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Athena

S13.W11 (50-54)

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Argh - my post vanished!  Trying again.

You know, when I heard that in round 2 they were going to have to "hero" horseradish I thought to myself, "I bet you someone tries to make ice-cream out of it."  So thanks to Pete and Depinder for not letting me down there, but personally I think both of you should have been eliminated on the spot because no matter what crap the judges spouted, I cannot believe that horseradish mixed with vanilla or fruit or chocolate would taste anything other than putrid.   For once, I want the judges to state quite clearly in these hero ingredient challenges, "You can make whatever you like with this ingredient EXCEPT ICE-CREAM because we're sick of having to taste the shit you make which we then have to eat and pretend it's nice to satisfy production agendas."  

Other random thoughts: Justin is SO getting a winner's edit.  Jock better not make Kishwar teary again.  And I wasn't shocked to see Scott go (it was time - he was sinking to the bottom of the pack), nor Minoli because once they've got rid of a contestant who then wins their way back in, they usually don't last much longer.  

Recap time.

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With immunity winner Sabina up on the balcony cheering them on and/or gloating, the amateurs begin to scuttle. "I really love taking one vegetable and presenting it in two different ways," says Pete, as if we're interested in his perverted kinks.

 

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Kishwar is shattered about her friend Minoli going home and has embarked on some retail therapy, filling her basket with ingredients that she has no idea what to do with. Unlike Pete, who knows exactly what he wants to do: make people vomit. He's making horseradish ice-cream – with, of course, as the law demands, a granita – and not for the first time this year, the words "oh for god's sake" seem apt.


 

 

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On the balcony, Sabina still seems to be doing all the work. "You're doing amazing", "Come on", "get that panna cotta in", she bellows, with no support whatsoever from Elise. It's disappointing: immunity comes with certain responsibilities, and Elise is shirking them.

 

Edited by katisha
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1 hour ago, katisha said:

Other random thoughts: Justin is SO getting a winner's edit. 

Dear Lord, I hope not!

1 hour ago, katisha said:

For once, I want the judges to state quite clearly in these hero ingredient challenges, "You can make whatever you like with this ingredient EXCEPT ICE-CREAM because we're sick of having to taste the shit you make which we then have to eat and pretend it's nice to satisfy production agendas."  

I want them to say this for every single episode.

I am really, really sad that Elise got the first immunity, but I will live with that.

Super sad Minoli was sent home - I think she is so much better than so many contestants still here.

However, totally relieved that Pete and Kishwar survived!

I know I stayed up late and put up the with Tenplay ad inclusion to watch but still not convinced it was worth it.  So many lesser cooks still there!

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Ok so I’m all caught up now. I was sad to see Minoli go but I’ve been waiting for Scott’s elimination for a while now. He’s been pretty far behind the pack for a while. I think Elise and Tommy are the other weaker ones so I think them next.

4 hours ago, katisha said:

Justin is SO getting a winner's edit.

I agree. It sucks a little because I think most of the others are better than him. Kishwar, Linda, Beens, even Pete and his gross ice creams and odd combinations and Depinder in full dark spiral mode have all pulled out much much better dishes than him on several occasions.

I was pretty worried about Kishwar in that second cook. She took Minoli going pretty hard. I’m glad Andy snapped her out of her funk and she saved herself.

 

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Good episode! My favorites remain my favorites (Kish, Linda, Tommy, Sabina, Depinder), although the order moves around & Depinder isn't at the top of it for me anymore. (Minoli was up there, too, for me, but oh, well). Justin & Pete look strong & deserving to be there, too, but I'm not as interested in their food. 

It was interesting to see Elise step it up at this stage - nice to see her taking the techniques she knows so well and branching out with more creative flavors. Have we ever seen any hint of her Sri Lankan heritage in her cooking? I don't know that it meshes well with the pasta focus, but I don't think she's drawn on that at all. Well, sometimes one side of the family just isn't very food-focused, I suppose, and it's probably a very hard thing to do well if you're not steeped in it. 

I wish they'd given Scott some more air time along the way. It's really kind of mystifying! We hardly even know he is, except that he seems like a really nice guy, cooks some more traditional food than some of the others, and blinks a lot. I don't even remember what, if any, aspirations he has going forward. Some sort of low-key cafe or restaurant in the countryside would seem to suit the vague image I've got, but it's really vague. There would be some desserts. Not sure what's for dinner. Fish, I suppose, because he just made fish, and I can't remember what he's done before.

Sabina was delightful on the gantry. Nice to see her relaxed & happy again, and very attuned to all of the other contestants. Much better comments than we usually get from up there, I thought. 

 

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4 hours ago, akr said:

 Justin & Pete look strong & deserving to be there, too, but I'm not as interested in their food.

Practically nothing Pete creates is anything that interests me. It's almost as if he's trying to punk the judges but they haven't caught on to the joke yet.

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I just wanted to come here to give a shout-out to what is probably THE most life-changing advice I have ever heard. "Just base your dish around the horseradish... and go from there." Wow. What a paradigm shift. Andy, mate, you're losing money as a self-help guru. 

That is all.

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For fuck's sake. Horseradish ice cream Pete?  This is like Project Runway when they hero a contestant for weeks for doing the same "original" thing even though it's terrible.  I can't with creepy Pete's voice talking about his creepy gross food and flavour combinations.  Most of which are ripped off.   I swear to god his face lit up when he saw the horseradish and he just went ice cream!  I can't with the judges screaming and I'm just over this season.  No one is really elevated their food to what we have seen in seasons past and it's all pretty one note for each contestant.  I'm sure covid and the pandemic is limiting what they can do, but even with the current challenges of this season they aren't really forcing the contestants to stretch themselves as they have in seasons past.  

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I want Pete to go as badly as I wanted Conor to go. Unfortunately, Linda got lost in the weeds last nite and I think she's near the end of her stay. But Pete's dishes are representative of the entire season - nauseating, predictable and disappointing - inclusive of judges and contestants for the most part. Right now, Beenz really is the standout but Elise's dish last nite was creative and looked very appetizing. There is no guy I would like to see in the final. As is, I fast forward thru Tommy's and Pete's interviews. I still like Kishwar but after the vanilla challenge I went a bit sour on her - she was unable to hero it on the fly, she thought of a dish she wanted to make, made it, and then incorporated vanilla where it clearly had no place. I only continue to watch because I really want Beenz to win. And also for the moments of pontificating Andy - just build it around horseradish and you'll be fine (to Depinder).

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Really enjoyed tonight's episode and kept thinking how much I want to visit Uluru for the Field of Light because it just looked so spectacular.  I was so certain the Orange Team were going to win that I mentally tuned out halfway through but clearly a gluey, rubbery panna cotta is something the judges can't even accept from Depinder.  And I'm thinking that finally Tommy will meet his Waterloo tomorrow night in the elimination because the challenge has to do with native Australian ingredients and I'm not sure if he can bend those into a recipe with which he's familiar.  Also, any episode where nobody makes a stupid ice-cream is a good one this season.

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I'm confused about why Depinder stayed over Minoli. Depinder served up bland ice cream over bland cake, and the judges could not taste any of the basket ingredients. Minoli's dish featured perfectly cooked fish and a delicious broth, but she made the mistake of using mango for noodles. Depinder had mistakes in both main components, and no mystery basket flavors. Minoli made a mistake in one component but did feature basket ingredients. How does that equal Minoli going? ...Then in round two, they fired Scott for not effectively featuring the star ingredient. (And Depinder makes ANOTHER ice cream which none of the judges made a comment about.)  

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I don't think you can just count how many mistakes or limitations a dish may have (and we only hear some of the critique anyway, so who knows what the real count is) - it's how significant the flaws are, and whether the dish works well overall. And, I don't think it's that they couldn't taste pumpkin or walnut at all in Depinder's dish, but rather that the flavors were too muted. It certainly left her vulnerable.

As for Minoli's, I don't think they explained it well enough, but the taste of green mango can be quite assertive (sour and/or bitter) and likely didn't blend well with the other flavors; and it certainly wouldn't pair with the flavors of the broth in the same way the noodles might have, or provide a similarly pleasing texture. She made the broth with the idea of pairing it with noodles, and it may have needed significant adjustment to pair with the mango, if it could work at all. So - I think it's that the noodles actively spoiled her dish - getting in the way of the things that worked - whereas Depinder's was just underwhelming. If Depinder had doused her cake in a clashing syrup, that would have been a more comparable error. Neither was successful, but neither was a complete disaster, and, as usual, they tried to keep it ambiguous enough about which flaws were worse that there would be some suspense about who was going home.

In general, I'm not conspiracy-minded about this show. There are certainly judgment calls when things are close, but if they haven't explained their choices well enough for me to understand it, I don't assume that they made a dishonest call, just that they didn't explain themselves. Andy and Jock are often completely inarticulate about their reasoning, so the editors may not have a lot to work with in trying to make sense of things for viewers.   

I was expecting Depinder's problem to be time - that either the cake or the ice cream wouldn't be done. She should have known that pumpkin cake wouldn't have much flavor, though. It never does; it just makes the cake moist. Pumpkin cake needs spices to be of any interest. She would have needed some concentrated pumpkin flavor to complement it & bring it out - maybe some candied/caramelized pumpkin to go with it.   

Edited by akr · Reason: typos
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I hope Depinder feels bad for losing that challenge for the team.  I'm not a cook, and even I know that you can't just chuck a whole bunch of super strength gelatin into the panacotta and have it taste good and come out right.  She was happily surprised that it set so quickly, but I bet they didn't have a tester to see what it actually tasted like.  I was happy that Pete grabbed her off her raspberry coolie to help with the entree.  He was absolutely right.  There was plenty of time until dessert.  I am ready for her to go home.  

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That was by far the most unexpected booting this season.  I mean, Depinder's been so strong up until the last couple of weeks when for whatever reason she lost her way a bit, possibly because she doesn't handle pressure so well.  Most interestingly to me, though, it means the season's spoilers aren't nearly as accurate as they were in past years because on the latest markets, Depinder was supposed to be top three.  And yet again, Tommy, the cat with nine lives, gets through another elimination!

I just want to say that wherever she finishes this season, someone needs to sign Kishwar up for something asap.  She's my favourite narrator because she's beautifully spoken and always sounds sincere and passionate about what she does, and when she was so excited about using the native Australian ingredients and combining them with her own native cuisine from Bangladesh to make something new and different - honestly, whatever she was selling, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.  

Again, I was perfectly OK with the episode being another big ad for the Northern Territory because it only made me want to cross a visit to Uluru off my bucket list asap.

Recap time.

This made me chortle because it's exactly what I thought!

Quote

Pete is not using any non-native ingredients at all. He acknowledges this is a risk because he hasn't cooked with them before, but looking back over the competition, he realises he's always had great results from making weird stuff that makes no sense, so why not continue? He tells Justin that he is making him a necklace out of quandong seeds, and he will make himself one too, and then they will be quandong seed brothers, and it's just really weird. I don't quite know how to respond to this.

 

Edited by katisha
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Bye bye Depinder. You were still my first fav from this year despite looking like a total deer in headlights the last few weeks. Ive been expecting her elimination for a while but it still kinda sucked. 
 

Despite it being the year of the dude I’m glad so many women made it this far. I feel like they’ve been better this season no matter how much of a winners edit Justin is getting. I’m not a Justin fan but I guess he is the best male option. Tommy is incredibly limited with almost no range even if his food does look pretty tasty and Pete is the oppisite, while he tries different things his food rarely looks appetising. 
 

31 minutes ago, katisha said:

just want to say that wherever she finishes this season, someone needs to sign Kishwar up for something asap.  She's my favourite narrator because she;s beautifully spoken and always sounds sincere and passionate about what she does

Seriously. She’s so warm and personable and her cooking isn’t half bad. I could absolutely see her hosting something food/people related. 

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1 hour ago, katisha said:

Most interestingly to me, though, it means the season's spoilers aren't nearly as accurate as they were in past years because on the latest markets, Depinder was supposed to be top three. 

Maybe because of previous years' successes, a lot of people started following the spoilers and betting this year, and that somehow ruined it? Since I purposely got spoiled, will be keeping up with the boot order to see how closely it sticks, lol. (rooting for Kishwar, now!)

Edited by displayname
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1 hour ago, katisha said:

Again, I was perfectly OK with the episode being another big ad for the Northern Territory because it only made me want to cross a visit to Uluru off my bucket list asap.

Yep. It's pretty clear (especially after last year's big trip wound up being to exotic Ringwood East) the logic here was pretty much "well, we can't go internationally, where's a cool place in this country where there's no danger of us getting stuck by a lockdown?", and... honestly, it's worked so far.

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What an inspiring location. I've not generally been all that interested in the native ingredients (I'm not from Australia), but in that place, and with the people they've allowed us to hear from, and the food that Kishwar and Pete in particular were able to create in response to it - there's an emotional connection to the place even through my laptop screen. Well done, show. All three successful dishes looked wonderful to me (I worried a bit that Tommy's rushing would leave the flavors unbalanced in the end, but it was pretty clear all along from the editing that we were meant to see that Kishwar, Pete, & Tommy were cooking from a connection with the place, and that Depinder was having some trouble setting aside her fear that she wouldn't be able to do well and that this was holding her back. If I've been guided to root for Depinder to go home throughout the episode, she's going home - it would be too disruptive to the theme of the episode for that not to be the outcome.) 

I'm glad Depinder didn't go out on a bad dish, though, and that she had a wonderful run on the show. Pete is finally doing things that are not just intellectually interesting; here there was something that appealed to the heart as well as the brain. At this point everybody's acquitted themselves well and I'm fine with whatever order people go home in. 

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I really enjoyed that episode, and I really like the way they have amped up the drama this season.  It's exciting to watch, at least for me.  I had a feeling when they showed some of her best dishes early in the episode that it was Depinder's highlight reel.   It was her time to go.  She basically admitted that she is good at Indian food and desserts, which is true.  Jock was right about her having a springboard right now to follow her food dream.  She will do well.  Good luck, Depinder!

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I can't have been the only person who was ready to hurl things at the TV when the contestants were told they had to use every ingredient in that Mystery Box if someone had decided to make a lamb fat ice-cream with blackberry granita and a purple cabbage shard?  But thank heavens - for once, nobody did!  And the result was some actual genuine invention from contestants like Linda, who freely admitted she had no idea what to do with the ingredients but ended up making a good dish through trial and error and trusting her palate.  Credit to Elise also for doing some reinvention of her familiar Italian dishes.  And Justin - well, I just don't know what to make of him.  The way he's been edited, it's like he went overnight from presenting big hearty curry-based dishes with roti, etc, to going all fine dining.  And it would be nice to believe this just happened organically as he's progressed through the competition but maybe I've been watching this show too long and have become a bit cynical about these story arcs!  But his dish did look good and I was especially impressed with the bright purple colour he got on that roasted cauliflower! 

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I knew Depinder was toast soon because last week's editing made it clear the show was over her. I hope she can take some solace in the fact that she has near perfect cheek bones. : D

The scenery in the last two episodes was gorgeous, but I wish they would have included the indigenous peoples more than just for the token intro and blessing. At the lights dinner, I saw mostly white people eating. And then they have Mel's friend be the native produce expert. Top Chef did this better this year by having the native elders give their knowledge and expertise about the local produce and  then sit at judges table and give their opinions of the finished dishes.

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@katisha I think what happened with Justin is that he did his homework and figured out what kind of cook he wanted to be, like Jock told him to.  Jock obviously saw his potential and guided him in the right direction.  I think the judges have done a good job of mentoring contestants this season.  I'm glad nobody chose to make an ice cream out of the everything box.  I am happy that nobody in the top 7 got there because they are good at desserts.   I understand being cynical, based on previous seasons, but I really feel like we are seeing a lot of growth in this group.  They all seem to cooking at a level that is far beyond what they could have imagined.  There is so much complaining on another forum that Depinder was ripped off yesterday.  If she were still here for this challenge, she probably would have been the one to make ice cream.  She can cook Indian and desserts really well, most of the time, but beyond that it's a crap shoot for her.  Everyone else has been far better at adapting.  We'll have to see who can keep it up.  

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1 hour ago, babs1226 said:

@katisha I think what happened with Justin is that he did his homework and figured out what kind of cook he wanted to be, like Jock told him to.  Jock obviously saw his potential and guided him in the right direction. 

Also, Justin said something a couple of weeks that suggested he'd just been aiming for middle of the pack for the first half of the season, and at some point he realized that wasn't going to be good enough anymore. If Depinder played all her best cards at the beginning, Justin saved his (and picked up a bunch of new ones) for the end. The pacing also probably helped him avoid running out of steam. It's a bit risky, of course, as you can go home anytime, but if you're good enough, and you're not doing anything too crazy, early on you can usually count on somebody else to screw up. Late in the game, when everybody's very good, taking some risks is necessary if you're going to stand out, or even stay out of the bottom.

I agree with your general point about the mentoring. I'm not persuaded they're as good at it as the last group of judges was (I don't think they have as good a feel for how much they can push them), but we're definitely seeing growth in those who are left. However, if you're isolated with a bunch of cooks for months, with no access to social media and little other outside stimuli, but lots of cookbooks around and other food-obsessed brains to pick, you ought to be picking up a lot of new ideas!

I'm not sure that Depinder was less capable of adjusting so much as that she ran out of steam and was hampered by self-doubt at the end. The others' deference to her, and the multiple wins, show that she really was one of the true standout cooks of the season. However, the editing seems a bit heavy-handed on who we're supposed to root for and when (were Connor and Therese ever really that good? Or were we just supposed to be shocked that someone was leaving "early," and they thought these were personalities that the fanbase would gravitate towards?Not saying they weren't good, of course, just that maybe they were never all that likely to go much further, because of limitations they showed from the get-go.).   

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31 minutes ago, akr said:

Also, Justin said something a couple of weeks that suggested he'd just been aiming for middle of the pack for the first half of the season, and at some point he realized that wasn't going to be good enough anymore. If Depinder played all her best cards at the beginning, Justin saved his (and picked up a bunch of new ones) for the end. The pacing also probably helped him avoid running out of steam. It's a bit risky, of course, as you can go home anytime, but if you're good enough, and you're not doing anything too crazy, early on you can usually count on somebody else to screw up. Late in the game, when everybody's very good, taking some risks is necessary if you're going to stand out, or even stay out of the bottom.

That makes sense and so does your explanation, @babs1226.  And it shows Justin is (as I suspected from his narration, when he's not in "fully sick bro" mode) an intelligent guy as well.  

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44 minutes ago, akr said:

I'm not sure that Depinder was less capable of adjusting so much as that she ran out of steam and was hampered by self-doubt at the end.

Her attitude definitely mattered, but she said herself that she is good at Indian and desserts.  She's been making dishes she has known her whole life, and very well.  When she can't do that, she still struggles.  I like Depinder, and I'm sad to see her go, but I think she was the right choice.  We're at the point where I'm sad to see any of them go.    

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4 hours ago, akr said:

I agree with your general point about the mentoring. I'm not persuaded they're as good at it as the last group of judges was (I don't think they have as good a feel for how much they can push them),

I wrote this before watching the most recent episode - and the judges really stepped up their critiques, I thought! So many times they have limited themselves to things like, "are you sure?" but this time the comments were a lot more substantive. I don't know if they were doing as much of this earlier on, and I just missed it; if they weren't able to do as much of this until the contestants were already at a certain level; or if they're getting better at that part of the role (a bit different dealing with amateur adults, as opposed to children or the all stars). Some of it may  just be the show finding its way with the editing; with not that many people left, they have to focus more on what they're actually doing. 

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Well, after Elise ended up with a perfect pairing of ingredients out of all those cloches I thought the challenge was hers to lose, so I'm not sure how she managed to stuff it up.   Linda had a harder job because she had to get two different ingredients which featured lemon to both stand out, so full credit to her that she managed it.  And I'm not sure Justin has enough of a dessert repertoire to make an hibachi-themed sweet dish - he should have stuck with Italian!

I really don't know who's going to go on Sunday because I can't really trust the spoilers so let's see how it pans out.

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Linda's dish sounded amazing - so glad she won (and that ice cream and granita didn't. Why didn't Justin change it up when the oranges didn't even taste like he imagined they would? Surely he could have added some other element.).

The MasterchefAU instagram has a bit where the judges say what they would do with these options; Andy opted for chocolate/pistachio but would do a mole with them; both Jock & Mel went the sweet hibachi route. Jock recalled Amina's quail with pomegranate molasses glaze from a team challenge last year, and Mel was thinking pina coladas, so: caramelized roasted pineapple, coconut rum ice cream, lime granita ("and it would be glorious!"). (After I saw that I went looking for Amina's quail recipe but it doesn't seem to be on the MC website. The general idea seems pretty straightforward, though, and there are recipes from others online. It was in a service challenge, so I doubt her version was overly complicated. The flashbacks show all the judges loving it, with Mel coming around the judging table to give her a hug for it.) 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CQx853rBWKG/

Edited by akr · Reason: Mel quote
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Australian Survivor has just been confirmed as starting on July 18, so it looks like there's not too much padding left this season.

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Wow, Elise took a HUGE RISK and made ice cream with mousse, instead of ice cream with granita!

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I can't believe Elise waited until there were two minutes to go to taste all of her elements together.  Also, she must have used an awful lot of oil, salt and smoke for Jock to say the dark chocolate wasn't featured.  Or maybe she didn't put enough chocolate in the chocolate mousse.

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