if you, like myself, decided to wrap up a relaxing long weekend by watching tonight’s episode of masterchef australia, you may have been surprised to find the show had taken a rather pornographic turn. indeed, there was so much wanking in the episode, i thought i was watching sbs.
while we have come to expect a smear here or a gel there from resident masterchefs george calombaris and gary mehigan, george really took the wanky, pretentious cake tonight with his “greek salad.”
but this was no ordinary “salad,” rather a dish so “alagant,” so “dalicate” (as george would say) that it barely resembled what could be called a meal. instead, three helpless contestants were forced to recreate a clumsy assortment of powders, gels, mousses and terrines
artfully arranged scattered on a plate.
the dish unleashed a torrent of criticism on twitter, with some favourite comments including “it’s not a salad- it’s george wanking and aiming at a plate,” “feta mousse and green olive gel are two of the wankiest things I’ve ever heard” and “that’s not a salad george, that’s your ego on a plate.”
sure, you might say, “it’s just a dish, made to test the contestants- who cares?” well, mr awesome, we should care. firstly, this is a dish that george serves at his restaurant in melbourne. while i can’t be sure of it’s price, dishes at the press club range from $22-$60, so you can safely assume it’s not cheap as deconstructed chips.
this brings me to my next reason for caring. times are a changin’ in the global economy, and correspondingly, in the australian food scene. as gfc the sequel threatens to rear it’s ugly head, australians are tightening their belts. as a result, our appetite for ludicrously overpriced and contrived restaurant meals is slowing faster than matt preston attempting a morning jog.
pretention 101: el bulli’s soy angel hair pasta, sesame, miso & wasabi sweets aka - “where’s my dinner?”
last week becasse went into voluntary administration, joining a slew of other sydney restaurants including bilson’s, aperitif and cotton duck which have all now closed their doors. meanwhile, more affordable eateries such as café sopra, jamie’s italian, el loco, and enopizzeria are consistently packed. as trendy small bars continue to infiltrate our laneways and pub/bistro food carries on improving the way it is, our need and/or desire to spend a lot of money on a decent meal dwindles.
which is why george’s salad stuck out like a sore thumb tonight. given the state of the country’s economy, it was rather fitting that the humble dish george chose to “alevate” to fine dining standards was a greek salad. what a perfect, ironic way to illustrate how out of touch chefs can be.
and yes, if you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that i do enjoy a fine dining experience. however food trends, like fashion, come and go. ultimately, the fine dining era will soon have to hang up it’s three chefs hats. dehydration, degustations, and deconstructions look increasingly foolish alongside fresh, simple mexican fare or warm, homely braised bistro meals.
so george, it think it might be best to leave the feta soufflé, tomato tea brine infusion, candied olives, cucumber ‘spaghetti’ and kalamata sorbet on the backburner for a little while- at least until the economy crawls out of the pressure cooker.
get back to the hearty greek fare your yia yia taught you and stop being such a malakas.