Posted by: lucylastic | April 21, 2011

Molecular gastronomy – is it really what Masterchef is all about?

I don’t know about you, but I thought last night Masterchef ‘big elimination’ was going a bit too far. All very interesting to see what radical Spanish chefs who are more scientists than they are cooks, get up to after they’ve left El Bulli – but is there really much call for ‘sphericised broad beans’, prawns in alginate lumps and the like? The (Royal Society scientist) judges criticised Jackie’s sphericised pea puree for the fact that ‘nature has provided us with perfectly good peas’ and I think Jackie was unwise to agree with them – surely, if you intend to work in this area, you need to defend avant garde techniques? And Jackie’s peas actually looked attractive – which is more than can be said for ‘messy man’s’ prawns in his 21st Century Prawn Cocktail – frankly, this dish was enough to eliminate him if it was my decision.

Once again though, the only opinion’s that count are John Torode’s, he ignores input from Greg Wallace, unless it happens to agree with his own. And even the visiting chefs, coaches and restaurant critics seem to carry little sway. I do so wish there was just a TAD more focus on the cooking, rather than on retrospectives of things they cooked ‘along the journey’ or cringe making flash backs to cuts and grazes sustained in earlier rounds.

Based on the final meal only, I would have eliminated Tim, (but he’s clearly a favourite with aforementioned Mr Torode) – his self professed ‘weird, but good’ cooking isn’t what I think Masterchef should really be about – and my patriotic side doesn’t think that an American should be in it anyway – it’s a British show, surely – not many Brits in evidence on Masterchef Australia, (the only other version I have seen televised, but I am sure the States has one). Jackie is unpredictable – her timings are dreadful – though she managed when it counted last night – and her street food looked fabulous yesterday – certainly better than Tim’s rather overloaded pork belly dish – everyone is variable, but I am sensing that favourites are coming into play more than skill. I would have kept you in Jackie!!!!

From the remaining three, I’d like to see Sara win – she’s Italian – so I suppose that makes a mockery of my American comment – but I think she’s been a consistently good cook and has some great ideas – I suspect we may have another Hannah Miles in Sara – who excels at desserts. Hannah is one of the very few finalists, (apart from Thomasina Miers) to have made much of herself as a chef since being in the final – long may the women continue to reign!!


Well, like many, I am about to embark on 11 days with no work!  Follwed by 4 days in Copenhagen at a conference…….so you won’t haer from me for a little while.  Happy Easter everyone!



  1. I’ve more or less stopped watching Masterchef but I caught about half of it last night and tweeted about how pretentious it all was with the sphericised broad beans. This molecular cuisine all seems a bit Emperor’s New Clothes to me.
    Agree that Sara seems the best candidate to win.

  2. I’ve been meaning to read this and just never got a chance. It’s an issue that I’m very interested in, I just started reading and I’m glad I did. You’re a great blogger, one of the best that I’ve seen. This blog definitely has some information on topic that I just wasn’t aware of. Thanks for bringing this stuff to light.

  3. Just wanted to say thanks for the lovely comments about Tommi and I. I would very much like to send you one of my books as a thank you so do drop me your address if of interest

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