Sunday, April 18, 2010

Masterchef Night At Thanh's Kitchen

So Masterchef Season 2 is about to start. Despite a rocky start last year where I hated the show, I very quickly warmed to the culinary reality show with heart. I was an addict by show's end and was engrossed in all things Masterchef. The rest of the nation was also captured by the cooking capabilities of Chris, Justine, Poh and Julie. We were also raptured by Georges riddles that he passed as sentences, Gary's stern but fair demeanour, and Matt Preston's cravats and his orgasm, I mean, eating face.

So to celebrate the return of Masterchef, I hosted a Masterchef Night in my kitchen. What followed was lots of delicious food, over eating and some fun and games.

Lets start with the food.

First up, we have Kevin presenting his dish. So what did Kevin make? A delicious dish of "Original Salted Crispy Chicken Wings KFC (Kevin Fried Chicken)". Well, this dish was both false advertising in that it wasn't fried or original. It seemed very much like the dish that was presented at my Christmas Party, only then it was made by Krystal and not Kevin. Hmmmm, I smell some cheating going on here. Anyway, I found the dish a bit too salty and lacking some flavour.

Next up we have the ever camera shy Dennis presenting his dish accurately described dish of "Spare Ribs with Some Sauce". I think the name and presentation might need some work. The taste and texture was actually quite good, but a bit too salty, as Dennis himself noted.

Nelly's dish to be judged not only looked good, it also contained a threat. Her "Nelly's Moro-c-c-con Pie! I Better Win or I'll Bomb You" was definitely a crowd pleaser. Once the nuts and lemon was squeezed on the filo pastry, the flavours of the lamb stuffing oozed out in rich bursts.

I helped present mum's "Crispy Skin Pork Belly" since she was not present. This too was a massive crowd pleaser with everyone going back for seconds after initial judgment.

Amy's "Very Yummy But Ugly Sushi" once again put shame to restaurant descriptions of their dishes. How much more honesty do you want. I enjoyed the sushi, especially the smaller rolls filled with seaweed. But yes, the could have been rolled a bit tighter. Irene's dish of "Cheezy Prawn Wrap", spelt with a Z for originality was very good. The oozy cheeze (sic) made for a very rich dish.

Krystal tried to use tradition to win the contest by submitting a "Traditional XinJiang Roast Lamb Skewers With?" for judging. Even she wasn't sure what other ingredients were in it. The skewers were tender and good. Elliot went for a dish inspired by the Iron Chefs, combining some rather daring ingredients to give us "Homemade Lotus Root Cake". Notice how he had to emphasize that it's homemade, in case you were in any doubt. So his dish was lotus root cakes sitting on top of roast pork. The lotus roots definitely were a flavour I haven't eaten much of in this form, and combined with the pork was an extremely interesting dish. I don't know whether this flavour combo really worked.

Ling brought, not one, but two dishes, although only one went up for judging for fairness sakes. Her first dish of "Chicken Rendang with Lace Pancakes" looked and tasted the part. The beautiful coconut lace pancakes were wrapped around this fiery rendang, made with chicken rather than beef. Her second unjudged dish were macarons. She made three flavours, Berry, Pistachio and, drumroll please, durian. Mmmmm, I loved the durian macaron as I too have made durian macaron previously.

With all the savoury dishes out of the way, it was onto desserts. First we have Kidman's "Creme Brulee in Two Flavours". She made a traditional creme brulee and also a green tea one. We all watched in fascination as she used a blow torch to make the sugar crust. The brulees were rich and creamy and tasted excellent. Minh made a "Apricot Parfait with Shoehorn Shortrcust Biscuits". Oh my goodness, the parfait was A-Mazing. Somehow, the flavours of the apricots just seeped into the dish and the whole thing was an absolute delight.

Jacky went for something simple, with his entry being "Cake". It was "inspired by Bread Top", complete with plastic containers for the cake, haha. We all forgave him seeing as he doesn't have gas at his house currently. The cake tasted ok. I think Bread Top could have done better. I went for something simple too, with my entry of "Chocolate Cake With A Surprise". I must say that I'm pretty happy with the results of how my cake turned out, and it was definitely rich and decadent. So what was the surprise I hear you ask? Well, scroll down to the next photo.

The "surprise" element was a lava of creamy passionfruit curd when you cut into the cake. Mmmm, don't you want some now?

So with the tasting out of the way, it was onto the officially score tallying. Each person voted on a dish out of ten. Obviously you couldn't vote for your own dish. So here are the results.

* Number 13 with 54.50 pts, Jacky and his "Cake".
* Number 12 with 78.47 pts, Elliot and his "Homemade Lotus Root Cake".
* Number 11 with 78.49 pts, Kevin and his "Original Salted Crispy Chicken Wings KFC (Kevin Fried Chicken)".
* Number 10 with 82.00 pts, Krystal and her "Traditional XinJiang Roast Lamb Skewers With?".
* Number 9 with 82.51 pts, Irene and her "Cheezy Prawn Wraps".
* Number 8 with 82.70 pts, Dennis with his "Spare Ribs With Some Sauce".
* Number 7 with 88.00 pts, Amy with her "Very Yummy But Ugly Sushi".
* Number 6 with 92.20 pts, Thanh with my "Chocolate Cake With A Surprise".
* Number 5 with 94.79999 pts, Nelly with her "Nelly's Moro-c-c-con Pie! I Better Win or I'll Bomb You".
* Number 4 with 95.00 pts, Ling with her "Chicken Rendang with Lace Pancakes" .
* Number 3 with 98.80 pts, Kidman with her "Creme Brulee in Two Flavours".
* Number 2 with 101.899 pts, Minh with his "Apricot Parfait with Shoehorn Shortrcust Biscuits".
*And the winner, on a score of 113.00, my Mum with her "Crispy Skin Pork Belly".

However, what is a contest without controversy. There were grumblings amongst the contestants that mum was ineligible to enter due to her numerous years of cooking experience. Hence, on a re-count, the winner was judge to be......Minh.

So, it was time to hand out the beautifully printed certificates (good work Kevin) and hand out prizes to the various category winners.

First up was "Most Original Dish", and the winner of that was......Ling, with her Lace Pancakes being a crowd favourite. Her prize were some beautiful crystal shot glasses.

The "Thanks For Coming Award" went to......Amy, for arriving a whole hour late and making us all stare at the food but not being able to eat it. Her prize was a very treasured one, the March 18th Edition of The Age's Green Guide, which I contributed from my own stash.

The "Most Presentable Dish" award went to......Nelly. Her prize was a massive wooden spoon (happily donated by Ling) that she could hit everyone with instead of bombing us.

The "Get Back To High School Cooking Class" award went to......Jacky, for his Bread Top inspired cakes. And Jacky's prize was one that everyone wanted. He got KFC discount vouchers (generously donated by Kevin), with one voucher already used for authenticity.

And of course, "Best Dish" went to......Minh, with that amazing parfait. His prize was a cookbook (very generously donated by Krystal) and the honour of getting to wear the Masterchef At Thanh's Kitchen green Heineken hat. He got to do his Miss Universe parade and wave around the kitchen while all the other contestants clapped and pretended to be happy that he won instead of them. Note that the printer decided to break down at this point and we had to write up Minh's certificate with a blue pen, classy, haha.

And that, my dear readers, wraps up the first ever Masterchef Night at Thanh's Kitchen. Thanks to all the contestants for putting so much effort into their original dishes and getting into the spirit of the night. I hope we can all do it again. Let's not eat until we can't move next time.


  1. Ha, sounds like a hilarious evening! What a good idea. You certainly don't worry about being nice about your friends' cooking abilities. ;)

  2. what a cool event. it's very hard to beat a really good crispy pork belly. no competition really :-)

  3. GREAT POST~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we should do this EVERY YEAR!!

  4. It looks like you had a nice evening! Thanks for sharing the experience to us. I like the food that were served.

  5. Should do it every MasterChef season ha ha!
    @ Agnes - Hah I'm learning to be bold with my cooking, it's always a learning journey for me.

  6. Agnes, it was a totally hilarious night. After we ate all the food, we sang karaoke, and that was a laugh too. I tell it how it is, and say what's good and what's bad. Haha, my friends already know I'm honest about their cooking.

    Simon, a good crispy skin pork belly is indeed unbeatable. Hey I saw that you mentioned on one of your posts that you may be coming to Melbourne. Care to meet up for free pizza or something as I've never met any Sydney food bloggers.

    Nelly, we shouldn't do this EVERY YEAR, we should do it EVERY FEW MONTHS.

    Crib, happy to share and give people new ideas.

  7. What a great idea, Thanh! It sounds like it would have been an brilliant night.

    BTW, yes, that passionfruit curd in the middle of your chocolate cake set me to drooling immediately. So too the pork belly. And the parfait.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Oh yum yum yum, crispy skin pork belly!! Looks like a fun and hilarious night, really enjoyed reading this:)

  9. Anna, you gotta host your own Masterchef night. It's so much fun and you get to taste lots of interesting food as well.

    Looking back at the photo and that curd makes me drool too. I'm going to get the recipe for the parfait so I can make it.

    Emma, it was so hilarious and also delicious. Hope you can keep enjoying this blog.

  10. Ling, we should definitely do it every season. And keep experimenting and learning with your cooking.

  11. this looks like lots of fun :D

  12. Yeah it was Grub. You should host one of your own.

  13. Wow! Such creative ideas and such great fun! Kudos!

  14. hehe this looks like soooo much fun!

  15. Thanks Choo and Betty. It was such a fun night, I think I must organise another one soon.

  16. This made me LOL so hard! Love the idea, post and writing. Just brilliant!