MasterChef Australia Series 8 Reynold Week 3 Recaps

This is a show that is quite hard to blog about 5 days a week. I do have a real job too. 🙂
If you are reading my recaps a comment or two would help me know to keep blogging it!

MasterChef Australia Season 8 Episode 11 Recap | Viewer Chosen Mystery box

MasterChef Australia’ Season 8 episode 11 was the Mystery Box Challenge. In a MasterChef Australia first. they had the viewers select the ingredients.
Contestants have 75 minutes to create a dish using at least one ingredient chosen by the viewers.

MasterChef Australia Season 8 episode 11I can see from the previews they are trying to get the viewer more involved this season.  Not sure that is a great idea given this was like an ideal mystery box with great ingredients! Not to hard to make a delicious dish out that stuff. Everyone oohed and awed. I am sure they were all thinking the same, thanks viewers and fans!
They focus more on some other people this episode. I am glad to see.
Top Five:
Karmen: They loved her lemon parfait with goat cheese cake. Her little clip showed us she is super shy, loves to cook and does desserts best. She is very quiet but has a great smile!
Con- his dish had an eggy foam they did not like. He seems like he keeps blowing components every time.
Heather:  Maple and Coconut Crispy fried Calamari with a pickled cauliflower and a lemon mrytle vinaigrette, yum! Sounds like my kind of dish. They loved it.
Her clip today told us she has always wanted to be a chef but her dream was delayed and derailed when she was in a bad car accident when she was 16 and had to learn to walk again.
Matt: He is doing quite well. Matt Preston called him “Captain Consistency”. That is how you win MasterChef. Good cooking consistently.
He was worried he did not have anything creamy with his dish and they pointed that straight out. They loved his dish too, and said it would be a hard choice between him and Heather.
Anastasia: Touched maple syrup squid with roasted cauliflower. Hmm, maple syrup and seafood? That does not sound appealing to me, but it looked good.
They tell her she knows how to plate up. It looks yummy. They love it! She is so happy.
And the winner is…

Anastasia Zolotarev


Torched Maple Syrup Calamari, Roasted Cauliflower and Pickled Okra

Torched Maple Syrup Calamari, Roasted Cauliflower and Pickled Okra

Anastasia Zolotarev now gets the advantage for the Invention Challenge.

Torched Maple Syrup Calamari, Roasted Cauliflower and Pickled Okra Recipe



  1. Heat oven to 200C.
  2. Place calamari into a wide shallow bowl. Add maple syrup and 1 tbsp oil and mix well. Set aside in fridge.
  3. Cut cauliflower into small florets and spread out onto a paper lined baking tray. Melt butter along with lemon myrtle leaves in a small frypan then pour over cauliflower. Season and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring half way through cooking, until golden. Remove from oven and place lemon myrtle leaves onto kitchen paper to cool. When cool crush leaves and set aside as garnish.
  4. Combine white vinegar, sugar, 3 tbspn water, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and mix with a fork to dissolve sugar. Slice okra thinly on the diagonal and remove seeds. Place into pickling liquid and mix gently.
  5. To cook calamari, heat a frypan over high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Remove calamari from maple syrup and season. Cook calamari for 1 minute, baste with maple syrup then turn and cook other side. Baste with maple syrup. Remove from pan and place onto a baking tray. Use a blowtorch to scorch calamari, moving blowtorch continuously, until browned.
  6. To serve, slice calamari and divide between plates. Top with roasted cauliflower and drained pickled okra.

MasterChef Australia Season 8 Episode 11 Recap | Invention Test

Anastasia gets to choose the ingredient. We have Peanut Butter, Marmalade and Vegemite.
The boys reckon the Vegemite may be a stumper. Which I find odd, since I thought Vegemite was an Australasian thing.

MasterChef Australia Vegemite
Vegemite is a dark brown Australian food paste made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives developed by Cyril P. Callister in Melbourne, Victoria, in 1922.

A spread for sandwiches, toast, crumpets and cracker biscuits as well as a filling for pastries, Vegemite is similar to British, New Zealand and South African Marmite, Australian Promite,MightyMite, OzEmite and D Swiss Cenovis. With the brand now owned by American company Mondel?z International, other Australian-owned spreads have entered the market to provide an alternative, such as the yeast-based AussieMite.

Vegemite is salty, slightly bitter, malty, and rich in umami – similar to beef bouillon.

It does not matter anyway since she picks the most sure fire easy one to cook with which is the marmalade.
The other cooks all are pretty happy about this choice. This cook matters. The bottom three will cook tomorrow in the elimination challenge.
Of course on this show often the one that seems the most simple can trip people up, so we will see.
I feel like these first few weeks of the show have been dessert heavy.
Miles is going for Quail again.. he knows how long that deboning takes. Interesting.
When he serves it, it is all the same color and does not look very appetizing. They like the food though, so I am sure
he will not be on the bottom.
Chloes dish sounds like it could fail. She does not like marmalade and her dish sounds kinda weird.
Then low and behold she blitzes her rice in the blender and it turns to glue.
Some time passes and more things are going wrong for Chloe.
Anastasia wants to break the curse of winning the advantage and then losing with the ingredient the winner picks.
Con starts talking about negative space on his plating. There is just something about him annoying.
Matt Sinclair seems to be a natural chef. He seems to come up with clever ideas for his dishes and then makes them with confidence.
I would say he is one to watch. He has a good chance to make it far. His dish looks great when he plates it up.
They try his first and they love it.
Karmen ends up with no custard and a plate of crumbs. She is quite upset. She did well in the first challenge and now it looks like she will in the elimination for sure. She feels a bit alone too. Must be hard to do this show and be super quiet and shy.
I feel bad for her. Also I just realized who she reminds me of, Angela from Bones! Sister from another Mister

Karmen Lu MasterChefAngela from Bones

Anastasia breaks the curse! lol She seems sweet. She made quail too. Her quail looks 100% better than Miles. It looks fresh and with beautiful colors and pops off the plate. Nice. It tastes as good as it looks! Bring up the happy music, Matt cracks me up.
@masterchefau Matt tells Anastasia, in the immortal words of Patti LaBelle, Hey sista, go sista!

Listen to short clip “Go Sister”.


Anastasia-Nicholette-Con Win Episode 11 MasterChef

Anastasia-Nicholette-Con Win Episode 11 MasterChef

The top three for this challenge are:

They will compete for the immunity pin later this week.

Anastasia-Nicholette-Con Win Episode 11

Anastasia-Nicholette-Con Win Episode 11

Karmen, Chole, Olivia Bottom Three Episode 11 MasterChef Au

Karmen, Chole, Olivia Bottom Three Episode 11

The bottom three going to elimination tomorrow are:

Pressure Test Time…

MasterChef Australia’ Season 8 Episode 12 recap:
Complicated dessert plate rattles contestants in pressure test

masterchef au reynolds dessert moss

reynolds dessert challenge

When Reynolds the dessert king from Season 7 walks through the doors the girls all go fan girl on us.
OOhh and ahhs commence. He does not make it easy on them when he reveals a dessert he calls Moss.
It has many components and looks hard.


After serving the bottom three dishes on the invention challenge, Olivia were pitted against Karmen Lu and Chloe Bowles. For the pressure test, they were asked to recreate Reynold’s signature dessert, an earth-inspired dish called moss. A highly intimidating dish, it consists of 12 elements, including caramel-filled pistachio mousse covered in matcha coating, charred apple, aero yoghurt, dulce de leche, pistachio sponge and green-apple sorbet. The contestants had to cook all that within two and a half hours, plus 10 minutes to serve.

Early on the preparations, Olivia seemed to be in her element, effectively multi-tasking to ensure that each element of the dish was going well. The judges even commented that she was ahead of the other contestants. She was certainly having an easier time than Karmen, who ran around the “MasterChef Australia” kitchen like a headless chicken. She even had to make the pistachio mousse twice, and ran out of time to make the dulce de leche. Karmen shared that was feeling the extra pressure to impress Reynold, whom she idolises.

However, despite her momentum earlier, Olivia encountered difficulty towards the end of the preparation time. Her pistachio sponge cake turned out too dense and she was unable to get the matcha balls from the freezer before the time was up.

When the two-and-a-half hours were over, the contestants filed one by one to serve their plates to the judges and Reynold. Chloe managed to come up with a stellar dessert plate complete with all the elements. She was able to serve the closest dish to Reynold’s in terms of presentation and taste. Karmen, on the other hand, presented a dish that is lacking of one element. However, she earned praises for the taste, especially of her pistachio sponge and matcha ball. Lastly, Olivia’s plate included all the elements, yet, the taste was less than perfect.

Olivia eliminated masterchef 8 episode 12

The judges were left to decide between a complete but bland dish, versus one that is lacking of an ingredient but the flavors were great. In the end, they decided that taste held more weight, and sent Olivia home. She was sad to be eliminated, but was thankful for the skills she has learned from the competition. “I proved to myself that I’m good at cooking, and now it’s time to move on to my next adventure,” she said.
I felt like she had more to show us and I was bummed she went home.
Best of luck with your food dreams Olivia!



MasterChef Australia Season 8 episode 13,  contestants fought their way to win immunity.

Three amateur chefs tried to make their dishes pop to impress judges Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston. At the end of the challenge, it was underdog Nicolette Stathopoulos who cooked her way to the top, taking home the coveted immunity pin. I felt this was more fair in that they changed it to not allowing the professional chef to know what they were cooking with until right before their time starts. I think that helps. The odds have always been to much for the professional chefs.

Nicolette Wins Immunity Pin MasterChef AuShe is only 19 years old – the youngest in this year’s competition – but she proved to be wise beyond her years. Fans wonder what Nicolette’s strategy is with the pin, and whether there would be a need to use it on the next episode, which is a team challenge.

Weds-the amateur chefs faced a gruelling team challenge. The contestants were tasked to replicate complicated dishes from two of Melbourne’s most popular restaurants to earn the nod of judges Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston. In the end, the blue team led by Matt Sinclair and Trent Harvey served the best plates for the night, leading them to victory.

After losing in the team challenge, the red team led by Karmen Lu and Chloe Bowles have to cook their hearts out to survive in the competition.

It’s time to wear the dreaded black apron again, signalling that someone’s going to be booted off the kitchen.

Network Ten posted a sneak peek of Thursday’s episode. The contestants who are on the chopping block put their game face on as they go head to head against the others. Con Vailas says that he wants to wow the judges. The upcoming elimination challenge could be the worst nightmare for siblings Jimmy Wong and Theresa Visintin. “Being in the elimination challenge with my brother is not good,” Theresa admits, while Jimmy predicts that it’s going to be a terrible day. The two, along with the other contestants will have to do what they have to do to avoid elimination.

“MasterChef Australia” Season 8 recap Restaurant Challenge Episode 14.

At the beginning of the task, the home cooks were randomly divided into two teams – the blue and the red. The judges explained the challenge ahead: to mirror Huxtable and Pei’s three-course meals and serve it to 30 guests. To make it even more difficult, the captains and vice captains of each team were the only ones allowed to learn how the dishes are made, memorise the ingredients and procedures and then brief their members. Each team was also faced with a daunting time limit – they were only given 90 minutes to prepare the entrée, main course and dessert.

Early on the day, Karmen stepped up to volunteer as the blue team captain, claiming that she has good memory. After being briefed by Chef Anthony Hammel of Pei, her confidence grew since it appeared that she and Chloe have absorbed everything that they learned. In the “MasterChef Australia” kitchen, she took the reins and instructed her team on what to do.

Whilst everything was smooth-sailing at first, Karmen realised her team was not moving fast enough when it’s time to serve their entrée. The 24-year-old waitress, who so far has appeared quite meek and reserve, seemed to unleash her fierce side to push her team. “Everyone, please, can you move faster? We need the entrees out,” Karmen yelled. Her mode of motivation seemed to work as they were able to get their plates of ricotta dumplings with lazy man’s pesto out. However, the judges noted that the zucchini flowers were undercooked, since they forgot about it during the preparation.

The Blue team, briefed by Huxtable owner Chef Daniel Wilson, had mixed reviews for their entrée, which is a lightly smoked kingfish, horseradish cream, baby beetroot, pear and kombu. However, their main course, the chargrilled Wagyu beef, otway shitake, oyster tempura and sesame broccolini, earned raving reviews from the judges. Apart from being close to the original in terms of appearance, the taste was so good that Chef Daniel said he’d serve that in his restaurant.

Red team’s main course, duck breast with radicchio puree and cherries, did not go as well as the other team. Their puree did not resemble the one from the original dish at all, and Chef Anthony surmised it may be because the team cooked the radicchio too long. The judges were won over, though, by the flavour of the dish.

Karmen’s team further went downhill with the dessert plate of baked custard and crostelli. Literally paling in comparison of the original dish, it lacked the caramel top. The blue team, on the other hand, served an exact replica of Huxtable’s signature dessert, dark chocolate delice, jaffra and raspberry sorbet and pistachio. It tasted even better than it looked, rendering judge George speechless.

It was obvious after all the plates came out who won the team challenge: the red team. Whilst Matt and Trent celebrate with the others, the blue team led by Karmen and Chloe were devastated, knowing that they’d fight for survival the next day.

“MasterChef Australia” Season 8 recap Elimination Challenge Episode 15.

The blue team comes out ready to cook to avoid elimination. They must pick something that they can serve totally unheated in the first round and then cook with the same ingredient the 2nd round. They play us the brother sister thing again with Sydney-born Theresa Visintin, 44 and his 49-year-old brother Jimmy Wong. Do you like her voice? It kinda bugs me. It reminds me of Demi Moore via General Hospital 1980. Speaking of soap operas I found out Theresa used to be on some soap operas.

Theresa Visintin soap opera actress home and away

Melissa Bell, Isla Fisher and MasterChef Australia aspiring contestant Teresa Visintin (nee Wong)

Melissa Bell, Isla Fisher and MasterChef Australia aspiring contestant Teresa Visintin (nee Wong)

The three in the final challenge are Nitsha, Theresa and Miles. Brother Jimmy was so close to be here too.
He just squeaked by with his no flavor but lemon juice scallops. I actually was sure they would pick him for the final elimination but they found Miles eggy mayo a little worse.
Miles makes a rocking seared tuna dish that the judges love and he had great presentation too.
Theresa seems flustered and a little crazed the entire time and I seriously thought she would be the one going home.
She seems like she is hanging on by the skin of her teeth every time she cooks.
She made a poached pear and tried to fancy it up and left off a sauce. Honestly it did not look that impressive.
Nidhi did not seem like her usual self today. She did a mediocre chopped salad with cauliflower for the cold dish that landed her on the bottom.
Cauliflower and Indian food are made to go together so I thought she would smash this final cook out.
Unfortunately she made a boring and not inspired appetizer plate that did not impress.
It looked like the Indian snacks I buy from Costco and cook myself. The only thing they really loved was the mint chutney.
You are not gonna on mint chutney.
nihdi elimiated masterchef australia

So we say goodbye to the sole Indian home cook this season. We will miss you Nidhi, you were truly adorable and seemed like a real sweetheart.
I hope you find your cooking dreams come true.

Next week on MasterChef Australia… Nigella Domestic Goddess Week!

Masterchef Au series 8 Nigella week

I will leave you with these question I have…

masterchef australia dark horse series 8

Is this our Dark Horse for MasterChef Australia Season 8?

Who is she? Why have we seen nothing from her or about her….hmmmm

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