Wednesday 19 March 2014

MasterChef Canada update (Spoilers)

From left: Kelly Rothschild, Narida Mohammed, Christina Menchenton, myself, Rob Slivchak, Marida Mohammed, Carly Tennant & Brooke Feldman. Eight of Canada's top 50 best home cooks, MasterChef Canada, Season 1. 

I was able to take part in another MasterChef Canada reunion this week, although for bittersweet reasons. More on that in a moment. Two episodes have aired since my last MCC recap so the show is down to its top 8 contestants now. Two episodes ago, Kaila and Pino were team captains in a challenge that had their teams making 151 steak dishes (with a sauce and two sides) for a slew of Canadian military officers. There were clashes in both teams, but Kaila's red team (composed of herself, Danielle, Marida, Julie and Dale) lost with only 44 soldiers preferring their dish to the 107 that preferred the blue team's. The red team had to go into the dreaded pressure test but not before voting as a team to save one of their own, without voting for themselves. Tensions flared, particularly between Julie and Kaila, but Danielle ended up with immunity. The remaining members of the red team went head to head in a salmon wellington challenge. Salmon wellington (which frankly is a dish you would expect from the 80s) is a piece of filleted salmon topped with a wilted swiss chard filling, wrapped in puff pastry and served with a dill hollandaise. After a tough battle, it was Dale who had to hand in his apron. Dale and I have become friends since the show and he has appeared on this blog a few times. He was edited to appear as somewhat of the villain but I know him to be a friendly and fun individual who carried himself like a champion throughout the competition. I think he should be very proud of himself and I wish him the best in his catering endeavours. 

In this week's episode, the remaining nine contestants participated in a mystery box challenge. In the mystery box this week was an exotic combination of taro, kimchi, sea urchin, durian fruit, yellow foot chanterelle mushrooms, cipollini onions, quinoa, mostarda, squab, monkfish (which we recently made on the blog), white miso, and pork belly. Until this episode aired I had never even heard of mostarda. It is a northern Italian condiment of candied fruit in a mustard syrup... interesting. lol

Personally I think I would have gone the Asian route with this challenge. Maybe something along the lines of monkfish with kimchi, crispy taro chips and a miso pan sauce. Pork belly would have been nice too, but trying to pull it off within the allotted sixty minutes would be a huge risk (the kind of risk that burned me in my audition dish, lol). 

Danielle ended up winning the mystery box challenge with her brown butter basted monkfish with a sea urchin velouté and taro crisps. As her prize, not only was she granted immunity from the elimination challenge but she got to choose from three Canadian desserts that the remaining contestants would need to deconstruct and reinvent in a creative way. The options were nanaimo bars, a blueberry grunt and butter tarts. Danielle chose the nanaimo bar. 

There were some interesting creations, some innovative and some that didn't make the mark. The judges felt that Tammara and Eric produced the best desserts, with her sweet black and white nanaimo bar inspired perogies and his chocolate mousse tart with coconut and chocolate crust. In a shocking twist, Pino, Carly and Marida found themselves in the bottom three. One of them had to be eliminated and the axe fell on my dear Carly. If you've been following the blog and my MasterChef recaps you'll know that Carly & I had a real connection on set and I was rooting for her to be Canada's first MasterChef. I think she was eliminated too soon. 

Since Carly was eliminated this week, she managed to free up some time in her schedule to fly back to Toronto from Vancouver to have an interview on the Marilyn Denis show and some other press related to MasterChef Canada. Since she was in town, we managed to have a get-together and it was the first time I'd seen her since we were in the competition together. That's what I meant by bittersweet earlier. It's sad to see her leave the competition but was amazing to catch up and have some fun. I'm grateful that we got to hang out again. Carly, all the best to you and all of your endeavours! You should be incredibly proud of your accomplishments and how you stayed true to yourself in a competition full of smoke and mirrors. 

Well guys, that's it for now. Stay tuned for more amazing recipes and techniques as well as MasterChef Canada updates.

Take care everyone,


PS: I am still Carly's biggest fan!     

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