Masterchef – the three amigos
Another week, another round of competitive cooking with – hopefully – fewer tears. The narrator tells us that there are still 18 hopefuls. I recognise about two of them. As they arrive in the kitchen, Matt bellows “You are the eighteen best amateur cooks in Australia”. Luckily for you people I’m not having a shot every time Masterchef lies to me.
This week the judges are only tasting three dishes. This is getting ridiculous. Three dishes? Our 18 open their crates to reveal mud crab, mushrooms, chilli, finger limes, pasta, coconut cream, gorgonzola, radicchio. Matt thinks it’s the yummiest mystery box yet. Adam has no idea what a finger lime is, but he sure as hell knows what 25 minutes looks like and he’s worried.
Marion is roasting the crab and will be using finger lime with the coconut cream. Judging by her expression, Joanne is finding dealing with the crab pretty unpleasant. Given that she only has a one in six chance of them even tasting her dish, I think she should just step down and take it easy for the next few minutes. Peter is making crab with a tomato chilli sauce and Fiona is making open ravioli with mushrooms and gorgonzola with a poached egg. Open ravioli seems a cop out. Jake is aiming for two dishes in his 25 minutes. Courageous move – he must’ve had his cup of concrete this morning.
Jimmy is stuffing paratha with crab and he’s trying to get a presentation thing happening to get the judges to taste his bloody dish for once. The Gs come past and give him a bit of a pasting for his neatly trimmed paratha discs and seem sceptical about his explanation, leaving him looking mighty confused. His confusion deepens when he is called up for tasting. Gary moans about the circles, but he likes the runny egg and the toasty bread, so basically we are left with the impression that Jimmy has used a mud crab to make egg on unnecessarily round toast. George tells him that the circles were pointless. I wish I could “Sliding Doors” this, have Jimmy leave the parathas as they were and see the Gs NOT taste the un-circled dish.
Marion’s up next and Matt crunches his way through the lettuce and praises her combination of sweetness and the bold flavours.
Peter wants to be called; Jake thinks he should be called… so it’s Peter. The eternal commentator no more – finally we get to see some results. George asks “where ya been?” and Peter is good enough not to thrust a fork in his eye. Matt loves the dish, too. Peter’s happy just to be nominated. Bless.
Gary tells us that they’ve tasted the three top dishes (drink! three RANDOM dishes, Gary) and announces that Peter is the winner. Everyone seems genuinely happy for him, which is a good sign. He is about to get two “stonkingly huge” advantages. He is able to choose the core ingredient, choose the trios that will team up for the invention test and have first choice of the cuisine for the challenge. Peter chooses Marion and Adam. Matt nods approvingly. Peter chooses the Chinese flag and waves it happily.
- Skye, Jake and Carrie choose American.
- Alvin, Daniel and Fiona choose UK, and George tries to psyche him out with the Brit judges.
- Matthew, Aaron and Joanne choose Mexico and Aaron dances around happily.
- Jimmy, Callum and Sharnee choose Thai, which excites Jonathan as it means he’ll be cooking Moroccan, which is his background.
- Jonathan is left with Phillip and Claire as his team.
Each trio must produce three identical plates. All three on the winning team will face the celebrity chef. All three losers will face the pressure test.
Chicken, beef, fish – what will it be? Peter reveals… the chicken. Teams can choose ten ingredients from the pantry and have what seems like the world’s longest two minutes in there.
Skye helpfully recaps the rules of the pressure test and there is a lot of chopping, grinding, roasting, seasoning and cooking going on. George’s senses tell him that he’s at the cooking Olympics.
The Chinese team is smoking chicken and making dumplings for a soup.
Gary gives the UK team a grilling about the simplicity of their pie’n’peas dish and leaves them to panic over what else they should be doing. They briefly discuss a gravy, but then seem to discard that idea. Alvin is interviewing that their dish isn’t inventive enough for an invention test and I wonder how the team came to make the decision to cook it.
Gary tells the Thai team that they have to stop for a minute while he asks them about their dish. Really? That’s part of the deal? George is concerned that their Quay-inspired dish won’t cook in time but seems to miss the irony of taking precious time out to tell them this.
Jonathan’s team looks pretty under control with their Moroccan chicken.
Aaron is getting team Mexico fired up with the chillies and they seem to be having fun. I hope he’s taking the Gs’ chilli wussiness into consideration.
Team Thai is pan-frying their raw chicken, Claire is focussed on consistency, Adam is pleased with the look and flavours of his, Matthew is motoring to complete the dish, Alvin is still fretting about the fact that they’ve invented NOTHING with their pie’n’peas and the US team is piling lots of food onto their plates.
- Team China: Looks gorgeous and Peter is happy to have used his opportunities “to the max”. Gary loves it. George bounces thoughtfully before declaring his appreciation of the team’s balletic work in the kitchen. Matt gives it an A.
- Team Morocco: Ras el hanout chicken with a tagine of chickpeas. Gary would be happy to tuck into it in a bistro.
- Team Thai: Twice cooked chicken with nahm jin sauce (heh, twice cooked! Or raw?). George thinks they’ve really pushed themselves with
- Team USA: Gary doesn’t like the inconsistent portioning of the cajun chicken and vegies. He’s also unhappy with the lack of depth in the flavours.
- Team UK: Pie’n’peas. Alvin seems to be disowning the dish – he chose the flag; I wonder tho. Matt asks if they’ve used their time properly and they admit that they didn’t, nor did they use any acid on the peas. After tasting, he doesn’t think they’ve done enough.
- Team Mexico (or, as Gary calls them, the gringos): Five star taco with tomato salsa and jalapeno granita. Gary gives it the thumbs up, mostly because he’s coughing so much on the chilli that he can’t speak. George approaches the dish tentatively and Matthew interviews that he was hoping the spice wouldn’t set him off. George mops his brow dramatically before declaring that he’s proud of them.
The winning team is… Team Mexico! Aaron is stunned at this turn of events. Facing the pressure test? Not Team USA, who just scraped through. Team UK hang their heads and think shoulda coulda.
- I wonder if the book publishing deal this year specifies that the winner must put a recipe on every page.
- Aaron has hair!
- Curtis is finally cooking something other than fettucine bolognese for under a tenner in the Coles ads!
- The winners will compete as a team for immunity – did the producers start to worry that nobody would get close after the first couple of challenges and that the immunity idol would remain an unsolved mystery?
- I really don’t like it when people refer to women as “females”, and I like it less when a woman says it. Joanne – don’t do it again.