MasterChef Australia – Sun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
Last night on Masterchef, Mindy presented a dish worthy of the cover of histories greatest magazines: Time. Harpers Bazzar. Vanity Fair. Pig Shooters Monthly. However, for every winner there are always three losers. And those losers were Wade, Ben and Alice, who were booked in for a pressure test elimination. But in a savage twist, Alice was left to dwell on the decision to use or not to use her immunity pin, with Beau waiting on the outcome. Tonight, that very pressure test will take place at 1100 hectopascals, which is the traditional method of measuring pressure.
Wade packs his bag, including his faulty electric razor that has left him with a severely uneven beard. Ben reads a letter from Andy through a haze of tears, while Alice reads some letters from her students, who still can’t spell “fcuk off and dye bich”. The others talk about pins before everyone is off to the stadium thing.
They arrive and the three judges stand there, legs expectantly spread. George asks the big question of Alice: “just why do you were those stupid glasses?” She fails to offer a satisfactory answer so he has to resort to a backup question: “Will you use the pin?” Alice says that she spent the morning reading letters from her students, because she’s a particularly slow reader. Alice makes the dubious claim that the students had written how proud they were of her, and how they hoped she’d would win. “I had another lesson to teach them” she said, “you can win without stepping on other people”. But it’s less fun. Anyway, the long and the short of it was that Alice had decided not to use the pin.
For the pressure test, a chef is required that needs no introduction, unless of course you don’t know who he is, which in the case of Grant King is most people. However, it is unlikely you’ll forget him once you’ve eaten at his eponymously named restaurant “Gastro Park”, a place you DON’T want to take your kids. He strides in carrying a cloche covered plate, and lifts the lid to reveal a crispy fried snapper, with calamari cracker, confit of calamari, and seared calamari, with some ink mixed in. Must have been a calamari sale on at Coles. 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete the task, and I fear that will be in real time as they drain every last drop out of this show before the end of next week.
Ben believes the difficulty of the dish makes it worthwhile doing, and promises to follow the recipe 100%, even to the toilet. Wade starts on the crispy squid, while Audra suggests Alice should stir her tapioca. Ben says the calamari crackling is something he’d do in his science class, as he’s fond of wasting the students’ valuable learning time. He struggles with it before Grant rescues him.
Gary reckons Wade looks military, while George thinks Alice will freestyle. Grant says they all should be motoring. At this stage I have no idea what they’re talking about. Kylie thinks wade is “cruising”, as he fashions a handlebar moustache out if his burgeoning beard, and dons leathers before heading out for a touch of “cottaging”. The crowd above can see Ben is struggling and offer encouragement, particularly Andy who wants Ben to show him some speed. Alice’s attempts at humour fall flat as she attempts to fillet the snapper. Andy says she’s butchering the fish, but butchering is a skill and skill is what’s lacking in Alice’s knifework. She produces an uneven fillet so turns the snapper over for a second try as the dramatic music reaches an explosive crescendo and our televisions literally explode. However all is well with the world as the executive chef of Barilla teaches us how to open a jar of pasta sauce.
Back from the break and Gary, unable to watch even a dead fish suffer, rescues Alice’s filleting attempt, before both Ben and Alice put the black sludge in the thermo mix. Alice says it looks like something out of Ghostbusters, clearly targeting the work of Ernie Hudson simply because of his race. Ben says its the hardest thing he’s ever dealt with, and before anyone can say “what about Andy”, he clarifies “to cook”.
Wade declares he’s feeling calm as he follows the recipe. Andy says he’s never seen Ben work like this before and believes he’s deliberately trying to give him a heart attack, or possibly an erection. However cracks soon begin to appear in the bromance as Ben bites back from one too many comments from Andy, leading Kylie to officially declares it a lovers’ tiff.
After a break Andy can be seen banging his head against a wall, as his frustration with Ben reaches fever pitch. George tries to get to the root of Ben’s problem as Ben casts a longing glance at Andy. George offers words of inspiration as Ben is overcome with emotion and claims to have idolized and looked up to George, a herculean feat considering George is some two foot shorter.
Meanwhile, Mindy decides to start drilling Wade just as soon as this inconvenient pressure test is over, while Alice’s potatoes get stuck to the bottom. Everyone starts to confit their calamari strips, and as Alice starts working on her fish she laments her portion size. The music gets faster as time starts winding down. Alice insults her crackling, Wade starts to fall behind, and Ben comes up from the rear, causing Andy sever palpitations. Wade has forgotten his seared calamari and with literally a minute to go Alice provides him with a hot pan as he manages to get everything on the plate just like everyone else, just in time.
Wade serves first and Grant is not happy with the presentation. George likes the potato but Matt laments the lack of crack in the crackers, and the undercooking of the squid. Grant, who can’t afford his own opinion in this climate of restaurants going into insolvency, can only agree.
Alice comes next and explains why she didn’t use the pin, without using the words “idiot” and “legally brain dead”. Grant has more to say about this dish as he begins to warm up to the task. They taste and Gary finds a bone, Grant says the calamari and the fish aren’t cooked well, while George claims to have got “a good piece of the cracker” in a recent visit to a Midwestern bar in the States.
Ben comes out last. Instantly Grant likes the way the dish looks, and by this stage he won’t shut up. George hopes it tastes great, as Andy finally has a rival for Bens affections. Everything that should be crispy is crispy. George says its a fabulous dish and that Grant, who took no part in its actual making, should be very proud. Matt bids him farewell suggesting that they’d look forward to seeing him back in the Masterchef kitchen. Which they well might if his restaurant fails like so many others. As a contestant.
The contestants sit down before the judges to meet their fate and it takes them no time to tell Ben he’s safe. Andy will be getting some tonight. Alice is criticized for making the scales on the fish soft and flaccid, a claim made not for the first time. But notwithstanding this she’s safe and Wade is going home. Alice’s maternal instincts take over and rather than gloat she instantly consoles Wade. Then Gary tells Ben and Alice that tomorrow everyone faces elimination.
Back at the house, Andy is nervous because he doesn’t know what happened in that tasting room. Did Ben succumb to Wade’s charms? However once he walks through the door it’s man hugs aplenty, and perhaps a little groping.
Wade returns home to some severe head rubbing, and the end credits inform us that he is currently seeking an apprenticeship in Perth, even though he live in Brisbane. Tomorrow, everyone is facing elimination, except Kylie Kwong, who will preside over the farce.