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What worked and what didn't? The data from MasterChef Malta's Ep2

Dive into the data from MasterChef Malta's Ep2 as 25 contestants battled for 12 spots. Exclusive insights and judge interviews inside!


Like many of you, Jon and I settled in front of the TV to watch MasterChef Malta. This week offered us a closer look at the 25 contestants, each with the unique opportunity to earn the coveted white apron—a first in Maltese television history. 


Starting from episode two, twelve contestants will be selected to compete in the inaugural season of MasterChef Malta. The panel of judges includes Chef Joe Vella, Executive Chef at The Hilton Malta; Chef Letizia Vella, Chef Patron at The Golden Fork; and Victor Borg, Executive Chef at UnderGrain. 


You can read more about our interview with Victor Borg here.


MasterChef Malta judges

In this episode, 25 contestants vied for twelve coveted white aprons, allowing them access to the MasterChef kitchen. As someone who enjoys analysing data and examining statistics, I'm excited to share these insights.


Here is the data from MasterChef Malta's Ep2


The contestants could prepare a pasta dish, randomly chosen from options like Carbonara, Amatriciana, Cacio e Pepe, Pesto, or Aglio e Olio (head over to our previous article for best practices on these dishes).


The winners have been chosen! Securing a place in the MasterChef kitchen are Dale Busuttil, David Camilleri Duca, Claire Marie Medati Stride, Pia Pellegrini Petit, Ivan Giordano, Roderick Cauchi, Nicolas Bezzina, Mireille Pellegrini Petit, Ray George Cassar, Kevin Camilleri, Roberta Cassar and Samuel Zammit!


Starting off. from the 25 contestants, we had 10 females and 15 males.


MasterChef Malta contestants sex

By the end of the episode, we had the following:



MasterChef Malta contestants sex 2


The percentage of females in the twelve contestants chosen for the white apron dropped by 6.66%! Is it a stretch if we better understand which dish was the most difficult by looking at the winners?


MasterChef Malta types of pasta

Four of the five contestants given the cacio e pepe dish were chosen as winners. In contrast, only one 'Aglio e Olio' group contestant made the cut. 


Let's take a look at the overall criticism. We can see that there are certain patterns which might indicate the severity of the remarks.


MasterChef Malta fouls

If we had to visualise the top criticisms, we can see the below:


MasterChef Malta fouls visualised

If we had to summarise these MasterChef' crimes' further, we would see the following:


MasterChef Malta foul data

Being disorganised and over-reducing, the judges forgave the sauce this round as none of the contestants who committed this crime was sent home. However, all contestants who used too much oil, burnt their food, had a bad consistency, or produced tasteless or badly-tasting food were obviously sent home. 


Forgivables:


The judges closed a blind eye to some of the mishaps in the pasta dishes, mainly having disorganised workstations, which Chef Joe Vella in particular seemed to dislike, and over-reducing the sauce.


Disorganisation


Dale Busuttil and Samuel Zammit both received remarks on their messy workstations, yet they passed to the next round. While this was his only criticism for Dale, Samuel also received criticism for not having enough sauce on his plate and undercooking the pasta. 


From this, we get a good indication that messy workstations and disorganisation were not judged too harshly in this round, but this might change in the other rounds.


100% of offenders passed to the next round!


Over-reducing the sauce


The only perpetrator of this crime was Pia Pellegrini Petit, part of the mother-and-daughter duo who were very excited to learn that this offence did not stop her from continuing her MasterChef journey. Pia managed to cook up a dish that promised cooking skills. The judges were impressed with her pasta dish, even though it might have been a bit acidic. 


100% of offenders passed to the next round!


Unforgivables:


If you're at home considering entering MasterChef next year or perhaps aiming on perfecting your skills at home, this is the section we suggest you start from. The chefs agreed that burning your food, adding too much oil, having an undesirable texture (scrambled eggs, anyone?) or producing tasteless or bad-tasting food was a serious offence. What was it that Chef Victor Borg said? Ah, yes. That is right. "An insult to the work that [we] do".


Too much oil


Having too much oil in their pasta dish was one of the unforgivables all future participants of MasterChef and home-cooks should keep in mind and steer far away from. Unfortunately, Leon Mangion, Kurt and Daniel Briffa fell victim to this and were sent home.


0% of offenders passed to the next round!


MasterChef Malta kitchen main

Burning the guanciale


I would argue that this offence is worse than producing bad tasting food. I'm not sure if the chefs agree but it did seem to me that although limited with time, Leon should have attempted to cook a new batch of guanciale rather than presenting the dish with burnt guanciale.


Although, if the stats are right, he would have been sent home anyway based on his dish being too oily. The poor guy didn't stand a chance!


0% of offenders passed to the next round!


Consistency


Consistency is a key factor in deciding whether a dish is prepared at MasterChef quality or not. I don't think that any of us were surprised when Ray Aquilina's scrambled eggs carbonara sent him packing. To be completely fair, Ray was quite aware that this would result in him being sent home.


Edward Camilleri's grievance with consistency was less severe than Ray's but unfortunate as well. Edward's pasta dish was too watery (and also lacked seasoning and taste). I was sorry to see Edward go. I think he was too nervous and tried to do too much.


Edward - practice and go back next year, please!


0% of offenders passed to the next round!


Taste


Whether it's too much or too little, bland or appetising food has no place in any kitchen, let alone the MasterChef kitchen. We had Gary, Edward and Kyle who unfortunately produced bland food, whilst Kurt and Daniel Briffa had plates which weren't exactly…. tasty.


0% of offenders passed to the next round!


Other crimes in the kitchen


Lack of Seasoning


When it comes to seasoning, the chefs believe that although it is unacceptable in their Michelin star or fine dining restaurants, in this round it can be simply flagged and focused on in the next stages.


In fact, 4 of the 7 participants who didn't season their food enough, passed to the next stage. David, Claire Marie Medati S, Mireille Pellegrini Petit and Kevin Camilleri were given another chance to perfect their flavourings next week. 


You might be asking why these four passed to the next stage but Edward, Kyle and Charlene Micallef were sent home for the same offence. The four who passed only received criticism on this one thing; lack of seasoning, whereas the others had received criticism on other elements of their dish. Basically what we are saying, at this stage, if this is your only offence, you should be fine.


57% of offenders passed to the next round!


Acidic


Pia's slightly acidic Amatriciana was good enough for the chefs but Francesca Bonnett's acidic Amatriciana was not. The chefs felt that Francesca's dish had some very serious problems and mentioned that even the guanciale was not chopped up proportionally. This begs the suggestion that there were other issues aside from these.


50% of offenders passed to the next round!

 

Chopping / Peeling skins


We have already discussed Francesca's Amatriciana and the problems with chopping. Roberta also fell prey to this error and used hazelnuts without skinning them first. This left quite a bitter taste in her Pesto Pasta dish.


Fortunately, it did not stop her from making it through! We already knew this though as just a few minutes into the episode, you can see her with a white apron… oops! Nonetheless, congratulations!


Looking forward to seeing more favourable twists in your dishes.


MasterChef Malta white apron

Not enough sauce


Ray George and Samuel did not use enough sauce in their pasta dishes but still passed through to the next stage. Ray George left a lot of sauce on the plate, due to time constraints, whereas Samuel could have added more sauce to his Aglio e olio. We liked that Ray George used lemon zest in his pesto pasta. 


Unfortunately, Kelsey made one big mistake. She tried to make an aesthetically pleasing plate but instead, it looked very odd, did not hold enough sauce and cost her a place in the MasterChef kitchen. We're sorry to see you go Kelsey, and hope we will see you again next year. 


I thought that Charlene had the chance to go through to the next stage. She had a very promising start but lacked when it came to seasoning, sauce and cooking the pasta al dente.


 40% of offenders passed to the next round!


Undercooked pasta


Undercooking the pasta and not seasoning the dish enough seemed to be very common mistakes made by the participants. Seven participants lacked seasoning in their dishes whilst seven undercooked their pasta.


Interestingly enough, the only participant who did both was Charlene. Undercooking the pasta was treated more seriously than the lack of seasoning with only two of the seven offenders passing to the next stage.


I have to admit I was really worried when I heard the comments from the chefs saying that Roderick's pasta was undercooked and they were "very disappointed". I was sure he was going to have to leave the MasterChef competition based on this one mistake.


Luckily, it was not the case. I feel that we still have a lot to see from Roderick. 


 28.5% of offenders passed to the next round!


Number of Criticisms


We also took a look at the number of criticisms received by their likeliness of making it to the next round.


As expected, participants with zero criticisms from the chef had a 100% success rate with proceeding to the next round, and participants with only one offence passed with a 60%.


Surprisingly, the only contestant with 2 or more offences (three in this case) and managed to pass to the next stage was Samuel. As the competition gets tougher, Samuel will need to step up his game. 


Who were the winners in our opinion?


You were all in the room when the chefs told Nicolas Bezzina that he had produced a great plate at the level of MasterChef? There is no doubt that Nicolas was the winner of the show last weekend.


MasterChef Malta predictions

Based solely on the performance on Sunday and the criticism/comments from the chef, we can say that we believe that Ivan Giordano (who received no negative criticism from the chefs) is a close second, and Dale Busuttil, whose only negative comment was about his workstation organisation skills, is naturally the third. 

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