Monday, December 05, 2011

MasterChef Malaysia Audition

I've got a "pass" to move to the next stage in MasterChef Malaysia

Hello blog, it's been a very long time since I last logged in and thank God that I still remember the password.

With the MasterChef Malaysia season 1 being popularly aired on national TV, i thought it would be appropriate for me to have the luxury of reminiscing the MasterChef Malaysia audition that I went through this year and the making of my signature dish--"sexy pants" during the cookoff.

Let me took you a few steps back to how all these came about. I love cooking (like duh?!!!) and when I cook, I usually cook more that what my husband and I could consume, so I always bring the surplus to work and share with my colleagues. Being kind and loving, they always praise and rave about the food I bring to work, which is big boost to my culinary skills. And when it comes to cooking, recipes and food, they will always associate them to me, which is so complimentary!

So one fine day, my colleague, the IT expert, Ramli said he heard the announcement of MasterChef Malaysia audition in JB and he thought of me immediately; at the same moment, the other coordinator, Ms Cruz, said she heard the exact same advertisement and had the exact same thought. Of course, they instantly Googled to get more scoop about the audition and even printed the application form for me.

Other colleagues also "coached" me on my language proficiency, gave me a crush course to salvage my very broken Bahasa Malaysia (the programme is in Bahasa Malaysia), "pushed" me into joining the competition and literally "filled in" the 20-pages (I think) application form for MasterChef Malaysia. At that time, I was still debating whether or not I should go for it. So I posted this dilemma on the FB, with 50+likes and many comments, my confidence was boosted and I went for it.

The next task is to decide on a signature dish that I think that represents who I am and that I have mastered the most. I prefer baking to cooking and Adrian always raves about the frangipane (Dannish ground almond cake that I add in mixed dried fruit), he's been calling them "sexy pants".

On the day of the audition, I brought the signature dish of "sexy pants" to Hotel Selesa JB, where the audition was held. Arriving in the evening, I was probably the last person for the audition but I got an auspicious no. of 3030.

Check out No. 3030 candidate for MasterChef Malaysia!!!

Given only 5 minutes to plate my dish before meeting the judges, I carefully place one piece of the "sexy pants" on the plate I brought from home, dusted with icing sugar and topped it whimsically with a maraschino cherry.

There were two rounds of audition, first is the tasting by panel of chef judges--Chef Zubir, Chef Johari (aka Papa Joe) and a lady judge (forgot her name) and the second is a panel of Astro production team judges--Executive Producer, Copywriter and Director (Jason and others).

I made a few blunder during the audition, the most prominent being pencuci mulut (dessert). Out of the anxiety of speaking in Bahasa, I kept saying pencuci muka (facial cleanser) during the audition and I could almost see the judges cracked up in laughter. They must have been really amused by my responses that they gave me a "pass" to progress to the cookout .

During the cookout on the next day, the candidates who made it to the cookout had to prepare and cook the signature in 60 minutes, so I had to strategize the cooking accordingly. Instead of making the whole cake which takes 30 - 40 minutes of baking, I made the "sexy pants" in cupcake sizes to cut down the cooking time and boy, it made my life easier which I had additional time making a cranberry compote and freshly whipped cream to compliment it.

While waiting for my turn to prepare the signature dish on the day of cookout.

After 60 minutes of cookout, all candidates had to stop cooking. My best friend probably wouldn't believe it (because I am usually slow in the kitchen) but I made 10 cupcakes with compote and cream in 50 minutes, which made me the second candidate serving my dish to the judges.
Whipping up fresh cream using a hand-held electric whisk my hubby gave me as birthday gift this year (photo extracted from MasterChef Malaysia official website).

When I wheeled "sexy pants" in a trolley to the judging room, I had to plate my dish in front of them while answering some grueling questions (actually more like amusing them with my Bahasa). But they must have loved my food or Bahasa proficiency (or lack thereof) that I have been selected to the top 40!!!!!

In any decision making, one gains some and looses some. Much to my friends' disappointment, I didn't sign the agreement letter to compete in the Top 40 for a few reasons, but I keep telling everyone that talented people will shine in anywhere they are, right?

My signature dish--"sexy pants" (frangipane) 3-way (prune, mixed fruit and chocolate chip) with cranberry compote and fresh cream (photo extracted from MasterChef Malaysia official website).