MasterChef Pakistan Week 12 – Mystery Box Elimination Round!

Ohkay so, the episode was good but once again a savoury challenge!?!?! Ever since it has been pointed out by one of the readers that the dessert challenges have been completely ignored, it does seem right & makes me want to see a dessert challenge more. We’re almost at the end of the season here where we’ll get a winner in a few weeks’ time but still we haven’t seen who’s diverse in the cooking except a few contestants.

So, this challenge was based on ‘duck’ as a core ingredient. Contestants had to make it shine in their dishes & they got a pretty decent time limit of 2 hours in this challenge. I was impressed by quite a few dishes but I must say it’s clearly visible that the contestants have stepped up a couple of notches in the presentation because almost all the dishes looked visually appeasing. The dishes that were created & the comments they got were:

Rayyan came up with ‘ Duck w/ Plum Sauce, Potato Dauphinoise & Duck Crackling’. Chef Mehboob liked the dish for the fact that the main ingredient was cooked perfectly. He felt that the duck was succulent, tender & also medium-rare; exactly how Chef Mehboob preferred it to be. He liked the sauces as well as the potatoes Chef Zakir liked the dish on the whole but he felt that the taco had no flavour & it lacked seasoning but the sauce was good too.

Gulnaz came up with ‘Duck Steak & Legs w/ 4 Sauces & Semolina Cake’. Chef Mehboob commented that just because she tried to go for a lot of sauces, she couldn’t do justice to each one of them. He didn’t like the honey sauce much because he felt it had no other flavour, apple sauce was more like a purée & it also lacked flavour. He felt that even though the duck leg was cooked well but it had no flavour as well. He liked the semolina cake but he felt that Gulnaz should have used her immunity pin today.

Khurram came up with ‘Sweet & Sour Duck w/ Fried Rice’. Chef Khurram commented that the presentation was great, sauces were good, duck was tender, succulent & flavoursome however the rice were a tad bit salty & they weren’t exactly the way fried rice are served. Chef Zakir liked the duck but he felt that the fat wasn’t rendered which was making the meat a bit chewy to eat.

Amna created ‘Stir Fried Noodles w/ Honey Soy Glazed Duck’. Chef Mehboob liked the plating but he felt that the flavour was missing, duck had no flavour whatsoever, noodles weren’t Asian enough & the egg served for the purpose of garnishing was overcooked. Chef Khurram liked the presentation too but he felt that the duck was hard & lacked flavour; veggies were crunchy but had no flavour too.

Zain presented ‘Duck Breast w/ Mash Potatoes, Pea Purée, Orange Sauce & Salad’. Chef Mehboob felt that just because the peas weren’t cook through, it made the purée a lot grainier & it lacked flavour as well. He felt that the potato mash missed the mark too & the duck was overcooked. Chef Khurram liked the presentation but he felt that this much effort should’ve been put in the flavours too. He found the duck breast a lot more chewy & undercooked. Sauce had an overpowering flavour of orange zest which made it too strong. Chef Zakir found the salad bland & felt that it lacked seasoning. He also complained about the usage of excessive orange zest which made every bite quite hard to eat.

Madiha came up with ‘Oven Roasted Duck w/ Plum Sauce & Pomegranate Orange Salad’. Chef Mehboob liked the salad but felt she used the pomegranate more than required. He liked the duck meat too. Chef Zakir forgot to comment on the dish but he voiced up his opinion about the inconsistency in the knifing skills because he found that the meat pieces weren’t cut consistently.

Ammarah created ‘Duck Breast w/ Orange & Cherry Sauce’. Chef Mehboob liked the duck because it was cooked nicely however he felt that the sauce got concentrated a bit too much, he overall liked the effort but he felt she had missed a mark a bit too this time. Chef Khurram liked the presentation but felt that the duck skin wasn’t cooked too well. Even though he felt that the duck was cooked through but he complained about the portion size as that made the duck a bit chewy. Chef Zakir passed on his signature comment which was ‘maza a gaya’.

Ohkay so it was pretty evident that a quite a few contestants made remarkable dishes that’s why Khurram & Rayyan qualified for the next round followed by Ammarah & Madiha. I am glad that Khurram & Rayyan redeemed themselves & have been consistent with their performances with the finale approaching.

Gulnaz, Amna & Zain fell in the bottom three & one of them had to go. I think all the three dishes were weak & had nothing good in it but just because Zain made a few more mistakes, he was eliminated. The elimination was a bit emotional because Chef Zakir even got overwhelmed. Ever since the beginning of the show, Zain has emerged as a very friendly person & he was someone who believed in helping his co-contestants, no wonder why everyone was so sad at his elimination. The judges had some great things to say about him & Chef Mehboob was generous enough to offer him his consultancy services free of cost for the sake of Zain’s future restaurant. That was really kind of him.

So, coming onto the overall episode, it was good enough but before I say anything I want to thank Amna for using that pasta machine because otherwise it would’ve defied the purpose of this show being a MasterPasta Pakistan (as pointed out by Haseeb brother in his article), so yeah back to the episode I don’t know why I feel they need more diversity in the challenges. I am not too sure if it was a coincidence or people copied the ideas from each other but every single dish had the acidic content in it like Plum & Orange & a bit of similar sweet content of Honey & Pomegranate & also Semolina Cake was made by two contestants . Amna & Khurram tried different dishes with Asian inclination but all of the others had somewhat similar ideas & components in their dishes & it looked like we were seeing similar dishes presented differently. One thing that does make me wonder about the elimination is that if we stick to the judges’ comments, Amna’s dish had no flavour at all & seems like every component of her dish was tasteless. Both of them presented their dishes well yet both of them were unable to instill any flavour in their complimentary components & where Zain undercooked the duck, Amna overcooked it, so I am not too sure why Zain wasn’t safe & why Amna was.

Anyways, the idea of elimination by the end of every episode now makes the show a lot more interesting but I wish we get to see some difficult challenges from now on as we’re heading to the finale. Share your thoughts on this episode & I excuse for keeping you waiting, I know how many times a few readers must’ve refreshed the page, heheheh!

Keep Supporting,
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.