PETALING JAYA, May 5 — MasterChef Australia judge Andy Allen has been getting heat on Twitter for his recent criticism of contestant Brendan Pang’s dish.
In an episode aired on May 3, the chefs were faced with an elimination challenge and were asked to create a dish that would showcase the crunchy textures of food.
The episode was part of the show’s 2020 season MasterChef Australia: Back To Win, in which eliminated contestants from previous seasons return for another chance to win the A$250,000 (RM694,000) grand prize.
Pang, a Perth-based cook of Mauritian-Chinese heritage, decided to serve the judges a plate of crispy prawn wontons with a side of garlic and chilli sauce.
During the moment of truth, Allen was not impressed with the final product and said it failed to meet the requirements of the challenge.
“I’m sorry but mine is not crunchy,” he said despite an audible crackle being heard from fellow judge Jock Zonfrillo taking a bite into the dish.
“That’s soft, so in my opinion, it doesn’t meet the brief,” Allen added while pinching at the wontons' filling.
Malaysian-Australian celebrity chef Adam Liaw, who was crowned the winner of MasterChef Australia season two, immediately took to Twitter to defend Pang’s dish.
“The meat-containing portion of a wonton does not need to be crunchy! This is like the crispy rendang all over again,” he wrote, referencing a gaffe on MasterChef UK in 2018 where judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode criticised Zaleha Kadir Olpin’s nasi lemak with rendang for not being crispy.
“I would even go so far as to say that if the ‘ball’ portion of the wonton is crunchy, it is a badly-made wonton.”
THE MEAT-CONTAINING PORTION OF A WONTON DOES NOT NEED TO BE CRUNCHY THIS IS LIKE THE CRISPY RENDANG ALL OVER AGAIN #MasterChefAU— Adam Liaw (@adamliaw) May 3, 2020
Many Twitter users agreed, saying that the wontons should have been held to the same criteria for food like fried chicken, a dish that is judged based on its crispy skin and succulent insides.
Fried chicken is just crunchy skin so why has the wonton been so poorly judged?— KissOfDeathTips (@KissOfDeathTip) May 3, 2020
One user asked Liaw if wontons were the right thing to make if the challenge was to prepare something “extra crunchy,” to which he said that the food only needs to be “crunchy in the correct places.”
“You’d be rightly annoyed if you served fried chicken and were told it wasn’t good because although the outside was crunchy, the meat was moist and succulent,” said Liaw.
Pang remains in the running to win the top prize after redeeming himself in the second half of the episode, impressing the judges with a gooey delight of cheesy Korean fire pockets.