So these are the pictures of what transpired the other day at the Blogger MasterChef semi-finals hosted by Astro and Nuffnang. This event was held to build up awareness for the MasterChef Malaysia that will be starting REAL Soon on Astro!
The Lovely Wife and the kids came along to support me and they started off with this photo.
After a briefing by the judges, we moved into the Kitchen area at The Cooking House in Desa Sri Hartamas where the contest was held. I was given station number 16 after picking out a number from a bowl. The kitchen was rather cramped and I think it was more suited to 10 people rather than 20 as every table and stove was shared by 2 people. There was a lot of bumping into one another as we cooked!
We were given MasterChef Malaysia aprons to wear and that was rather exciting!
As I mentioned in my previous post, we were given a box full of ingredients that we had to use. The main ingredient was chicken and I did ask if we had to use everything in the box. The answer was no but I assumed that one would need to use as many of the ingredients as possible. This however was not the case - you didnt have to use any of the ingredients from the box with the exception of chicken and were free to use anything that was on the counters.
In retrospect, I should have made something Western rather than the Fusion Chilli Chicken that I opted to make. There were a lot of ingredients that I didn't see that seemed to be spaced out along the cooking stations. But no excuses though. Most critical though was that I couldn't get my brain ticking given that we only had 50 minutes to think up and cook a dish. I usually spend hours and even days thinking up my 'gourmet' dishes! So Kudos to all the winners that had the presence of mind to think of something creative and execute it in the limited time available.
The Lovely Wife and the kids realised that my super duper SLR was too heavy to carry around and they made a quick detour home while I was cooking to drop of the camera. The rest of the shots come from The Lovely Wifes I-phone.
After the cooking challenge came the skills challenge. Chef Ryan demonstrated how to poach an egg using the swirl method and with some vinegar to get the proteins in the egg to bind. I've poached an egg succesfully before and was fairly confident. However, my first egg turned out disastrously but thankfully the second egg was just lovely!
I had another egg ready to go into the water when time was called. So that was a good time for The Lovely Wife to take a shot of me!
I was really thrilled as I presented my egg to the judges as I presented both my 'disaster' egg as well as the good one. Chef Ryan actually said "Well done, lovely!" as he sliced my egg and watched all the gooey goodness spill out. There were a few other cooks that managed to get more than one lovely poached egg. One of them, Yatie was given full marks for getting two perfectly poached eggs - just as Chef Ryan had shown how to do.
The results were announced a short while later and the judges took quite a while deliberating on who the top 5 should be. I have to say that it was a very humbling experience cooking with the other 20 bloggers as there were some really fantastic and creative dishes that came out. Quite a number of the bloggers managed to get pretty perfect Poached Eggs even though it was the first time they were doing it. Plenty of skilled cooks out there!
As you all know, I didnt make the cut to the top 5 but each blogger got a prize anyway. I was given my prize by one of Malaysia's well know food bloggers KY from KYSpeaks.com.
and finally, a group photo with all the other blogger chefs!
A really fun experience that I would not hesitate to do again. I met a lot of fun people and I have to say that I had an AWESOME time. The only regret that I have is that the organisers didn't let us take the aprons home. Would you believe it? We actually had to return the aprons. Oh well!
I really, really have a new found respect for those that take part in MasterChef. I realise it's really easy to be an armchair critic and criticise and make fun of the competitors but when you are actually doing it, well, it's really quite difficult.
Keep a look out for the launch of MasterChef Malaysia. Coming soon on Astro.