We’re back. The Generation Idiot contestants are packing their bags. Wow, there is a lot of deadwood on this team.In the kitchen, George reminds them that they don’t want to be the person who gets eliminated. Thanks George. To be fair, some of these idiots might not have worked it out. Hayden once again doesn’t use his immunity pin. He pretends he’s doing it because of a strong team feeling. He knows full well that he’s not going to get tapped.
Matt Moran is back. His mean and humourless style makes him well-suited to this kind of challenge – as does his remorseless, unblinking lizard demeanour. He sends the losers upstairs to make their choice.
Upstairs in the death lounge Alana says she would ordinarily have put herself forward for elimination because she was the captain. It won’t be happening today, though, due to the nature of the challenge. Fair enough, I guess. Quirky Danielle agrees. I think that Danielle has a plan.
Shannon thinks her complacency was a real problem. This is true! She was completely useless. She’s so passive – the opposite of a team player. After a little pressure from Danielle, she nominates herself. First decision she’s ever made.
Arena, feeling the weight of everyone’s gaze, admits that she stuffed up. Dani asks if she’s nominating. Arena realises that she’s backed herself into a corner. She agrees. Most reluctant volunteer ever.
Alana says that from her lofty position as Captain she thinks that the correct people have nominated. Woah! She, Dani and Quirky Danielle definitely came in to this discussion with a plan. The dudes pursued the correct strategy of sitting quietly while that happened.Wow. That was really polite but really intense. I think they would have forced it to a vote if those two hadn’t stepped forward.
Well, whatever happens tonight, it’s a good outcome. I am reluctantly going for Shannon, because at least I can tell her apart from the other contestants.
Winners, meanwhile, are having lunch with Tetsuya and Elena Arzak, whose restaurant Arzak has three Michelin stars. This is quite an impressive prize! The winners listen politely as these two top chefs explain the intricacies of world-class food. Nobody squeals or embarrasses themselves. Thank god Gen Y didn’t win.
Back in the kitchen. Shannon has hipster birds tattooed on her wrists. Boring Alana is staying positive. She shows this by crying. Shannon’s got the inner strength to crush Alana. Her biggest fear is being forgotten. I have already forgotten her.
They get one ingredient and have to cook as many dishes as they can out of it. George asks if they understand. They appear to, although this may be an illusion. The ingredient is chicken. Well, that was anticlimactic.
Matt thinks they’re lucky – he presumably wanted to give them crocodile again. He’s right. Almost every other contestant would smash this – even Goth Matt. There are a few twists – they only get one chicken each. Also, they have to treat it as restaurant service and plate all their dishes at same time. I wouldn’t want to eat chicken that had been sitting around for ages either.
They’ll be judged on how many dishes they put up, how creative those dishes are and how they taste. Their seventy-five minutes start…now!
Arena knows there’s heaps you can do with a chicken. She names ‘frying’, ‘roasting’ and runs out of ideas. She is a personality-free zone.
As Arena and Shannon are breaking down their chickens, George and Matt chat. George thinks that they’ve got two of the best cooks in the competition. He somehow keeps a straight face. They have to go back to auditions to find something that Arena did. Shannon made some nice eggs once.
Arena’s making four dishes – a Sri Lankan curry, grilled chicken wings, a Thai chicken soup and a chicken boudin blanc, plus rice and flatbread to go with the curry. Rice hey? Inventive. Shannon will be making three dishes – Chicken cacciatore, steamed chicken breast and Jewish chicken soup, maybe with dumplings. So, no dumplings.
Shannon sets her chicken bones on fire. How did she even do that? She is totally out of control. It is not a small fire either. From the peanut gallery Danielle identifies that this is not a great move.
Arena has never made chicken boudin blanc, which is basically a poached chicken sausage. She’s serving it with a Italian salad, which Matt thinks is extremely strange. Arena defends her choice, but probably just didn’t realise boudin blanc is French.
Shannon’s started another oil fire. All she’s doing is frying a chicken leg. . Shannon’s used her burnt oil to make her onions – infusing it with the flavour of fire. I’m sure this will go well.
With fifteen minutes to go, Shannon has put her chicken breast on to steam, but has neglected the easy-to-miss step of turning the stove on. Matt, not interested in eating raw chicken, tells her.
Arena abandons her boudin blanc, to nobody’s surprise. Her chicken wings aren’t going to cook in time. She’s easily flustered, something Matt takes advantage of. He can smell your fear. He watches her like a snake. She holds perfectly still. Defeated, he leaves.
George calls them two of the best cooks in the competition again. Who does he think is worse? Matt almost laughs. Shannon is either setting things on fire or not using heat at all. Arena is stumped by grilling chicken.
Shannon begs George to open her jar of olives. He obliges with a manly flourish. I’m still swooning. He balances the help by showing Arena how to grill quickly – put a bowl over the chicken! Every night’s a masterclass with George. George tells Shannon to stop and take a deep breath, stealing precious seconds for pretty Arena.
Shannon somehow is managing to produce dishes. Meanwhile, Arena is polishing plates and faffing around with spoons. She’s also forgotten her rice and flatbread. What a clown. Shannon’s dishes actually look okay. Arena looks even more startled and mouse-like than usual.
Time’s up! Shannon immediately realises she hasn’t pitted her olives. You’ve got bigger problems buddy.
Judging time! Arena’s up first. She knows she’s stuffed up, but hopes everything tastes great. She claims she went with an Asian theme, then re-admits to the failed boudin blanc. Matt says he didn’t want to eat that anyway.
Her Thai chicken soup lacks sour flavours, which are kind of the point of Thai soup. Are the grilled chicken wings raw? They’re pink on the bone – looks pretty risky. Matt and George take their life in their hands and eat it. It is unbalanced and pedestrian. The curry is next. They notice the missing rice, correctly identify that it is not that hard to cook rice. George congratulates her on not using jar curry paste.
Shannon foreshadows a bombshell. George is visibly relieved when it’s just unpitted olives, rather than poison chicken. Poison may still be on the menu. At least she appears to have made whole dishes.
The fat has congealed on the soup, which she describes as a ‘ning nong Shannon soup’. Matt doesn’t understand the human act of making jokes, and thinks that’s what she actually calls it. He hates everything about it. The sauce on the chicken breast has chunks of undissolved palm sugar in it. George scrabbles for praise. Cacciatore is her only hope. Matt nearly chokes on an olive pit – the chicken is perfectly cooked, but the burnt flavour of the garlic kills it.
Decision time. Kick them both out! Matt expected a lot more. I actually expected less. Nobody put up a half-decent dish. Arena’s soup was far superior, but Shannon’s steamed chicken was better than the curry. Cacciatore marginally better than the raw chicken wings.
In the end, Shannon is safe. Arena is eliminated, ending the most uneventful Masterchef career in three seasons. Matt pretends to care how Arena is feeling. Her feelings are boring. She cries and hugs everyone.
There’s a strange vibe in the house. They know somebody’s not coming back, but they don’t care who. Ellie claims it’s exciting to see Shannon. Nobody’s ever said that before.
Since leaving Masterchef Arena has opened a kitchen inside her parent’s organic grocer selling cakes. Wow, what a journey.