The week of competition is over, the top ten has been decided and we can just sit back and relax to enjoy an hour and a half of harmless cooking. Better lap it up, there aint many more of these left- MasterClass.
Tonight, we are off to our second MasterClass abroad- in New Zealand where Alana & Ellie get to enjoy a lovely MasterClass. We also have a special guest from MasterChef New Zealand!
I think this is the first MasterClass of the season where we begin our episode in the MasterChef house. Alana gets a call from Justin North telling her that she and Ellie will be going to Wellington to attend a private MasterClass with him.
Finally, the contestants enter to the roundhouse grins of the judges as they talk about the MasterClass for the day. They promise surprises for them like the one delivered to Alana and Ellie. In fact, today’s MasterClass will be based on New Zealand cuisine.
Two of New Zealand’s most famous chefs have flown in for today’s MasterChef. One of them, from Fleur’s Place; an internationally renowned restaurant, is Fleur Sullivan!
I’ve actually had the pleasure of eating at Fleur’s restaurant before and that’s despite the fact I’m not a fan of seafood; absolutely amazing. I’ve never met her in person however.
Today she will be showing them how to cook Fleur’s seafood chowder. The stock is on the boil and they begin with the roux making. They add butter to a hot pan along with a few vegetables including celery & carrots. She explains what to look for as she adds some flour, wine and tomato paste. She then adds some of the stock.
It seems like Gary does most of the talking. Fennel and paprika are added to the dish before adding the rest of the stock.
Gary then picks up a bouquet garni which is a celery, thyme and bayleef wrapped up nicely. She adds that to the mix as an aromatic before Gary picks up a bowl of chopped fish. We also have mussels, Australian scallops and clams to go with the fish into the chowder.
She then serves it up after a few minutes and the contestants are very impressed with the look of it. Maybe a bit too surprised. Billy, Peter & Hayden get to come up to taste the dish. They are very happy with the dish as Fleur gives them some top tips to end the segment.
After the break, we return to some absolutely amazing, breathtaking images of the New Zealand sunrise.
Ellie & Alana have arrived and meat up with Chef Al Brown. Like in Malaysia, Alana & Ellie will be cooking with two cooks today; Justin North & Al Brown. Al will be introducing them to the wonderful produce and seafood New Zealand has to offer. They will learn how to cook Seaweed Crumbed Crayfish along the way also.
Al believes in fresh, native product for his dishes and therefore tells the girls they are going for a spot of fishing. They head off on the Steve-Mayree around the lovely looking islands of Wellington as they go to catch crayfish.
The crayfish look amazing but Al tells them they have to deal with them humanely by putting them in ice water so they don’t feel a thing. They also catch some cod; one in particular is very active! There’s a bit of a competition among the girls to score some cod and Al just hopes they can cook as well as they can fish.
With that, fishing is over and they head off to find the rest of their ingredients. They head to some natural vegetation as they forage for these ingredients, finding wild parsley and samphire for their dish.
He also has abalone which he removes from the shell. It looks so disgusting, but apparently it’s nice.
First up, make Ceviche! A very chunky looking fish salad. Al gets Alana to cut up some cod as Ellie tries the pepper dew before chopping it up. He picks some coriander leaves for Ellie to chop. As Alana finishes her cod chopping, she adds it to a bowl with pepper dews, chervil, onion, chilli, lime juice and some lemon juice. Finishing the dish up with some sugar, salt & pepper and fennel oil, he then mixes it all up.
They try the Ceviche and after adding some salt, they leave it for half an hour.
After the break, they move on to the salsa Verde and the first thing to do, they chop up the parsley and basil. Alana and Ellie love the herb scent already.
After chopping it up (while adding mint and tarragon), he adds it to the bowl before taking the blanched samphire and chopping it up very finely. He adds this to the bowl before adding green capsicum, gherkin, shallots, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and capers, anchovies, herb oil and some olive oil. They don’t add salt to the dish as it is salty enough already but he does add pepper before mixing it up.
And might I add, loving the background music so far! Now to move on to the beurre blanc, butter sauce. He adds white wine to a hot pan with white wine vinegar. He then adds shallots, bay leaf, peppercorns, cream and whisked butter.
There is quite a bit of butter in there but they will only be using a bit of this. With another pot, the sauce is strained and completed.
The weather is roughening up as they cook and crumb their crayfish. He introduces them to some native seaweed before grabbing a bowl, adding breadcrumbs, the karengo and some fresh lime zest before mixing it all in.
He then dips the crayfish in some flour and egg before dipping it in the crumbing mix. He gets the contestants to have a go after him.
To plate up now and using the shells from the abalone, they plate up the Ceviche and cook the abalone and crayfish.
They plate up the proteins and the dish looks quite good, if you’re into that kind of food.
With that, they eat and share some top tips. Nice segment there Al! And I love how it is overlooking a rough, Wellington coast.
Ooh, can’t wait for after the break… MasterChef NZ judge Simon Gault is coming to visit! YYYYAAAAYYY!
After the break, George introduces to the kitchen, Simon Gault! How exciting!
Today, he will be cooking a New Zealand Venison with a lot of trimmings. There are a few key techniques to be learnt here including spice making and cooking venison properly. As Dani is the only person not to have cooked venison, she will be Simon’s assistant today.
He empties some juniper berries, peppercorns (green), peppercorns (black), and peppercorns (pink) to a grinder bowl and Dani excitedly (if not hurriedly) grinds the spices up; quite nervous to be standing next to a MasterChef New Zealand judge. George is a bit offended that she never feels the same way while standing next to George.
He takes some dried orange zest and adds it to the bowl to grind. They take the crumb out of the bowl and into a glass bowl before moving on to the malto. It is a light, floury powder. It will be used in the crumb. He melts some bitter chocolate and adds it to the malto. He also adds some of the spice to the mixture. With the crumb made in advance, they move onto the venison.
Dani nervously adds some salt to the venison before it is chucked onto a hot buttered pan. Dani & Simon caramelise it before adding it to an oven. With that, Dani’s job is done!
When we return, it is time to cook the puree. He has some parsnip puree to heat up with some cipollini onions in some stock and vinegar to also go on the stove.
He has some Pernod and stock with fennel before adding them to a bowl. He takes out the fennel and adds it to a pot with some of the juice. He adds some more Pernod with some butter and salt. He also pulls out some Jus and orange onion jam. He mixes the jam to the jus, putting a drizzle of Madeira in the pot with it with some butter. Lastly, he puts some spice in the pot and mixes the entire concoction.
He takes out the venison and gives us some facts on venison as it finishes resting. He smears some pure on the plate before adding some of the crumb next to the smear. He also plates up the fennel and a cipollini onion before cutting up a piece of venison and plating it up with some jus.
Ooo it looks like my sort of dish! It looks very scrumptious! Dani & Michael are asked to taste and they love it as usual.
He finishes his segment like any other, with some handy tips and recaps of his dish. With that, the judges thank the judge for his time and he wishes for the best cook to win!
Back in New Zealand for day 2 of the private MasterClass and they head into a wet Wellington as we see some more breathtaking scenes.
They meet up the Justin North who takes them on a cable car where he tells them they will be meeting with Martin Bosley for their MasterClass later on after looking around Wellington’s restaurant scene.
It’s a relaxed atmosphere with Justin even shouting the girl’s coffee. Justin seems like a really nice, lovable guy!
After eating at some high profile restaurants, they meet with Riki at the Foxglove, NZ’s cocktail champion. He makes them a warm cocktail (Blazers) and they enjoy them on the stunning waterfront.
They finish the tour by arriving at Martin Bosley’s yacht club. They meet Martin before getting into the private MasterClass and it looks like another fresh, natural, native dish!
He will be teaching them to make the dessert, Blossoms and Honey using natural, native fruits. They will be making a praline to begin with and I remember a contestant having trouble with this a few weeks ago.
To begin, and he’s getting the contestants to do all the hard work today, Ellie adds some water to a pot with sugar. He gives them huge tips along the way.
They add walnuts to the mix as well before tipping the mix onto a tray, putting paper on top of it and rolling it flat.
After the break, they take the praline that has been processed and add it to a bowl with some sourdough bread, cornflour, icing sugar, unsalted butter and egg before it is stirred and tipped onto a pan. First part done!
Time for the next part; the cake. Using a ramekin bowl, they put a cartouche in the bottom before adding the feijoa innards and honey to the bowls.
They get on to the cake by adding butter and sugar to a bowl and blending it with honey, vanilla seeds and dark rum. He also adds three eggs, flour, almonds, baking powder and salt. After it blends well, they add dollops of cake batter on top of the feijoa fruits in the ramekin bowls and putting it in the oven.
With candied break sprinkled onto one side of the plate, the feijoa cake is put on the centre of the bowl with some honey. He also adds some jelly and squeezes some jasmine pudding onto it. He colours the dish up with rosemary flowers before adding the honey & Orange blossom ice cream and bee pollen which is surprisingly collected from bees returning to their hive.
He ends off the segment with some top tips and with that, Ellie & Alana’s great NZ adventure comes to an end as they head back to Australia and back into the competition.
Back in the competition, the other competitors eat at the buffet as the eight top ten contestants in the kitchen are brought back into the competition with reminding words from Gary.
So another MasterClass and therefore another week of MasterChef is OVER! Another wonderful episode that explored the highlights of New Zealand and NZ cuisine. I would however have liked to see a glimpse of Simon Gault in action on MasterChef NZ but anyway, it was a wonderful episode and cannot wait for Sunday!
Courtney’s Verdict: 9.7/10