MasterChef AustraliaSun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
Last night on Masterchef, three of the best home cooks from around the country watched from the comfort of their homes as Wade, TK and Lydia fought it out to avoid elimination all whilst creating a Peter Gilmore masterpiece. For Lydia, though, her journey ended after the car pulled up outside her home and let her out, following her elimination from the show. Tonight, Mindy gets her chance to shine, on MASTERCHEF!

The scene opens on a glorious Sydney morning, all the more glorious for the absence of Lydia. Mindy is grilled by her housemates, as she irons her chef whites for the 17th time. She says food is the foundation of her life, her house standing on sponge cake instead of stumps. According to Mindy, her dad is in the Middle East, though astute viewers will remember that in the first week she said he was in Afghanistan, which is technically part of South Asia, and its language of Dari and Pashto are more closely related to Indian and Urdu languages than Arabic. Make of that what you will, but I’ve got my suspicions.

Mindy arrives all smiles, unaware of the terror that lies within. The others cheer her as if they like her. She’s on the cusp of winning immunity, says Gary, as well as Pisces. Darren Robertson and cohorts from Three Blue Ducks stroll in, all former employees of Tetsuya, though back when he was a garbo, not a restaurateur. George says there’s some great news, but reveals the lie by telling her she can pick two from the other contestants, plus have Matt Moran as a mentor.

So it’s Team Darren v Team Mindy, producing entree, main and dessert, using either cheese or wine. Mindy get’s to choose, but she has to choose whether to choose the cheese or the wine, or choose who will assist her. She goes with choosing her team mates, and while Ben and Andy consommé their love on the stairs, she chooses Julia and Amina. Darren struggles with the choice he’s given, but eventually goes with cheese. Amina admits to never having even heard of cheese.

Team Mindy gets 90 minutes. Nice clean flavours, no smut, says George. He feels like a little pee. A pea ravioli that is, or a consommé, while Preston is expecting a crunchy, crispy, radishy thing. Gary reckons beetroot works with cheese, but beetroot works with everything. I mean if it beats a root it must be good.

Mindy fingers her pasta before Moran rudely interrupts and demands a menu related explanation. There’s a goats cheese salad to start and it’s being made by Amina. Main course is four cheese ravioli with a brown butter and hazelnut sauce, which Mindy will make. Moran wants thin pasta because he’s sizeist. Julia is making something desserty with pears and ricotta.

Mindy bemoans the fact that she can’t taste a lot of cheese in Amina’s entree. Then the three blue ducks enter the fray but get lost in the supermarket. Still it’s not long before they’re underway and Darren is confident in Shannon and Mark, who are his support act. Yet Moran thinks they’re too relaxed, lying spreadeagle on the lounge smoking a doobie. Their entree is tagliatelle served cold, while the main is a mushroom risotto, and dessert is pumpkin, pear, blue cheese and burnt meringue, the burning a presumed accident they’re already planning for, because they are, after all, professionals. Moran explains to Darren that risotto is known as the dish of death on Masterchef, and that no one has ever won anything when cooking it. This could have something to do with the fact that it’s just mushy rice.

With 45 minutes to go Moran shouts at them that there are only 45 minutes to go. Mindy has time to laugh as Julia “cuts” her “biscuit”, which is a euphemism for slicing her baked good. She spoon feeds Mindy who can only say “OMG!” leaving Julia wondering “WTF?” On the other side one of the blue ducks is making some pasta and casting threatening gestures at the gallery.

Julia puts a hole in her pear so she can later secrete a tiny Emilio Estevez and Richard Dreyfuss who will in turn stake out a miniature Madeline Stow. Unfortunately she accidently pours them down the sink, and she also ruins the pear. Fortunately she has a spare pear. Then Moran suddenly shouts that they should be thinking about putting food on a plate, rather than putting food on the less traditional live mouse.

With 5 minutes to go Julia gets the shakes as she burrows into her last pear and hides there from the accusing stairs of the gallery. But she comes out after working on the pear from the inside and successfully removes the core without collapsing the roof. People from above cheer wildly as a group of professional chefs perform their day jobs, and a group of amateurs cook dinner. Everyone counts down until they get to one and then they stop as if one is the last number, which it is.

Mindy is effusive in her praise of Amina and Julia, saying they were just like clockwork and not completely dissimilar from Kraftwerk. Then it’s time for tasting. Team Mindy’s beetroot and goat’s cheese salad, and Team Darren’s tagliatelle are up first. George mentions cheese and thinks there’s a great use of cheese, while Gary makes the outlandish suggestion that they should taste the dishes. First the salad. Prestons eyes roll back in his head which is a sign that he’s tasting something, but Gary appears nonplussed. Preston says it all when he says “Where’s the cooking” and the others agree. Next the tagliatelle. Gary is not a fan of cold pasta, or Coldplay for that matter, and Preston wonders what it would taste like warm. Well, think about what you just tasted and then add warm to that. There’s your answer. George and Gary like the salad, but Preston stands up for the pasta.

Next up are the mains, and Gary says “wow” . He says he’s a comfort eater, taking solace from his woes in food. He hates Team Darren’s risotto dish because of its presentation. Then they eat it and like the taste, but Gary is hung up on how it looks, which is a bit like a pot and a kettle comparing their shades of darkness. Then it’s Team Mindy’s ravioli, and Gary comments on the fact that they’re big slabs of ravioli. George and Matt thinks it needs some balance, and Gary agrees, but Matt notes that cheese is the superhero of the dish, and its special powers are that it doesn’t create an allergic reaction in those that are lactose intolerant. Then dessert comes out, and all Matt can say is “very tricky”, marvelling at the inventiveness of the waiter in using his hands to carry a plate. Team Darren’s dish causes Gary to suffer auditory hallucinations as he hears his dad’s voice in his ear. He is also uncertain about Julia’s “biscuit”. George thinks the pear dish is a crowd pleaser and that Team Darren’s dish looks wacky. Team Darren certainly had some “wacky tobaccy” before making it. Preston is not a fan, while Gary is confused. He loves it, but it’s not something he would do. For him it’s a big question mark. It’s much simpler for George, who thinks it’s a cheese board.

Then it’s time for the scores. Gary asks who cooked what, but it must be obvious that the dishes that combined modern techniques, inventive skills and unique flavour combinations didn’t come from a team led by a woman who doesn’t even know where Afghanistan is. Team Mindy wins the entree round, but in a shock, Team Darren wins the main round, leaving things on a knife edge and allowing the final menu item to be the deciding factor in whether Mindy gets immunity, and whether Darren gets a massive de-pantsing back at Three Blue Ducks. Fortunately for Dazzler he gets to keep his pants on as his dessert wins.

Tomorrow, people do more stuff in a kitchen related area and things get heated, because heat makes things hot and aids in the cooking process. That’s science for you.