In an attempt to build drama, intense voiceover man tells us that Rachel, Ellie and Chelsea are good friends. They’ve known each other for a fortnight.
The BFFs are preparing for the pressure test in the Masterchef house. Ellie must be getting sick of packing and re-packing her clothes. Rachel makes a strong play for a role as Australia’s Mum. Julie won’t be going down without a fight.
Ellie is studying to be a nurse, apparently solely because her parents want her to get a degree. Any degree. She doesn’t want to be a nurse. This is the great thing about reality, Ellie – you don’t have to be one! Go and do an apprenticeship. According to her profile on the Masterchef website she actually dreams of ‘doing an apprenticeship’. What? Appearing on a reality show is not a pre-requisite for vocational training.
Rachel tells her two besties that if she looks at them during the challenge she won’t be able to fight them. The other two half-heartedly agree. I think Rachel’s actually psyching them out like a champ. Good on her! Chelsea has to go. I would settle for Ellie staying.
George, Gary and Matt will be judging the pressure test – no fancy celebrity chefs, just classic Masterchef. Except they’ve changed the rules! No recipe, and they have to select their own ingredients. Ellie, demonstrably good at following a recipe, is gutted.
They’re making an eighties suburban Chinese restaurant special – sweet and sour fried rice! They’re not even telling them the type of meat, but it’s pretty clearly going to be pork. Ellie is at a huge disadvantage, due to not being alive in the eighties.
They taste the dish. Rachel hates sweet and sour sauce. She says ‘I don’t like it’ in her unfortunate Pauline Hanson voice. It’s like nails on a chalkboard. She starts licking the hunks of meat to get the sauce flavours, as she’s sure that it’s pork.
Ellie is going to be using her uni student skills to make the fried rice. As a student myself I can tell you right now that all the sharehouse ‘fried rice’ that I’ve seen made from fridge leftovers wouldn’t pass a food safety test, let alone be a Masterchef dish. Bless her for trying, though, she’s adorable. She has absolutely no idea what the protein is.
They’ve got seventy-five minutes to achieve a sweet victory or a sour final night. Gary has clearly been practicing that line in the mirror. They sprint off. Chelsea is already in a total frenzy.
In the pantry Ellie cheats and just grabs the same meat as Chelsea in the pantry – pork loins. Don’t do that! If you cook the same thing as her she’ll steal it somehow. Rachel thinks it’s pork shoulder instead. Eh, at least they’re all going for the same animal.
Chelsea has grabbed basmati rice. Yes, for a Chinese dish. Dani tells her this is wrong. So, Chelsea’s found another way to cheat. Dani is another one of Chelsea’s closest buddies in the house. How many best friends does this woman have?
Nobody’s having a total breakdown, so Gary reminds them all of the stakes. Thanks Gary.
Bored, George and Gary come and undermine Ellie’s choice of meat and her method of cooking rice. Basically they tell her she’s doing it wrong. She agrees to do it their way – George says ‘no, no, you do it the way you want’. A masterful display of passive-aggressive technique.
Dani is basically reading Chelsea step-by step instructions. Gary points out that this is basically cheating. In response to a question about how much she wants to be here she stabs the chopping board, leaving the knife quivering in the wood. The judges flee before she kills again.
Rachel is tenderising her pork shoulder by soaking it in water and bicarb. The judges are baffled by this technique. Gary asks ‘are you sure it’s pork shoulder?’ then swaggers away. He is actually hilarious when he fully embraces his bastard side.
Rachel’s weird approach to the pork is getting weirder. She doesn’t understand that frying something in batter actually cooks it, and is browning her chunks off first. The judges are basically telling her this is wrong, but she’s stuck in her ways. George tells her not to over-think it.
When pressed, Chelsea admits that she’s cheating by relying on her cooking coach Dani. George tells her to trust herself and that she’s a good cook. Nice use of reverse psychology to get her to stop cheating, George.
Ellie is using all of the woks. Where did she even get all of them? Preston comes and tastes her stuff – her sauce is too sweet, due to overzealous use of tomato sauce. I personally love gluggy rice and tomato sauce, particularly when a pretty lady makes it for me.
Chelsea’s cheating is backfiring! She’s getting confused. Should have picked someone less useless than Dani to hold her hand. Impressively, she says ‘sugar’ rather than dropping a c-bomb when she knows she’s on camera. That is a skill.
Five minutes! Ellie is doing something crazy. Rachel hasn’t cooked half her stuff. Peter reckons she’s gone. Chelsea is seasoning at random without tasting. Interesting choice! Ellie adds soy sauce for some reason then instantly regrets it. Too late, time’s up. Somehow, Rachel has plated up.
Good thing too, as she’s first up to the judges. She’s happy with the dish, but thinks it could be better. Gary asks her about the frying off technique. For the seventeenth time Rachel says that the meat had been cooked before being battered. Once she’s left, George confirms that this technique is not a thing, and has left the pork dry. But the rest is delicious! Matt wants to order two or three more Chinese dishes. Settle down, big boy.
Ellie’s next. She’s happy with her pork and her sauce, but thinks she’s stuffed the rice. The judges agree. Matt likes the batter. He is a man who knows his batter. He knows there’s too much soy in the rice just by looking! That is why they pay him the big bucks. Sure enough, the rice sucks. Bummer. Come on Ellie!
Chelsea just wants it all to be over, one way or another. Preston points out the huge advantage she had due to Dani giving her advice. Chelsea acts like she didn’t have anything to do with it. Can’t you just play by the rules? Her rice looks good but she’s boiled off all her sweet and sour sauce. George does a bit of panto to convey how tough the meat is. Is that enough to send her home? Hope so.
As usual they’re drawing out the decision like crazy. Everyone did something good and something bad; this disappoints Ellie who did everything great last time. Everyone cries. Rachel admits that she can’t simultaneously mother everyone and compete. Ellie cannot answer questions about why she’s studying nursing. Her parents clearly support her whatever she wants to do. Chelsea says something unconvincing and insincere, then cries. Ellie pats her, awkwardly.
Rachel’s safe. Gary says ‘Chelsea…’ and then we cut to an ad break. I am so tense that I have now developed an irrational hatred of everything advertised in the interim. We’re back and Chelsea is ELIMINATED! Yes. Phew. Justice is served.
Back in the house, Dani is conflicted about her advice being totally wrong. Was this actually complex sabotage? If so, great. Since leaving Masterchef Chelsea has become a maitre’d at a Melbourne restaurant. So, not cooking then. For the best.