MasterChef Australia All Stars – Sun 7:30pm, Mon-Thu 7pm, Ch10
Last week on Masterchef All Stars, kitchen HQ was destroyed in a mysterious midnight fire caused by the toxic combination of gabardine and duck egg. As a result, the contestants were forced to hire a CWA hall for a week under the cruel tyranny of Merle and her flunkies, working under sweat shop conditions on a lamington production line. Tonight, they return to the newly rebuilt headquarters, but for two it will be the last time. Until the next Masterchef All Stars that is.
Dawn rears its ugly head over Sydney as Justine reads an enormous book with her enormous eyes. Poh packs one of her 72 bags, while Marion hides a pen in a book, for reasons unknown. Downstairs aprons are handed out before the contestants head off in the dark and wet morning. Guess it wasn’t dawn after all.
It’s daytime when they arrive so they must have travelled some distance, or continuity on Masterchef has failed again. Blue team enters first, mystery boxes adorning the benches. Justine reminds us two people are leaving today before Gary and George advise the contestants that two people are leaving today. I have a sneaking suspicion they already knew. “But not just yet, there’s something really special before that happens” says Gary, obviously talking about George’s much hyped strip tease.
“Sausages” suggests Marion, when asked by Gary what George reminds her of. When asked further what she learnt from mystery boxes she says “Keep it simple stupid” accidentally revealing Gary’s nickname in the process. They lift their boxes to reveal, prawns, chicken and chili, as well as matches and an axe. “You will be cooking your mystery box” George announces. Dani is incredulous when Justine reveals she has never lit a fire before, wondering what the hell she’s even at arsonists anonymous for.
“You have 75 mins to chop up that mystery box, get the fire burning and cook a beautiful dish” says Gary, before adding in his heavy English accent that “we’re Australian and barbecue in any weather”. The contestants get chopping and fires get lit. However, the cheap cardboard boxes won’t burn for long so the need to get cooking pronto.
“I love the idea of this, it’s closure on the mystery box” says Gary. The flames lick high into the air. “The hard thing about this challenge Gary is control of the heat” says George. The contestants hit the pantry, where they can only take five ingredients. “I thought I might grill the prawns on a bed of vine leaves” states Callum. “I’d really like to use the fresh coconut in the pantry” Poh says, not sure if the pantry is currently vacant so she can do things with the coconut in privacy. Gary’s racism bubbles to the surface, sneering that Poh isn’t even Australian.
With one hour to go, Dani says “you’ve got to monitor the hot and cooler spots” as she researches a career in ghost hunting. “During season three we visited Matt Morgan’s farm and cooked over an open fire” claims Kate. “He hog tied us an kept us in his cool room for 17 hours, until George gnawed through his miso infused chains and led us to freedom.” Julie worries about time while Chris slowly sips his beer. “I’m not coming out side” says George, preferring the privacy of the pantry to do that instead, forgetting that Poh had gone in their to do something with a coconut only moments before. “I have to make sure I don’t overcook the chicken, but I have to make sure I don’t undercook it obviously” says Poh, her tryst with the coconut over for now.
“I really don’t want to go home today” says Justine, remembering today was the day her parents held their bi-annual love making marathon with the neighbours. George and Gary rate the efforts so far, not expressing concern about anyone. Kate mentions to Gary her chicken dish includes verjuice, causing everyone to seize up in fear as the thought of a verjuice starved Maggie Beer crashing the show instills them with horror. “Is it going to be a bit gooey on the head?” Gary asks Callum, his left eye winking uncontrollably. Poh’s chicken appears undercooked, causing Chris to suggest popping a lid on it. Kate worries about the liquid getting in.
With only a few minutes left, people are rushing back and forth to their grills, plating up and manically avoiding Gary and George where they can. Finally, as the countdown ends, everyone manages to plate (or in some cases board) up.
Kate comes up first for tasting and Gary gets off on the wrong foot by calling her a big dish. “I love the potatoes, they’re a perfect match” says Gary, without explaining who they’d be a perfect match for. Leave it to the experts Gaz. Leave it to Greg Evans. “I’m looking forward to this one” says Gary when Julie comes up, the sexual innuendo dripping from every pore. Yet Gary has so little respect for her food he forces Chris to do the tasting for him.
Poh is concerned that her chicken might not be cooked, but not so concerned that she warns Gary and George first before they dig in. “Justine you’re next” says George menacingly, before admitting that he was salivating just watching Justine do things.
“Four dishes down and I can’t tell you who’s winning so far” says Gary, showing his mastery of the rules. Marion brings her dish up. “How should we eat this?” cries George, finally admitting that he doesn’t know how to consume food properly. Gary laments the lack of flavour in Marion’s skewer, with George suggesting “it needs more tweaking, like my nipples”. Callum’s prawns are a little floury, but his prawn heads have “bags of flavour” according to George. Dani’s dish causes him to fall in love. Chris is last and he stands there with his goggles, protecting his eyes from the stomach churning visage of the judges eating.
With all the serving on boards it looks like most people got wood in this episode. But after all the tasting George and Gary wander off, either to discuss the relative merits of each dish, or because they’ve both suddenly been struck down by early onset dementia.
“There were two dishes that Gary and I would jump on our tricycles to get to” says George, the choice of a three wheeled pedal powered mode of transport a sure sign of Freemasonry. The best dishes belonged to Dani and Julie. However, two people have to go home, and the three worst dishes belong to Kate, Marion and Poh. “What we were looking forward to was this punch in the mouth” says Gary in relation to Marion’s dish. This was something that viewers were also looking forward to. George announces that Kate is the safe one, God intervening on her behalf once again, and that Marion and Poh have to go, leaving only Dani as the token Asian, and she’s not even Asian.
Marion accepts her fate stoically, but Poh gets a little weepy. Gary uses this moment of weakness calling for a group hug which allows him the contact he craves with every fibre of his body. Marion says the thing she will miss most is hanging out with everyone, rather than earning money for charity.
Tomorrow, it’s Monday, and the contestants experience the dread of a pressure test, as well as the ever present risk of physical contact.