We’re back for the most embarrassing episode of Masterchef yet. Kumar and Andrew are facing off in an elimination challenge. I regret using ‘race to the bottom’ as a previous recap title.
Look, clearly neither of them are really up to scratch. However, Kumar seems like a nice man with a basic grounding in reality. Andrew, on the other hand, appears to have no redeeming qualities or any sense of self-awareness. Go Kumar!
Backstory on Andrew. He used to be a bus driver, before having a workplace accident that ‘crushed his soul’. As opposed to, say, his foot? Six years later, he became a youth worker, and we see some kids looking uncomfortable around him. His dream is to run Conviction Kitchen but for kiddies.
Kumar went on Masterchef largely to shut his kids up. He has set up a wormfarm in the Masterchef house! He was born in Sri Lanka, and lived in England and Hong Kong before coming to Australia. The sound department don’t care, and continue to play Jimmy’s Theme whenever he appears.
Both are wearing their lucky hideous striped shirts when they arrive in the kitchen. Michael points out that they are ‘seasoned veterans’ of the elimination. Impressively makes this sound less shit than it is.
Time to see what yesterday’s victors are up to. Billy has never been in a helicopter. Shannon tells him that he’ll love it. Remember when we never saw Shannon? Wasn’t that great? They arrive at the restaurant and Stefano Manfredi is there to meet them. They start with a tour, and Shannon takes her shoes off to walk around the kitchen garden. Stefano wants her to feel his excitement for the produce. This is a family program!
Shannon enjoys her lunch, but is worried about her buddy Andrew. Of course she is friends with Andrew.
Back in the kitchen, Gary brings out a big tureen of the make or break dish. They can smell something but have no idea what. Gary laughs at them. Andrew mocks Kumar. Andrew thinks they both looked like complete dorks. He seems happy. He better go.
Gary reveals the dish, allowing Kumar to unleash his ridiculous surprise face. It is massaman curry! A really bad massaman curry. Their job is to fix it. Not only has Kumar not made this curry, but he doesn’t even like it. Andrew makes it every day apparently, and makes his paste from scratch. This would be intimidating if he wasn’t so awful.
Dani thinks that Kumar will be good at fixing a curry. This is because she is racist. Andrew is ‘confident about his skills in this area’. This means nothing. He was confident with his tinned seafood mousse.
They taste the death curry. It’s the worst thing Andrew has ever tasted. Kumar actually identifies some flavours, primarily ‘soap’.
They have eight steps in which to fix this. They can only use one ingredient per step and can only use each ingredient one time. This is a great challenge that actually showcases a range of real skills, for once.
Andrew thinks that Kumar has years of curry experience. I refer him to everything Kumar’s said on this topic, including this quote from his bio on the Masterchef webpage “It sometimes annoys me now when people expect me to be able to just cook curries. I don’t even particularly like curries. I just don’t like a lot of chilli.” I think that the judges are trying to kneecap Kumar. The bastards.
Kumar is first. He chooses cashew nuts, grinds them up and doesn’t add them to his sauce. Everyone thinks that it’s a weird thing to do. Turns out that’s his strategy! The idea is to avoid giving Andrew ideas. Peter tells us everyone calls Kumar ‘the panther’. WTF.
Andrew’s first ingredient is tumeric. He’s going to reduce the sauce with it for flavour and curry. As Quirky Danielle notes, the sauce already has colour and tumeric isn’t particularly flavourful.
Next, Kumar goes for shallots. He makes a paste with them and then DOES NOTHING. What? Actually I guess Andrew is probably a cheating bastard. Still, this is completely ridiculous.
Andrew picks ginger second. Galangal is the actual thing he needs, but Andrew doesn’t like it, and thinks the flavours are overrated. Yeah, I bet he’s right and everyone who’s ever made a real massaman curry before is wrong.
When pressed for his views Kumar refuses to comment initially, then starts to try to psych Andrew out. Matt finds this extremely entertaining. Kumar, like a normal person, picks galangal to make a curry paste.
Andrew gets shallots, which he chops and dumps straight into the sauce. It’s turning into Heinz chunky soup. An increasingly agitated Gary explains all the reasons why this is wrong. Excellent!
Kumar has fried off his shallots and galangal and is now adding coriander root – this is apparently very traditional and actually right! The judges openly approve. Andrew responds to this by feeling hope. He’s such a fool.
Andrew’s fourth step is also coriander root. Jay thinks that both of them are doing it wrong in different ways. He tells us his strategy for free. Shut up Jay, nobody asked you.
Matt is discombobulated by the two approaches. Neither have added potato, coconut cream or peanuts. Gary is exploding with rage as he hisses ‘that’s what a massaman curry is!’ Chill out buddy, you let these guys in the competition in the first place.
Andrew finally puts his meat on to cook. He hopes he hasn’t added it too late. I bet he has. Gary doesn’t believe Kumar hasn’t cooked massaman curry before. Why is this so hard to believe? Oh, wait, I think I can guess.
Kumar’s fifth ingredient is lime. Gary is starting to look really depressed. Someone better use potato before he starts smashing things. Andrew chooses palm sugar. Gary is seriously going to set something on fire.
Kumar’s sixth is palm sugar as well. Gary is now sulking, giving one word answers to Matt who is still gamely commenting. The idiots both pick fish sauce next.
Andrew is making a bold if stupid move – his seventh step will be his last. Everyone else realises that this is incredibly stupid. He chooses lime, and Gary nearly throws a can at him.
I miss Kumar’s seventh step, but it’s not peanuts, coconut cream or potato. He cannot decide what to pick for his eighth and final ingredient. He looks at a tomato, then a lemon. He picks up tamarin paste and Gary actually groans. Pull yourself together Gary! Matt’s just laughing. Finally Kumar picks coconut cream. Ok, he’s won.
No! Cheating Andrew changes his mind and gets coconut cream as well. Kumar was right to be tricky at the beginning. Andrew is really stoked about every aspect of his curry. This usually leads to him failing. Gary says ‘well done’. It is the least convincing thing I’ve ever heard.
Judging time! Gary can barely keep a straight face as he explains the ingredients they’ve missed. Andrew claims he’s being truthful when he says he just forgot potato. Pretty clearly he had no idea.
Andrew’s meat is dry, but his flavours are ok. It’s a big, vibrant curry. I hate that face he does when he’s pretending to think serious chef thoughts.
Uh oh – Kumar’s cashew nuts have thickened the sauce well, but left a weird, squeaky texture. On the other hand it’s creamy, and his tactic of not being stupid about the meat has paid off. The actual galangal flavour also helps.
Decision time. Gary, awful person that he is, prefers Andrew’s dish. Matt preferred Kumar’s. They cannot both stay. Instant ad break. I am ready to riot again.
George’s butter public service announcements are back. He’s not being paid for these.
We return from the ad break and they replay the entire curry. Kumar wins! Finally, justice. They don’t hug. Andrew is about to have a nervous breakdown, goes bright red. Kumar pats him on the back.
Andrew thinks that there are people who deserve to be there less than him. Who? We see a replay of Andrew’s greatest hits. All of them are from elimination challenges. Kumar says ‘stay in touch’. Super awkward.
Only Shannon is disappointed to see Kumar return. Hayden calls him the Kuminator. I cannot make this stuff up. This is more transcript than recap.
Since leaving Masterchef Andrew has returned to his wife and nobody else His dog is not even happy to see him. He is looking for work in a commercial kitchen.
Tomorrow night, Gary spends three hours making everyone recite the ingredients in a massaman curry.