MasterChef AustraliaSun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
Previously on Masterchef, the final pieces of the top 24 puzzle fell into place and now, regrettably, we get to know the contestants. Tonight, a mystery box challenge and the first time we get to see the contestants appear in the opening credits, as they are filmed in various life threatening situations. Kath is surrounded by vegetables but battles her way out to compete in the show.

Back in Sydney finally, as Melbourne becomes a distant, grizzly memory. Various contestants arrive at Masterchef House. Emma reminds us of her dream to open up her own little pastry shop, where the ceiling is no more than 4 foot high and the furnishings are made of paddle pop sticks. Sam and Tregan enter the house before we are reminded that Tregan is queen of the roller derby and not to be trifled with. The view is stunning, according to Sam, as seventeen NSW police officers greet them and use their bodies for some much needed taser practice. Beau says his job is pretty tough, as he’s in the mud most of the time, but he left his career as a mud wrestler behind to follow his non-mud wrestling related dreams.

Kylie, who we’d all forgotten about, is a physiotherapist from Sydney, not to be confused with Mindy, who is a physiotherapist from Brisbane. Audra is definitely not a physiotherapist from anywhere but she could be if she wanted. All of them arrive at the house and do and say various things.

Kevin, a casino marketer, is from Canada, or so he says, and likes rugby. Ben and Andy inspect the toilets. They are disappointed at the lack of bidets, but are overjoyed to find in each other fellow bidet aficionados. Ben reveals that his schoolkids applied on his behalf, which would explain why his name was signed as ‘Cock Breath’ on the application form. Julia likes anything that is sweet and says she can make up to 300 cupcakes a week, via her Indonesian sweat shop. Filipo loves making wood fire pizza and kissing children on the cheek, while his arch enemy Amina confirms stereotypes by cooking in a Tagine.

On arrival Matt reaches puberty and celebrates by lying on a bed. Kath is the director of the Hawkesbury regional gallery where she hides the work of her best artists in enormous compactors, lest someone see them and accuses her of doing a good job. Alice continues to wear oversize glasses as her head races against time to catch up.

With all the contestants assembled they collect the third in a series of aprons, these ones with their very own names, before they arrive at Masterchef HQ and marvel at the history that oozes from the building. Gary welcomes them and smiles like a man who’s had an erection for seven hours. The meretricious Matt Preston says that good isn’t enough, you have to push yourself to greatness, or push your fellow contestants into the ground.

They rush to their benches to claim a mystery box, and Gary informs them they are all the same but all a little different. Everyone has their own personal fireball to love and raise as they see fit. Except when we return it’s actually a mirror, the least edible of all the five food groups.

Alice notes that he box contains a picture of a complete lunatic wearing oversized safety glass, while Deborah is fascinated to see her reflection, before stumbling over her words, explaining how courageous she is to be there. This causes me to vomit all over my TV screen. After I clean up, they’re off and cooking. None of them can believe their eyes as they walk into a magical land where ingredients are stacked on shelves. If only there was a store in real life that could offer something similar.

Sam is doing some duck, but takes some time out of his busy love life to cook a bit as well. Alice is making twice cooked tongue, because tongue reminds her of growing up in Georgia, where the locals used to cut out their tongues rather than speak to her family. Beau confirms he is an Aussie bloke when he says he’s cooking steak and reveals his bloke shaped penis. Deb says her dish represents her because when you eat it, the flavours are complex. Ben is doing Mexican because when he was a kid his mother filled them up on cheap taco shells stuffed with dirt and he hates his mother more than anything.

Emma is making a Chinese cake with Chai ice cream, possibly because all Asian desserts look the same to her. Alice’s tongue is taking too long. She says it’s a risk, but Gary says “There’s risk. And then there’s stupidity. And then there’s George”. Meanwhile, we are informed that there’s no freshness like Cole’s freshness. There is actual freshness, but it’s not like Coles freshness.

When we come back, Alice has to chop her tongue to get it to cook quicker. Sam is running out of time as he ties up his duck and tapes its mouth shut. Deb uses the wrong sugar, but ploughs on ahead, until she discovers she hasn’t put in enough flour. Still she guffaws to camera. Ben is cooking a deconstructed beef taco, while Julia, to the shock of everyone, is making cupcakes. She will be a ‘choux’ in for any cupcake challenge, but may suffer in other areas. Sam’s duck has a few issues, the main one being that it objects to being cooked and eaten. So he takes it out and cuts its arms and legs off. Pretty soon it stops complaining.

Tregan makes pasta while trying to figure out how to change her name seamlessly. Alice’s tongue is being skinned, and she starts slicing and grilling the rest. Emma is praying to the kitchen gods to freeze her ice cream, but the kitchen gods have lost interest by now and have switched over to The Voice. Deb’s cakes collapse, an embarrassing thing to occur when you’re wearing a low cut top. George reminds is that the winner will be competing for immunity. But in a modern society with free medical care it should be a given. Ben is worried about his tortillas: they went out three hours ago and haven’t called. Emma begins to cry, bringing out her main weapon far too early. Beau is still cooking his steak, which by this time should be carbon.

30 seconds to go and we know who will and won’t feature heavily in the tasting, before their time is up and no one has died. It wouldn’t be correct to say I was disappointed, but sometimes I wish the hyperbole matched the reality.

Each of the dishes should represent their maker. Ben brings up his deconstructed taco. He has turned corn chips back into corn and planted them in the field. Preston thinks it looks nice. He tastes it, and then hand feeds George and Gary, as if his concubine that they undoubtedly are.

Beau brings up his Aussie Bloke dish and Gary asks if it’s cooked medium rare. He cuts to confirm that it is cooked properly and perhaps it wasn’t because a fireball is used to put on the finishing touches, as Charlie Pickering tells me I may not be sleeping enough.

When we come back, the fireball has done the trick and the steak is well cooked. But Gary wants him to move on from big blokey dishes and settle down with someone a little more refined. Tregan has spent too much time on her calamari and not enough on her prawns. Sam’s moment of truth arrives as he brings his duck up. After eating, perhaps Gary, George and Matt will bring it up too. But in fact they manage to keep it down even though it’s overcooked.

Emma arrives with her dessert and an oversized clown hankie to wipe away her tears. George thinks it’s delicious, and Preston thinks the Chai anglaise complements the cake and all those around it. Alice brings up her twice cooked beef tongue but no matter how many times it’s cooked, it’s still tongue. It tastes like a leather boot, but a gourmet one. George reckons Deb’s lime and ricotta syrup cake is totally her on a plate, because he’s touched her and she’s very sticky.

The top three are named, and it’s Emma, Ben and Deborah. Gary admits he would have eaten Deborah’s entire dish if the cameras weren’t on him, as Preston casts a comforting arm around his shoulders, telling him acknowledging you have a problem is the first step.

And Ben is named the best dish, despite his dry beef. Tomorrow night, he will compete in an immunity challenge, which George says won’t be easy and will be a Masterchef first. This may mean that he will compete naked, or maybe not. But whatever state of dress or undress he competes in, it will be against a trio of chefs, led by the indefatigable Dan Hong.