THEGAREFACTOR

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

IT ALL comes down to this, the fi­nal week of Ju­nior MasterChef where you can cut the ten­sion with a knife, but there is a bit of light re­lief to be­gin with on Fri­day with the fi­nal 12 con­tes­tants tak­ing part in the Mas­ter­class for the first time.

View­ers at home are in­vited to cook along with Ge­orge, which is great fun and there’s a cav­al­cade of su­per­star chefs and their off­spring. Stephanie Alexan­der does a mean lamb roast and it’s quite touch­ing watch­ing Matt Mo­ran tip­toe around the kitchen for once and try and hold back as his son takes charge . . .

Hav­ing the fi­nal 12 there just lifted the at­mos­phere and they re­mained for the fi­nal two shows and re­ally cheered the fi­nal­ists on and gave great sup­port. More power to them. On Sun­day the fi­nal four fight for the last two spots and we have two cooks-offs, with the first one in­volv­ing some­thing the kids have never cooked be­fore— snails.

It’s great fun to watch when one con­tes­tant is asked to taste a snail first and says flat-out ‘‘ no way!’’ It re­minded me of the first time I ate snails as a child . . . mind you, mine came from our back­yard.

Not sur­pris­ingly they all adapt bril­liantly to the chal­lenge and the win­ner goes through and that leaves three who got to spin a wheel to choose the next cook-off dish, which were spe­cial­ties of my­self, Gary and Ge­orge. The wheel al­most stopped on my white choco­late mousse but in­stead it fell on Ge­orge’s mus­sel spanako­pita which is a very in­tri­cate dish with lots of fid­dly bits.

The fi­nal two re­turn on Mon­day to be greeted by Adri­ano Zumbo and his amaz­ing dessert which they have to repli­cate.

Then there’s one more cook-off to de­cide our first Ju­nior MasterChef champ and I have no doubt the win­ner will have a spec­tac­u­lar ca­reer in food; both fi­nal­ists will, they’re nat­u­rals. I’ve re­ally loved be­ing in­volved in the show. Peo­ple warned me that I’d get stopped in the streets all the time with this show, but it’s kids who stop me and I love kids. In the su­per­mar­ket the other day, one of them of­fered to carry my bags to the car, how good is that?

with ROSS BRUN­DRETT

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