MasterChef Pakistan Week 03 – Mystery Box Challenge!

Ohkay so this week ended with a mystery box challenge which also was an elimination round. I feel they have merged two separate rounds because normally in mystery box challenge, top 3 & the bottom 3 are selected. Later in the final cook-off challenge the bottom 3 tend to fight for the last time to keep their spot secured in the competition. In MasterChef Pakistan, they have rolled two things into one & mystery box challenge has been also used for the direct elimination. I feel a little change in the format is definitely required because I think those who don’t perform well in the mystery box challenge deserve another round to show their skills. Usually a celebrity chef is invited with their signature dish & the bottom 3 contestants are told to recreate the dish as close to the original one made by the guest judge. I feel this way whoever falls in the bottom 3 gets to prove oneself & the one who gets eliminated goes justifiably, but the way they have excluded this part from MasterChef Pakistan goes to show that randomly any contestant might end up leaving the competition no matter how promising they might be.

Coming onto the show, I must say the time to time short challenges that the contestants are being put up with are amazing. Initially the contestants had to make meringue by separating egg yolks & egg whites. Constant whisking was the key & Chef Mehboob demonstrated it to the contestants. The old-fashioned way to check whether the meringue is ready or not is to turn the bowl upside down, if it’s ready it won’t come off the bowl & if not, it would fall down. The contestant who won the challenge was Zain & he earned himself an advantage in the actual mystery box round.

The mystery box challenge began with some rules where the contestants had to at least use 6 of the ingredients given in the box & they had to make a savory & a sweet dish that too within the time span of 1 hour. The main component of the mystery box that had all the contestants shocked was the crab that too alive & kicking. A few contestants were scared & a few were excited but to make things easier, they also had chicken as another protein which the contestants could work with. I must say the cooking that surfaced was obviously amazing but a few dishes stood out the most.

Adnan came up with ‘Pineapple Steaks’ as a savory dish & he made ‘Pineapple Kheer’ as a sweet dish. Chef Zakir felt that he didn’t get the right combination in the savory dish plus the sweet dish had a burnt taste to it. Chef Khurram also commented on the burnt dessert, he said that the chicken was flat & the colors of the dish weren’t balanced right. Chef Mehboob said that it wasn’t a good effort. He said that the contestants must focus on making what is asked of them so that they can get the things right rather than trying to make more than what’s been demanded.

Anila made ‘Salty Creamy Chicken’ as a savory item & ‘Sweet Potato Kheer’ as a sweet dish. Chef Mehboob said that he expected something better from her. Chef Khurram commented that her dishes didn’t look appetizing & attractive enough. Chef Zakir asked her if she was satisfied with what she created & she honestly replied that she wasn’t.

Maryam created ‘Stuffed Chicken w/ Rice & Crab’ & a ‘Chocolate Tart’ as both the dishes. Chef Mehboob felt that the carrot puree didn’t compliment the dish. Chef Khurram said that he is upset at himself for selecting her & at her for creating such a dish. Chef Zakir felt that he had nothing to say about the dish.

Rayyan came up with ‘Capt. Saleem’s Crab’ & ‘Pineapple Upside Down Cake’ as both of his dishes. Chef Mehboob liked the food said he did a great effort. Chef Khurram appreciated the presentation but felt that the cake was a bit too sweet. Chef Zakir liked the cake but felt that the crab should’ve been presented differently because it was hard to eat despite having a good taste.

Zain created ‘Chicken w/ Egg Fried Rice’ & ‘Chocolate Brownies w/ Fruits’. Chef Khurram liked the savory dish but felt that the sponge of the dessert wasn’t cooked well. According to him Zain didn’t utilize his advantage properly. Chef Zakir felt that he isn’t taking the challenge seriously.

Madiha made ‘Chicken Rainbow Kabab’ & ‘Crab Dessert’. Chef Khurram liked the taste but commented on the lack of presentation skills. Chef Mehboob said that she took a calculative risk but she succeeded & got commended for it. Chef Zakir said he’d thank her for such a food.

Ali Shah came up with ‘Garlic Chicken Pasta’ & ‘Sweet Eggs w/ Nutty Chocolate Sauce’. Chef Mehboob said it wasn’t even a well-made dessert. Chef Khurram straight away said it was a disaster. Chef Zakir said it was an accident that happened.

Ammarah created ‘Crab Soup w/ Grillied Chicken’ & ‘Pineapple Pumpkin Cakes’. Chef Mehboob didn’t like her dessert. Chef Khurram liked her savory dish & Chef Zakir said he enjoyed the food.

Saad made ‘Crab Cakes’ & ‘Chocolate Tart’. Chef Mehboob appreciated him a lot. Chef Khurram said he liked his ideas & the presentation was good too.

A few contestants who got bad remarks were Iqra for only making Pasta. While explaining herself she got told off by Chef Zakir & he said after putting up a dish like this, she didn’t deserve to be in the competition. Khurram also got criticized for serving a raw crab. Gulnaz was told that if she had opted for some other technique, her dish would’ve been better.

So, those who stood out the most & made it to the top 3 were Rayyan, Madiha & Ammarah but the winner of Mystery Box Challenge was Madiha. She impressed the judges the most with her technique & the risk she took. The bottom 3 were Anila, Ali Shah & Adnan but seems like the announcement will be made in the next episode.

Once again, I felt that the judges were pressurizing the contestants a bit unpleasantly. They held back a lot when they had to appreciate the contestants but when it came to dissecting the dishes & giving a negative feedback, they were a lot more vocal & comfortable about it. Another thing that I noticed was that if the judges felt someone was behind the others during the task, they would call out their name in front of the whole crowd which I feel gets a little demeaning. I think there are other ways of bucking up a contestant & encouraging them but this hasn’t been happening in MasterChef Pakistan. I’d restate that the judges need to act a bit more relaxed & friendly with the contestants especially Chef Zakir. Being such a successful & renowned celebrity chef, I feel he should be a lot more candid & act like a secure senior who is helping the newbies that are stepping in this industry, rather than snubbing them. Take it easy judges. :) Rest’s all good.

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Zahra Mirza.

Zahra Mirza

Zahra Mirza got associated with in 2012. After moving to Australia, Pakistani content was a way of staying connected to the roots, language & Pakistani culture because it felt home. Eight years ago, review writing began as a hobby but has now turned into a passion.