MasterChef Australia – Sun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
Last night on Masterchef, the mysterious red team curse hit again, as Amina led her team down the garden path and into oblivion. Tonight, last night’s challenge’s loins bear fruit, as the members of the accursed red team battle it out in a scenario starkly dissimilar to a life and death battle, no matter what Gary, George or the other one say!
The opening credits continue to confuse as TK lifts the lid on steam, Alice stands before a blackboard like some goggle eyed teacher, whilst the other teacher Ben serves some tacos: is this some kind of Steiner School method of teaching? By feeding them tacos? Get off the gear producers. The clouds build in the sky, creating a weak metaphor for a coming storm in the kitchen. Mario stares over the water, while Amina stares over her packing. Amina says TK is exhausted, possibly from all the packing and unpacking, as this is her 4th elimination. Meanwhile, Alice says she comes from an academic high achieving family and she hasn’t told them she’s on Masterchef, preferring instead to fake her own death and disguise her face behind enormous glasses.
The black aprons are handed out before they get in the black cars and arrive at the brown Masterchef building. “It’s a black day” says Gary, before asking the dark skinned Dalvinder if she’s scared. The racism in this show is rampant. Dalvinder’s tear ducts begin to produce salty tears, as Emma seethes with jealousy at another location. Gary says to Julia that she’s tasted some failure, as he casts a suspicious eye over Mario.
“It’s an elimination”, says Gary in his grammatically incorrect style, “and at the end of the day one of you will be going home”. But the chances are one of them will be going before the day ends, and not necessarily home, at least not straight away. Preston points out the positive; that they can save themselves by cooking well, throwing the contestants into various states of confusion.
First up is a game called “Name that Bird, originally invented by Russel Brand. With a little tweak it’s made suitable for Masterchef, and the cloches are lifted to reveal 10 different types of poultry. Deb explains she’s been a vegetarian for quite some time, which goes some way to explaining her personality. Gary explains the rules “We point, you write. The first five to get it wrong go through to the next round.” Alice is nervous, wondering if they’re trying to trip them up: the judges that is, not the birds.
The first one is revealed and they have 20 seconds. It looks like chicken, but so many things look and taste like chicken, McNuggets for example. They all say chicken and they’re all right. The next one is revealed and to me it looks like a duck, and if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and programs a VCR like a duck it’s probably a duck. Duck is correctly selected by a number of people until it’s TK’s turn and she calls it a pheasant. Actually she was calling Gary a peasant but she spelt it wrong. The next few get it right until Deb reveals she’d written down goose. Preston humorously calls her a goose, while I cruelly call her a tired old vegetarian.
The next one may be a quail and it is as the remaining contestants get it right. It is followed by a turkey. No, not Ben Elton’s Live from Planet Earth but the large bird often eaten at Christmas. They all get it right again. “Now it starts getting stickier” says Gary as he cleans up his excitement with a wet one (Handee Ultra is suspiciously absent this series). The bird is small and beige looking. Andrew says pigeon or squab, which it is. Tregan get’s it wrong when she makes up a word “poussin”, and is the third one into the next round. Julia has gone for a partridge, but the bird resembles neither Shirley Jones, David Cassidy nor even Danny Bonaduce. Alice has written down spatchcock, which considering those glasses, may be the only cock … etcetera. Surprisingly Mario, Andrew and Jules avoid elimination.
Preston looks at TK, Julia, Deb, Tregan and Alice and says one of them will be walking out of the Masterchef kitchen for the last time, as the loser will have their legs broken permanently. One hour to make a delicious dish (a challenge) from one of the birds assembled. Alice plays it safe and takes chicken, Julia plays it safe and takes duck. Tregan plays it safe and takes quail. Deb plays it safe and commits ritual suicide, and also takes spatchcock. TK is left with the detritus of the bird world. She sniffs the mutton bird at the request of Preston and vomits as an aside to camera. She selects Turkey and can barely carry it back to the bench. They have 60 minutes to be burned by a fireball, before Jock Ross declares war on Snoddy Snodgrass, and George declares war on Western Star butter.
When we come back, the jerks are celebrating their win, which turns sour as the chef at the restaurant forces them to cook over a 400 degree Celsius grill. Back at loserland, Gary implores them to cook their hearts out, or at least as close to the surface that is medically safe. They hit the pantry and stock up with greens, roots and leaves. TK is making a Japanese turkey, as memories of Yukio come flooding back. Julia is making a warm duck salad with Middle Eastern flavours. She’s out of her comfort zone she says. Tregan is also doing Middle Eastern flavours, but with quail. She says she has to cook her heart out now, unoriginally echoing Gary, who coincidentally lets them know there’s only 45 minutes.
Preston visits Alice’s bench, demanding an explanation. She’s doing a French inspired stuffed chicken breast, which is designed to surrender meekly on the plate. He also visits Tregan who still has her heart and has yet to deliver on her promise. She’d better hurry up, because that heart won’t cook itself out! Gary tells Deb she needs to be cooking, and the shock of the revelation almost stops her heart, which is resting on the bench next to her having been cooked out. Preston is over with Julia who is calm, collected but a little pink. Her heart remains firmly in her chest. Hmmmm chest.
With 15 minutes to go the gallery erupts in polite applause. Oil is spitting into the faces of the contestants while Gary and Matt preside over the affair like latter day Roman Emperors, making fun of the contestants’ efforts and discussing the advantages of quilted toilet paper. Gary walks up to TK and basically calls her an idiot for steaming turkey as she finishes steaming the turkey. He implores her to taste it and to TK’s trained palate tastes overcooked.
During the break we get a sneak peak at the exciting new comedy starring Tim Allen which is bound to break a few cultural walls and stereotypes. Speaking of turkeys, when we come back TK has decided to stir fry hers, as she takes a step outside her comfort zone. Suddenly Preston is shouting “10 minutes to go” in his booming baritone, fit for the spires of Westminster Abbey. Tregan is worried about her quail. It’s taken to drinking every night. Meanwhile, Mario and Jules share a moment on the balcony. Julia is worried her duck is undercooked, and it’s almost too late as she realises she hasn’t cooked her heart out, or even a kidney. Everyone counts down from 10 in a gormless display of groupthink and it’s all over save the decision making and the elimination. The surviving contestants come down to say goodbye to the possibly doomed five.
Tregan is first up. She says she’s served something true to her pallet, which is currently sitting in a ware house keeping a stack of dishwashers off the ground. Gary’s worried about the quail, yet shows his concern by slicing it in half. Tregan is satisfied with how it’s cooked, but Gary stays with his poker face, until he grudgingly admits it’s perfectly cooked. There’s the sound of metal scraping on china as Gary struggles with the cutlery, but he loves the dish and is effusive in his praise. Preston picks over Gary’s leftovers and sucks his bone.
Alice is next. She says she’s happy with the flavours. Gary says it looks awkward and clumsy, but I think he’s talking about the dish. Debra follows, and her dish is stuffed spatchcock. As a former vegetarian, she’s never tried this kind of cock, but it must be beginners luck because she’s cooked it perfectly. Unfortunately, Preston finds what looks like a fireball as we go on a break.
When we come back, Preston has found an olive pip, as well as Pip from Great Expectations, and Pippa from Home and Away. It’s the dish that keeps on giving. Julia is called up after Deb with her warm duck salad. She would prefer it was cooked more, but she recognises others have different tastes. However, Preston would also prefer it was cooked longer, as does Gary.
TK is last, with her turkey Udon. Gary likes how it looks, but doesn’t think it’s a well thought out dish, more of a food court dish, like you get from KFT (Kentucky Fried Turkey).
After the tasting, the judges delver their verdict. Tregan is safe. She says it’s an amazing sense of relief, but Preston shoots her down by demanding she step back in line. Alice and Debra are also safe, and hug accordingly. Gary asks TK if she’s staying or going and she foolishly doesn’t offer to stay. And it’s this foolishness that’s her undoing as TK is eliminated and has her legs broken. Deb begins to cry. Preston makes fun of the criers. TK says she’s going to miss Amina, but everyone else will get it between the eyes. They hug one last time as Preston wipes away a tear and I wipe away a spreading puddle of vomit.
Back at the house no one is really surprised when TK fails to return, but they are saddened nonetheless, with Amina taking it particularly hard. Cruelly, the camera does a close up. TK returns home, and she decides to finish her law degree as she punches the camera. After she finishes her law degree, she’s going to study at the Culinary Institute of Whatever.