At the start of Sunday’s episode, we were treated to the awe inspiring sight of Hayden running hard on the treadmill. We were also treated to the sight of Michael, by his side, telling Hayden how cool it would be if, you know, after the show was over they could, you know, just like hang out and stuff and like, you know, Hayden could introduce Michael to all his mates and Michael could introduce Hayden to his mum.
On arrival at Masterchef Head Quarters, where all the plans for the weeks cooking and are drawn up and where George is wound up for a week’s worth of jumping up and down on the spot, Gary congratulated the contestants for being the top 10 amatuer chefs in Australia, before correcting himself and stating that they were the top 10 amatuer chefs in Australia who had applied to be on Masterchef, before correcting himself and stating that they were the top 10 amateur chefs in Australia who had applied for Masterchef and hadn’t appeared on series one or two, before correcting himself and stating that they were okay cooks.
After taking a deep breath, Gary explained to the contestants that the mystery box challenge required them to make a steamed pudding. Mat opined that getting the pudding steamed would be difficult, and thought the best way to do it was to on the one hand suggest that he had slept with the pudding’s sister and she was an absolute slut and on the other hand to suggest that the pudding’s choice of political party was entirely incorrect and was an indication of the feebleness of it’s mind and it’s likely support for gay heroin. George quickly stepped in and informed Mat that he had entirely misunderstood the concept behind a steamed pudding before providing him with directions to the nearest sauna.
Of the failures, and there were many, Hayden’s self saucing puddings was one of the worst. Normally a self saucing pudding is a go-getter, a “seize the day and carp on about your per diem” type. However, for Hayden his pudding was the exact opposite, and became so unable to self sauce that it could barely lift it’s head and nod when Hayden asked it if it would appreciate some assistance in the saucing department. On the other hand, Kate impressed with a pudding that was rich, vibrant, and able to start up a small dot com company and sell it at a handy, if not spectacular profit.
However, all that hard work for Kate meant very little when it was revealed that her prize was the ability to select the core ingredient for the invention test and she chose figs. Dani, with her fig and pistachio baklava ice cream, Michael, with his fig dukah panacotta tart, and Peter, with his eggplant, chickpea and fig braise with flatbread and spiced yoghurt were the best three dishes, with Dani adjudged the winner overall as well as for best impression of a Lego figurine.
On the flip side, Mat, with his fig stew with cauliflower puree, Billy, for his Moroccan Vegetable Stew, and Hayden with his ice cream and jelly were in the bottom three. For Hayden, mainly because he called it jelly instead of jally.
So off to the elimination challenge Mat, Billy and Hayden trundled. On the way there they stopped off at an Optus outlet to allow Mat to buy some more credit, but as soon as they arrived it was down to business.
The challenge involved each of the three making salt crusted guinea fowl, mushroom duxelle with a jus, and two sides of their own choosing. Hayden was initially thrown into confusion by the task, telling George that “I understand the guinea fowl and the jus, but how can I choose which sides to have? I only have two: my left and right!” However, George soon set him straight when he said that “like touching up a 20 year old female contestant, we mean a little dish on the side”.
For Mat, he performed better in this task than we have seen, a point noted by Matt Preston who commented on how little a part Mat had played in the various challenges and tasks thus far, when he said, “Who are you again?” However, this time it was unlikely that Mat would be forgotten. He explained his dish like a consummate (or should that be consumMAT? No, you’re right. Probably not) professional. When asked how he’s was going by Gary, he replied, “Well, I’ve just encased the guinea fowl in a salt crust and let stand for 10 minutes before adding one cup of chicken stock, half a cup of porcini mushrooms, 100 grams of butter and half a teaspoon of sugar to a saucepan and bring that to the boil before turning down and allowing the mixture to simmer continued on page 36 until the sauce has reduced. Preparation time 75 minutes. Serves 4.”
After the tasting, the judges called the contestants in to deliver the verdict. Mat was unconcerned, because he had already downloaded this episode and knew he was safe. In the end it was Billy who let everyone down more than anyone else. Whilst his guinea fowl was amongst some of the best that the judges had ever tasted, his jus was, in the words of Gary “rubbish” and his side dish raw beetroot, raw turnip and raw apple was reminiscent of some of the worst excesses of Oliver Cromwell’s protectorate, an era so devoid of any form of pleasure that it included the abolition of Christmas, dancing, bear baiting and Friday nights.
Billy wasn’t about to let a little thing like elimination get in his way, and he let it be known that he was going to forge ahead with his dream to open a desert bar, where all furnishings are made out of sand and camels serve the customers. The end credits informed us that he has continued to work on his food blog whilst seeking some work experience in a professional kitchen, such as the Umina Bowling Club, the idea being start at the bottom first, and possibly stay there.
With Billy out of the way, we moved on to Dani’s chance at immunity. Alessandro Pavoni of Ormeggio returned for a shot at redemption, after it was his apprentice, Alex, who allowed Hayden to gain an immunity pin. However, instead of Alex v Dani, Allesandro said he was going to be the one take her on.
The dish that Dani and Alessandro had to cook, cuttlefish chequerboard with a calamari soup and tomato dust, was one of Alessandro’s own, but he admitted that it was not one he had cooked for a while because “who’d want to eat it? I mean seriously are you on crack?” And it showed. Whilst Dani’s dish was criticised for being “off centre” and lacking tomato dust, George noted that it was “packed full of flavour”, whereas Allesandro’s dish, even though it had been dusted sufficiently, his soup was criticised for not being “lush” enough, probably because he’d left out the velvet curtains.
Although Dani and Allesandro scored an equal amount of points, in Masterchef land, where you may remember a contestant once scored more points out of ten than ten, equal means one is better than the other. Alessandro took it with good grace as he repeatedly punched Alex in the mouth. The end credits informed us that after losing to two Masterchef contestants, Ormeggio had gone into hiatus and Allesandro and Alex were seeking some work experience in a professional kitchen and were hoping that the industry laughter would die down soon.
Following on from one debacle we were soon presented with another as the teams assembled for the team challenge. They were split into two teams as per usual the night before the challenge and were told to expect one of the world’s most famous chefs. Many amongst the contestants suggested that it may be Geoff Jansz, but before we, the viewers, could consider who it could be any further, our whole worlds were thrown into turmoil as we watched a Stasi inspired Matt Preston saunter into the house being shared by the contestants in the dead of night, bursting in on an unsuspecting Mat, who was innocently sitting on his bed looking at his packed bags for some unknown reason. “We know you’ve been using a smartphone in the house which is against the rules” claimed Preston to a clearly shocked Mat who just sat there nodding and agreeing. “I’ve discussed it with the other judges and we think the best thing you can do is make an honourable exit.” Mat, who clearly couldn’t believe what was happening, said “Yeah, no worries mate. See you later” before graciously exiting via the back door, with Preston yelling at him, “Obviously when I said honourable exit I meant some kind of ritual suicide!” However, Preston’s pleas fell on deaf ears.
With Mat booted, Billy was returned for a second chance. Dani, as winner of the immunity challenge, was given the choice of who to have on her (blue) team. She chose the best cooks in the competition, as well as Peter. Alana led the left overs. Dani was also given the option on the style of cooking. She chose French, eschewing Greek and Belarussian. The reds were given English.
However, the rules and the teams were just a sideshow when it was revealed that they would be cooking for none other than world famous Michelin star hording superchef Marco Pierre White, which, translated into English means Mark Peter White. White is known for being brutal in the kitchen and forcing those working for him into humiliatingly submissive acts, but, because he was only on the show to fulfil some promotional obligations arranged through the publisher of his new book, “Cooking with Gras: 78 recipes based on the life and death of Al Grasby”, he was much more sedate and forgiving this time, only causing the deaths of three members of the production crew.
The red team performed admirably, save for Ellie, who continued to stun team mates and audience alike with her inability to cook, a sometimes useful skill on Masterchef. The blue team, though, seemed to be on the verge of implosion for most of the time, with Dani in particular suffering under the glare of White. At times she resembled a work experience kid being asked to fill in for the Commissioner of Police during severe rioting resulting from a lack of access to fresh water and a continually interrupted supply of electricity. At other times she resembled a Lego figurine, in pieces on the floor and unable to be put back together.
And it was because of Dani’s inability to be organised and be less angular that the blue team lost the challenge and had to face elimination.
The elimination challenge involved the contestants cooking to remain on Masterchef, which for some reason continues to be a novel concept. Dani, the architect of all their failures, showed none of the indecision of the previous night when she elected to use her newly minted immunity pin and quickly raced back to her living quarters so as to avoid the accusing looks of Hayden, Peter, Michael and Kate, who no doubt had ideas of their own when it came to what to do with a sharp object.
Michael was declared safe early for producing Vietnamese rice paper rolls that reflected the post colonial post communist world of Ho Chi Min City the best, in that the carrots were nicely cut, and was banished to the balcony, where he reigned over the other contestants with great munificence by not spitting on any of them.
That then led to the meat round, where Hayden’s meat was adjudged the far superior to Peter’s. Oddly enough, so was Kate’s. However, Hayden’s bone was considered the cleanest, and the added touch of wrapping his bone in foil not only pleased the judges but also had the additional benefit of blocking the Rand Corporation from reading his sexy thoughts.
That left Peter and Kate to fight out the final round for the right to be allowed to leave and surf the internet on a smartphone forever, with each to make the perfect apple pie and custard or as close to as possible without years of training and hours of perfecting pastry not to mention hundreds of practice pies and litres of practice custard. Both contestants put up magnificent looking pies, paying homage to the late Matt Preston, who turned up half an hour after filming had finished, and his favourite and completely overused saying “You eat with your eyes”. Both contestants also put some sugar in on the off chance that any other judges decided to break all the rules and eat with their mouths, which is exactly what happened.
In the end, Kate’s pie was considered better than Peter’s, with Gary criticising Peter for his base as well as his tone and tenor. However, the judges softened the blow, which led to Peter stating that “the judges are so complementary about what I’ve done that I’m not really sure if I’ve been eliminated. I think I’ll just hang around the toilets for a while and hope no one notices I’m still here.” However, security soon discovered him and he was released back into society. The credits informed us that since leaving the show Peter had found his way home and decided to move to the Hunter Valley in New South Wales where he has began recruiting for his militia which plans only to defend itself when the government finally sheds it’s cloak of democracy, as well as growing vegetables which he plans to sell to restaurants whether they want them or not.
MasterChef Australia – Sun/Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu/Fri 7:30pm, Ch10.
I love your recaps, Chris.