MasterChef AustraliaSun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
Last week on Masterchef, Italy was renamed Barillaland as Australia’s finest amateur chefs ventured to the land of the birth of democracy (well actually that’s Greece), spaghetti (well apparently that’s China) and Friends (um I think you’ll find that’s the USA), where they cooked mountains of pasta, hills of pizza and crests of tomato based sauces. Alice got her shot at immunity against professional chef Mindy, while Deb was bettered by a pig with a stick up it’s arse. Tonight, they’re back in Australia and face a mystery box challenge involving leftovers and several terrible puns from George.

Dawn in Sydney. Again. Andy says Italy was the best experience of his life, just topping meeting Ben. Kylie and Julia casually talk in front of the bathroom mirror, having agreed since Italy that all their conversations should take place in front of a mirror so Julia can compare her facial expressions with that of a humanoid.

They arrive at Masterchef HQ to be dazzled by Preston’s choice of outfit, and suddenly they realise why he wasn’t allowed to go to Italy. “Last time we saw you you were all being kissed by the Tuscan sun” says Gary, “as well as that old man who’s pants kept falling down”. Then Gary drops the biggest bombshell since we all heard Tom and Katie’s marriage was over: next weeks is finals week. Because ratings and Olympics.

“No mystery box today but a mystery fridge” says Preston. Ben says “It’s a mystery box but not a box, perhaps a mystery fridge” as Mensa call up and implore him to reconsider his decision not to join them. George says each fridge contains different leftovers. Matt tells them that they must use everything inside, including the lightbulb.

Kylie gets a whole raw “Lilydale” chicken, left over by the most wasteful and lazy family in the world. Audra gets a leg of lamb, but she admits she never cooked one. Under the Howard regime citizenship was dependent on cooking a leg of lamb, so she should count her lucky stars. Julia gets a ham and an upgrade to her operating system, making her capable of displaying human like emotions. Only time will tell if it works. They have 30 minutes to cook.

Mindy is doing something beautiful with pasta while Audra is thinking an Aussie Asian lamb pie, which suggests to itself that the pie is full and it should go back to where it came from. Andy is working on a pie of his own, a fish pie, which is a euphemism for seafood in pastry. Julia is baking eggs in the oven, but they’re not cooking quick enough, before the world explodes, and in honour of Lilydale a couple enjoy chicken on the lawn. When we come back, Julia informs Mindy her eggs aren’t cooking as her biological clock begins to inexorably wind down.

Gary, George and Matt discuss their years as housewives and coming home to a fridge full of leftovers, wondering just who had been cooking and eating in their kitchens all day. Andy works on his fish pie as he puts something in Ben’s mouth, which causes Ben to express his pleasure at the thing in his mouth. Then, before Ben can return the favour, time is up.

The judges call up Audra, Mindy, and Andy. Gary tucks into Audra’s “Mubarak” and says it will be hard to beat, though the Egyptians managed. George says it doesn’t taste like leftovers. Mindy had left over bolognese and made a bolognese raviolo, which looks suspiciously like a ravioli. George cuts it open and says he’s salivating so presumably the other judges won’t want to try it. George tells Audra that she’s in trouble. Andy reckons he’d need to break a world record to beat them, possibly the 100 metres, or one of those Guinness book of records ones about how many cigarettes you can fit in your anus. But according to Matt he may have, because he wants to sneak into the panty with it, possibly to recreate that scene in American pie. Gary just says simply, “you’ve produced a beautiful dish” before downing utensils, walking out of the room and diving into the Pacific Ocean.

After a break Andy is named the winner, as Bens jealousy bubbles to the surface amidst claims he’s been carrying Andy for 10 weeks. Carrying him as in doing all the hard work for him, not carrying him in his strong, tattooed arms. Though with these two you never know.

Gary says the second half of the challenge is inspiring home cooks with Matt announcing the winner will go on the cover of Masterchef magazine, a magazine created out of the wreckage of the show’s acrimonious split with Donna Hay. Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop strides in, all death stares, and announces the dish needs to make people pick up a spoon and try to eat the page, as she looks for a viable way to deliver much needed food aid to third world countries.

One hour and 30 minutes says George, but Andy gets an extra 30 minutes. The three least impressive dishes face off in elimination. Andy starts off and is making roast beef, because he says every boy needs a hot beef injection. Kylie declares her interest in winning the challenge and her years of training as a physiotherapist when she mentions the hyper flexibility of some body part.

Julia is making a tart e tartan whereas Ben goes straight for a bone before he is warned off, and decides on a curry instead, known as the Charlize Theron of photogenic dishes. Kylie is criticised for using a pricey ingredient such as raspberries, even though they are readily available at Coles, while Beau is sabotaging his own chances by doing a lemon meringue pie. Julie Bishop asks if it has a special Beau twist, but of course Beau stopped doing that sort of thing to food a long time ago, after his mother caught him in the act. Julia’s idea for an apple tart e tartan is received warmly, but she is warned that the very dish had appeared on a recent cover. So she goes for pear instead, which gets the thumbs up.

With one hour to go George suggests chefs dream about getting their food on the cover of a magazine, though neglects to mention that they also dream of running financially viable restaurants, a dream becoming further and further out of reach of the average celebrity chef. Wade explains how he wants to do a rack of lamb even though Julie Bishop specifically said she didn’t want to see anyone’s bone.

Julia says she’s cooking with all her heart for the cover, and you can just make out the mechanical whirring sound from within her chest cavity, so you know it’s true. Alice is cooking something that requires her to clear her throat. George and Gary aren’t impressed with Ben’s curry so suggest he start throwing some rubbish in to brighten it up.

Andy calls on his electrical experience to truss up his roast beef. Beau clumsily scrapes meringue onto his tart while Julia thumps the ice cream maker for not making ice cream. George asks her three times if she wants to be in the pressure test and three times she answers an emphatic no. Yet George still appear uncertain. With only one minute to go Wade displays his two tone beard and his crusted lamb rack, and everyone starts plating up as they usually do in these situations before time is up and unseen people applaud.

Andy is first up and Julie Bishop says its lovely, but thinks the vegetables are a little dried up and small, which may be a subtle comment about his prowess in the trouser department. She doesn’t taste because tasting is against coalition policy, but Gary does and says its a good roast. Julia is next and George senses her disappointment, as she cries and displays emotions normally the preserve of humans. That upgrade really did work. But George reminds her that the challenge to cook something for a magazine cover is all about taste.

Wade comes up with his bones. Julie Bishop says it is neither cover nor Pensky material and is quite scathing. Matt says it lacks the warmth you get with lentils. I think he means the warmth that comes later on and further down the digestive system. Matt tells Wade he might be in trouble.

Kylie’s apple and strawberry crumble tart is an instant hit, so much so that Julie Bishop puts down her lasers for a moment to taste, forgetting coalition policy and party solidarity. Gary says it tastes exactly how it looks. In other words it tastes like an apple and strawberry crumble. Alice comes up with her Georgian cheese pie and throat clearing exercise and George tastes before Julie rubbishes it. She says it “wouldn’t make the cover of Plumber’s Monthly”.

Ben is up with his curry. Gary says the sauce is confused and Julia Bishop says its a bit pedestrian. Beau’s lemon tart looks sad and lonely. Audra’s spiced apple pie has promise, but the apple is undercooked. Mindy is next and Julia Bishop loves the way the orange sauce comes all over it (wink wink). They taste and she says “fab” and “super yum”, because she isn’t being paid enough to use whole words.

The three best dishes belong to Kylie, Mindy and, surprisingly, Julia, mainly for potential. But there can be only me cover, per month, and this month it’s Mindy. She thanks them by giving a stupid speech before Matt reveals that Julie Bishop is actually someone named Sally.

And now for the good news. Which were the three worst dishes? Well, as it transpired they belonged to Wade, Ben and, happily, Alice. George explains to them each where they went wrong, in the exact same words as were originally used during the tasting.

But of course Alice has an immunity pin and if she chooses to use it, it is announced that Beau will go to the pressure test. Beau is stoic as Alice weeps behind her gormless specs. But she doesn’t need to decide until tomorrow. Until then, we wait.