MasterChef Australia – Sun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
Previously on Masterchef, the 24 contestants were left to their own devices to serve paying customers. Andy’s team rose to the occasion and at the end of the night had more money in the till than Emma’s team, leaving them vulnerable at elimination. Now, it’s pasta, pasta, pasta and do OR die, with the guarantee that those who do DO will live forever (although check the terms and conditions) tonight on MASTERCHEF!
We start with a shot of Mindy looking pensively out over the water, while Ben absentmindedly packs everyone’s bags, having drawn the short strawberry. Last night’s losers gather together to offer each other comfort and courage as Kevin says something about not beating themselves up over losing, but doesn’t offer a substitute to beat. The black cars arrive and take them to Masterchef HQ, like a funeral procession. Undertaker Gary greets them sombrely.
It’s hard to believe we are going to lose one of these treasures so early or Kevin for that matter. As Gary reminds them, for one, their Masterchef dream is over. Gary asks Ben if it will be him and he says no. Gary decides not to ask anyone else the same question, lest they all answer no and it makes one a liar. Preston says “we feel your pain” but doesn’t finish the sentence by adding “but then again we also created it”. George tells them today’s theme is pasta, and for Jules it’s her worst nightmare. Jules has never cooked pasta before in her life. When she found out that she was going on Masterchef, she practiced all forms of common dishes, such as abalone ice cream, fish baked in chicken, and that family favourite, tomato and coffee roasted marmoset. But never, in her wildest dreams, did she imagine that they would make her cook something as exotic as pasta on the show, and so never practiced. Plus she’s an idiot.
First round is Name that Pasta, though they must have been tempted to call it Pardon My Zinger. Everyone lines up behind Kevin, because they’re not sure if the judges are armed with machine guns. The rules are simple: they must give the Italian name of the pasta. The first six to get one wrong go through to the next round, with the remaining six safe from elimination.
Kevin goes first and he’s confident. He’s got the pick of the table. All the traditional and well know favourites are there: ravioli, penne, tagliatelle, and cannelloni, as well as plenty more. He walks down the table, casting an eye over the various strains. He finds one he knows picks it up and takes it to the judges. “It’s lasagne” he asserts knowingly, as he looks down at the long strands of wide pasta with curly edges that look nothing like lasagne.
Now everyone else has to name the same pasta and no one knows what it is. Mindy asks if it’s tagliatelle, but it’s not. Jules goes for farfalle, but it’s not that either. TK calls it big fat ugly fettuccine causing guffaws from the judges. Kylie thinks she knows what it is, so when we go to an add break to see Curtis Stone breaking vegetables in Coles, we think she’s got it right. But then she goes and spoils it all by saying something stupid like fusilli. Emma is next and she calls it Crybabyelli, but that’s what she is and so she’s wrong. And with Emma that’s six wrong contestants, so the remaining six are safe.
Out of the six, one will be eliminated, so the odds have shortened. Kylie has given up a lot to be here when she admits to having left uni. Though to be fair, the sacrifice wasn’t that great as she’d only been at uni in the first place to drop off a friend. Emma says she hasn’t got anything to go home to if she gets eliminated. But if she doesn’t get eliminated and wins the competition, her family will welcome her back and take the padlock off her room.
The next task is to make fettuccini. Jules has never made pasta from scratch, or sniff for that matter. The judges whisper amongst themselves and agree that one of the difficulties in making pasta is how difficult it is. Kylie proves their point by making a mess. Everyone is making a second batch except for Jules who is still on her first. At this stage it’s a race between Mindy and Kylie. Mindy is the first one up to the weigh in table, and the judges are satisfied with consistency, before it’s all consumed by a fireball and she has to start again.
When we come back, all the contestants and judges appear to have been replaced by more successful contestants and working chefs, but we realise it’s only the winners from last night’s challenge, out enjoying themselves. Back at HQ, Mindy’s pasta is being fondled by the judges. George says consistency is important, but then says it doesn’t have to be all the same size. Then they weigh her pasta and she’s made enough, so is safe for today. Kylie is next and she’s covered in flour. George says “not too thin, not too thick”, possibly in relation to her pasta. It’s weighed and there is enough there so she’s through next. Emma’s pasta feels good but she’s 9 grams short so she goes back to her bench and starts crying to add moisture and therefore more weight. Kevin’s is also underweight. TK’s is perfect and she’s the next one through as 250 grams is breached again. Only one spot is left as Emma brings up her second attempt. As she stands there, Kevin and Jules lurk behind, willing her to fail. But their telepathic powers turn out to be telepathetic as Emma’s pasta tips the scales at over 250 grams, putting her through.
So now it’s down to Jules versus Kevin to see who will be the first eliminated. Jules has been missing her partner Mark so much, or as they like to say “missing the Mark”, but all that Kevin can think of is his career. They have to cook a raviolo of ricotta, egg yolk and a sage and burnt butter sauce. Jules has no problem with the burnt butter bit because she was probably going to burn something anyway. They talk about the dish a bit and generally waste time, before being given 40 minutes to cook.
Kevin says something racist about listening to the Italian, while Beau has become the expert commentator on the sideline, giving Jules a slight lead. That is until Gary and George come and pester her asking inane questions and reminding her she’s from the Northern Territory so basically worthless. In the spirit of fairness they go do the same to Kevin until Kevin diplomatically tells them to f**k off.
Mindy is suddenly in prison, except she’s only looking through the bars down at Kevin and then talking really fast and she’s talking really fats because it’s a Masterchef extra and there isn’t enough time. When we come back for real there’s twenty minutes to go and Gary believes they should have perfect pasta and have tasted their ricotta filling. He’s kidding man! Jules has only just started. Kevin gets his egg on top and suddenly there’s only ten minutes left. Jules is way behind and can’t separate her egg which got into an argument with the pasta. Kevin’s pasta is cooked. George tells Jules her cooking has to come from her heart and possibly her sinuses as he points to his nose.
With 30 seconds to go there are cries of “come on Kev” but no one on the balcony takes up the offer. Gary counts down as both plate up their dishes JUST IN TIME!
Kevin’s raviolo has good height, but Jules’ looks like a fried egg, and a particularly ugly one. Both reveal oozy eggs inside, and the sound of the judges licking the insides of their mouths makes me soil myself. Kevin’s pasta is good but lacks salt. Jules’ looks unappetising, but tastes great. Preston says it eats deliciously well, but who cares how it eats, it’s about taste isn’t it?
Preston announces Jules the winner. Kevin loses because he didn’t take it to the “nutty” stage. Jules hugs Kevin but looks off into the distance, thinking maybe of England. Back in Masterchef home Amina says something soppy before everyone cheers the return of Jules and thankful it’s not that annoying bald prick. However, Lydia does admit that losing Kevin is “poopy”.
But that wasn’t the end of Kevin. He returns home with his guitar and is greeted by his other foreign friends who he cares so little for that he cooks Coles chicken satay sticks on the barbecue for them. He is determined to follow his dream and change the face of sports catering, from the standard hot dogs, cold pies, warm beer and soggy chips, to salad nicoise, steak tartare, braised beef cheek and other finger foods, served with the finest wines from around the country. He is currently in talks with a number of sporting associations, though more about trying to get bans for indecent behaviour lifted than negotiating catering contracts.