MasterChef Australia All Stars – Sun 6:30pm, Mon-Thu 7pm, Ch10
Tonight Callum, Chris & Justine go head to head for the last two spots in the finale to go up against Kate. At least they’ll be cooking with ingredients they like. Oh, and Chris is allowed to wear his hat again.
The second to last day in the MasterChef House, and Callum wakes in a cold sweat as he finally acknowledges that this could be his last day in the house. Again. All four gather in the kitchen for Kate’s pancakes as that’s the food Kate cooks for her kids when they are facing off in a cooking battle to make it into the final three.
In a grotesque abuse of their carbon footprint, each of the All Stars arrive in their own car to Chris acknowledging a circular bench is weird simply because he’s never seen it before. Kate is banished to be a balconista for the day as the other three get their pep talk (minus the pep).
It’s a three round challenge, featuring the favourite ingredients of the three in the challenge – Chestnuts as Justine’s ingredient of choice; Beer as Chris’s ingredient; & failure as Callum’s ingredient (OK, it may have been mushrooms but it still tastes like failure).
George is happy because each of them get to cook with their own favourite ingredient, but also each other’s ingredient to. In a radical move, the best dish from each round scores 3 while the second best scores 2 and the least impressive dish scores 1. The two All Stars with the highest scores after three rounds go through to the finale.
The first round is Callum’s mushrooms, and they’ve got to deliver a spectacular dish inside 45 minutes. There’s lots of talk of “heroes” and “mushrooms” and “Callum”. George can help himself and goes over to annoy Justine, who is also absorbed in the need to make the mushroom the hero. Cause when a hero comes along, with the strength to carry on, etc.
Chris is preparing some veal sweetbreads to go with some mushrooms and calf’s liver. George advises him not to overcook the liver as if he does it’s like eating something from the Press Club. George, Gary and Matt P dissect the dishes as they’re preparing them and there’s lots of concern over the liver. We don’t need another Italy, that’s for sure.
Chris is prepping the liver, time is never on Justine’s side, and Callum always gets ignored. Justine’s talking herself up in the hope that she makes it through to the third round, while Callum realises his quail is still underdone.
Chris is plated with one minute to go – it’s cray cray for the other two. The food is on the plate with but a second to go. How conVENient.
In the first round judging, Justine presents her blue eye trevalla with mushrooms and mussels. Gary is ever the gentleman and offers the presentation is great. The fish is “perfection” but the mushroom flavour is very subtle. Does Gary taste mushrooms or mussels and the sea? Even he doesn’t know.
Callum’s pan-roasted quail with mushroom duxelles is absorbed by Matt P. The complexity and textures in the flavours is considered to be absolutely delicious.
Chris’s mushrooms three ways with sweetbreads and calf’s liver looks offal (THANK YOU!). Gary thought he’d overcooked the calf’s liver, but he was WRONG. Gary’s looking for a non-existent sauce and funnily enough doesn’t find it.
At the end of round one, the score is: Callum – 3; Justine – 2; Chris – 1.
Round 2 is all about the beer. Chris is concerned but only until he finds a bottle opener. Another 45 minutes and they’re off again. Justine “really really” wants something, but can’t express what. Gary and George rush to her to see if they can assist.
Chris is making a beer-flavoured seafood basket, and while Gary thinks it may be too heavy Chris is quick to remind him he knows nothing. Callum’s making a beer pannacotta and knows it’s a wee bit suicidal like Assange trying to get out of the Ecuadorean embassy is impossible. Justine’s making potato balls with beef fillets.
“Is it beer o’clock? No it’s not. 30 minutes to go,” says Gary. He’s wrong in all three sentences.
The brains trust get together and discuss the expected end result and while they think Chris and Callum will be OK, Justine gets frazzled quickly so they all need to offer her some special cuddles. She’s added a whole can of stout to her dish so there’s no reason the judges shouldn’t be able to taste beer in her dish. And a touch of aluminium from the pull top.
The potato balls are starting to brown too much on one side as Matt P, Gary & George stare on. Justine tells them to go away, yet they still stand, ever watching. Chris thinks Callum’s Stout pannacotta looks great and now he wishes he’d done it as he does it ALL the time. Chris knows he has to win this round as it’s his key ingredient.
Chris presents his dish for judging first – pan fried blue eye with stout battered mussels, which he presents after drizzling some foam from a freshly poured beer over the top. Gary loves the mussels, and thinks the fish is borderline overdone.
Justine’s fillet of beef with pomme parisienne with a stout jus – the beef cooked rare. The naturally trusting George cuts the fillet in half to confirm it’s cooked correctly. He slathers the beef with the sauce and enjoys the flavour, but the potato balls taste like burning.
Callum’s stout pannacotta looks spectacular to Matt P’s eye, and Callum hopes he loves it as much as his mum does. Three taps on the bench from Matt P and the jubilant music starts. Gary and George dig in as well and all we hear is mmm’s. The lick the plate clean as Matt P declares it to be the perfect dessert and outs the dish as the beer-est dish ever. More tapping on the bench, more bewildered viewers.
After round 2, the judges declare the dishes as follows: Callum – 3; Chris – 2; Justine 1. It makes the running total: Callum – 6; Chris – 3; Justine – 3. Callum is excused as he’s now ‘unbeatable’, and the final round of chestnuts is left to be battled out between the remaining members of the 2009 alumni.
Chris really likes Justine but he really wants to beat her in this one. 45 minutes, chestnuts as the key ingredient, and they’re off. This is the ingredient that Chris is least happy with, but he hopes his quail dish that harks back to his audition dish in 2009 should be enough.
Justine declares herself the “Chestnut Chick” and finally this show starts to eat itself with the meta references. She’s also preparing quail but with a different technique – Chris’s technique is mainly going like a bloody idiot for the next 10 minutes so he can get his quail in the oven so it will cook in time.
Now that Chris has his quail in the oven he can calm down, clean up, de-stress and drop out. But bacon first.
The judges make their final claims on the partially prepared dishes – Justine may be using the chestnuts more, but Chris’s might be the tastier dish. With 15 minutes to go it could be anyone’s game except for Justine. She can hear Callum who everyone knows puts you off your game a little bit, so it’s all downhill from here.
Justine pops her quail in the oven for 5 minutes to ensure it’s cooked through, while Chris has used chestnuts once, twice, three times a lady. Matt P hovers and seeds doubt over how many uses of the nut in his dish. Justine only just finishes her dish in time and it looks spectacular. But judgement looms.
Two All Stars enter; One All Star leaves. Justine delivers her dish for tasting – grilled quail with chestnuts three ways. Gary ingests the dish and offers that there’s nothing he doesn’t like about it. It’s supple and moist and everything Gary thinks about when he sees Justine. Matt P also loves the dish but he’d love more crunch. “You cook like you’ve been in a kitchen for 20 years not 20 seconds,” he says.
Chris’s stuffed quail with chestnuts is attacked by George and his horrid cutlery skills. George has noticed that Chris’s plating has improved in leaps and bounds – it’s “still full of flavour but now allagant as well”. He likes the chewy bacon bits because ALWAYS BACON. Matt P declares it to be an absolute riot.
Justine looks deflated – she hopes the judges would put them both through, whereas Chris wants into the final so he can get his “grubby little mitts on that trophy”. The judges declare Chris to be the All Star joining Callum and Kate in the grand final, and just like the first time they met Chris immediately apologises. It was won by Chris by the narrowest of margins… whatever that means.
Justine in leaving is finally awarded $5,000 for her chosen charity – the first money she’s won all series. Justine gets the boot and somehow conveniently we’re now left with one from each team heading into the final. Justine hugs all the judges and then she’s gone. Again. A tear runs down a silent George’s face and makeup is called.
Congratulations all round to Kate, Chris and Callum on making the final – and conveniently pointing out a 1st, 2nd and third from the years they represent. It’s $25,000 for the winner’s charity and it all comes down to Sunday… but first all the All Stars are back for a MasterClass featuring he of the ponytail Neil Perry and food aplenty. Peter Gilmour and Maggie Beer return to taunt and challenge the All Stars – this is gonna be great!