#Masterchef Recap 1 August: Highway to the Danger Zone

Posted: August 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

We’re back. Michael stood out yesterday as the only contestant who could communicate with humans so got to hang out with Maggie Beer, who had apparently been hiding in the pantry. She taught him how to make the dish they’re all making tonight. Will this backfire on Michael, as it always does? Let’s find out.

Michael spent last night setting up elaborate red herrings to trick the remaining contestants into thinking they’re making a dessert. He succeeds! This is hilarious. Who knew Michael had it in him? Kate is now convinced it’s a Zumbo dish.

They arrive at the kitchen. Matt Preston is dressed like a 70’s couch set. Gary tells them they’re on the highway to the danger zone. I miss Pilot Paul too, Gary.

George calls Alana a quiet achiever. That is an understatement. Kate has steadily delivered great dishes. Matt praises Michael for finally pulling his finger out. I think this guy is surprisingly tactical. Finally, we replay Dani’s triumphs. It doesn’t take long.

Michael’s illusion holds right up until the last minute, when Matt makes Michael introduce Maggie Beer. Kate is so surprised! She’s easily tricked. Maggie enters and all is forgiven. She is super pleased to see everyone, and hugs them all.

They’re cooking an even harder Maggie Beer dish than before. Alana calls her the ‘smiling assassin’. She reveals the dish: it’s a chicken terrine, with a whole bunch of other stuff. One of the sides are bread and butter pickles, which I could happily eat for the rest of my life.

why have pickles not featured more heavily on this show?

All of the food groups

The chicken terrine also contains pork. Maggie calls it easy, then laughs. Maybe Alana’s right – she’s enjoying this too much. The terrine is wrapped in chicken skin, which terrifies Dani. They only get one chicken, so if they get the skinning wrong, they’re stuffed.

The contestants taste the terrine. It tastes delicious. Maggie is delighted that everyone is having a good time. She’ll be judging today. She’s a terrible judge – far too easy-going. They get two hours and fifteen minutes, which start with a giggle from Maggie.

They’re off! Michael looks exhausted. Spent too much time planning tricks and not enough time sleeping. Kate, meanwhile, has never skinned a chicken and has decided to go slowly. Alana’s doing the same thing. Michael and Dani, however, are doing their mis-en-place. Dani sounds really pleased with herself. This could be trouble.

George reminds them that Maggie Beer’s in the house. It’s only been fifteen minutes. Michael happily tells us that the girls are being too delicate with their chicken skin. Amazingly, he then doesn’t tear his in half. He’s behind time, though. Gary thinks this isn’t easy. Maggie sees his ‘not easy’ and raises him a ‘tricky’. Everyone’s taking two or three times as long to do anything as Maggie expected.

Kate finally gets her skin off! She has taken all the time in the world, but has done a good job. Gary comes and tells her she doesn’t have much time, taking up enormous amounts of time while he does so.

Michael nearly cuts his thumb off. The on-site med techs will not let him bleed all over the place. Maggie comes to have a look, and helps him wrap it up. She tells him to toughen up in the nicest way possible.

Life advice that Michael needs

"Just drink a cup of cement, son"

Alana’s churning along, in her traditional ‘middle of the pack’ way. Kate hasn’t caught up yet, and sees the danger zone approaching.

Nobody is on track to get this up in time. George helpfully tells them to get a wriggle on. Dani is going surprisingly well. Michael’s on to his walnut flatbread. Dani has decided to clean. It looks like Michael isn’t the only one maiming himself – Alana’s wearing gloves too.

The pickles have verjuice in them! For a moment there I thought Maggie had forgotten. All the sides look so delicious! I’m so hungry, and my housemate is roasting an entire chicken which he is not planning to share. It smells great.

Dani, true to form, demands Maggie check her bread. She’s forgotten to put walnuts in her walnut flatbread. She decides to give up on the flatbread entirely. Stop being such a quitter.


She had them in front of her

Maggie announces that there’s only thirty minutes to go! She completely fails to summon the menace that Gary was looking for.

Michael’s terrine hasn’t reached the magic 57 degree internal temperature. He’s doing better than Kate, who decides to crank the oven up. She makes a good point: better to serve overcooked terrine than to kill everyone with undercooked chicken.

Delicious, though

Salmonella is not a Masterchef winner

Michael’s terrine is hot enough finally! Alana’s is also on track, somehow. Dani can’t remember what temperature it needs to be. It’s written down in front of you, Dani. Just pay attention for like thirty seconds.

Five minutes left! Michael is in serious terrine based trouble. I think this is yet another sneaky victory for Alana. She is seriously going great guns. Really, as long as it’s not Dani I’m happy.

In the ad break we find out that Julie from season one supports gay marriage! This show is awesome. That said I do enjoy the fact that my parents are legally unable to hassle me about when the wedding is.

We’re in the final seconds. Kate’s terrine is probably half-cooked. Dani’s terrine holds together, disappointingly. So does everyone else’s, so that’s okay. I am really more interested in the condiments.

Judging time! Kate’s first. She struggled most with the time. Her dish looks pretty good though.  She cuts her terrine and it’s undercooked. Maggie’s nice about it, but Gary refuses to eat it. Stop being such a wuss, Gary. Oh well, at least the condiments are delicious. Matt is upset that the cooking time has let her down.

Alana’s next. Her dish looks fantastic. Maggie was impressed with her serial killer calmness. That’s what gives Alana her edge! Her terrine is cooked in bits and raw in others. How? It’s beautifully assembled though, and the edible bits are delicious.

Dani is next. She has failed to plate everything up, and has not followed the terrine cooking instructions. Maggie’s unimpressed. Dani thinks her terrine’s pinkish tinge is okay. Everyone else thinks that it’s undercooked. It’s not even close to serveable. Her figs are the best, though.

Michael is lucky last. How’s he coping with the pressure of the advantage? Not well – he looks like he’s about to faint. His presentation is excellent, and his terrine is – while undercooked – is edible, putting him well ahead of the pack.

Decision time! Gary drops the shock bomb that the condiments are irrelevant. Why did you make them cook them then? Also, those sides looked considerably more awesome than the actual terrine.

This is a small collection, for travel

Condiments: 90% of a successful dish

Back in the kitchen, everyone in turn learns that their terrine was undercooked. Gary has changed his mind, and starts talking about the condiments. Apparently this recipe was tested fifteen times, and they should have been able to cook it in time.

So who’s going to be facing off tomorrow? Surprise! Everyone. This doesn’t feel planned at all. Maggie tells them not to lose heart. Michael’s pretty cranky.

See you tomorrow as, presumably, Dani somehow remains in the competition.

  1. Jay says:

    Gary is a liar. There is no way they tested that recipe 15 times then added an extra half hour. I’d live to see him pull it off in 1 hour 45 mins.

  2. spats says:

    They might of cooked it 15 times to get it right. I would like to know how many of the first 14 turned out edible though.

    Its nearly all over, lets see how they all go tonight. There is nowhere to hide now Dani?


  3. Given that Gary and/or George could probably skin a chicken in 3 minutes or less, and they most likely bulk tested 14 in one go after doing one solo test I’m pretty sure -they- could pull it off. For someone who never skinned a chicken before though, especially having only ONE would make you pretty cautious.

    I was wondering where’d the 15 test terines go?

    Also, Dani’s odds of survival have increased by 25%. Lets see if its enough to save her from the awesome snake judge with the steely glare, Matt Moran. Steely Snake? Snake eyes? Lucy you need to come up with a name for him. =P

  4. russian blue 2 says:

    Not clear why Michael at least didn’t avoid elimination, probably a plot to give Dani a better chance to avoid elimination. Time will tell.

  5. russian blue 2 says:

    No comment yet from gastrognome on the long awaited demise of dani last night. Wonder if it would have been a different outcome if george had been on the panel. Three left and kate and alana looking stronger than michael.

  6. spats says:

    You missed a doozy Gastognome..

    The lizard king was judging not George, so it was always going to be tough for Dani. As usual she set her self far too much to do in the time provided, yet she didn’t realize this until there was only 1/2 an hour to go. She had heaps of friends over though to welcome her home, and the tears in this episode were kept to a minimum. Alana’s meal looked the best and most appetizing, but I’m going for Michael now.
    With Kate, Alana and Michael as the last 3, things haven’t worked out too bad in the end as they are all very competent in the kitchen.

    Cheers, Spats.

  7. russian blue 2 says:

    Spats’ prediction of michael proved astute with michael through to grand finale and alana and kate to cook off tonight for the remaining place in the finale. Not a bad outcome though the processes by which the judging is done remain a bit obscure. Gender balance preserved but not sure michael can hold it together over two cook offs

  8. Adam says:

    What we saw in the previews for tonight’s challenge with Zumbo and his gingerbread house looked utterly ridiculous. Why must it always be about impossible challenges? May as well just flip a coin to separate them.

  9. russian blue 2 says:

    Agree that the gingerbread house challenge was ridiculous though on the balance of the competition think that Kate deserved to get into the final. Did others notice that Hayden wasn’t at yesterday’s masterclass for the 24?

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