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MasterChef New Zealand


Steve's blog - episode nine

MasterChef New Zealand on TVNZ Ondemand

Get the winning recipes from this week's episode here.


The Chocolate Tower of Terror!

Reminds me of one of those cheesy 1930s movie posters - don't walk, RUN - it's the Chocolate Tower of TERROR!!

Haha! It sure gave me nightmares, thinking back to our Super-Dessert Challenge last season. It's enough to give even an expert professional chef the heeby-jeebies.

Working with chocolate is an acquired skill that takes a long time to perfect, so what a wicked challenge to give the Top 6 contestants. This'll sort em out! 3 and a half hours to do one dessert - that's a long time. And I think the real trick is the order in which you create the dessert. That timing can be very critical, especially as the chocolate needs to cool correctly. And tempering chocolate is something a lot of them haven't done before.

Chocolate can be quite temperamental, and as we see with both T-Lee and then Nadia; the chocolate can crack very easily if cooled too quickly.

I recall with our 3-hour Super-Dessert Challenge last season, when we had to recreate Mathew Metcalfe's Chocolate Marquise, I was really determined to nail that challenge, so I tried to stay really calm and calculated, and keep my bench clean & tidy, and that really helped me. You work through the various steps and stages of the dessert, and before you know it, it's done. I think the key is to keep calm and think clearly - so if something happens you can react and resolve fast.

Nadia SO reminds me of Kirsty in the first season - it's uncanny! Nadia doesn't like following recipes, and neither does Kirsty - and Kirsty left the competition after this challenge last year, it was her undoing. Watching this episode reminded me of that so much, Nadia seemed to get a bit lost there for a while. And Michael - why, oh why don't you listen to the judges when they say your cupcakes aren't cooked!? It's a major heads-up they are giving you there mate, so take the advice and put them back in the oven. At the very least taste one and see if they are cooked.

What a nail-biter at the end of the challenge again - it's edge-of-your-seat stuff! Everyone gets their towers finished though, to their credit, although some aren't quite as nice to behold as others. Jax puts in another fantastic effort, as does T-Lee, but Cameron has another shocker of a day in the kitchen, as does both Nadia and Michael. And Stu pulls out another superb effort, distinguishing himself and Jax as front-runners in this competition. And so elimination time...


Cameron is gone!

Man, I picked Cam from the very start to win.

But to be brutally honest , he has really struggled in these last few weeks. It is sad to see him go; he was my fave, and his elimination opens the way for the remaining 5. T
hey must have some mixed feelings over this - Cameron was a very real threat to win the MasterChef title, so with him gone, it opens the door.

So we have just 5 remaining....
Let's do a quick synopsis of the last 5 standing:

I now rate her as the one to win it. She has got better and better as this competition has gone on. She has excellent cooking skills, and a great palette, and seems to have gotten control of her nerves since the early episodes where she seemed to panic a lot.

I predict we'll see Stu in the final, going up against Jax. He, like Jax, has got consistently better with each challenge, and seems to be able to remain calm under duress, and pull out some amazing meals under extreme pressure. This is the sign of a great cook and competitor.

Is creating some stand-out dishes, so is a possible finalist as well. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and can sometimes let the situation overwhelm her - or so it seems. She's definitely in with a grin to win - she'll battle right to the end that's for sure. So she's a maybe for me.

I can't see Nadia getting to the finals. She has a great eye for detail, but maybe that could be her downfall as well, overdoing things instead of keeping it simple. And emotionally she doesn't seem as strong as the others, which as this competition comes to it's conclusion, you need in bucketfuls. But saying that, it really is anyone's game. Maybe she'll prove me wrong...

And I can't see Michael in the final as well. He had a flying start getting the Golden Apron which catapulted him into the Top 12, but since then I believe he has struggled with quite a few challenges. His knowledge is just a little bit lacking, but hey, he has the cooking skills to beat anyone here.

So in conclusion, guys - this really is anyone's game! I mean, I thought I was going to win last year! Haha!

But just one bad day in the kitchen seals your fate, and it's so,so easy to take your eye off the ball.

So keep watching - ANYTHING can and will happen!

Happy cooking.

Steve Juergens