MasterChef Australia – Sun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
Last week on Masterchef, Maggie Beer charmed all before notwithstanding her verjuice addiction as Kath returned home to her gallery and cruel unrelenting husband. Mindy won immunity by cooking the worst of six dishes, while TK fared slightly worse when she was sent home after cooking a turkey. Tonight, it’s the start of a massive week, as mystery boxes get unlocked, and love gets invented.
The opening credits continue to provide insights into the contestant’s lives, as Andrew cuts pasta instead of hair, proving he’s not only a terrible cook but a terrible hairdresser. Tregan serves milkshakes on roller skates, breaking several workplace health and safety laws.
The sombre music plays as Audra is looking at pictures of children, possibly hers, or possibly the pictures you find filling a newly bought photo frame. She sheds a tear at the general ugliness of most children, knowing that age will not improve them. Sam is missing his girlfriend Jemma, who he stalked for two years before coming on the show.
They arrive at HQ and marvel at the array of mysterious boxes. Could this be the great mystery box challenge they’ve heard so much about? Gary says it has all been helter skelter so far and is sued for copyright infringement by whoever the hell it is that owns all the Beatles music since Michael Jackson died, and to cover himself asks who can’t believe where they are standing. All of them can’t believe where they’re standing, and particularly can’t believe that Masterchef is still doing the mystery box thing in season four. Gary displays his rampant heterosexuality when he says he is amazed the girls are so good while the boys have been a disappointment. He asks Wade if he’s been flying under the radar, and Wade says he hasn’t been flying under the radar, he just been flat out playing Bert on Sesame Street.
“What’s under the box?” asks George. Beau sniffs his box and get’s wood. As in he smells wood. But when they lift their boxes there’s only pork, pineapple, beetroot, goat’s cheese and some kind of fancy bread. Julia can’t understand what pulls these ingredients together, totally ignoring the role gravity plays. They have 60 minutes to make something that’s related to something or other.
They race to get supplies and implements. Matt Preston thinks the boys don’t have game. They don’t. It’s pork, same as the girls. Beau is crumbing his pork cutlet and roasting his beetroot, making a beetroot and goat’s cheese salad. Preston asks how his salad will stand out. Beau hopes it won’t stand out, but just stays on the plate. Emma is making a pineapple syrup cake with rum cream. She says she’s going to caramelise the ring, one of the more painful and experimental medical procedures currently in vogue amongst the well to do.
Amina is cooking pork against her beliefs. Cooking pork is also against the pig’s beliefs, though this consideration is hardly mentioned. Sam sets fire to his pan as if trying to create a diversion, while Audra talks about first meeting her husband when he ordered sweet and sour pork. Perhaps Sam created a diversion so no one would ask him a question about his personal life. Dalvinder is making a sweet and sour pork dish also, based around the life and times of her mother.
With 15 minutes to go Andy makes a fundamental error when he grabs the hot burny part of the frying pan with the soft fleshy thing at the end of his arm. Tragically it’s also his wanking hand. And to rub further salt into the blistering, festering wound, he’s also burnt his ring to a blackened hole.
With time up, Gary says the challenge was about finding the perfect match, as he is sued for copyright infringement by Greg Evans and a spunky robot named Dexter. The dishes they want to taste, and therefore the best, were made by Audra, Dalvinder and Beau, who according to Matt plated a surprisingly attractive dish.
Audra’s is tasted first. She says she was thinking about her husband the whole time she made it. Matt and George love it. George has viewers racing for their dictionaries when he says “it makes me feel good”. Dalvinder is next, and George asks her why he’s going to love it. She says threateningly “because I cooked it”. He says, “Audra, we’ve got a battle on our hands”, totally ignoring Beau’s chances.
Beau is last and a guitar soloist reminiscent of The Edge plays as Preston eats. He thinks it shows care and consideration, and “that sort of food gets you into the final and a spanking on your naughty bot bot”. However, the dish that won was one that “they’d all secretly like to come home to”, because it’s too embarrassing to eat in public. And it’s Dalvinder’s.
Onto the invention test and the theme is seduction. “Cook food that demands we come back for seconds, so include heroin”. George reveals the “seductive pairs” of ingredients: strawberries and cream, champagne and caviar, roses and chocolate. Dalvinder has to pick one pair. She says that caviar is the only thing she hasn’t eaten, as she woofs down a quick serve of monkey brains. She’s disgusted by the thought of it as George invites her to try, and she’s disgusted when she tries it, saying it tastes like cod liver oil. Dalvinder has to pick one set of ingredients for the others to cook, whereas she can use whatever she wants, including anything in the pantry. There are no negative consequences says Gary, but salmonella poisoning is always a negative consequence. Because his right hand is injured, and because it’s about cooking for the one you love, Andy can sit out.
They’re off before Matt interviews Tregan who has chosen strawberries and cream to make a “lovers’ pillows”. She explains that this was the last thing she made for her fiancé before coming on the show. Well, the last food thing anyway. Julia is making a rose water cake for her husband Justin. We see vision of Justin and Julia together and it’s clear Justin and Julia liking walking their white dogs in pure sunlight while wearing bright, light colours, in an immigrant free world.
Filippo is cooking for his daughter and son, using strawberries and cream. Sam gets Gary and George confused with George and Gary. He’s cooking with champagne and caviar for his girlfriend Jemma. They haven’t been together long, and Gary wonders why he came on to Masterchef so early in a relationship. “We both agreed this was the place I should be now” he says. “Well it was either here or The Block. There just aren’t as many reality TV shows as there used to be.”
“Love is a many splendid thing” says Matt, “but the ability to express that love through the institution of marriage is denied to some in our society” he gutlessly doesn’t add. Gary says he doesn’t want to see kitsch, but you’re about three and a quarter seasons too late for that Gary. “What’s lovely”, says George “is there are no consequence” as he lecherously sidles over towards Kylie, only to have Matt and Gary drag him back in the nick of time. Meanwhile, Ben is taking an enormous risk cooking tortillas.
After a short break, Gary asks them to “make us tingle all over” as I begin to feel “nauseous all over”. Alice has caviar and champagne and Gary asks what her boyfriend Nick likes about Alice. It’s a fair question and she shouldn’t be allowed to prevaricate, but she does. Mindy is making fish with a champagne vinaigrette and caviar. Kylie is making chocolate ravioli but admits she doesn’t have a boyfriend, and that she’s never been in love before, all while making rhythmic up and down hand motions whilst holding a cylindrical receptacle.
The judges discuss the merits of the dishes amongst each other and rubbish Andrews’s skills and Ben’s reliance on tortillas and Mexican themed dishes. Gary rhymes “wooed” with “food”, before George shows a hitherto undiscovered skill of counting backwards from 10. Beau realises too late that he’s forgotten the caviar, and long after everyone else that he’s an idiot.
Dalvinder brings hers up first and it’s a chocolate cake with a strawberry mousse. “Will it win our hearts?” asks Matt.” No but it may stop them” she replies. Matt believes there is too much cake and not enough mousse, before an antler sporting animal of the cervidae family barges in to mistakenly restore the balance.
Filippo brings up his dish and a poorly handwritten note from his daughter. Gary devours the note and the cake. Gary says together, the cake and the story, are irresistible but separately the paper is devoid of seasoning. George wants a hug from Filippo, believing you should keep your friends close and your possible serial killing contestants closer.
Audra comes up and explains through tears that she didn’t want to cry, preferring to save the tears for elimination. Unfortunately the pasty in her dish is undercooked. Ben is next and is questioned by Matt, who says he has a beautiful girlfriend at home. Be disagrees and says he doesn’t have a beautiful girlfriend at home. Preston is horrified that Ben doesn’t believe his girlfriend is beautiful, before Ben corrects Matt’s misapprehension by explaining that he no longer has a girlfriend. Apparently the relationship failed under the weight of all the tortillas. To rub salt into the wound, Matt confirms that Masterchef has cost Ben his job and his girlfriend, and fuelled a now out of control tortilla addiction.
Tregan brings up her “lover’s pillows”. She says she “won over” her boyfriend through her cooking, as well as in a hand of poker in Hong Kong one night. Beau, Kylie, Julia come and go quickly, clearly not worth more than five seconds each.
Sam is second last. His use of seafood, champagne and caviar delights Preston and Sam is humbled. Unlike Mindy who is next, and she admits to struggling with love as well as struggling with not producing as many tears as Emma. Unfortunately the dish is substandard and Preston says as much by saying the challenge was about loving yourself.
With the tasting over, and Tregan’s “love pillows” fluffed, George says “three of you filled not just our stomachs but our hearts, which is not an organ designed to be filled with food no matter how good it is”, before going to a break to get urgent medical attention. When we come back the top three are announced. Sam blew their mind, says George, as if they only have one between them. Filippo is next, followed by Tregan. But Sam is the winner overall. As the winner, he gets a fabulous reward says Gary, and it will put a massive smile on his face. Massage with a happy ending? Preston has a cloche and puts on white gloves before lifting it up, to reveal the first cook book ever written in Australia, by a man named Edward Abbott in 1864. “This week you are travelling to the home of Edward Abbot, though don’t expect him to be there as he’s a very busy man” says Preston, as he explains to them that they are bound for Tasmania.
That’s right; they’re going to Tasmania, which I think we knew from last week’s promos. “It’s not a holiday” says Gary, unnecessarily, because no one ever suggested it was. Sam will have an advantage, but that advantage is not revealed, before they all run out the door to pack their unmentionables and set sail for Tasmania. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Tasmania is a land of natural wonder and the freshest produce in the universe.