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MasterChef goes Kosher

March 21, 2011 – 7:18 pm8 Comments

Blintzes...Mmm, geshmuk!

By Keren Tuch

After arriving in Melbourne one month ago, stepping into the Astor Theatre on Chapel Street last Tuesday night, I could have fooled myself that I was in NY.  The theatre was packed full of Jews of all shapes and sizes, and mostly of the Orthodox variety.  They had gathered to watch the screening of an original and professional fundraiser event, the Keren Tov Chef’s Classic.

Many a Jew would watch MasterChef on TV and only dream of entering.  But alas, kashrut, or lack thereof, prevented many from even dreaming of entering.  Keren Tov Chef’s Classic allowed eight lucky Jews to finally test out their talents and to be captured on the screen.  Within the kosher world, there were a range of talents and abilities. There were the balabustes who perfect their cooking skills for the weekly Shabbos table, the foodies and the token male who hasn’t stepped inside a kitchen since before he was married and consequently didn’t realize that when you put a scalding hot frying pan on a plastic chopping board that it melts.

Much like the real MasterChef, there were many rounds including the signature dishes (which surprisingly were mostly desserts), blintzes, cholents, and a salad.    I was certainly impressed with many culinary delights that were produced (well, the vegetarian ones at least) and a little inspired to learn what on earth I can do with figs and how to turn onions into a scrumptious dessert.  The four finalists then proceeded for a final cook off where they had to prepare a three-course meal in 90 minutes using certain assigned ingredients.  Tough at the best of times, let alone when there are cameras in your face, sweat dripping down your back, and $2000 prize money at stake.

The winner Miriam Lange , and the runner-up, Danielle Glick, were both very innovative and creative with their cooking. I’ll have to take the judges word for how amazing all the food tasted.  The Melbourne Jewish Community wouldn’t go astray with an extra Kosher restaurant of this calibre.

The production was extremely professional from the video production to the gastronomical abilities to the event on the night.  It was perhaps a little long for my short attention span, but then again, I don’t have the patience for the regular MasterChef.

The money raised went to Keren Tov, which is a little known charity that does big great things.  They support equipment and therapy for those in the community that are in need.  As a physiotherapist who has worked in the community sector, I can understand only too well the importance of this charity.   Health is one thing that we all have in common, and poor health can afflict everyone at some stage.

Although I won’t be appearing in next year’s contest, I would be more than happy to offer my services as a judge.

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  • Grandma C says:

    Tov, Keren!

  • frosh says:

    I was really impressed by the film makers as well as the event organisers – such amazingly talented and dedicated people in the community. The production quality of the film was as good as any equivalent program on (professionally produced) mainstream TV.
    Bram Presser also was a much better on-screen host than the typical people who normally host these things on commercial TV.
    Great job by Malki Rose as a principal organiser, and also Adam Krongold who was the event host.
    Importantly, it raised over $10,000 for the Keren Tov charity, but also provided a fabulous community event and showcased people’s talents.
    The after-party supper was also interesting in that ignored the much covered politics of kashrut orgs etc by inviting every kosher caterer in Melbourne to present their own signature dishes.
    Next year though, I’m hoping the food on the film and/or the after-party will be non-fleishig (ok, I’m rather biased on this point).

  • Bram Presser says:

    Thanks Frosh, that’s very kind of you to say. I was so thrilled to be part of this whole endeavour. It was a fun, innovative and wonderfully warm-hearted evening. The vibe on the night was just incredible and I was glad to see how much money was raised for such a fantastic charity.

    Having had the pleasure of tasting the various vegetarian goodies that were cooked up (alas I could not partake of the fleish) I can certainly vouch for the fact that Melbourne’s Kosher future is in safe hands if either Miriam or Danielle (or a couple of the other contestants for that matter) were to try their hands at opening a restaurant. I think the biggest challenge for Kosher dining in Melbourne has been one of critical mass. We can’t count on the Jewish clientele alone to sustain its long term existence. Therefore, we need a restaurant or two that serve up food of the quality a non-Jewish person would expect for the price we have no choice but to charge. From my satisfied belly’s perspective, it appears that there just might be some serious contenders.

  • Lior Misrachi says:

    Wow! Sounds like a wonderful event. Congratulations to all the organisers. Any plans to bring such a thing to Sydney?

  • Baum says:

    It certainly was a fantastic event. Well done and thanks to all the organisers. Malki Rose and Avigail Wonder did a fantastic job working around the clock to produce something a little different for our community. We are growing tired or the standard charity events and this was a refreshing change.

  • rachsd says:

    I have never seen the Astor so full! In fact, I have never seen the Astor open the bottom floor of seats, but both levels were full of people. What a success! Perhaps this is what it would have felt like to go to the cinema back in the days when the Astor was the norm. Well done to everyone involved.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Rachel, in the old days at the Astor bodgies threw seats at each other during the monster movies serials such as ‘Zombies of the Stratosphere’ . It was a scary place.

    Stick with present!!.

  • Malki Rose says:

    Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of you who came down, almost 800 people, that’s some serious Tzedaka raised!

    We had heaps of fun doing it!

    Bram and Adam were fantastic hosts and our contestants were amazing and worked so hard and showed some serious talent!

    Congratulations to our winner Miriam Lange on her creative cooking and inspiring victory and Danielle Glick our spectacular runner up!!!

    The DVD is now available on pre-order for $15 till this friday and after that for $25
    go to http://www.kerentov.org.au to order your copy !!!

    For more info or to become involved in next years KT Chef’s Classic, email ktchefsclassic@gmail.com

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