Masterchef Australia: The Martini Club battle

by Forager on May 7, 2009

This week I had the privilege of attending a Masterchef Australia battle. As one can expect, filming is ahead of what is currently being shown on TV – so whilst the Australian public are still watching the top 20 contestants battle it out on the telly, I was with my friend OggieBad at an event held at The Martini Club, Observatory Hotel Sydney sampling delicious canapes produced by the final 8 contestants.

So here’s the setup for the night: the final 8 have been split into the customary 2 teams, a Red Team and Blue Team, and each team is expected to produce 4 different canapes for the guests at The Martini Club. The guests sample the canapes, distinguished only by either a red or blue coloured napkin with the canape, thereby removing any interference from bias or possible favouritism for any contestant. At the end of the night, guests are asked to vote for either the red or the blue team based on overall performance. Oh, did I mention that delicious martinis are flowing the whole night? Could have blurred a few photos here and there…

My night started with a lychee martini and although I’m not usually a fan of martinis but these were made with Belvedere vodka and were smooth and deliciously fruity. Martini in hand, I go in seek of some canapes to sample. The Blue team are serving:

  • Ocean trout ceviche
  • Fig and duck lady cigars
  • Prawn with wasabi mayonnaise and tomago
  • Beef empanadas

*In my best Iron Chef announcer voice* – The red team counters with a tasty four of their own:

  • Freshly shucked oysters with finger lime caviar
  • Scallops with cauliflower puree
  • Lamb rack with spinach pesto
  • Sweet medley of berry tartlets

My first impression after reviewing the menus offered by both teams was that everything sounded both interesting and delicious – nothing I wouldn’t order on a restaurant menu. The second was that I noticed that the blue team weren’t offering a dessert course. Oooh.. *controversial*

First dish I spied were the oysters offered by the red team – the citrus dressing is a perfect match to the briny flavour of the plump oysters. OggieBad is positively moaning with pleasure at these and goes for seconds. Hot on the trails of the red team comes the blue team’s offering of ocean trout ceviche. This was tasty and those around me murmur their approval but the ceviche I’m accustomed to is normally swimming in a generous amount of lime juice.

With a grapefruit martini in hand I’m presented with the scallops with cauliflower puree. The scallops are just seared, the bacon bits add meatiness to the flavour and cauliflower puree is creamy whilst not swamping the delicate flavour of the scallops. I really enjoyed the flavour and texture of this dish.

As we wait for the next courses, OggieBad and I amuse ourselves with apple martinis at the roulette table. But not all the courses are making their way through the hungry crowd to where I am, so I abandon friend and roulette table winnings in search of food.

I find a dish from each of the teams being served, the lamb rack with spinach pesto from the red team – which is tasty, generous and cooked pink to perfection in the middle. From the blue team was the beef empanada – their final dish, but I preferred the flavour of the lamb rack to the beef empanada. But the question is – how is it that I missed out 2 – that’s half of the blue team’s dishes? Darn distracting martinis.

I head to the kitchen entrance and manage to snap a clear photo of the red team’s final offering without being jostled or having the food disappear from the plate faster than I can take the photo. The sweet medley of berry tartlets are pop-in-your-mouth morsels that provide the sweet finish I was looking for.

With all the dishes served, the guests were asked to vote for their favourite team and I noticed that opinions are divided between the blue and red team. Once all votes have been cast, the Masterchef hosts: Sarah Wilson, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris bring in the final 8 contestants to the applaud of all the guests in the room.

So the questions are- just who is in the final 8? Which team won? Which team lost? Who was voted off during this challenge?

To find out, you’ll have to watch the epidode yourself to find out that answer. The Masterchef Martini Club challenge airs in June on Channel 10.

Address of The Martini Club:
89 – 113 Kent Street, Sydney; (02)9256-2222
Open only on Thursdays from 6:30pm onwards till close.

View The Martini Club, Observatory Hotel in a larger map

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 7, 2009 at 11:49 pm

How fantastic! How did you get to watch the filming? Sounds as close to becoming an Iron Chef type judge as you can get :)

2 Simon May 8, 2009 at 7:26 am

The various martini combinations sound interesting and judging from your comments, no real complaints about the food?

Which team did you end up voting for?

3 Arwen from Hoglet K May 8, 2009 at 11:25 am

Sounds like a fun night. I hope the poor chefs don’t get too stressed while everyone else is enjoying the food.

4 Forager May 8, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Hey Lorraine – Scored an invite through my friend OggieBad, socialite extraordinaire. She seems to get invited to all the parties but when she heard it was food related got me in too. Boy! If I was a Iron Chef judge I would sooo put on that ditzy giggling actress voice.

Hey Simon – the martinis were wonderful & very dangerous indeed. My friend OggieBad really got stuck into them! I don't want to sway people with too much personal opinon before the show. The only thing I thought could've been improved was the beef empanada – it could've been hotter. I thought the red team performed better on the night.

Hey Arwen – Was definitely a fun night. I wasn't allowed in to film the chefs in the kitchen but we got to speak to the chefs afterwards. Happily for me, the chef I am supporting on the show is still there in the final 8! He/She said it was great fun and even gave me a hug for the support.

5 Simon Food Favourites May 8, 2009 at 3:23 pm

well done. that’s a great opportunity. would have loved to be there and feel like an iron chef judge hehe

simon :-)

6 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 8, 2009 at 11:32 pm

That’s awesome! Great opportunity and good chance to brush up on your Iron Chef Judge voice in case the need should arise in the future 😉

7 Forager May 9, 2009 at 11:37 am

Hey Simon – Was definitely great fun! I would’ve liked more of an opportunity to see the chefs in action and more time to chat to them about their experiences but oh well. Ah, if only I was an Iron Chef judge (I imagine I’d get pretty round pretty quickly!)

Hey Lorraine – I’ve wanted to go one of those special Iron Chef nights at Galileo..if only just to meet Sakai. That’s probably as close to Iron Chef as I’ll get. And that actress voice – on second thought I might waver between wanting to giggle like her and then wanting to slap myself for giggling like that!

8 foodie-central May 9, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Wow! You’re so lucky… hehe.
The pic of the 2 camera guys – I thought why are these two guys carrying super huge vacuum cleaners around and then I realised their for filming doh! haha

9 Forager May 11, 2009 at 11:29 am

Hey foodie-central – don’t worry, you’re not the only one to question the camera equipment. One of my friends asked why there were ghostbuster dudes there. Thanks for visiting btw!

10 Oggie Bad May 12, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Wow you took some great shots – scallops photos is very impressive! Lucky one of us was sober…

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