MasterChef AustraliaSun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
Somehow everyone including Filippo and Alice made it back from Tasmania – stupid border patrol not doing their jobs. Tonight it’s all about the mystery box, Rick Stein and a reminder that the winner will be crowned “Australia’s next MasterChef” meaning they’ll never actually be crowned, they’ll always be the “next” one. (Just as an aside as the credits roll, I wonder how many takes it took Kath to get that wacky spin right? From the take they kept I’d offer it’d be at least 13 attempts. And why is Tregan being compartmentalised as “the cool one who has tatts and partakes in roller derby” when she’s clearly not cool?)

Debra’s managed to crush her fingers in the glass doors in the house, proving you can lead a horse to slaughter but you can’t leave it to them to make sure they do the job properly. Amina sends her to the Hospital immediately, thus eliminating one of her fellow contestants from the chance of winning tonight’s immunity challenge. We quickly see Amina and the door exchange knowing glances.

It’s like a big, warm, inappropriate cuddle from Gary behind the set as the contestants return to the MasterChef kitchen. The judges can’t help themselves but pun over tonight’s mystery box ingredient – EGGS! It’s not worth listing them all, but we can sum them all us as eggs-crement.

Gary announces that the one egg they’ve been presented with is the only one they’ll get less they should use powdered egg, so they should all be effing careful. To add a further touch of interest to tonight’s mystery box the judges are looking for a winner per row. Oo-er. Saucy. But it is all about le challenge de oeuf and what the contestants can make with one egg and whatever they can forage from their urban surrounds. Including the MasterChef pantry.

Andrew’s determined his mandate for today is continue the charade that he’s a straight male hairdresser. Mindy, noting she only has one egg, is opting to twice cook it to ensure it’s stuffed. Blitz Andy, blitz! He did and managed to split the dressing he was making, but it won’t matter in his deconstructed Caesar salad (that’s code for: throwing the elements of a caesar salad on a plate and not combining them). Gary & Crazy George appear to put the wind up him and remind him he had a great week in Tassie even though he was up for elimination.

Kylie’s far too happy about cooking with only one egg as that’s all she uses for her desserts. When questioned by He of the Cravat she tells him she’s stretched her egg three ways and he congratulates her on being an excellent future mate for a virile king. Jules has opted for the less classy, more messy approach by cooking Spanish baked eggs (i.e. last night’s leftovers prepared for friends with a hangover). Mario has opted to make green eggs and ham and everyone chortles along with his delusion.

10 minutes to go and Gary reminds them all their egg was pushed out a chicken’s cloaka after much straining. It’s all sex, sex, sex with him – he’s the original MasterChef lothario. The eggs are poached/fried/massacred/punished within an inch of it’s small, oblique life. The judges note that a Caesar is the pick of the day from most contestants, but lament that’s not enough ‘at this stage of the competition’. They need to take more responsibility. Mario panics as he can’t peel his boiled egg and it falls apart in his hands like so many of his relationships prior. I can’t believe nobody made a scotch egg.

Mario’s gutted as everything else on the dish is perfect except the egg, which is gutted. The judges call out Jules, Amina, Ben, Mindy, Kylie and Andrew to taste their dishes as the eggspected best dish in each row.

Jules’s Spanish-stlye baked egg looks delicious to Gary and it ticks all his gooey boxes. Andrew’s anchovies and prawns in lemon mayonnaise call for praise for the seafood, but not for the egg protein portion. Amina’s beef mince tagine sounds remarkably like it could be a terrorist, so naturally Crazy George loves it. Kylie’s poached meringues is the pick for the judges so far and they dive in with gusto to consume the custard while Kylie laughs maniacally. Mindy’s twice cooked egg causes everyone to gush just like the egg – as if no one’s ever seen a runny yolk before, while jangly guitars remind us that no reward goes un-musically pre-empted. Ben’s thai prawn salad is declared to be a really nice balance of flavours, and Gary is smitten with the presentation – so much so he wants to marry it. Matt P thinks there was maybe a better dish at his bench and so calls Andy to present his Caesar san choy bow which the judges devour. In a two to one vote, Andy wins for the bench over Ben.

The best dish is one that championed the egg, that displayed it in all it’s glory. Like it’s first sex tape the egg was the star of Kylie’s dish and so she wins, followed by Mindy, Andy, Jules, Amina and Andrew. Gary announces the six are now team captains of their bench and they’ll work together on this challenge – and if they win, all three will cook for immunity. Tregan and Alice dance uncontrollably until Ben facepunches them. Like all yin yang MasterChef challenges though the losing team will be up for elimination – so much so early this week! Andrew’s bummed because he knows he’s gonna lose already.

As it’s a big challenge, Matt P summons a special guest to challenge the teams this week and in comes Rick Stein. Unaware he’s being filmed he doesn’t start smiling until he struggles through the doors and on seeing the cameras is reminded this is a television show and pouting is only accepted from the losing contestants, or good looking ones that Gary & Crazy George think are hot. Even the fireball agrees this is a great time to go for an ad break.

At Rick’s entry Amina’s heart stops. Just as well she’s a medic so she could revive herself and then lecture herself about her weight and future heart issues. Rick walks along the line of team leaders and shakes their hands and addresses them by name. “It’s so handy having your names on your boobs… er, aprons,” beams the King of Seafood(tm). There’s some awkward banter between Kylie and Rick that reminds us all that she’s the one who will stab her main competitor in their sleep.

“Seeing as it’s Rick Stein, of course it’s going to be a seafood challenge,” says Crazy George, “But this time you’re gonna be cooking seafood from around the weyrld.” The contestants look at each other puzzled but a producer explains so we can all get on with the show. Six countries are unveiled, as are six different kinds of seafood including bottarga which nobody has any idea what it is (mullet roe) or how to cook with it (you don’t – you just fling it at a wall and call it an art installation).

The captains have to pick a country and a seafood source and get cracking. Each team has an hour and an open pantry with which to prepare a feast to impress Rick and his minions (Gary, Crazy George & Matt P). They have to work as a team which will mean at least three people will be fighting. The captains make their picks thusly:

Kylie – France; Crabs (this writes itself, yeah?!)
Mindy – Thailand; Fish
Andy – Spain; Mussels/Pipis
Jules – Morocco; Prawns
Amina – India; Octopus
Andrew – UK; Bottarga

There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth as Jules took the Moroccan flag before Amina, but ultimately she returned serve in a way to Andrew and his team by taking the Indian flag for cooking influence. Rick encourages the teams by telling the teams to “keep it simple and let the seafood sing for itself – no choirs”. Kylie quickly briefs her team by leaning over the bench so the camera can get a great shot down her top of her cleavage. Finally this MasterChef thing pays off.

Each team gets together and brainstorms their ideas except Andrew’s team, who all throw their hands in the air and put on some sackcloth to go sit in some ashes and cry “woe is me”. Alice again over-emotes to camera which causes the sound guy to “accidentally” drop the boom in shot and on her head. The judges all stand around and make crazy suggestions as to how each team could make great use of their choices. Dalvinder, on Andrew’s team, tries the bottarga and claims it to be disgusting, not 15 seconds after Matt P described it as the “truffle of the sea” (you can just imagine Jessica Simpson thinking about pigs with scuba gear on, hunting out bottarga).

45 minutes to go and it feels like the teams only started cooking 15 minutes ago. Andrew’s team dig in with their fish eggs, while Amina’s team is loving their choice of octopus. She’s warned off the choice of coconut cream and instead decides to figuratively blow the judges heads off with a marsarla. Everyone is working hard doing nothing interesting, thus no judge interruptions.

Andy gets a visit at 30 min mark and is told he needs to add a little “something something” to his menu. Kylie’s really intimidated to cook for the Seafood King(tm), if only because she can’t present herself as a virgin for His Majesty. Tregan is shown in her token cooking shot looking confused, so at least her team is getting consistency from her.

Gary touches base with Rick to find out what he thinks of the menus that are coming. Overall he’s impressed, but not with Crazy George’s shouting at the 5 minute to go mark. It makes for a distraction while Beau drops the entire portion of crispy fish he’s prepared on the floor and Mindy wonders calmly if they’ll have time to prepare another, gosh darn! He kicks in straight away and starts making another portion while the other sits mulling it’s existence on the floor.

Food is coming out of ovens and being plated furiously as Stein & co count down the final 10 seconds. It’s all done, and the judges are keen to see what the teams have prepared. First up is Andy, Ben & Emma with their Spanish mussel dish(es). Gary declares it to be “yum”. Rick’s looking for all sorts of things that aren’t in the team’s dishes but thinks it’s not a bad effort. Then it’s Andrew, Dalvinder and Audra with their English bottarga dishes. Gary likes the pie but can’t taste the bottarga, while Rick thinks the salad is a good use of the key ingredient.

Mindy, Julia & Beau present their Thai fish food to great applause. Crazy George manages to spill as much food out of his mouth as he puts in. He compliments Mindy on her move into B&D mistress and how she whipped Beau (who loved it too). Rick loves the food and the presentation. Kylie, Wade and Sam offer their French crab dishes to Matt P, who says he loves crabs & chips but from three contestants it’s not enough while Rick thinks they’ve not encompassed the glory of French cooking. And he wouldn’t have chosen the crab, but rather the fish – every time.

Amina drew the shortest of straws by working with Mario and Filippo on their Indian octopus meals, yet still manages to walk forward to the judges smiling. She must have the patience of an Egyptian/Korean saint. Rick declares Filippo to be a bread expert which does nothing for his ego and everything for his weakness of only being able to prepare bread. The final team of Jules, Tregan and Alice deliver their Moroccan prawn dish – well, Jules and Tregan do… Alice just carries the flag. Gooooooo team!

After many shots of Matt P eating he declares the girls have nailed the flavours of Morocco, and Rick agrees. Rick’s alzheimer’s kicks in and he says he’s now in Tangier with Moroccans trying to get on the boat. He’s flashing back and it takes a slap across the face from Gary to bring him back. The girls smile po-faced through the whole experience because “he’s THE Rick Stein!”. All four judges retire to make their decision in private and laugh at Andrew’s mushroom and bottarga pie.

Rick is invite to announce the winner and before he slides into another episode he announces Team Morocco as the winner – and Jules, Tregan & Alice go bezerk. They’ll all be cooking for immunity next time we see them (which, presumably, is Tuesday night). Andrew’s Team UK is determined to have delivered the worst dishes of the lot and so he, Dalvinder and Audra are up for elimination this week. Audra announces she wears her emotions on her sleeve which explains the noise and all the blood on the floor around her. It’s Dalvinder’s fourth elimination (and at least that many for Andrew), so surely a message needs to be sent.

Rick’s just happy he got out of the house for a day, and the other contestants are sent away to sleep now like the lap dogs they are. Tomorrow night Andrew, Dalvinder and Audra face off in the pressure test with a Calombaris classic – cheese on toast.