Sunday night’s episode started off with a bang when we learnt that Ellie would not be competing in the mystery box challenge because she was ill, apparently suffering post traumatic stress disorder on account of all of George’s
molestations hugs. As a result of Ellie’s enforced absence, she had to automatically face the elimination challenge with three others.
After Michael had had the pleasure of cooking for his 73 food heroes last week, it was Mat’s turn to be in awe of one of his idols, David Chang. Peter was less impressed when he could be seen to mouth “Who the f**k is David Chang?” but soon got in to the spirit of things and kowtowed to another wannabe celebrity chef. David Chang has opened a number of successful restaurants in New York, all named after himself. For example, there’s “Chang’s on Broadway”, “Chang’s on Central Park West”, “Once in a Changtime”, “101 Changmations” and of course, “The Towering Inchangno”.
Gary informed them that they would be cooking to a theme. Michael’s hopes were dashed when he realised it wasn’t going to be the theme to the Love Boat. The contestants could choose from beef, pork or mackarel as a core ingredient, with the theme being Korean, as in the food obviously, not the war. Initially Craig was quite confused and began cook food that resembled, and related to the career of, a former trade union head and current Federal Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government. Gary had to intervene and emphasise that it was “Korean” food and not “Crean” food.
Adam started steaming his mackerel but Chang was quick to pounce, suggesting to Adam that mackerel is a fish that is much better pan fried. Adam thanked him for his suggestion, before offering a suggestion of his own to Chang, which included a large fry-pan being inserted forcefully into a much smaller orifice controlled by a muscle of the sphincter variety (did you know there are 50 sphincters in the human body?). Needless to say that Chang learnt to keep his thoughts to himself that day.
At the end of the challenge, Peter, with his sushi, yakitori skewers and perilla roll-ups; Hayden, with his soup, beef, rice balls with perilla; and Dani, with her Korean rice burger, came out on top, with Hayden adjudged the best overall. Mention must be made of Peter and Hayden, who’s dishes had the added difficult of working with perilla, a thing that is not actually a thing.
In the bottom three were Michael, with his mackerel cooked two ways, both badly, Adam, with his steamed mackerel, and Danielle, with her salty salt on a bed of salt with extra salt on the side just in case the judges had any moisture left in their body which they were desperate to expel. Along with Ellie, who we presumed has received the appropriate counseling and learnt how to say no to George, the three would face off in an elimination test. Gary advised them to pull out all stops, but when he realised that they had misinterpreted what he said, he pleaded with them to put them back in again.
And so they were shipped off to elimination. On the way there, Michael had the rest of the contestants in comas with the haunting story of his first ever haircut, but once they arrived it was down to business.
The contestants were shocked to be greeted by George sporting a wig and effecting an unconvincing Greek accent, until they realised it was George’s mother, Mary Colambaris, after which they forced her into the pantry and asked her some searching questions about her methods of raising children. Once the air was cleared and Mary had promised “never to do it again”, the contestants were informed what it was they had to do to avoid the dreaded elimination and the even more dreaded “going home and facing your family”. The challenge involved cooking some traditional Greek treats, including hommous, tzatziki, koupes and Nana Moskouri.
Adam, Ellie and Michael all did reasonably well, but Danielle struggled, with her tzatziki way too garlicky, her koupes way too oily, and her fear that if she didn’t win Masterchef she would never have a career in food way too overstated. It looked for all the world that Danielle was destined to be eliminated from Masterchef, when, in a stunning act of selflessness, Adam offered himself up as a sacrifice. “I’m a little bit embarrassed.” he began “When I came on this show and put my dive business, Go Dive, on hold, I thought I wanted to be a chef, instead of the owner and operator of a dive business called Go Dive. But what I’ve come to realise, is that I just want to be the owner of a dive shop called Go Dive. I don’t want to be a chef. Now, I don’t want anyone to think that I put my dive business called Go Dive on hold so I could get on television and get free advertising for my dive business called Go Dive. I really did think I wanted to be a chef rather than the owner of a dive business called Go Dive, even though I’ve never actually cooked anything more complicated than the fish fingers I buy from the Woolworths just down the road from where I go diving as part of my dive business called Go Dive. But I don’t want to take the place of someone who really wants to be here and doesn’t have a dive business called Go Dive to go back to. So, in conclusion, I have a dive business called Go Dive.” And so for Adam, who has over 7000 dives under his belt, it was no challenge to add another one.
At the end, the credits informed us that Adam had continued his dive business, Go Dive, and had also applied to go on Australia’s Got Talent, because his dream had always been to go on Australia’s second biggest reality TV show and pull out half way through.
With the least recognisable person on the show safely out of the way, things moved on to the immunity challenge. Hayden, who already holds one of the immunity pins, was up against renowned pastry chef Vincent Gaden. However, rather than the challenge involving cooking anything with pastry, or for that matter anything that’s ever been close to pastry, the dish instead was pork roast.
Presentation wise, Hayden’s pork was head and shoulders above Vincent’s. Both had undercooked their pork, but Vincent, being the seasoned professional, knew one of a chef’s most important principles: “if your meats underdone, cook it for a bit longer”. Of course, it would be unfair on Hayden to expect him to know such an advanced cooking technique, and when he presented his undercooked roast to George, George, who is prone to nonsensical and, basically, shit rhyming, said “I like pink pork, but not on my fork”. In the end, it was the difference between the two.
Next up came the team challenge, with the contestants packed off to the nearest Westfield Food Court. Split into teams of red and blue, one member of each team had to cook off against one member of the other team a type of food familiar to a food court, but with a difference: each dish had to be cooked with certain food intolerance, allergies and “food choices” in mind. This was known as the “Irony challenge”, because the foods normally associated with food courts are designed to shorten your life span, not increase it.
Some of the dishes included: pasty with an egg and sugar intolerance; rotisserie for diabetics and vegans; lactose free and low carb pizzas; and low fat and low salt fish and chips. Throughout this episode, Mat made quite a lot of cryptic remarks, such as “This is a PHONEtastic challenge”, “I just need to CALL up a recipe from my brain” and “Where’s my smartphone? I need to look up some recipes because I am cheating.” Not sure what these strange comments meant, though I’m sure all will be revealed soon enough.
In the end, the blue team was able to stick to the brief better than the red team, and prevailed. The battle between Kumar and Alana, to make low carb and lactose free pizzas, encapsulated this well. Whilst both contestants had used goat’s cheese, which does contain lactose, Kumar, for the blues, only used it on half of his pizza, whereas Alana covered her entire pizza with it. Kumar was literally pulling his hair out when he found out that goat’s cheese contained lactose, a task made all the more difficult because of the limited areas on Kumar’s body where hair still grows. Ironically, Alana had chosen to compete against Kumar because of his perceived failure to make pizza. She’d just forgotten to perceive her own failures.
With the red team the losers they faced elimination together. The six were split into two teams of three, with each set of three cooking a dish in 15 minutes and the worst of each set of three to face off in the final elimination cook off. In the first group of three, Michael made a well received steak tatare, and Mat did okay with his quail, figs and jamon. However, Craig came in for some criticism with his quail dish. George felt his breast wasn’t up to scratch. Craig countered that he had been working out a lot recently and, though he knew he had some way to go, he felt that George, considering what he looked like, should be the last one to criticise. George in reply said that he was talking about the quail breast, to which all Craig could say was “Oh”.
For the other team, Dani’s noodle was well received, but both Peter and Alana failed to use theirs and undercooked their lamb. Peter scraped through, ostensibly because his lamb was less raw than Alana’s. However, canny viewers would have noticed that Peter’s fate was sealed once he gave the slightest hint of tears.
That left Craig and Alana fighting it out for the right to stay. They were given 30 minutes to make a dessert, with the only rules being that it had to be a dessert, and it had to take no more than 30 minutes. This scuttled Craig’s idea for slow cooked lamb shanks, and so he went instead for that favourite of the 1980’s takeaway shop, apple fritters. Alana went for something a little more upmarket in spicy poached pears, with chocolate ganache, and creme anglaise. Upon seeing Alana’s dessert, Craig panicked and shoved a skewer through the apples, claiming his dessert was based on the story of William Tell, who famously shot an apple on top of his son’s head with an arrow. Why his son was wearing an apple, and why William didn’t just ask him to remove it, remain a mystery. Possibly it was a killer apple and William saved his son’s life. Possibly not. Whatever the reason, it was sufficiently unrelated to a cooking competition to impress the judges, and Craig was sent packing.
The end credits informed us that Craig went back to orchestrating and that he is writing a cookbook with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, with the orchestra playing the music and Craig writing the recipes, a match no doubt made in heaven. A very bizarre heaven. With any luck, Craig will recreate his apple fritter William Tell dish while the orchestra plays the William Tell Overture.
MasterChef Australia – Sun/Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu/Fri 7:30pm, Ch10.