MasterChef Australia – Sun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
It’s a brand new day on MasterChef, as we’re reminded by the now stock footage shot of the house across Sydney harbour – the place that’s famous for the things it’s famous for. Audra’s the only one up and is able to reconcile that there’s only 8 contestants left, three girls with pins, her with no pin, and Andy with one suitcase. Andy’s confident he’ll make at least the Top 7 if not the Top 8.
The Cheftestants enter the MasterChef Kitchen somewhat tentatively, seeing as they’re all in black aprons and appear to have burnt orange targets on their chests. Gary, George & Matt P stare them down as they enter, and Gary takes great pride in announcing “It’s the week of bombshells” – clearly a massive case of false advertising as not once have the Cheftestants had to cook bombs nor dispose of said bombshells.
Kylie’s very nervous and her tourettes is starting to show through as she launches into a Flashdance-esque sequence all sparked from her tapping foot. Alice decides she needs a break (don’t we all?!) and hands over her pin and apron, and subseuquently is not required for this challenge. A little too conveniently, Mindy does the same. When Kylie is asked her intentions, her foot taps out her answer in Morse Code – she’s out too.
I CALL SHENANIGANS. All three pins getting used at once?!
This leaves Juliabot, Andy, Beau, Audra & Ben are up for a day-long immunity. Matt P threatens to bring in someone that will challenge them, but instead introduces Kylie Kwong. He reminds her she’s not the young pup she used to be now that she’s been cooking for 38 and a half years (which is only 12 human years).
It’s a two round challenge – first up is “Keeping up with Kylie”, working against Kylie Kwong as she prepares a dish and the Cheftestants must keep up and finish when she does. Two safe, three go into the final elimination round which is yet to be revealed but threatens to be some sort of Human Centipede hybrid challenge.
Audra attempts to flatter Kylie but the master cannot be mocked. Beau finds Kylie a little bit scary which Ms Kwong initially laughs off, but is seen scribbling something on the floor with her toe which a minion runs in to read and then scurries back into the corner and repeats to the massed Chinese hipsters dressed in black suits wearing eye masks. They snap to attention and dance out of the kitchen to a 50’s rock ‘n roll track, Tarantino style.
George suggests Mindy comes down to hug Kylie, but only so he has some new images involving Mindy for his “special alone time” after the taping. Beau sneaks in a quick cuddle first, which for some reason makes Gary really happy but George a little disappointed.
The first dish they’ll prepare is Kylie’s signature steamed blue swimmer crab with black beans and chilli – a dish that usually only takes her 20 minutes, but today may stretch due to the involvement of the Cheftestants and their special needs. Julia whirs and clanks, which basically means she thinks she’s in trouble as there’s no dessert element in this dish. BUT WHAT OF HER SHOP SHE WILL TAKE THE WINNER’S MONEY AND USE TO SET UP?!
The challenge starts, and the five attempt the worst mirroring sequence possible. Ben can barely keep up and all Kylie’s asked him to do is pick up the saucepan. Audra knows one mistake and she’s playing catch up, which is awkward enough as she’s started frenching a lamb rack. Andy plays his trump card by asking Kylie to repeat steps which buys all of them time.
Five minutes in and Ben’s ten minutes behind. Kylie takes pity on the Cheftestants and offers some friendly banter while secretly continuing with the dish while not telling them anything. Audra feels everyone expects her to coast through this challenge when secretly she’s skating.
It’s all about the balance of flavour in this dish – something Andy thinks he’s got, Julia knows she’s got, and Ben is busy looking up in a dictionary what a “Kwong” is. In no time Kylie’s added the crab and plates the dish – the Cheftestants are in various states of panic. Everyone gets a plate done, some looking more convincing than others. By the magic of TV Ben has caught up as three producers in aprons scatter as the camera pans to him. Beau hasn’t got the sauce on and he’s shattered.
Gary announces that’s what he calls “Racing the Kylie”, which isn’t even deemed to be puntastic. It’s just Kwong. So very, very Kwong.
The dishes are presented to the judges for tasting – but Kylie’s first. It’s deemed to be a little light on flavour and not as good as Kylie’s dish. If only Kylie had copied Kylie. Ben is called up first for comparison and is found to be wanting. Wanting some assistance in plating, though the crab is perfectly cooked. Beau’s next, and he’s not happy – no sauce and no happy make Beau something something.
A disturbing trend is appearing in that all the Cheftestants can cook crab perfectly when shown. Until Audra presents her ‘borderline overcooked crab’. The sauce is lacking some soy and therefore a little too sweet. Julia’s missing sauce and emotion, though it’s never stopped her before. She’s concerned her crab is all arms and legs, just like that first time in the MasterChef pantry with Gary.
Andy’s crab – perfectly cooked, and the ratio of sauce to tears is just perfect. Matt P thinks his sauce isn’t as good as Julia’s, but she didn’t have enough – so it comes down to the judges greediness vs jealousy. They quickly declare Ben safe, with the second spot going to Andy (though it was closer, mainly because he doesn’t put out).
This leaves Julia, Audra and Beau facing the “ding ding, round two” final elimination round. Good to see George shy away from obvious puns for once – perhaps the budget was cut and his pun writer had the night off? The three have 45 minutes to prepare a dish by picking one of eight ingredients, to which they can add eight other fresh ingredients from the pantry, and then deliver a plate that explains the effect of carbon tax on birthday cakes.
The three pick an envelope each which only extends the convoluted elimination challenge by allowing them to determine who picks first. Beau comes up trumps and selects prawns; Audra selects tofu; and Julia races for mushrooms. Gary states the bleeding obvious by telling the Cheftestants that the best thing they could do is cook a great dish to go out on. Because that’s what Jesus would do.
Kylie doesn’t want a mess on the plate. Beau decides to make stir-fried prawns, proving to be the exception t the rule. Audra calls on all her commercial cooking powers to work on a special soy-soaked tofu which Kylie is really excited about. Julia’s making a master stock chicken and Kylie’s initial concern is the amount of time Julia doesn’t have to poach the chicken. Naturally Julia thinks everyone but her is wrong, except Mindy who shouts down instructions which Julia follows to the letter.
George swings by to help point out to Julia where to cut her chicken, but with only 25 minutes to go and she’s only just putting the chicken in the stock she could be well behind the eight ball. That’s Kylie’s concern. Along with the fact that Beau is still in the MasterChef kitchen period.
Kylie notes her concern that Beau’s a little bit flustered, but he’s only making a stir-fry. It’s pretty hard to stuff that up. Time has raced away, and with three minutes to go Julia’s chicken still isn’t cooked and Gary notes if she was to serve raw chicken it would be a fait accompli – french for “we have to give her another chance because she’s hot”.
Stop cooking! Everyone’s on the edge of their seats – who’s taken it out today: Capsicum or Tomato? The remaining Balconistas come and say goodbye to the eliminatorial three, and there’s special hugs for everyone (some more special than others – Andy & Beau, we’re looking at you). The Cheftestants bring their dishes to be judged by Gary, George, Matt P & Kylie Kwong one at a time, Beau first. His stir-fried prawns has great presentation for Gary, Kylie likes the sauce coating the prawns though notes there’s no strong thread to his flavours.
Audra’s Tofu in sezchuan sauce is considered a success in marrying plastics with vegetables. Matt P is concerned the outside of the Tofu is flowery while the custardy interior has shades of blackberries and cinnamon, but that could be the large slug of merlot he took before tasting. Kylie loves the look of the dish and notes the sauce shows incredible restraint, just like her ability to mask her cooking experience.
Chicken poached in a shitake masterstock, as plated and presented by Julia, isn’t as shitake as the judges first thought it might be. Kylie’s impressed, but that’s only because a soul and emotionless android has discerned the correct chemical combinations fit for human consumption. Kylie likes the smell as it reminds her of her mother’s foot diseases as she was growing up as a child. Beau looks worried – if only he’d included some fungus too!
“Sadly,” says Matt P, “Only two of you are safe and one of you has to go home because we have to be finished before the Olympics start as I’ve got tickets to the swimming.” The first one safe is Audra (but of course!), and she looks visibly relieved as a small puddle appears around her feet. Straight away Julia is announced as the second person safe, and Beau gives her a hug before standing back in line to find out which of the three of them is being sent home tonight. It’s left to Audra to break the news to him, to which he admits “I knew it – there was no way I was going to be able to beat you two… It was just like Sophie’s Choice”.
George is really excited in having seen Beau develop from being a pipe layer who likes to cook to being a pipe layer who likes to cook better food. He hugs everyone, and Matt P wipes away a tear as Beau leaves. “MasterChef has been the best experience of my life, even better than when I was born,” says Beau in the car as he’s raced home because the car has to be back at the car rental place by 8:30pm.
The girls are told to go home and pack an overnight bag as tomorrow’s team challenge is gonna be a big one. Interestingly George hasn’t told any of the other Cheftestants to pack bags… only these two. Curiouser and curiouser. Kylie is left in the kitchen as the lights are turned off, because no one officially thanked her for being involved and that’s part of her contract.
The girls return home, and Andy’s upset that Beau’s not returned but only because he took Andy’s bag of clothes home and not his own. Mindy insists on continuing the STUPID three cheers tradition for the departed contestant which makes absolutely no sense on every level. Beau’s welcomed home by his family who toast his success and point him to a shovel and some pipe that needs laying.
“I now have all the things I need to create my dream,” says Beau as the screen tells us he’s looking for work experience in a kitchen. Some dream.
Tomorrow night, the Top 7 are placed in an Adriano Zumbo nightmare where they have to create their own edible centrepiece. All is forgiven after the “guy who trained Zumbo” fiasco, as there’s hugs, high-fives and ass squeezes all round with the demon patissiere. But it all comes down to how it tastes according to ‘Australia’s top six patisserie chefs’, five of which we’ve never heard of and one of which is Matt Moran.