Aaand we’re back. Apparently tonight’s program contains mild coarse language. 90% of that is me swearing at the television every time I see Dani’s immunity pin. ‘Mild’ is probably pushing it.
The Masterchef house sure is looking empty. The girls are plotting in the bathroom while Michael and Hayden hang out in the kitchen. Ellie realises that fifty percent is half as many. Michael is pleased to be left with Hayden.
Everyone’s in their Qantas themed chef whites. They arrive in the kitchen to two mystery boxes and two benches. Dani’s baffled by change. It’s a team challenge. Of course it is, it’s Wednesday.
Dani, Ellie and Alana are the red team. Alana looks pretty unimpressed. Michael, Hayden and Kate are the blue team. Hayden’s the blue captain because he volunteered. He and Michael have lost eight team challenges. Alana is the red team captain by default. Dani has failed before and Ellie has no ability.
Today’s broken up in two parts. The first part involves the team captains facing a mini challenge. Alana freaks out. Should have let Ellie do it. Winner gets a mystery advantage. Michael explains that winning the advantage would be an advantage.
Hayden and Alana take their places, weirdly facing each other. They’ve got twenty minutes to cook whatever’s in the box. It’s all kinds of things, including salmon, oranges, witlof, micro-parsley and wine. Fortunately they don’t have to use them all. Alana refuses to reveal her ideas. Hayden doesn’t have any. Somehow they’ve changed into Captain shirts.
The teams are allowed to verbally assist. That is a real disadvantage for Alana. Time starts, and Ellie and Dani start gibbering. Hayden panics and stuffs around while Alana starts gunning a smoked salmon dish. Is this her time to shine?
Five minutes later, Hayden finally starts. He’s making salmon with some kind of tea sauce, plus a bonus butter sauce. His teammates start hassling him. Kate frankly thinks it’s stupid. She is giving him that classic mum ‘stop being an idiot’ look. The blue cap is not a great look for Michael.
Ten minutes to go and Alana’s teammates are lost. She’s doing fine though, completely ignoring them. Gary and George come to try and freak her out. She ignores them too. Winning strategy.
Hayden’s not doing quite as well. He can barely explain his dish, and freaks out at the baffled expression of the judges. His butter sauce is going to be trouble, in a bizarre new twist for Masterchef. Does this conflict with George’s work for the butter lobby?
Five minutes! Alana’s salmon looks good, and the foam seems to be working. Hayden’s dish tastes predictably weird, but he happily lies to his teammates. He claims this is because he wants to see how it goes. It is in fact because he is not a team player at heart. Kate just wants him to stop shaking.
Time’s up! In the final seconds Alana adds salt and pepper. Masterchef. The red team hug. On the blue team, Kate restrains herself from murdering Hayden.
George reminds everyone that an advantage is an advantageous thing to have. Hayden’s seared salmon with tea and butter looks a bit weird, and is completely ruined by the bizarre butter sauce. Alana’s smoked salmon salad, minus the wisely abandoned cream sauce, has a weird burnt sugar aftertaste. Nobody wins!
Alana loses the least. Red team gets the advantage! Kate is regretting letting Hayden be Captain. Gary has changed his mind and has decided that Alana’s dish was actually fantastic. What is the advantage?
They’re off to the airport. Qantas has clearly dropped a packet on this show. Kate’s never been on the tarmac before. Has anyone? This is why Pilot Paul should have stayed.
They’ll be cooking for first-class passengers. Hayden identifies that first class passengers are more likely than anyone else to be whinging rich guys. Red team takes over a fully staffed kitchen – so, professional chefs will do the prep, and their job is filling orders. Ninety minutes later, the blue team take over from them to complete the service. That is a pretty serious advantage.
Michael is upfront about how displeased he is to be in a kitchen following Dani and Ellie. Hayden tries to convince them to not destroy the kitchen with some reverse psychology. It flies right over their heads, sadly.
They’ll have to follow the first lounge policy – twenty minutes from order to service. These serious business people have serious business things to do. Ellie is totally incapable of doing this. Actually, so is Dani. By the way, has anyone noticed that Dani is a dead ringer for young Liza Minelli?
Neil Perry will be judging as well. Winners get a one on one Masterclass each. Kate wants to win, and pretends she cares about Hayden and Michael. Losers go into elimination. Ellie knows she’s gone if it’s her versus Alana. A rare moment of self awareness.
Red team are off! They leave the tarmac and go indoors. Why were they on the tarmac in the first place? They are worried about the expectations of the customers. They’re in an airport. If you beat Subway you’re doing well.
Creepy Neil Perry is there to greet them. The executive chef of the lounge is there to give them direction. Good thinking, Qantas. They also get recipe cars with pictures, which Neil demands they use. They’re actually off!
They have three stations– sauce, grill and larder. Ellie, on larder, pretends she is listening to the chef explaining thing to her. Her job is basically assembling salads and desserts. She may be out of her depth. Alana’s on the sauce station, making pasta, salmon, duck and chicken laksa.
Dani’s on the grill – burger, club sandwich, salt and pepper squid and something else. She starts burning buns. In the commentary box, Dani attempts to blame Alana. She burns twenty before realising she has to watch them.
Dani cannot make a burger in twenty minutes. Who knew? Ellie is being overwhelmed by dockets. She is pinning them to her wall at random. George comes to explain to her that she needs to put them in order. Now she complains that she can’t read the dockets. Can she actually read? There’s no evidence to suggest she can.
Alana’s doing okay. Sadly she has been saddled with morons. She gets her fish to the judges in good time, and it’s almost perfectly cooked. Matt Preston is wearing his plaid suit and what looks like a fob watch.
Meanwhile, Dani is engaged in a battle of wills with a club sandwich. She’s losing badly. She cannot remember to put lettuce on it. She also doesn’t know how to toast. Immunity pin is sparkling on her jacket. The judges identify that the sandwiches are poorly assembled and taste boring. How do you stuff up a club sandwich?
Ellie’s three serves of pork belly for the judges has to wait for her backlog to clear. Alana asks her if she’s on top of it. She mumbles something. She serves up two dishes of pork belly. What is wrong with her? She hopes they aren’t for the judges. Of course they are. They judges are pretty unimpressed by the wait and the presentation, but it is competently cooked.
Fifteen minutes to go! This is the peak opportunity to sabotage the blue team. Dani has finally stopped burning the buns. She delivers a steak to the judges well within time that’s nicely cooked and well seasoned. How much food are the judges eating tonight? Some precocious eight year old thinks it’s great.
Ellie is finding this more intense than anything ever. Pretty sure she said that last week. Meanwhile, the blue team are arriving. Which poor bastard is inheriting Ellie’s disaster zone? They are seriously relieved to hear that there are recipes.
Ellie hands over her station to Kate. Poor Kate. Ellie can barely explain what’s happening in front of her. Ellie claims the chef before her didn’t explain properly. True, he didn’t say ‘do the dockets in order’, but that is because he though you were an adult. Michael’s on the grill and Hayden’s on the sauce station.
The blue team are starting to struggle. Hayden is leading by not communicating at all, with anyone. Michael still loves him. The head chef steps in. Kate is trying to find where Ellie has put everything. She’s freaking out but is managing to be more capable than Ellie.
Michael can’t toast his bread. Why is everyone finding toast so hard tonight?
Michael has to start four club sandwiches again. It looks delicious once he figures the toaster out. He gets them to the judges in under twenty minutes. It is worlds better than Dani’s, well presented and delicious.
Hayden is off to a shaky start, in his own words. He is freaking out. I’ve said it before but the guy is not a team player, which is a problem in a commercial kitchen. Michael does his usual trick of taking over as Captain. George points out that it is not enough for Hayden to ignore his team.
Kate seems to have gotten together. She gets her pork belly out in fifteen minutes. It looks good and tastes better. Nice work, Kate. It is judged a winning dish, at Matt’s prompting.
Hayden is burning his fish. When asked, he denies it. He eventually gets the fish up in time after some serious hassling from the head chef. The three dishes are inconsistently cooked and poorly plated. It is both burnt and cold. Matt does a great impression of Hayden panicking.
George tells the blue team it’s time to boom boom, shake the room. His heart isn’t in it. Anna Bligh is here! She wants the salt and pepper squid. I’m sure she will be lovely about it regardless. Sure enough, she is. What a hero.
Michael can taste the finals. His steak and chips gets to the judges in nineteen minutes. His steak is nicely presented but sadly overcooked.
John Eels appears out of nowhere! He likes the food well enough. It’s VIP night every night at Qantas.
Time’s up! The blue team apparently have to clean up. That is a hilarious penalty.
The contestants assemble for judging time. Their performance in the kitchen matters, but it’s the food that counts. Gary reckons that Alana was flustered, but at least tried hard. The red team got a dish up late – thanks to Ellie – but not by much. Their fish was perfect, as was the steak. The club sandwich was a complete disaster. Dani’s happiness turns to embarrassment in seconds.
Hayden attempts to justify his poor performance with reference to his team’s disadvantage. Their timing was perfect, and their club sandwich was a standout. It’s all that Neil Perry eats, apparently. Michael is disproportionately excited at being able to make a sandwich.
Matt demands to know how Hayden managed to burn and undercook his fish. It was the worst dish of the day. Hayden is really not doing well today. Will he doom his team?
Yes he will! The red team wins. Dani is happier than anyone else – fair enough, her immunity pin means she’s in the final four. I still am not clear on who Alana is. Dani can’t believe it. Neither can I. George also thinks this is stupid.
See you tomorrow for a high-stakes elimination. My guess: Hayden gets eliminated and Michael cries.