Masterchef Recap 12 May: Duel to the Death

Posted: May 12, 2011 in Recap

Sorry no recap yesterday – I had soccer training, which was a real joy given that it was the coldest Sydney night in May in a decade. I’ll try to get a recap up tomorrow. I’m looking forward to watching yesterday’s episode even though I now know the ultimate outcome, proving comprehensively that this show’s attempts at suspense are unnecessary. The real joy is in seeing people be idiots in a kitchen setting.

I've done this more than once

There's a reason the logo is fire.

Christ, the blue team won! The curse is broken. The red team are gearing up for elimination. Kumar has already bonded with the team. What do you mean it’s a close-knit team? You were a team for like three hours.

The losers line up in front of the judges. Matt Preston emphasises that there will be no second chances this year. Alex is not present to look embarrassed. Those who are there look pretty upset – looks like everyone was counting on having a second chance.

Hayden decides not to use his elimination pin, because he wants to stick with the team. Sounds stupid but it ends up being a great decision – only two of them are actually going into the elimination round! And the team has to pick who. This is awesome! No wonder they were so hard on the cheaters. Masterchef is a dog-eat-dog world this year. The other upshot is that Hayden is safe anyway, unless everyone decides to unilaterally boot out someone. While that would be awesome it wouldn’t really fill an hour of television, so it’s unlikely.

Time for Red Team to have a honest and frank discussion about the challenge. Tom immediately volunteers as the team leader. Someone watched last year and doesn’t want to be Jonathan! Kumar tells him he did a great job and tries to stop him offering himself up. Tom refuses, so Kumar volunteers as well as he stuffed up the ciabatta. I’m told this is half-justified. Everyone else holds still and tries to look serious. I was hoping this would descend into a shouting match – maybe next time.

Blue team are enjoying a beautiful lunch at Jonah’s at Whale Beach, apparently accessible only by seaplane. They arrive at the most beautiful restaurant on earth for a five-course meal with matching wines. Goddamn. Now they’re learning how to make a crème brulee. Brown sugar on top is the trick, apparently! Cleo does a good job pretending to care about the red team’s fate.

According to Gary, two of them will enter this challenge, but only one will survive. He is no Tina Turner.

One day, cock of the walk. Next day, a feather duster.

Gary in his younger years.

Three judges are going to bring their favourite ingredient. Tom and Kumar then have to use that ingredient to make the judge’s favourite dish. Without a recipe. The best overall dish wins. This is extremely confusing and extremely full on. Judging by his expression, Kumar agrees.

The first judge is apparently known by her first name only, like Madonna and George. It’s Abla Amad, from Abla’s in Melbourne! I have never heard of her, but she seems like a lovely old Lebanese grandmother. She’s about half Matt Preston’s size.

She’s brought pistachios and wants Kumar and Tom to make baklava. Neither of them have any idea how to do it. Abla smiles and says it is a pleasure to meet them. I love her and think she should replace Matt Moran.

Tom declares that pastry is his nemesis. He’s panicking. Good. Kumar better win this – he is too great to lose and Tom is too boring to win. It is much more exciting when you half-believe the loser won’t reappear later on.

Tom tips an entire stick of butter into a pan. Kumar grinds pistachios. They are just stuffing around, really. This is an extremely tough challenge.

Abla comes over to sneakily help with Tom’s sugar syrup. It needs lemon. Kumar gives Tom a lemon. Kumar, this is serious business, this guy can get his own lemon. Tom doesn’t listen to Abla, so she hits him with a wooden spoon. Not really, but it was close.

Gary has stopped the clock as he realises that neither of these guys knows what they are doing. Instead of mercy, it’s just another judge. Sean Presland, executive chef from Sake has brought tempura flour. They’ll be making assorted tempura. This is another nemesis of Tom’s.

Tom, bored of baklava, gets on the tempura. Kumar decides to finish the baklava. Now Tom’s trying to multitask, with extremely limited success. Abla comes over and helps him again! Why, Abla, why? Kumar is the best.

Clock stops again for the third judge. It’s Matt Preston! Surprise! His favourite ingredient is FIRE. No. It’s limes. What? He particularly loves pickled limes. This is a man full of surprises. He wants a roast corn and capsicum salsa, a guacamole, a tomato salsa and some chicken wings. Is there lime in any of that?

Meow meow meow. Three stars.

Matt Preston's cat.

Kumar’s ahead! Now he’s behind! This is frantic. Everyone’s ignoring the tempura. No, wait, they’re finally on it. The judges are sitting on stools staring at them as they slice their vegetables for the tempura. Big fat guys look weird on huge stools.

Sean realises they’re struggling with the tempura. He tells them, ‘just make it like cream, idiots’. What does that even mean? Kumar knows that sparkling water gives the best result. Tom doesn’t, but gets another leg up from the judges.

Time to plate up! Somehow they both get everything together in time. Abla shakes her head in disgust. She’s so awesome. Everyone hugs, then it’s judging time. Kumar is clearly regretting volunteering.

Abla’s tasting first. She thinks Kumar’s baklava is ‘not bad, balanced!’. Tom’s is nice too, but she is enraged by the icing sugar and assorted decorative faff. Gary presses her for a meaner comment, but she will only say that ‘both are nice’. Gary hates this. Abla’s the best.

Tempura’s next. Sean clearly thinks both are a bit average. Kumars’ is crunchy and light. Toms’ looks pretty average and his prawns are raw, but he’s got good flavour and nice presentation. Only because you helped him Sean!

Finally, Matt’s chicken wings. Kumar has made delicious salsa and his wings are sufficiently lime-y. Matt wants a beer. Hayden’s started a trend here. Tom’s chicken wings look burnt but are perfectly cooked. Damn.

The judges vote. Alba looks delighted by the card and its little envelope. She is so much better than Matt Moran.

Kumar and Tom return to hear the decision. Alba goes first, and tells them that it was very tough – both so nice! But the winner, based on flavour, is…Kumar! Yes! Alba for Prime Minister!

Little known fact: this is the real Julia Gillard

"Free baklava for everyone earning under $150,000!"

Matt’s up. He votes for Tom, for no reason. Boo. Clearly he’s voting that way to force a tie, but it’s still outrageous.

Everything hangs on Sean. He has picked – GODDAMN FLAME BALL. I am so tense. When the world’s longest ad break finishes, Sean tells us he thinks they both did a good job. Boring. Who is the best? KUMAR!

Kumar’s so stoked. He is also totally honest about being happy, neglecting to immediately offer Tom a fake sympathy hug. This guy is fantastic. This is also the first time I have ever successfully predicted a Masterchef outcome!

Tom tells us he didn’t come here to get booted out, inaccurately. Since being loser number one, he’s started an online dinner box delivery company. Bleak.

Tomorrow, Justin and Gary get saucy!

  1. saffronlie says:

    I have just discovered this blog and it is my new favourite thing, after kindly old-lady cooks. You are hilar!

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