Masterchef 2010 - Adam Liaw the WINNER!

This post is probably a bit belated, but I'm absolutely elated that Adam won. The thing about it is, like Poh, they both cruised along in the first half of the competition doing mediocre non-Asian dishes. Poh was knocked out, as we all know, she came back into the second half of the competition with 2 others. From then on, she seemed to stick to authentic Malaysian food exclusively and powered along to win a spot in the finale. What was interesting is Adam recently said the same thing of his own culinary journey in the competition stating, "For the first half I was trying to be something I wasn't. I don't think I made an Asian dish. For the second half, that's pretty much all I made. There was a point where I just felt, 'Now I finally understand the food I should be cooking'. It's nice to find your rhythm.'' (Find full article here)

I think one thing us Aussie-Asians grapple with is most of the time we appreciate both our cultural roots by birth and the easy adoption of our country - Australia. I have a great appetite for both admittedly and would just as happily write a blog of Aussie and Western dishes, which I know as well as Asian dishes. Truth be told, I probably eat and cook a lot more Western dishes than Asian. But there are definitely more "authentic" dishes you can find in Australia than Asian. However, I see that changing with the influx of Chinese migrants coming our way and presenting food that they are proud to call their own and changing for no one. Looking at the crowds going to those restaurants, I'm pretty sure they have it right.

Back to Masterchef, the reason I believe Adam should win is not simply because he's Asian, as I've heard plenty of people saying he should win based on Aus not having an Asian winner for a tv show, or that Asians should support Asians. I call BS on that. Adam should win because he is the better cook. It has been said Callum has the potential and it's unfair because he's only 20 and Adam has more experience. Within the strict context of the competition, it is crucial to recognise that the best cook wins on the day of elimination or contest, not who has the most potential. It's who cooks the food best regardless of age, experience, background, etc...

The modern yet traditional approach Adam has taken with his food has combined the contemporary plating of the West with the detailed presentation of the Japanese while his cooking techniques are reflective of his Chinese background. Adam himself is the product of a mix of cultures with a Malaysian Chinese father and a mother who is British but born and bred in Singapore with 6 years of his adult life spent in Japan and he's grown up in Australia. The respect he has shown to the fresh produce he's given and the considered technique in cooking them represents what he has learnt and the natural instincts of someone who has an understanding on how best to create his own unique stamp on food regardless of which culture he chooses to embellish it with.

He is a deserving winner.

The young chap Callum Hann, was certainly no sore loser however. He has been condemned and ridiculed for not getting out sooner in the media, forums and water-cooler chats in the office. It has also been said he should not be there over Jonathon, Marion and Alvin. There may have been some degree of truth but I honestly don't know how much. Would any of the 3 be as genuinely happy and gracious with their finale loss had they got there? The ingenuity of Callum is that despite his nervous twitches and eye-blinking, he really comes across as sincere and curious about learning. The life experiences the others have cultivated are probably immeasurable but that Callum will grow into as he enters adulthood. But that young slight naivete that will make a great apprentice out of him may be harder to implement in the older dogs.

Quite possibly my fave thing any contestant did in the series was actually Callum's macarons in the London challenge. The perfect dome and freshness using raspberry and cream instead of heavy ganache filling dominating the delicacy of the macarons.

The top 2 aside, my favourite has to be Alvin Quah. The insouciance and humour he has displayed throughout the show was hilarious and his uncensored commentary delightful. Much like Aaron Harvie really. Those 2 have the greatest potential in a media career based on personalities alone. Forget about wringing out those tears unlike some manipulative contestants. If these men cry, they do so with no other intent than to express how they feel at that moment.

The Masterchef forum has been a great source of entertainment to me. Most of the times, there have been little negativity, much like the show itself, with a bunch of foodies gossiping and discussing each episode and contestant with no malice. I do appreciate some cohesiveness these days seeing as everything and everyone has to be so argumentative or combative all the time.

If not for the fact that I'll have to leave my animals behind for so many months on end, I really think being on Masterchef would be heaps of fun having those challenges and sharing ideas on food with fellow foodies.


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