MasterChef Australia – Sun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
Last night on Masterchef, Jules, Tregan and Alice failed in their chance for immunity against famed wunderkind (or wundermiddleagedman now) Jamie Oliver, who showed them the meaning of the words “rustic”. “antipasti” and “sexual harassment lawsuit”. Tonight, two teams take over the catering for the Shangrila Hotel which has clearly gone into administration and no longer cares who gets terminal food poisoning.
5.30 am and the housemates awake to laughter and joy and the sight of four Masterchef judges looking sprightly. Jules is mortified to be exposed in her pyjamas and Emma is mortified to be exposed without her beanie. Deb is back and as good as ever, which, if we’re being honest, was never that good. “Today is the biggest Masterchef challenge ever” says George, hinting that the ratings are continuing to tumble. “You will take over the food service for the Shangrila Hotel for 24 hours” says Preston ominously. “Service 564 rooms, cook for the 200 staff, and not steal anything” says Moran. Sam says it has the best buffet he’s ever been to. “Two teams of nine” says George “looking after each of the lunch, dinner and breakfast shifts”. For the winning team a private Master class with Neil Perry and for the losing team two private Master classes with Neil Perry. Plus elimination. Jules gets to pick the colour of her team and the rest of the members are chosen by spoon.
Jules puts Alice on her team who performs a little ditty to camera. Emma is put on the red team by Alice because she thinks she’s immature and lacks stamina. Emma picks Andrew and naturally puts him on the blue team. Andrew picks Andy for the blue team because he’s wearing a singlet. Andy picks Mindy for the blue team because she’s wearing a kimono. Mindy picks Beau for blue, as Beau picks Wade for blue, and Wade picks Ben for blue, while Ben picks Audra for blue, finalising the blue team. The remaining contestants, like so many flotsam and jetsam, are on the red team.
Kylie thinks the challenge will be massive, while Sam erroneously believes Kylie and Julia can make decisions on their own. Ben, Andy and Beau take the lunch shift for blue. They’re introduced to Chef Steven, who is the Cher of the cooking world because he has only one name. The lunch shift starts off as blue make a Bolognese, chicken curry and salad. Beau enjoys cooking with a shovel. Julia collects carrots for the red team, for a vegetable curry, which will go with two salads and pasta.
George wanders around and talks to the teams. He questions how far Ben’s curry will stretch as Ben throws in more rubber bands for good measure. Then George asks Kylie for the red team, “If I was coming over for dinner would you cook me a cold pasta salad?” and before she can say “If you were coming for dinner I’d give myself advanced lead poisoning” she’s scrapped her cold pasta for a Chinese salad that her mum makes at home.
For blue, Andy feels like they’re in a good space. But in the cafeteria, the Shangrila staff angrily line up like the angry staff of an angry hotel, demanding sustenance before their 17 hour shift begins. They’re used to bread and water, so this should be a treat. However, the mention of a vegetarian curry has the staff reaching for their union reps. The chicken curry wins plaudits from the staff, but Preston is disappointed that no one from the blue team is serving the servants, I mean staff.
Second shift lunch is the canapé round, with only one hour to prepare. Beau is making a “rocket foot” tart while Andy admits to never having made canapés. Kylie prepares the zucchini flowers and deep fries them then grills avocado, before George questions Chef Steven about the contestants’ relative skills. Chef Steven is nervous the guests won’t get their canapés served by 4pm.
With 10 mins to go the guests start arriving. Beau says the key to his tart is tasting it but the problem is he doesn’t know what he’s doing. On the bright side he has finally learned how to pronounce “Roquefort”. Andy is struggling because he’s broken every finger playing basketball, and regrets that quick 5 minute game earlier in the day. Kylie caramelises, flips and flash fries her scallops, and with 5 minutes to go Julia is wrapping her prawns.
Ben and Andy serve their canapés and they are hit by “an absolute bunch of glamour women”. Julia is jealous that the blue team have beaten them. Chef Steven offers to show Sam a trick, which unfortunately isn’t how to wipe sweat off your face, as he serves his canapés accompanied with a greasy film of perspiration. George explains to Beau that he’s not a brick layer anymore as Beau pulls up his pants and George gives the brick its taxi far home. Kylie serves her canapé to the “models” who complain about the enormous size of the so called finger food. Kylie has forgotten the golden rule when serving to models: it must be small enough to come back up with ease.
With the lunch shift over it’s time for the dinner shift as Audra, Mindy and Jules arrive for blue and Amina, Tregan and Filippo arrive for red. Tregan explains what they have to do, as the shift starts and as Mindy plans to get organised. Filippo says Amina is a great team player as he recollects that time she got them lost looking for fish. Chef Steven yells out something about Nazi Goering as Simon Wiesenthal rushes in to force him to face justice. But in fact it’s nasi goreng as Wiesenthal leaves red faced. Filippo gets criticised by Chef Steven as Chef Steven faces the prospect of his last day on earth.
Blue team start putting up plates but red team aren’t ready and unfortunately they have orders for the same table. This stresses Chef Steven who faces some home truths and admits he agreed to all of this knowing they were amateurs and without considering the consequences. Still he looks for someone else to blame until he meets Filippo’s eyes, who slowly shakes his head. Blue team continue to fire out food but also continue to forget about red team.
Jules delivers room service and cases the room for valuables. Tregan delivers her trays as well but struggles with the heavy trolley and her personality. The hotel guests who inexplicably have been forced to stay in their rooms manage to enjoy the food despite their house arrest, whereas the customers in the restaurant, who have the benefit of freedom and fresh air, are not completely happy.
A room of hens place their order for room service as Chef Steven reads out the mammoth order and gives them only 30 minutes. Meanwhile, an order from a room booked by a swingers’ party only orders honey and chocolate and alligator clips. Chef Steven asks Amina to toast his buns, as the teams begin to pull it together. Tregan burns her buns as Chef Steven asks her how much she likes getting yelled at. But isn’t it more important how much the viewer likes Tregan getting yelled at?
Filippo delivers the food to the hens’ night and they mistake him for a stripper before they all put on their glasses. Jules thinks it will be interesting to see how the hens take the food, never for once considering that they will use their mouths. The second half of the shift begins, as the teams prep for breakfast, and wait for the inevitable late night room service orders. Mindy takes an order up to the presidential suite, and when she knocks the door opens to reveal Matt Preston dressed only in his gaudy green pyjamas.
The breakfast shift arrives to the joyous cheers of the nightshift. Andrew, Alice and Wade for blue and Mario, Deb and Emma for red. Andrew feels the pressure from the pastry chef, who doesn’t actual work there but is a nickname for the local alcoholic. Andrew continues to come under fire as he in turns makes the hash browns soggy then makes the hash browns black, racism rearing its ugly head as the black hash browns are ejected from the white man’s kitchen. Meanwhile, Alice and Mario face off in the greatest egg beating contest of all time, as Mario makes a mess of his omelette while Alice tries her best to convince Anthony Field that she is the final piece of the Wiggle puzzle he has been looking for. Finally, the challenge ends with some morons counting down from ten.
They all assemble in the swingers suite and “get busy”. Then Gary questions them about service and they all claim to “love it”. The results though, tell a different story. The blue team are criticised for not serving the ugly staff but concentrating on the beautiful models. Julia is congratulated on providing a vegetarian option for the three vegetarians on staff. For the dinner service, blue had “a cold pork” but red had “hot dishes” as the sex theme raises its erotic head again. For breakfast, Mario’s omelettes were a disaster but Alice’s were perfect, as was the way she treated the customers, who just love being infantilised.
Finally, the scores, if they can be called scores, are revealed. Blue team won the lunch service, red team won the dinner service and blue team won the breakfast service, giving them the win over all and continuing the red team curse of being cursed. For the red team it’s the prospect of elimination, while for the blue team it’s a master class with Neil Perry. Which makes it quite hard to tell who the winner actually was?