MasterChef Australia – Sun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
Last night Amina and Kylie failed to gain Audra immunity in a tea themed showdown that lasted the approximate running time of the show. Tonight, a Hindu wedding banquet for 450 guest, with the future happiness of the bride and groom in the hands of the contestants, all on Masterchef!
It’s early in the morning in the Masterchef house, as the contestants sleepily stumble around the house, wondering what the day will bring. In fact it brings black cars which carry them to Masterchef HQ, as music eerily reminiscent of the Pet Shop Boys plays in the background, to be greeted by two of modern television’s own Pet Shop Boys, Gary and Matt.
Preston conjures up romance: “The next team challenge will bring light and joy to other people” he suggests, unrealistically, as two new faces join the proceedings. “I’d like to introduce Ashwiny and Ranjan”. “Tomorrow is our wedding, and you will be cooking the whole three course meal for 450 guests”, says the bride, before adding “it is the most important day of our life so please don’t f**k it up.” Meanwhile, the groom remains silent, though I did see his lips move and form words that looked suspiciously like “We did this for the free catering. No other reason.”
Preston informs everyone that the bride and groom are Tamil and Audra woo hoos inappropriately, suddenly remembering that she is also part Tamil, as well as part professional caterer. “The food is vegetarian” explains Preston, guaranteeing that no one will be trying to cook this at home, before adding ominously “and it has to be a banquet to be remembered for decades”. Kill at least a dozen guests with salmonella poisoning and it will be a banquet to be remembered for decades, and that’s an iron clad guarantee.
Gary asks if anyone knows what 450 people look like sitting down. The contestants are dumbstruck as they reel at the impact of this bizarre and unexpected quiz. Perhaps it’s a philosophical thought experiment; like that one about the tree falling in the forest that makes no sound if there is no one there to hear it. EXCEPT THE DAMN LOGGER WHO CUT IT DOWN AM I RIGHT? Perhaps it’s a riddle, the answer to which will reveal the hidden mystery ingredient that makes everything taste splendid. Or perhaps it’s just a really stupid question. The answer, of course, is this: they look the same as they do when they’re standing up, except a little more comfortable, apart from those with haemorrhoids.
Gary informs them that they are about to descend into hell: the contestants that is, not the couple about to get married. “Because you’ve never experienced anything like this we’ve brought in Kumar Mahadeva, Australia’s only hatted Hindu chef.” Bizarrely, for a man who has been awarded so many hats, he’s decided not to wear any of them.
Before leaving to attend her hen’s night, the bride explains the importance of timing and how everything has to be done according to when she puts on certain items of clothing, kind of like a reverse striptease. If anything should be served late, the entire marriage will be cursed with ill fortune as the groom will take up gambling, drugs and whoring on an industrial scale. So they should keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn’t try and sabotage anything.
The teams are chosen by flowers in a vase, which is also the title of an erotic tale of hidden sibling passions from the madam of hidden sibling passions Virginia Andrews. Ben picks the captains flower for the blue team and Jules picks the captains flower for the red team. To decide who gets the pick of the dishes, there’s a captains head to head. A Kumar speciality is placed before them, which Jules correctly identifies as ‘raita’. Ben doesn’t even know what it is, the dunce. *Googles raita*
When we come back after a brief break, Jules explains what a raita is. Each has to make their own as close to Kumar’s. They start cooking, as Kumar explains what’s in it yoghurt, salt, mustard seeds, chillies and cucumber. Jules unnecessarily boils a pot of water as Ben cuts himself even though blood isn’t an ingredient of raita. They throw various things into various other things as Gary counts down, before their time is up. Ben walks away in disgust, shaking his head.
Kumar asks Ben if he tasted garlic in his raita and Ben says he did which is strange because Kumar claims not to have put any in. Who is lying is anyone’s guess. Kumar tells Jules she didn’t crack the mustard seeds but she wins anyway, so she gets her choice of dishes to cook for the banquet, before the contest proper gets underway.
First they have an hour to shop, before meeting Kumar at the reception centre. Mindy says she can only imagine how many groceries she has to buy today. Strange that she would choose to only imagine it, rather than do it, but luckily the rest of her team haven’t followed her lead and head down to the local Coles for some less ethereal shopping.
After a break bank officer Jules explains what they’re trying to do, which begs the question: what the hell is a bank officer? Kumar explains that he smells where there’s trouble. Amina starts crying but blames the onion. Deb starts whittling ochre into tiny little penises as she descends into the icy depths of madness.
Jules explains she has Andrew working on the jack fruit, and admits it’s a little bit risky, but it would be risky having Andrew work on anything other than his tan. Kumar serenades Audra with “Row row row your boat” but she shows her heart of stone and remains unmoved. Kylie adds water to get rid of the lumps but Wade refuses to slither down the drain.
Alice says she has a good feeling about the aloo tiki, because it’s one of her nicknames, along with specoid, zoobs, and c**tface. Tregan believes that Kumar is sick of hearing his name called, her only clue being the bloodied ice picks that he has rammed into his ears. Alarmingly Tregan suddenly appears to have shrunk to half her size as she explains, with her head at bench height, how Kumar called ochre an aphrodisiac.
After a break it’s the next day, but they haven’t even finished the prep. Kumar says they should either get on cracking or get on crack, as Gary calls Jules and Ben in for a chat. But instead of a chat he shows them the tables where the guests will sit, and suddenly they understand why he wanted them to imagine 450 people sitting down: it’s all part of his sick, sexually depraved mind.
Kumar screams “don’t get complacent” as he beats Wade about the head with a damp sock. Ben gets chastised for not having enough cauliflower while Sam receives a much needed lesson in the correct method of throwing chickpeas at a wall. Alice starts frying her aloo tikka but they stick and fall apart. Meanwhile Ben calls on ‘go to girl’ Tregan to ‘go to’ Coles,’ go to’ the veggies section, and bring back the heads of 40 cauliflowers, as well as the head of John the Baptist if she has time. She jumps in the nearest black car and demands the driver take her to Coles, where she manages to source 25 cauliflowers.
After we come back, the bride suggests that in 20 years time the guests will still be talking about the food, as she laments being related to the world’s most unimaginative people. Sam manages to save Alice from her sticky “hotplate” as the teams rush to get their entrees out before the bride puts a necklace on a tree, which is such a common modern dilemma these days. Teams fight and help each other at the same time. Deb tries to run off with the coriander but Audra stops her just in time, avoiding disaster. With 2 minutes to serve the entree Alice’s voices reaches an annoying crescendo as the garland is about the be placed around the bride’s neck, before a break mercifully saves all from complete meltdown.
When we come back, Audra reminds us why they can’t be late with their entrees: it will bring bad luck to the bride and groom. Amazingly they manage to get everything served in time, saving the bride and groom from years of torture and despair, apart, obviously, the torture and despair that is part of modern marriage these days.
The judges taste the entrees. Preston prefers this aloo tiki Preston to the one Kumar’s made yesterday, which has become cold and a little mouldy. The fried cauliflower is a little crunchy inside, and Preston suggests the pieces may be a little big. So far it’s two – nil to the red team. One charming elderly guest offers that the aloo tikka “took me back to Mumbai”. How she got returned so quickly is a mystery.
Back in the kitchen, there’s only 15 mins to cook and serve the mains. Blue have the vegetable korma and the ochre curry, while for red there’s dhal and curry potatoes. Jules and Sam argue, but at the wedding things get wrapped in leaves. Racism raises its ugly head as Jules casually suggests that the guest, on account of their ethnicity, will have higher standards when it comes to food.
Speaking of racists, Kumar believes the potato “lacks colour”, while the Marsala dhal “looks nice”. On the other hand, the korma and the ochre curry get rave reviews and uplifting music. This time blue team get the nod for their two dishes.
Time for dessert and Andrew’s involved for red so anything could happen. Kylie wants to “blow them out of the water” but her violent excesses are held in check when Amina manages to slip her a xanax… Audra knocks some of the dessert off a tray and for her it’s her worst night mare ever: worse than that one where she wakes up and her nose is being chewed off by a rat; worse than that one where she loses the use of her limbs in a car accident; worse than that one where Tony Abbott becomes Prime Minister. But it’s okay because Andrew is all over it. No actually that’s really her worst nightmare.
“More trays more trays” calls Sam, or perhaps it was “Mort rays, Mort rays” as a man called Mort arrives from the future to end the cooking show phenomenon with his newly patented death ray. Unfortunately for Mort, and mankind, the ray doesn’t work. The judges taste the jackfruit payasam and Kumar says it’s as good as they serve in his restaurant as he tries to figure who in his restaurant needs firing. Then they taste blues pineapple kesarim and talk about its “sweetness and creaminess” as if reading directly from a description of a model in a recent edition of ‘Barely Legal’.
After all the tasting the contestants come out to join the wedding celebrations and wave and smile as if it’s their day, before Alice says it’s all about unity. Then the guests vote. After the voting the judges tell the teams how their dishes were received, as Alice makes stupid little faces. Preston announces the winner and finally the red team has won a challenge, even though they had Andrew on the team.
Tomorrow, it’s cakes, Beau’s worst nightmare. Worse than that one he has where he walks into the kitchen nude and goes to put his pudding in the blast chiller and slams the door shut with just a little too much force. Also, Ben threatens to pull something out instead of cooking against Emma.