MasterChef AustraliaSun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
It’s a gorgeous morning as we see the sun reflecting off MasterChef House with hope, now that the perpetual crying machine was eliminated on Thursday past. Everybody is so despondent Emma’s gone, and by “everybody” I of course mean “nobody”. Andrew’s still amazed he’s in the competition at the final 15 stage, as are we all. Also the straight hairdresser thing that nobody’s buying, but that’s old ground now. He wants to be in the top ten but I want to weigh 80kg and look like Brad Pitt and let’s face it – neither dream is gonna happen. “Every week we start off with another mystery box and we never know what it’s about,” says Amina, completely outlining what the point of the MYSTERY BOX challenge is.

Before anyone can say a harsh word to her, it’s into the cars and off on their next heist as Calombaris’s Fifteen. So much wide-eyed wonder still displayed by so many we still can’t remember the names of. After having butterflies for breakfast Mindy tells us she’s starting to regret the decision as she can feel them flying around inside her. It’s that or the immaculately conceived baby of Matt P, Gary & Crazy George who always seem to pay her and Julia that extra bit of attention.

Crazy George outlines how he’s feeling today: “Hot, cold, sweet, firey, but it must make you feel great”. Everyone’s perplexed until they’re directed to the mystery boxes which, when lifted, reveal today they are making… POTS AND LADLES. Alice is done ready to burst, and had Gary not asked her why perhaps she would have. THANKS FOR NOTHING, MEHIGAN! She craps on about how “her people” have made it for thousands of years but no one really listens or believes she has a “people”.

The rules, according to He of the Cravat, is that the Cheftestants have 60 minutes, an open pantry, and Crazy George is feeling more toey than a Roman Sandal and so is allowed to touch up at least 3 contestants of his choosing. They’ll only judge the top three but spit in 5 random pots and everyone will have to finish what they make.

Gary loves soup. Layer soup. Consommes. Thin soup. Hospital soup. Stewy soup. Soup that looks like it’s been strained through a dishrag. He LOVES it. Crazy George opts to over complicate even soup by suggesting the addition of gold-covered baby goat’s cheese tortellini’s rolled in truffle and then delicately served in an upturned bowler hat. Matt P has only one criteria is on his mind: “edible”.

The Cheftestants race each other to drop ever Soup Nazi gag they can – all two of them – and so with the formalities out of the way, the judges begin their meddling. Matt P accosts Wade who today is cooking food he wants to eat, not food he’d rather throw away. Mindy declares soup the hardest thing in the world to pronounce, let alone cook. Beau just wants to make bisque and nobody but nobody is going to stand in his way – even his crippling lack of talent.

Debra chooses to “put her spin” on leek & potato soup by leaving out the potatoes and adding citrus, while Alice is concentrating on channelling everything she can from her deep, rich history of pretending to be Jewish (Oy vey!). Time vanishes into the editing ether as Matt P announces five minutes to go, and then the challenge itself is completely over inside 90 seconds of montage. Crazy George waves his spoon around promising to taste “it” and a calm falls across the MasterChef kitchen, as all the Cheftestants hear him say “shit” and they’re collectively yet individually confident that’s exactly what they’ve prepared. Especially Alice.

The judges have conferred, and want to taste the soup of Debra, Amina and Wade. Matt P even notes that selecting “Wade-O” (come on, producers – twitter has ONE THOUSAND better nicknames for Wade than that) will “raise a few eyebrows”. Mainly in Wade’s family, who share between them a total of two brows. Alice isn’t surprised that Wade has been selected in the top 3 because “he’s been working so hard back in the MasterChef House”, and how else could she explain the rampant racism shown by the judges to her over-emoted pretend Jewish heritage she kept banging on about all episode? Debra condescendingly welcomes Wade to the winner’s line up.

Gary likes Deb’s chunky potato & leek soup because it’s so simple and cheesy, just like him. Matt P likes Deb’s soup because it gives him a cuddle and he’s not had one for weeks. Crazy George starts on Amina’s chicken & lemon soup unaware of the complexity that lay in the depths of the bowl in front of him. He’s lost for words, except to note the preserved lemon has given it another little dimension… again proving his grasp of astro and multi-planar physics hasn’t improved since MasterChef began three years ago.

Wade has to explain again to Matt P that he’s prepared mushroom soup with porcini crutons even though he told him when he popped in during the cooking of it (that cravat is so tight he’s now starting to forget even the simplest of things). Five heaped spoonfuls later he pauses to offer this poorly formed haiku: “For me, the best soups say what they are, and are what they are… and that’s exactly what this is.” Somebody check Preston’s blood sugar level – now he’s just gibbering. Conveniently Wade has prepared a mushroom soup that tastes like mushroom, which seems hardly an achievement for a person in the top 15 amateur chefs in Australia.

He of the obviously separated brow is crowned the king of the soup mystery box, and he falls to his knees in shock. Amina’s so very happy for him but it doesn’t count because she’s innately happy for everyone (even Alice, which is confusing because traditionally her people and Alice’s people, they don’t get along so well). Matt P is now proving he’s in need of urgent medical attention by making many golf analogies for Wade’s improved performance.

By winning the mystery box Wade gets to choose the key ingredient for the invention test about to take place, and the theme is “Dude Food”. It’s either going to be a gross misuse of cadavers or they’re talking about blokey, boofy, calorie-laden food that guys like and women aren’t allowed near for fear they’d be impregnated by it. Tregan comforts herself by saying this is her kind of food proving what we though about her the entire time: she’s a transgender contestant. Amina has a laughing fit over the memory of waking with a half-eaten kebab on her chest only last night. There was also a roast chicken, Peking Duck pancakes, a Black Forest gateaux and some salt & vinegar chips but nobody asked about those.

Wade is presented with the three core ingredient choice for the invention test: Kewpie mayonnaise, tomato sauce or Thai hot sauce. When Gary asks Wade what’s going through his head, Wade is compelled to answer “the rest of my eyebrow, growing through from the back of my head” but instead the Fireball declares it’s time for an ad before he has a chance to respond.

Wade returns to the kitchen to reveal he’s picked the Kewpie/Japanese mayo. Almost everyone’s excited. The judges inform the teams they’re looking for the best dish of the day to cook off for immunity and the worst three dishes which will drive those Cheftestants into an elimination cook-off. Dude jokes aside, this has the capacity to engorge and horrify and it’s everything we’ve been waiting for in a MasterChef challenge – FOOD FOR THE PEOPLE!

The judges are expecting some really, really good food, and some complete disasters – so it’ll be situation normal. Kylie’s decided to make a sweet hamburger with a marshmallow filling with bacon, along with a caramel mayo dressing. Tregan’s making her take on a sloppy joe and onion rings – something she’s never made before but she’s confident that she won’t screw it up because it’s dude food… how hard can it be?!

Wade’s opted for Kewpie-braised pork ribs with multiple kewpie dressing options (which makes it sound like a playset for it’s namesake doll), and Debra has lost all sense of reality and is simply pounding at random cuts of meat on her chopping board. Andrew’s feeling his most bloke-iest after spending his Monday’s in the garden and he always goes and gets a chicken, lettuce & mayo sandwich afterwards to top off the bloke-iness. He’s such a bloke in absolutely no sense of the word.

Gary & Crazy George stop by Amina’s work space and immediately start eating all her finished product. Sam announces he’s making “a hotdog, but made with crab”, and while there’s at least two things wrong with that idea he acknowledges that this is experimental and it could be a disaster. Gary’s so overcome with the smell of actual food in the kitchen he equates the remaining Cheftestants with dogs they’ve let off the leash in the park. Matt P pays Tregan the ultimate compliment by asserting she’s basically a dude because of her rough exterior, the dyed hair and her penis.

Gary & Crazy George stop by Julia’s workspace long enough to swoon and ensure she gets her face time on camera, as promised in the settlement from the incident earlier in the season. Matt P reminds Andrew his dish has to be able to be consumed in one hand so the other hand can hold your girlfriend’s hair out of the way while she spews. “Think buty!” says Andrew, which Matt P corrects to “Think chip buttie”. He’s such a dude… but it prompts him to make some crisps to go with his delicate little manwich.

CRISIS! Twenty minutes to go and Julia’s not yet made her pancakes and can only think of a poor Ashton Kutcher film to quote as a response. Tregan’s running out of time too, as is Amina who is struggling to roll her sushi. Andrew’s finally arrived at the freaking out stage, which is five minutes away from ‘chuck any shit on the plate’ stage. He’s also not sure how the food is going to get into “our mouths”, but then simple things like opposable thumbs keep him deep in puzzled thought at the best of times. Two minutes to go.

Plating everywhere, and as expected when the clock rounds up everyone’s got all their food on the plate. Audra and Amina embrace and opt to never let go of each other, which may cause a problem in future rounds. Tregan’s confident her fiance would demolish her plate of burgers – luckily he’s on the judging panel for this challenge. Crazy George freaks us all out with the announcement that the judges will be tasting all the food with their warm, stumpy, creepy little fingers (ones Julia knows about all too well).

Wade is the first one to get his food judged as he was responsible for picking the key ingredient. His Kewpie braised pork ribs with a duo of treated mayos gets a big tick for the crispy part of the ribs, and the smoked mayo is a winner for Crazy George. Given it’s dude food he could have deep fried a shoe sole and they would have loved it.

Julia’s Indian Pan Rolls look like three nice little heart attacks on a plate, and Gary nearly faints while eating one. Because she made it, he loves it. The mics are exceedingly close as every crunch and slurp is overstated for us. Andrew’s delicate chicken & mayo sandwiches are off to a bad start when Matt P questions their very existence. No chicken crumbs prompts Matt to tell Andrew a serious conversation is required about the value of crumbing. He’s waved away with the call of “too much breadage, baldy dude”.

Sam present’s his ‘crab & prosciutto hotdog’ after declaring he doesn’t have a real background with dude food (or at least not one he can remember). Crazy George has first bite and can barely get his mouth around the closed roll, and he’s even got time to show off his super power of crushing bread in his hand so that it crumbles into nothingness. He’s waited years to show that off on MasterChef. Ben presents his ‘Nacho Taco’ sans cheese which leaves it not worth mentioning further.

Beau presents a ‘cheesy pork 7 fennel sausage’ in a roll – effectively another hotdog but he doesn’t want it tarred with the same brush Sam’s dish was. Crazy George questions his commitment to offer a sausage in a roll after one hour. Amina’s sushi rolls offer nothing because the rice has no flavour.

Tregan presents her Braise Beef Ribs with the works, which Gary dives into and declares it to be a triumph. It’s soft, toasty, crispy, soft, zingy, sweet, soft – just like his love-making. Kylie’s dish gets the once over too, and her ‘bacon donuts with kewpie caramel and lime marshmallow’ are declared by Crazy George to be pushing the boundaries to a place beyond taste, beyond calories where we all live in chairs that move us around and our legs have atrophied into small stumps. He loves it in a way a man shouldn’t love food but he is smitten.

The three best dishes are considered to have been made by Julia, Tregan & Kylie (as much as Gary wanted to call forward a dude, he had to call a dudess). Of these three, Tregan is announced the winner by a Black Caviar short head. All of the tatts on her arm form together to make a magic eye picture revealing the recipe for her dish in a very Prison Break-esque moment.

Where there are winners there’s also losers, and tonight’s losers are the loseriest bunch of losers that ever lost. Andrew is back up for elimination for crimes against chicken; Sam lines up for a poor execution of crab hotdog (because that was never gonna fail); & Amina gets served her black apron for pretending to cook sushi (to the gasps of many of the other Cheftestants).

Tomorrow the three will line up to cook off to remain in the 2012 MasterChef competition. Matt P reminds them that they all have the mad skills to remain in and even win the competition. Except for Andrew, naturally. The pressure test is set by Christine Mansfield and she doesn’t muck around, and there’s a lot of suggestion that Amina is the one to struggle in her first elimination pressure test. Duuuuuuuuuuuude.