MasterChef Australia – Sun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
Last night on Masterchef, red team lost the great culturally insensitive challenge as Deb’s credentials as a lover of food went under the microscope. Tonight, one will be eliminated, and the rest will gloat.
We open with the tragic scene of Deb packing her suitcase and the even more tragic scene of Matthew packing his bathroom bag. They arrive with Alice in the front seat squinting behind two giant sheets of glass: the windscreen and her spectacles.
“It’s a sombre welcome” says Gary, which really isn’t much of a welcome at all. Deb says you never know what might happen in the MasterChef kitchen, but you can be pretty sure there will be cooking of some kind, though not necessarily of the good variety. The first part of the challenge is a taste test involving a tagine. There are twenty five ingredients inside the North African dish. The contestants are bewildered before they even start. Andy admits to not having even known North African cuisine existed, assuming that they just ate dirt. Gary says this is the business end, not pointing at his mouth or his bum, so it’s confusing already. The first five to make a tasting mistake go to the next round of elimination. Deb says the reality is she could easily get an ingredient wrong, which is also the fantasy for everyone else.
They start, with Amina going first. She may have an advantage as her father is North African. She may also have a disadvantage as Filippo is undermining her every move. She tastes and says it bursts in your mouth, like a nervous eighteen year old, before naming ochre as an ingredient, correctly, so not creating the great Kevin incident of last week. Julia is next, resplendent in yellow and is right when she picks green olives. TK follows, and goes for almonds, once again correctly. Emma blubbers dates and is right. Deb tastes something bitter, perhaps the aftertaste of defeat, but still picks pistachios. Andrew picks off a piece of coriander, and calls it coriander, but George wants more information. Fresh coriander he says, correctly. Filippo can taste exoticness and sweetness but they’re not things, so he calls the meat lamb, while Preston tries to second guess him. Fortunately for Filippo, lamb is in there. Andy adopts the KISS principle, (keep it simple stupid), and goes with lemon but again George wants more information. Lemon zest? Lemon juice? Kevin O’Lemon?
Back from the break, and Andy is still struggling with lemons, while Alice gives us her best impression of Brains from Thunderbirds. He guesses preserved lemon and is right, before Brains herself gets a shot, correctly nominating sumac. Then fast forward through correct answer after correct answer, before Emma comes up and clutches her face for coriander seed, which is there. Deb is up again and Gary asks her if she’s confused, and she answers “peanuts”. Neither George nor Matt have peanuts so Deb is first through to the next round. Then mystery man Andrew goes for turmeric, but there is none of that either. Filippo, Andy and Alice get more right, before Matt comes a cropper on pine nuts. Emma guesses honey, but there is no honey. Emma begins to cry. Filippo locks in paprika, confusing game shows, but there’s no paprika, and Filippo is the fifth and final person through to the next round.
The next challenge involves using any five ingredients used in the tagine to make another dish. Matt feels out of his depth standing next to Deb, Andrew, Filippo and Emma. Presumably he thinks he’s taking part in an idiot competition and he’s up against some seasoned idiots.
Meanwhile, the winners are gloating at Bondi and getting lessons in class from someone called Serge, who rolls his breasts. They enjoy a hearty meal and each other’s company. Back at HQ, the bottom five line up at their benches. They have chosen their five ingredients and they are ready to cook.
And off they go in the greatest cook off since the last one. Andrew has collected the sourest ingredients, and calls his dish Deb. Emma is making lamb without vegetables, tapping the spirit of the Australian male. Filippo violently grates fennel, while Matt frenchs his bone, but then realises he only has 45 minutes so decides to do a spot of cooking. He’s making braised fennel on a garlic and fennel puree, served on a bed of fennel leaves and a glass of fennel juice. Deb is making failure. She wants to get the most she can out of the fennel, but if it’s anything like the red team, that’s not much.
The judges stand to the side and discuss the merits of the dishes as well as their makers’ dress sense. Preston is concerned about the preserved lemon, his least favourite flavour. With 15 minutes to go, Andrew confesses to being friends with fennel, but then lets his best mate down by blitzing it with preserved lemon. Suddenly there’s only 5 minutes to go as pans are turned off and meat is rested. In an earth shattering development, Matt has ruined his lamb chop, so he starts again burning another one just to be sure. Meanwhile, Mindy and Andy, teaming up because they have ‘dy’ in common, offer an unfair advantage to Emma from above. Filippo tosses his salad for the 15th time, and then starts to plates up his pistachio granita. The seconds count down as the rest frantically plate up, and as time runs out each gets their dish finished in the nick of time.
Gary says they’re looking for the dish that doesn’t stand up, and the contestants curse themselves for not fashioning legs out of the lamb bones. Deb is first with her braised fennel and almond salad. George asks her if she’s done enough and Deb says she’s happy, avoiding the question. George is impressed with her dish and thinks it’s clever cooking. Deb’s cold grey eyes burn a hole in Preston’s cravat, but both he and Gary are effusive in their praise nonetheless.
Filippo comes up after Deb with his Sicilian salad and date and pistachio granita. Gary has very little negative to say about each dish, but is not sure they go together. Filippo is worried about his time in the competition, concerned that evidence for his misdeeds exists somewhere, but he hasn’t seen Matt’s raw chop. Unfortunately for Matt, Matt the judge does get to see his raw chop, and Matt the soon to be eliminated contestants admits that maybe, just maybe, it’s a “little but rare”. Even the heat of a fireball can’t rescue it, and when we come back it’s still undercooked. Preston eats it anyway, because he’s hungry, and he calls it a proper dish, except for the improperly cooked lamb.
Emma comes up and she sounds nervous. George thinks her lamb cutlets look like a savoury gaytime, which he experienced one wintery night at Kens of Kensington. He says she’s done a great job, but at what, making a chop look like an icecream? Andrew’s fennel three ways are next, and Gary waxes lyrical about the dish and enjoys the fact that Preston won’t like the preserved lemon in it. Preston tastes it, and then he starts to tell a story about football and ‘peeing’, and apparently Andrew’s dish reminds him of this experience.
Deb is okay, as her dish was the best, and Andrew and Emma have done more than enough to stay in the competition, which begs the question what would be enough? So it’s down to Matt and Filippo, or to put it another way it’s Matt because, well, raw lamb.
Matt walks away incredibly proud, admitting he cooked his heart out “more than a few times”, yet it’s this lack of care for his organs which show he wasn’t ready for this level. He says the MasterChef journey has been exhilarating, particularly the bit where Beau flambéed his pants. Emma, Andrew and Filippo return to hugs, while Deb returns to nods. Matt returns home where one of his mates has dressed up as Emma and donned a beanie to make him feel like he was still in the show. The end credits inform us that he has just recently been made a manager at Hungry Jacks which has inspired him even more to go looking for work experience in a restaurant, even if it’s just cleaning the toilets.