About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Sunday, August 01, 2010
Endangered, MasterChef?
Applications for next season's MasterChef are now open and the producers are starting to harvest their next crop of contestants.

You know what? I wouldn't mind having a crack either, though I don't really think they'd appreciate me there as I don't know when to keep my mouth shut.

'Call that a classic stroganoff? Paprika? No way!'

Reckon I would be 'disappeared' mafia style without even facing an elimination test. Walked, they'd mysteriously say.

But you know, I'd love to work with their pantry and mystery box ingredients, there's some pretty cool stuff that would really get the creative juices flowing. Duck, rabbit, pheasant, goat, ox cheek and some of the finest seafood Australia has to offer.

All except for one item - bluefin tuna. Which is what it looks like they mean when they mention sashimi grade tuna in several of their recipes. I really hope you don't mean that MasterChef, because it would be a real scandal if Australia's highest rating television show, which has captured the hearts and minds of a new generation of cooks, were to be using a fish that is critically endangered.

Tell me it isn't so MasterChef.

Tell me that you have followed the lead of Iron Chef America, who have vowed not to use it. Listen to what Alton Brown said on the issue.

'Moving forward I have requested that the producers of the show forbid the use of bluefin just as they've disallowed foie gras and foreign caviars. Furthermore, if bluefin does come out during a battle I'm going to rip the offending chef a suitable new orifice for being a culinary barbarian. They may be able to cut that out of the show but I'll do it anyway.'

Ban it they did.

I call on you Gary Mehigan, stop the use of endangered ingredients.

I call on you George Calombaris, stop the use of endangered ingredients.

I call on you Matt Preston, stop the use of endangered ingredients.

Listen to what one of your mates, Necia Wilden, has to say in The Australian.

"...the tragedy of something like bluefin tuna is that its status as an endangered species is on one level a handy, if tacit, marketing strategy. It happened to caviar, too. Last chance to eat! Get it while you can!'

Or another, in the same article.

'Eating it, says Sydney seafood scholar John Susman, is right up there with caviar, ethically speaking. It will probably only be around for the next half generation.'

He was, of course, referring to toro, the prized fatty belly of the bluefin tuna, but without one, you can't have the other. A half generation, that's not even another 15 years. Which means the eventual children of your contestants in Junior MasterChef would never get to taste it.

Where do you stand on bluefin tuna, MasterChef? Australia is watching.
  posted at 12:17 pm


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