We’re back. There’s a possum in the Masterchef house! Nobody takes the opportunity to catch and kill it for an extra edge in the mystery box challenge. Ellie has picked up the dry cleaning. The chef’s whites she’s brought are slightly different than the usual – they’ve got the Qantas logo on them. What could this mean?
Goth Matt has decided this is his week to shine. I consider changing the channel. Michael also wants to be noticed. He has been noticed!
Neil Perry is waiting for the contestants in the kitchen. He makes the food for Qantas. What could the challenge be? According to George, Neil’s a food genius on the ground and in the sky. Still not smart enough to realise that the ponytail is not a great look, apparently.
The contestants will be working in pairs to cook Neil’s first-class menu. They have to make twenty-seven dishes. Twenty four of ‘Neil’s frequent fliers’ – presumably his family and friends here for a free meal on top of their free flights – Matt Preston and two guest judges, who apparently command nine Michelin stars between them. They’ll be revealed later. Surprise twist: one chef has all nine, while the other one is Neil’s mum.
The eight dishes are a crab and fennel salad, leek and goat cheese tart, lobster and burghul wheat salad, poached snapper, poached duck, slow-roasted sirloin, golden syrup pudding and a chocolate and caramel tart. They all look bland enough for airline food. Each pair gets one dish. As Danielle notes, they’re all kind of the same.
Neil Perry is extremely strange on camera. He can barely talk. They’ve assigned teams based everyone’s weaknesses, amusingly. The first team is Dani and Sun. Dani says that she and Sun have very different personalities, goes on to describe Sun as a cranky pessimist. They are going to murder each other. Craig and Rachel seem like a good team, while Ellie and Kumar represent a critical mass of doofus. Kate is working with Danielle, and Adam and Alana are together. Who?
Billy is stuck with Goth Matt! What did Billy do to deserve this? They’re doing the sirloin, and we get a quick recap over Matt’s previous meat-based failures. Shannon and Michael are making up Team Boring, leaving Hayden and Peter together. Kate curses ‘those wacky judges’ in the most self-conscious interview yet.
Gary thinks that it doesn’t get any harder than this. Not true- they could be blindfolded. They’ve got sixty minutes to prepare everything, then twenty minutes to plate and serve. Add in a bad in-flight movie and it’s an exact recreation of the aircraft experience.
The winners get to cook for immunity, plus another mystery prize. Gary reckons any chef would give their right arm for the prize. Is it a set of knives signed by Matt Moran? The losers face off for elimination. Maybe Billy can rid us of Goth Matt.
Prep time starts…now! Michael butters tins while Shannon makes the batter. His first mistake is letting Shannon make the batter. Danielle’s trying to cut her fish but has no idea how. She starts flinging it around, which upsets Gary enough to make him show her how to do it properly.
Rachel correctly identifies that pastry is ‘basically the base of the whole tart’. Well, yes. Gary is sceptical of her and Craig’s chances of getting the tarts cooked in time time. He’s a champ. He’s much better when he embraces his bastard side.
Dani and Sun are unimpressed with each other. Dani identifies the entire dish as a pressure point. ‘Love the energy’ says Gary. The energy is fear. He feeds off it.
Adam and Alana are making duck – they have already run out of time to poach the duck. Panic music plays. George starts shouting. He’s so crazy. Does he have a couple of drinks before shooting?
Goth Matt is being closely supervised by Billy. Billy looks away for a second and Matt cuts the meat the wrong way – he wastes time arguing with Billy about it. It is going to be raw. Neil Perry explains exactly what he’s done wrong – he thinks that Matt realised his mistake, which is untrue. Gary is concerned about their lack of communication. Hey, Billy tried!
Gary and Neil are still worried about the tarts. Craig and Rachel are winding each other up. Craig opines that if they don’t cook them long enough, they won’t be cooked. What a pair.
Goth Matt tells Billy he’s doing a really good job. Billy restrains himself from stabbing matt with a carrot. Matt apologises for ‘the thing earlier’. That thing where you ruined everything? Yeah. We all remember.
Dani is cleaning crabs. She doesn’t know how. She’s worried that they won’t have enough crab. I’m finding her more annoying than Sun. Five minutes to go! Dani panics. Sun ignores her.
Gary correctly identifies that panic is not really helpful in a kitchen environment. He then shouts out ‘one minute to go’ in an attempt to make everyone panic more.
Time’s up! The guest judges enter, finally. It’s Thomas Keller and Andoni Adruiz. Thomas Keller is Michael’s hero. Matt brings Michael up to meet him. Michael cannot stop nodding. He can barely talk. Adorable. Thomas is looking for professionalism today, and Andoni tells them to be relaxed. Everyone panics. It’s today’s theme.
Twenty-four Qantas guests arrive. Who are these people? It’s not explained. Neil claims his reputation is on the line. I suppose so.
Sun and Dani are off! Dani’s cleaning the crab meat, Sun’s making the dressing. . Gary thinks that Dani has delicate fingers. She’s freaking out, doesn’t want to kill anyone with a stray bit of crab shell. Good starting point. They get their dishes up and murder-hug. It looks awful and Matt finds cartilage in the crab.
Rachel and Craig are next, with the leek and goats cheese tarts. They have a plan – warm the tarts, make a salad. Craig has stuffed the pastry. He calls it ‘rustic’. Looks like airline food. It’s unrefined. Andoni wants more salt.
Kumar and Ellie both make faces until their time starts – they’re on the lobster and burghul wheat salad. They haven’t made their sauce yet. Kumar panics. They barely manage to get their dishes up. It looks better than the crab salad but still rubbish – the portions wildly inconsistent. It’s cooked well, and the closest to a complete dish so far. What praise.
Danielle and Kate are off with the poached snapper! What, they haven’t poached it yet? Kate decides to panic. Plates are leaving before they have their act together. Neil helps. Somehow they get everything out. Thomas thinks their flavour profiles are extraordinary. Andoni thinks the fish is perfect – still not salty enough, but he’s starting to think he might just be a salt monster.
Arena and Adam are up with the poached duck. They have a great production line system. Alana panics, can’t keep her hands steady enough to plate up properly. They get it together, just. It’s seasoned liberally with Adam’s sweat. The dish looks like complete crap but the duck is perfectly cooked. Sauce sucks. Andoni thinks it’s an ok effort for beginners.
Goth Matt and Billy are up. Goth Matt picks a fight with Neil, who reminds him how he has wrecked it. Matt cannot even reheat beef correctly. He tries to plate it up stone-cold beef, but Neil catches him. George shouts as well for good measure. Billy looks sad. They get it up – the beef is somehow perfect, but Billy’s vegetables are average. To be fair, he was distracted by his awful partner.
Michael and Shannon have a game plan for their puddings. Sadly, they’ve wildly underestimated the time they need to cook. Gary says ‘steam’ six or seven times until they get the hint. Shannon responds by setting them on fire. Special trick! They plate everything up. It looks terrible – Michael gets to put it on Thomas’s table. He does not want to. When Matt asks him if he’s proud of his work, he claims that it’s edible. Thomas is unwilling to be mean to the poor little guy, but once Michael leaves admits that he thinks it sucks. Andoni has no such qualms, calls Michael and Shannon villains. This guy is my hero.
Hayden and Peter are finishing the night with their caramel and chocolate tart. They’ve still got to set the ganache! Two minutes in the blast chiller. Interesting choice. They seem to have their act together. Neil is freaking out, starts winding Peter up. They’re going great! No dramas – they finish with a minute and a half to spare. Matt loves him a good chocolate tart. The pastry is a bit thick, but the good presentation has improved the taste for Andoni.
Judging time! The mystery prize is a chance to cook alongside Thomas and Adonie at a charity dinner. Michael looks even sadder about his pudding. Shannon doesn’t want to be in an elimination. Should have sucked less, then. Kate and Danielle’s snapper wins the day! They’re stoked. Only one of them gets to fight for immunity – Danielle lets Kate do it, as she cooked the fish.
Time for the losers. Flameball! I love these schweppes ads. ‘Perfect again, Devon’.
Rachel and Craig will be fighting it out against Michael and Shannon. Poor Michael! Goth Matt should volunteer to take his place. Everyone reminds him how bad he should feel. Meanwhile, Kate and Danielle are having a whale of a time at the Starlight Foundation dinner.
See you tomorrow as Shannon gives up and sets everyone on fire.