Archive for the ‘Recap’ Category

Sorry no recap yesterday – I had soccer training, which was a real joy given that it was the coldest Sydney night in May in a decade. I’ll try to get a recap up tomorrow. I’m looking forward to watching yesterday’s episode even though I now know the ultimate outcome, proving comprehensively that this show’s attempts at suspense are unnecessary. The real joy is in seeing people be idiots in a kitchen setting.

I've done this more than once

There's a reason the logo is fire.

Christ, the blue team won! The curse is broken. The red team are gearing up for elimination. Kumar has already bonded with the team. What do you mean it’s a close-knit team? You were a team for like three hours.

The losers line up in front of the judges. Matt Preston emphasises that there will be no second chances this year. Alex is not present to look embarrassed. Those who are there look pretty upset – looks like everyone was counting on having a second chance.

Hayden decides not to use his elimination pin, because he wants to stick with the team. Sounds stupid but it ends up being a great decision – only two of them are actually going into the elimination round! And the team has to pick who. This is awesome! No wonder they were so hard on the cheaters. Masterchef is a dog-eat-dog world this year. The other upshot is that Hayden is safe anyway, unless everyone decides to unilaterally boot out someone. While that would be awesome it wouldn’t really fill an hour of television, so it’s unlikely.

Time for Red Team to have a honest and frank discussion about the challenge. Tom immediately volunteers as the team leader. Someone watched last year and doesn’t want to be Jonathan! Kumar tells him he did a great job and tries to stop him offering himself up. Tom refuses, so Kumar volunteers as well as he stuffed up the ciabatta. I’m told this is half-justified. Everyone else holds still and tries to look serious. I was hoping this would descend into a shouting match – maybe next time.

Blue team are enjoying a beautiful lunch at Jonah’s at Whale Beach, apparently accessible only by seaplane. They arrive at the most beautiful restaurant on earth for a five-course meal with matching wines. Goddamn. Now they’re learning how to make a crème brulee. Brown sugar on top is the trick, apparently! Cleo does a good job pretending to care about the red team’s fate.

According to Gary, two of them will enter this challenge, but only one will survive. He is no Tina Turner.

One day, cock of the walk. Next day, a feather duster.

Gary in his younger years.

Three judges are going to bring their favourite ingredient. Tom and Kumar then have to use that ingredient to make the judge’s favourite dish. Without a recipe. The best overall dish wins. This is extremely confusing and extremely full on. Judging by his expression, Kumar agrees.

The first judge is apparently known by her first name only, like Madonna and George. It’s Abla Amad, from Abla’s in Melbourne! I have never heard of her, but she seems like a lovely old Lebanese grandmother. She’s about half Matt Preston’s size.

She’s brought pistachios and wants Kumar and Tom to make baklava. Neither of them have any idea how to do it. Abla smiles and says it is a pleasure to meet them. I love her and think she should replace Matt Moran.

Tom declares that pastry is his nemesis. He’s panicking. Good. Kumar better win this – he is too great to lose and Tom is too boring to win. It is much more exciting when you half-believe the loser won’t reappear later on.

Tom tips an entire stick of butter into a pan. Kumar grinds pistachios. They are just stuffing around, really. This is an extremely tough challenge.

Abla comes over to sneakily help with Tom’s sugar syrup. It needs lemon. Kumar gives Tom a lemon. Kumar, this is serious business, this guy can get his own lemon. Tom doesn’t listen to Abla, so she hits him with a wooden spoon. Not really, but it was close.

Gary has stopped the clock as he realises that neither of these guys knows what they are doing. Instead of mercy, it’s just another judge. Sean Presland, executive chef from Sake has brought tempura flour. They’ll be making assorted tempura. This is another nemesis of Tom’s.

Tom, bored of baklava, gets on the tempura. Kumar decides to finish the baklava. Now Tom’s trying to multitask, with extremely limited success. Abla comes over and helps him again! Why, Abla, why? Kumar is the best.

Clock stops again for the third judge. It’s Matt Preston! Surprise! His favourite ingredient is FIRE. No. It’s limes. What? He particularly loves pickled limes. This is a man full of surprises. He wants a roast corn and capsicum salsa, a guacamole, a tomato salsa and some chicken wings. Is there lime in any of that?

Meow meow meow. Three stars.

Matt Preston's cat.

Kumar’s ahead! Now he’s behind! This is frantic. Everyone’s ignoring the tempura. No, wait, they’re finally on it. The judges are sitting on stools staring at them as they slice their vegetables for the tempura. Big fat guys look weird on huge stools.

Sean realises they’re struggling with the tempura. He tells them, ‘just make it like cream, idiots’. What does that even mean? Kumar knows that sparkling water gives the best result. Tom doesn’t, but gets another leg up from the judges.

Time to plate up! Somehow they both get everything together in time. Abla shakes her head in disgust. She’s so awesome. Everyone hugs, then it’s judging time. Kumar is clearly regretting volunteering.

Abla’s tasting first. She thinks Kumar’s baklava is ‘not bad, balanced!’. Tom’s is nice too, but she is enraged by the icing sugar and assorted decorative faff. Gary presses her for a meaner comment, but she will only say that ‘both are nice’. Gary hates this. Abla’s the best.

Tempura’s next. Sean clearly thinks both are a bit average. Kumars’ is crunchy and light. Toms’ looks pretty average and his prawns are raw, but he’s got good flavour and nice presentation. Only because you helped him Sean!

Finally, Matt’s chicken wings. Kumar has made delicious salsa and his wings are sufficiently lime-y. Matt wants a beer. Hayden’s started a trend here. Tom’s chicken wings look burnt but are perfectly cooked. Damn.

The judges vote. Alba looks delighted by the card and its little envelope. She is so much better than Matt Moran.

Kumar and Tom return to hear the decision. Alba goes first, and tells them that it was very tough – both so nice! But the winner, based on flavour, is…Kumar! Yes! Alba for Prime Minister!

Little known fact: this is the real Julia Gillard

"Free baklava for everyone earning under $150,000!"

Matt’s up. He votes for Tom, for no reason. Boo. Clearly he’s voting that way to force a tie, but it’s still outrageous.

Everything hangs on Sean. He has picked – GODDAMN FLAME BALL. I am so tense. When the world’s longest ad break finishes, Sean tells us he thinks they both did a good job. Boring. Who is the best? KUMAR!

Kumar’s so stoked. He is also totally honest about being happy, neglecting to immediately offer Tom a fake sympathy hug. This guy is fantastic. This is also the first time I have ever successfully predicted a Masterchef outcome!

Tom tells us he didn’t come here to get booted out, inaccurately. Since being loser number one, he’s started an online dinner box delivery company. Bleak.

Tomorrow, Justin and Gary get saucy!

The recap guy has gotten less dramatic. Actually, he sounds like he’s lost a couple of teeth. “Lasht night on mathterthef”. Hope he’s okay. Tonight’s another happy night – no eliminations, and six people are going through. The remaining – what, thirty? – march through the doors to be greeted by the judges in fancy dress. More specifically, Gary and Matt have dressed up. George has just worn his normal weekend gear.

da plane! da plane!

"Boom boom, shake the room!"

Shannon thinks the judges look cute in their sailor hats. We haven’t heard from Shannon before, and I now hope to never hear from her again.

The fancy dress isn’t just for fun. Tonight is the desert island challenge. Basically it’s just a signature dish challenge in a funny hat. The contestants have to make the dish they’d be happy to eat every day for the rest of their lives. The six already through to the top twenty-four are standing awkwardly around the masterchef concrete slab, wearing aprons for no reason. How long have they been there? Since Tuesday?

We’re back in the time-out commentary box. A whole bunch of people really, really want to get through the top twenty-four. I thought that was the point, but apparently a few people are really only interested in the free trip to Cockatoo Island.

The ghosts add to the ambience.

Scenic.

Quirky Danielle is making green eggs and ham! Funnily enough that’s my signature dish too, but only because I keep forgetting to clean out the fridge. The judges come for a chat and she manages to work ‘I love cooking’ and ‘it’s a hard knock life’ themes into one sentence. That is a solid performance. The judges are suitably impressed and leave her alone.

Everyone’s making some seriously fancy stuff. Really?  You want to finely chop daikon every day for the rest of your life? My desert island dish is a baked bean jaffle.

With Alby gone it’s time for a bit of backstory on our backup hat guy, Billy. Turns out he doesn’t wear the hat outside of the Masterchef studio. He’s a food blogger! OK, he’s the new blog favourite.

Matt the IT goth from Melbourne is following Julie’s strategy of grabbing the most expensive stuff in the pantry and throwing it on a plate. Well, it worked for her. He will not shut up about ethical foi gras. Honestly, the geese love being force-fed. Who cares?

Irena the personal trainer likes sweets! But really, she’s all about ‘healthy options’. Not interested. All that means is ‘not using all of the butter’ which is the kiss of death in the Masterchef kitchen.

Meanwhile, blog favourite Billy is making his mum’s pork belly. Heartwarming and delicious. This guy knows his stuff. Must be all that blogging.

Andrew the youth worker is making a piece of meat the size of his head. He unwraps an entire stick of butter then doesn’t do anything with it – just for a snack, then. He believes he’s going to get the apron. That sounds like loser foreshadowing to me.

Kumar has made his own coconut cream. The music department reuses Jimmy’s Theme – seriously, this faux bollywood stuff has never been played other than when an Indian guy is cooking something. Stay classy! He tells the camera it’s ‘game on’ then giggles.

Judgement time! Seamus has made seared tuna and tiny batons of vegies. It’s so good that Gary makes the top six eat some. Kumar’s prawn curry is also excellent, and served in a way that shows that he was aware of the ‘desert island’ part of the theme. Go son!

We get a closeup of Matt the IT Goth. Don’t know if the ginger beard works with the long black hair. He will not shut up about his ethical foi gras. He’s cooked everything well, though Gary questions whether the dish is worth its $100 price tag.  Matt has a problem with the dish – immediate cut to ad break! This usually means his problem is ‘this dish is too delicious’.

Not this time! Matt’s problem is that IT Goth hasn’t used Australian seasonal produce and has reflected our cultural insecurity by using white truffle, which apparently suck by the time they get here. ‘I like the dish, but I question the politics’. Yes! Matt Preston wins – I see your ‘ethical foi gras’ and I raise you ‘postcolonialism’!

Danielle’s green eggs and ham reduce Gary to wordless grunting, not that it takes much. John’s chocolate brownies are good, but for some reason he’s put a pineapple top on his plate. George wears it like a hat. Seriously.

Andrew has served the biggest ribeye ever. He claims to have cooked it between blue and rare. This fools nobody as it’s clear has not had time to cook it properly. Surprise! It is totally raw. He has wasted enough meat to feed a family of four for a week.
Blog favourite Billy is up! His pork belly is unsurprisingly delicious. Gary eats all the crackling. It’s the dish of the day! He is the favourite for a reason.
Time for Sun’s ‘slow cooked egg on bruschetta with asparagus’. Gary loves her, and by proxy this dish. Matt displays the insight that made him a famous food critic and points out that it’s toast and eggs.  Sun still reckons she’s shown the skills and determination to grab this and run with it. When? When she made an egg? I can make eggs, doesn’t take me two hours either.
Alana’s chocolate fondant is pretty delicious. The judges flip out about the pretty lady. Gary leans forward in an attempt to be sexy. Second dish of the day! George regrets calling dish of the day without tasting all of the dishes. He’s not going to learn anything from this, though.

Decision time. Alana, Blog Favourite Billy, Kumar, Eliza, Seamus and Quirky Danielle are through. Gary does the ‘touchdown’ action from Australian Idol. Who would have thought anyone could be as embarrassing as Mark Holden? Nobody cries, surprisingly.
Masterclass tomorrow. We end with a shot of George cackling as he bludgeons an octopus against a rock.

Back on excitement island. Oh no, I thought the Matt Moran judge thing was all an elaborate lie. Looks like he’s actually going to be sticking around. The guy is half-man, half-lizard – maybe Tony Abbott was right to be worried about human-animal hybrids.

Apparently everyone’s standing around outside for no reason, because we’re leaving the beautiful outdoors of Cockatoo Island – back in the kitchen for a basic skills test. Several people look worried, for good reason.

The first challenge is – chips! Haven’t we seen this challenge before? If we haven’t then I haven’t seen it ever, because I was making dinner during this bit and missed all the excitement.

Mayonnaise is next! An entire episode of My Kitchen Rules was dedicated to watching one guy repeatedly try and fail to make this. Most people seem to be a bit better at it, although I am suspicious of anyone’s ability to actually absorb the speed Masterclass.

Nobody looks set to whack out the jar mayo – ‘that’s what I use at home, and it’s my chicken potato slice not yours!’ Ah Kate, you are missed.

George would eat this with a spoon

Says 'real' right there on the jar

Watching people whisk is boring so we get a bit of backstory on one of the contestants. Danielle, dressed like a linedancer, describes herself as a ‘little bit rockabilly’. She goes on to prove the rule that anyone who self-identifies as quirky is in reality crushingly dull.  She has blatantly disregarded the recipe but gets through anyway.

George walks around flirt-torturing basically every woman under the age of fifty. He is a sucker for the pretty ladies. Moran is having less success due to being less adorable.

Rather than describing the elderly Indian gentleman’s mayonnaise as ‘tasty’ or ‘good’ Moran describes it as ‘the most like mine’. Says it all about this guy really. Elderly guy gets through. Has he appeared on camera before?

I personally would not be able to eat mayo with a spoon, but George and Matt seem to enjoy themselves. The herd is thinned again and we move on.

Third challenge is chicken! They have to cut it into various bits. At this stage Moran is just showing off his sweet chicken technique.

Apparently the supreme is actually a part of a chicken carcass? This sheds new light on the KFC Supreme burger.

I wish they sold this in Australia

Quirky Danielle has decided to do the chicken Moran’s way rather than her own completely incorrect way. A strong tactical choice that I did not expect from her. Moran advises everyone to avoid cutting their fingers off – I’m writing that tip down.

Michael is flying under the radar here – Kate is doing the exact opposite. They’re both way ahead. Hayden’s got a new hat and cannot answer questions about where the skin on his chicken thighs has gone. Presumably he ate it. Back to the chicken stand with him.

What’s happening to all this delicious food? I’m so hungry and now all I want is chicken and chips.

Sun is doing something wacky again. She is a liability. George gets excited about only one person having to use a new chicken – within seconds Mari realises she’s stuffed. George visibly deflates. Apparently the level has risen, but not that much.

Man-giant Seamus is through! Also some guy wearing a fedora. Surely if you have seen any other season of Masterchef you know that ‘wacky hat guy’ is not the guy to be. Quirky Danielle is through. Alex and Sun both back in the penalty round.

Fifteen people – maybe five of whom are identifiable – are ready for the penalty round. They’re making scones. This is an interesting challenge to pick, given that the last runner up consistently couldn’t make scones. Maybe the CWA complained.

You call that a scone?

Do not cross them.

Matt and Gary are walking around being stunningly unhelpful as usual. There are more appropriate moments to ask about what someone does for a living than when you are forcing them to make do-or-die scones. Hayden is a ‘professional lifeguard’. Is that a thing you have to clarify? I took it for granted that he was a professional after he said it was his job.

meow meow meow

This is an amateur lifeguard for comparison.

Little montage of Hayden’s life, so presumably he’s hanging around – unless he’s the sacrificial lamb to make us care about the elimination process. All that I take away from this is that he wears a hat indoors but not outdoors. There’s also a shot of him wet to prove what, that he can swim?

Alex is underestimating the power and fury of the scone. Zombie Flo Bjelkie-Petersen is going to get him if he’s not careful. Good god his back is burnt raw!

Moran is patronising Elizabeth about the importance of regular scones. Asks her what to do if she got given a lesser scone than her neighbour. Elizabeth tells Moran that he should be grateful for the food he’s got and think of the person slaving away for hours in the kitchen. Good point! Matt has nothing and skitters away.

Everyone’s scones are in now, so we are treated to a few minutes of riveting people-looking-at-ovens footage. Stop opening the oven! George and Moran attempt some filler dialogue but it falls flat due to Moran’s inability to talk about anything other than himself.

Scones are done! Tanja realises that the challenge was not in fact making the most awful scones ever, but keeps grinning like a loon. Strangely she has no success.

Moran gets his revenge on Elizabeth – her meals-on-wheels scones are not up to his standards. That’ll learn her. A parade of spongey, gooey scones until Kate’s scones which George declares the scones of the day! Moran ruins the moment.

George asks the key questions: can a lifeguard make a scone? He can’t make a joke, that’s for sure.

We cut to an ad break to build tension. Playboy body sprays? Looks like the demographic has changed since last year – used to be all babies and adult diapers.

Sun survives somehow! What is her secret? Hayden is also safe. George makes another joke about lifeguards making scones – why is he so weird about lifeguards? Can he not swim or something? He looks pretty buoyant to me. Nick and Alex are through.

Turns out Tanja’s the stooge to make us care about the eliminations! Didn’t work. Moran informs the anonymous losers that their failure today does not mean that they have to stop cooking! Visible relief. Good to clarify. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried to enforce a life ban.

That’s it for tonight.  Maggie beer is bringing a prize tomorrow! She’s as excited as they are. Actually she looks more excited – as well she should, because the prize is ‘all of the desserts’. Some guy does something that ‘no-one has ever done before’. The tension is killing me.