to steer clear of the Sea Bass as well because fish is very difficult to debone and it's very easy to overcook.
  • Marcus, the dessert king, was denied of desserts by the ladies. He had to work on the Sea Bass and you can see him struggling with it throughout the challenge. 
  • It was a funny moment when Marcus took off his hat, I don't think we ever saw him without one before!
  • While deboning the fish, Chef Bruno told Marcus that he was not treating the ingredient with respect and that he would get fired in Chef Bruno's kitchen. Marcus is getting on Chef Bruno's bad side, he has very little room for error now.
  • Leong was working with Japanese Wagyu beef, a premium product that is going to be wonderful to cook! I envy Leong, that's a great piece of beef to work with. 
  • You need to be very precise when working with pastry. Unfortunately, Priya seems like she's taking a lot of shortcuts when preparing her Apple Tart which may lead to her downfall later in the challenge. She didn't even even try to put in a test batch to see if she is able to replicate the dessert. 
  • Marcus was called out the second time for being inconsistent with the slices of fish that he prepared and for wasting a lot of Sea Bass during the deboning process. I hope he gets the flavor right, he looks like he's the contestant that is struggling the most. 
  • Jasbir made a conscious decision not to repeat her ramekins, which in my opinion is a pretty smart move because if she did all those again she might not have enough time to put up her souffles. 
  • Leong chilled his pieces of meat in the fridge while trying to shape the beef. Interesting technique when recipes call for cooking steak at room temperature. I hope it works out for him.
  • Jasbir and Priya had to work on preparing Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, it was another great decision for Jasbir to use the back-of-the-spoon technique in making sure her custard has reached the right temperature. That was a pretty good creme anglaise and it shows that she has this challenge under control!
  • Chef Bruno had a very funny look when he saw Jasbir's runny souffle mixture. It's a good thing he was there to save the day! 
  • Marcus was running behind on prep because he spent an hour deboning the fish, the challenge here is that maybe he puts up the first few plates perfectly and will struggle to get the remaining plates out. 
  • Leong had one plate sent back because the beef was too raw. If the other contestants had perfect plates, this can possible send him home. He had difficulty pressing the meat to check if it's medium-rare, a basic skill. I think it's the pressure getting to him
  • Chef Bruno is scary in the kitchen!
  • In terms of presentation and feedback, both Marcus and Leong did very well with their respective main dish. The customers were quite pleased with both dishes so it's safe to say that they won't be the ones eliminated. The only problem the judges had with both dishes were the inconsistency in portions, but the flavor was truly restaurant quality. 
  • Priya's pastry looks uneven, huge, and unappetizing. When she got those out of the oven, I was certain she was going home.
  • Both ladies had problems making a quenelle using the spoon. It's very difficult to do but Jasbir was doing a far better job at it. Priya's looked like a scoop more than a quenelle.
  • Based on feedback from the judges, Priya's Apple Tarts were undercooked and underwhelming. Her ice cream was not smooth and with a lot of ice crystals in it. Priya underperformed and she is going home today.
  • The judges didn't like Jasbir's Dark Chocolate Souffle but they did commend her Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. They mentioned that she didn't butter and sugar the ramekins properly, which was a tactical decision on her part. The ladies didn't perform too well with the desserts and that might cost them the competition.  
  • Priya said that she 'never again' wants to experience this type of pressure, which shows that she might not enjoy working in a professional kitchen as much as the other contestants. She's in the top 4 so that's pretty surprising to hear. 
  • The judges made the right decision of sending Priya home. She is a great cook and she has grown better in each competition but she doesn't have the range of culinary skills needed to win MasterChef Asia. This challenge brought out her weaknesses and lack of experience.  
  • Marcus, surprisingly, had the best dish of the night. Chef Bruno fired him about 3 times during the challenge, but it's great that he bounced back and was awarded the best dish of the night. This shows that he has the range of skills to win it all. 
  • It's very touching to see Chef Bruno give his 'stamp of approval' to Marcus at the end of the challenge. He probably had the worst beating out of all the contestants tonight, so it's good that he redeemed himselfin the end. 
Here are my picks for MasterChef Asia (in order):
  1. Marcus - Winner
  2. Leong
  3. Jasbir

Here's a list of what each MasterChef Asia team cooked today. 
  • Singapore
    • Woo Wai Leong - Omi Beef Tenderloin with Capers, Onions, and Garlic
  • Malaysia
    • Marcus Low - Sea Bass with Baby Leek and Mussel Veloute
    • Jasbir Kaur - Dark Chocolate Souffle with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream 
  • India
    • Priya Barve - Crispy Apple Tart with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
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. Do you think we will have a Singaporean or a Malaysian win MasterChef Asia? 

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. tq for the updates CJ. I feel definitely its going to be a Malaysia win...

    1. Thank you for your thoughts! Yes, malaysia does have a great chance of winning MasterChef Asia. You have two very strong competitors in Jasbir and Marcus!

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