After last week’s embarrassing debacle, where the contestants’ grandmothers’ collective incontinence issues caused widespread water hazards in and around the Masterchef kitchen, the producers erred on the side of caution and decided to move filming to an outdoor and altogether less spoilable location, letting the contestants loose on a 150 acre farm.
The kids piled in the back of random 4 wheel drives when Harry revealed his hitherto well hidden psychic abilities when he suggested that they were about to take “some sort of a journey”. They were to be entertained on the trip by a DVD but some dunce had slipped in a horror movie, which most certainly came with an MA rating, when George’s hideous visage popped up on the screen. The grotesque gargoyle informed the children that they would be cooking in the country, getting their ingredients “direct from the source”, before biting the head off a “jallied” eel.
After an interminable journey where seven sick bags proved necessary, Zak said that “we’re in the middle of nowhere” which is technically impossible given that nowhere is a non-existent location and nothing has no middle. They were greeted by the Country Bald Men’s Association who welcomed them to “Tobruk Sheep Station”, where they farm sheep and rats apparently. Then bald man one introduced guest judge and much celebrated chef Scott Picken, who entered the scene on a horse of all things. Jack said he was so excited to meet Scott Picket, thought what he thought of meeting Scott Picken is anyone’s guess. Scott then described to the children how he used to rear cattle before anyone could stop him and alas the damage was done.
Bald man two explained to the children that in teams of 4 they would be cooking a 3 course “Aussie” menu, using what they can find on the farm, before giving them the protein they would be using: lamb, beef, chicken and Skippy. Then the teams split up and worked on their menus as well as their appalling acting skills. Harry said he had a great dessert up his sleeve, and it sounded like he said they were “Blameingtons”, while Chandler said something that put everyone to sleep.
And then they were off to forage for the ingredients: 12 children cooking for three grown men, in scenes reminiscent of the worst excesses of the Kamp Krusty regime. Those viewers who had grown up on, or were familiar with, farms would have been surprised to see all the necessary ingredients sitting in various receptacles ready for collecting rather than the usual fashion of growing out of the ground, but modern farming techniques change so quickly these days that it’s hard to keep up.
Tragedy struck when the red team lost their list of ingredients, causing Alysha to slap herself in the face. Double tragedy struck when Harry went down with a stitch after a gruelling 10 metre march. Triple tragedy struck when we saw vision of Jack running.
Of course, all viewers learnt a valuable lesson watching the kids collect ingredients straight from the source. Forget that guff about milk coming from the udders of cows: on farms, milk comes straight from the bottle. Plus, Chandler let everyone know that “cooking in the bush, you’ve got to be prepared for anything”, including having all the ingredients laid out in front of you.
With the mist rolling in across the hills, the cooking began and things started turning blue. Talk of Dutch ovens was bandied about with gay abandon. Harry finally understood why they “charge so much for French ….. ed chops” only just covering his tracks. Jack said that he loved getting his hands dirty, notwithstanding that they were covered in yoghurt. He should have said he loves getting his hands yoghurty, but this is a 7.30pm time slot. Harry said that he’d been advised by stockmen that they could roughly tell how hot a Dutch oven was, by the amount of struggle put up by the person trapped under the doona.
With the cooking done and the filth put behind them, the dishes were served up for bald man one and two, and Scott Picken/Picket, to taste. Yellow team served first and were instantly criticised for overcooking the lamb. The dish of kangaroo was praised and they continued the Australian tradition of rude food by including “root” vegetables. Next up were blue, and they certainly were blue when they served up a rabbit’s “rack” and a cumquat tart. George attempted to build up the drama by saying “I’m a little bit upset with you guys” before saying the dish was spectacular, but because this with the 785th time such a tactic had been used on Masterchef since Matt Preston famously dropped Aaron’s pasta dish on the floor because it was too good to eat, it had little impact. If he really wants to surprise us he should try getting hit by a truck.
Green team were next and let everyone down with their unsexy kangaroo and damper. A chicken did perform a streak to try and enliven things but to no avail. They did redeem themselves when they convinced George to eat one of their lamb cutlets by holding on to the “bone”. And for the 786th time George attempted to build up the drama again with no effect. Finally, red team threw their hat into the ring. They disappointed with their attempt at ribaldry, meat balls being pretty lame.
With the tasting done, the scores were revealed, with blue in fourth, yellow third, red second and green in first. And then Matt rubbed George’s head and we all laughed.
Come Monday and the contestants arrived back at the kitchen to the scene of Gary, Anna and Matt standing before a giant, made bed. Were they suggesting that the three of them are in a semi monogamous open relationship, with George as a spare? Disappointingly not, because the bed was there only to set up the story for the next challenge: breakfast.
The children began the cooking with the type of barely concealed zeal usually reserved only for Masterchef contestants. There were many variations on the theme of breakfast using all the traditional breakfasty type foods, such as eggs, bacon, pancakes, fruit, chiko rolls and tomatoes. However, each of the dishes had one thing in common. They could all be eaten, to a certain extent.
When the time came for tasting, the judges left nothing to chance. Anna finally found a dish she felt was worth dying for, the first time since last Sunday. She also felt that Kieren’s little nuts really topped his dish off. Matt thought Lily’s pancake soufflé was to die for, so perhaps he and Anna could fight to the death over whose dish was the most death worthy. On the other hand, Jack’s food was so bad none of the judges tasted it, and certainly none were willing to put their lives on the line to protect its integrity.
After the tasting came the all important scoring, with the chance for some contestants to avoid an elimination challenge. Kieren got third for his little nuts, Dee came second with his avocado drink, and Zac came first with his breakfast tasting plate.
The final challenge of the week saw Luke Nguyen join the Junior Masterchef kitchen and Zac, as the winner of the last challenge, was given the chance to choose the core ingredient for the invention test, which was prawn.
Zac showed his Mastermind credentials when he said that the key to any prawn dish was cooking the prawn really well. Jack was of a different opinion, when he thought the key to any prawn dish was wishing you didn’t have to cook a prawn dish. Meanwhile, the producers thought that the key to any viewer longevity was to exclude George and so thankfully George was completely absent from this episode.
Luke Nguyen expressed his excitement and the amazement of the use of such bold flavours, such as kaffir lime leaves, a flavour so bold it once single handedly rescued a Spanish princess from the clutches of the evil Lord Syphilis, or so the story goes. Anna was not so convinced and felt that they should probably taste the dishes first before getting too excited.
Greta said she was really nervous about her Thai red curry, because during the cooking it had been making veiled threats directed at Marcus. Jack was concerned about not getting his prawns skewered and on the grill pan with time enough to cook, though you would think if he was really concerned for time he wouldn’t keep buggering off to do those stupid pieces to camera.
With 5 minutes to go Matt suggests they might want to think about putting things on plates, and the only sound that can be heard is the putting away of bowls. Mireade suggested there is mayhem and that everyone is screaming “Oh my God, what am I doing?” which is exactly what Cuba Gooding Junior says during the filming of every film he has been in since Jerry Macquire.
As the countdown started counting down, the risk that someone would serve a raw prawn was immense, whereas the risk that someone would shout “don’t go the raw prawn” was reduced somewhat with George’s exclusion.
Alysha was first up and she warned the judges that her Goan prawns were extremely hot. Gary thought he would minimize risk and asked Harry to try the dish first. When he survived, Gary felt safe to proceed and so tasted the dish, which he found quite delightful, so much so that he went back for seconds, something he clearly never does *cough*. Jack, on the other hand, served raw prawns, and although it was obvious that Gary wanted to ask Harry to try them as well, he suppressed that desire.
With the minor issue of the tasting out of the way, the all important scores were revealed. Zac came in third, Greta came in second, and Alysha won first place, with her Goan prawns, which were goan off the plate pretty quickly. Shit, I’m turning into George. Kill me now.
And so into week 6 we roll where 4 of the bottom 8 will be sent home. Who will it be? What will be their reaction? And how will they get there? By various modes of transport no doubt.
Until next week.
Junior MasterChef – Sun/Mon 7:30pm, Ch10.