MasterChef Australia – Sun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
Last night on Masterchef, the contestants recreated the early settlement of Tasmania when they were forced to serve afternoon tea from scratch. Flour was milled, bread was baked, and strawberries were inseminated as everything had to be created by the contestants. A local Tasmanian became angry as his mill was burned and poked without permission, as one team did quite a lot better than the other team. Tonight, who will go home, other than Ben who is actually home, as they cook off with steak, onion and a one course meal?
We open with a glorious aerial shot of the beautiful green fields of Tasmania below which lie many a body. Like the skin of an ageing actress, Tasmania is better seen from a distance. Ben laments yesterday’s events, as he and Andy attempt to stage a natural conversation about Tasmania’s geography. Then a helicopter flies over what looks like Monster Island, hopefully pointing to an elimination challenge involving Godzilla and King Kong. But alas it is in fact Highfield House, Stanley that they’re heading to. Preston tells them the only way back to HQ is to swim or cook, but cooking is one of the least preferred forms of public transport. Gary asks viewers and contestants alike to imagine Matt in a pair of Speedos. Presumably because he hates viewers and contestants alike.
Three knock out rounds, for something different, with round one requiring them to cook the perfect steak. “The steaks are high”, claims Gary, or at least the cows are slightly stoned. A beautiful piece of scotch fillet from Cape something, perhaps Cape Fear, and it got here by strapping itself to the bottom of your car. “It’s Primo” says George. What, Primo Ham? “Medium rare is the holy grail”, claims Matt, as an entire order of medieval religious knights reassess their career choices. They have to cook the steak, put their hands up when they think it’s perfect, and hope for the best. The first four with steaks not perfectly medium rare will go through to round two of elimination, with the rest safe. So basically, don’t start cooking for twenty minutes and you’ll probably be safe.
George implores them to make sure their pan is hot, because a cold pan is like a cold mistress: unable to caramelise. Ben says salt and pepper help with caramelisation. Sam has cooked 100s and thousands of steaks and he is sick to death of the sight of caramelisation. Gary and George talk about the pros and cons of griddle pan and fry pan: the griddle pan leaves nice straight lines when you smash it into your enemy’s face. Four minutes per side for the perfect medium rare according to George.
New face Jules says resting is as important as the cooking process as she kicks back in a banana lounge. George seeks volunteers for tasting, questioning their sanity. Jules puts her hand up first, and her steak is the perfect medium rare as she goes jumping away from the next round. Kylie is next, and Gary says it feels very soft, unfairly, because HE’S the one who forget to take Viagra. But Kylie’s steak is rare and she’s into round two.
The slicing of Ben’s steak is pivotal for him because he’s never had a grown bald man cut up his meat, at least since he was five. Unfortunately for Ben his steak is medium. Andy is next and his steak is also medium, so he joins Ben and Kylie. As does Sam, so the rest, who probably didn’t even start cooking a steak, are safe. That’s about as fair as you can get.
Next round involves onion rings.”Crisp batter says” George, “not soggy flaccid batter”, a comment that draws giggles from the contestants and erection from Gary. The two who make the best onion rings will be safe, and the two who make the worst by the process of elimination won’t be. Kylie starts by chopping the onion and uses technical language like thick and thin. I thought this year was all about going back to basics? Ben is using tempura flour because nothing says Tasmania like tempura. Andy honestly rates his chances as low. Sam thinks losing on a ring would be a nightmare.
“Who’s gonna be the lord of the onion rings?” screams George rhetorically, as the clock goes from 2 mins to 30 seconds in no time, and 30 seconds to 0 in even less. Kylie’s look “fabulous” says Gary, “Heaven” says Matt, “Mfpzsufgd” says George. Sam’s get some wobbly heads as the judges lament the lack of crunch. Gary likes the look of Ben’s and Matt likes the taste but is concerned they’re stuck together. Kylie is safe but Sam is not. Then it’s down to Andy and Ben, mate against mate.
After a break Beau tries to explain the other team’s prize in big people talk but struggles. Audra takes over and does a better job as a sadistic chef dismembers a crustacean before their very eyes. They eat and eat and eat. Amina wants to dedicate it to the red team but if she was so concerned with their welfare then why didn’t she just let them win the day before?
Back at Hobbit House, Ben is safe, which means Andy is possibly not safe. The others look ready to cry as it hits home: either Sam or Andy will die. The only thing undecided is whether it will be today or many years later in the natural course of events.
Sam regrets that he might leave the completion, saying he’s finally found some form, the fact he’s in elimination because he couldn’t cook a steak or onion rings escaping him. Andy says his confidence is through the floor as he fixes a power point to a wall in a previous life as Royal Electrician in the court of King Henry the Eighth.
Sam and Andy are forced to walk the gruelling 700 metres to the local pub in Stanley, as their ingredients arrive in luxurious horse drawn carriages. “This is what we live for” says George, eyeing off the horse’s rear. “The carrots still have mud on them because at the local Woolworths they can’t even be bothered cleaning them.”
“One dish for 50 people”, they are told. Hopefully that doesn’t mean someone in Stanley has created a 50 person human centipede. “It’s high noon” says Matt at 2pm, as the lads “white up”. They have four hours of prep time, as Andy gathers his thoughts and puts them in his pocket, not wanting to get distracted by all that fancy thinking. Sam goes for crayfish, while Ben goes for a slow braised beef cheek, which will take at least 3 hours to cook. Sam says a French word and isn’t even arrested or fined on the spot.
Suddenly one hour has disappeared and there’s only three left. Andy hasn’t even got his cheeks in the oven. Sam makes potato Dauphinoise, while Andy makes fondant potatoes, swimming in butter. Speaking of butter, George says “yeah” a lot, as he is at the forefront of the push to turn the word into punctuation. George and Matt talk about the things that worry them. For George, it’s the timing. For Matt, it’s that Gary has been stealing his underwear.
Suddenly there’s only 15 minutes to go and Andy’s cheeks are flushed but his other cheeks are still tough, if that makes any sense. The crowd start to stroll in and they look like they’d be satisfied with a Dominos pizza so Sam and Andy need not worry. A woman attempts to make a joke about “cheeks” before Matt touches himself inappropriately. George starts calling out orders as Sam and Andy start listening to them.
As George continues orders he reprimands Andy for laughing at his funny little voice. He tells Andy to plate up like he wants, as Andy and Sam wander around aimlessly like deer in the headlights. Whoever thought having deer and cars in the same kitchen was a good idea is in serious need of psychological intervention. The crowd get restless as they’re forced to wait, and unknown experience in Stanley, like high speed internet and five toed feet. George jumps around like a man who has put one too many chillies in his bottom, as the first plates start to go out. The eating people seem to enjoy eating the food, but if only they knew the amount of sweat that had actually gone in.
In the kitchen Sam and Andy start communicating but not to the degree that they tell each other how to permanently shut George’s mouth. Compliments come in as Andy gets goose bumps, but for Sam one of his crayfish is undercooked and he’s shattered. But he quickly gets his moko back when he serves the bitch that sent it back with one cooked exactly the same, plus with extra spit. He says he’s ripped his hands to shreds as skin and crayfish mix together.
George falls in love with the fact Sam and Andy help each other, before he sits down with Matt to try both dishes. No complaints escape their luscious lips, though Matt compares beef cheeks to things that are very unbed like.
The final orders are shouted, cooked and served, before Andy and Sam down tools and take a well earned breather. “We had so much fun back there” begins Andy, pausing for far too long before adding “cooking food.” “What I saw in that kitchen today was something I’ve never seen before” says George. Was it two chefs working in a kitchen with restraint and without hyperbole? However this statement is a lead up to what viewers are beginning to suspect. Neither Andy nor Sam is destined to leave at this stage. Sure, if one of them had been Andrew, Mario, or Jules, then it wouldn’t be a draw. But it’s Andy and Sam, so it is.
The end credits don’t inform us about what the eliminated contestant is now doing in their post Masterchef life, because no one has been eliminated. However, the Tasmanian adventure is over, and it’s back to Masterchef HQ for a master class, where Beau will sexually harass a visiting dignitary.