Masterchef – jump-the-shark pasta
We start the week with a look back on Aaron’s rollercoaster ride from last week. He reminds us that he missed his anniversary and we see a clip of him being bollocked by George over his tardiness with the oysters. All this doom and gloom is about to be brightened, though, as Peter accepts a delivery for him and it’s a “care package” from the fiancee. He weeps happily.
Once our contestants reach the kitchen, Matt tells them that they “came of age” as cooks in Melbourne. Gary repeats the fiction that winning the mystery box is a massive advantage for the invention test. Fiona won last week, right? And now? She’s… gone. Yup.
Brains, pears, white anchovies, bacon, paprika, hazelnuts, sugar-snap peas and a bread roll. The contestants look pretty unhappy about this turn of events. They are quite possibly pre-emptively nauseous about the barrage of brain-related jokes Gary is about to make.
“Show some heart! And use your brains!”
Callum blanches his brains and is in the process of getting ready for the deep-frying when the Gs approach to ask what he’s cooking. Um, brains? Aaron’s doing deep fried anchovies and is thinking about slicing his brains and deep frying them, a process which the Gs are not at all convinced by. Marion is pulling her fried brains out of the pot as the Gs approach and they look very impressed with her effort. Peter has also crumbed his brains and is crisping up some bacon and grilling the pears. And I’ve now typed “brains” more frequently than if I’d gone ahead and cashed in on the zombie craze with a hasty novel.
Gary reminds us that they’re only tasting the three best and I don’t get to moan about is this week, since Mr Injera gets in first with the “how do they know they’re tasting the best if they’re only tasting three?”.
- Marion: Matt tells her that her brains are mushy, but the vinaigrette is lovely. George thinks the whole dish is gorgeous and well-balanced. He’s loyal to the girl who wore his apron!
- Peter: He interviews that he’s happy to be called up, but that Marion is a tough act to follow. He’s wrapped his brains in bacon, which is how I’l like to go. Gary likes the caramelisation of the pear – good that Peter took his advice on the colour – but finds the bacon a bit thick.
- Callum: Matt tells him that his brains are perfectly cooked, but undermines the compliment by suggesting that it might have been pure luck.
“We’ve tasted the top three dishes!” Oh, shut up, Gary.
Joanne wins my heart a little when she interrupts Gary’s portentous, drawn-out lead up to what the challenge is by whispering “pasta” before he gets to the “exciting” reveal. That’ll teach you, Gary.
Aaron reminds us that he’d love to open a pasta restaurant, so realises that the pressure will be on him today.
15 ingredients per contestant, 2 minutes in the pantry and 45 minutes to cook, which is NOT enough time to rest a pasta dough, is it?
Marion decides to choose the ingredient that’s best for her, rather than one that will stymie her competitors. She has a choice of seafood, beef and mushrooms. She loves mushrooms! She goes mushrooming! She chooses… seafood. Aaron will be happy.
Sharnee spills her salmon roe on the floor as she leaves the pantry, giving Matt the opportunity to come to the rescue with his ever-ready Handee Ultra. Bleagh.
- Joanne is making fennel and prawn mousse ravioli.
- Jake was planning on a gorgonzola and smoked salmon pasta with smoked mussels but he forgot the gorgonzola and the smoke mix.
- The Gs get together to moan about overly creamy pasta and then head over to see what Jimmy’s making. It’s a pasta with a creamy sauce. And he cops to never having made pasta before. Oh, Jimmy.
- Aaron has thrown a lot at his dish, including truffle oil and chipotle.
- Matthew is making something he’s done before, which surprises me. It seems to surprise the Gs as well, who remember his solid ravioli from the Yarra Valley.
- Marion is making scorched prawn and ricotta tortellini, which Jonathan thinks will be foul. He obviously hasn’t read the memo telling him that Marion has a YOOGE advantage due to her mystery box win. Her scorching makes for the perfect fireball segue.
- Alvin is first up after the ads and is making a ravioli in a brodo, the details of which I miss as I’m violently gagging over the salmon roe Handee Ultra ad at the end of the break.
- Sharnee is making fettucine with garlic prawns which could be okay if she manages to get her water on in time.
- Jonathan is doing prawn canneloni with a prawn and saffron bisque sauce. George is impressed by the number of processes he’ll be undertaking.
- Sharnee: She’s not “overly confident” with her dish. Matt decrees that it is “wonderful” pasta. Gary likes the lemon zest flavour and admires how well she’s laminated, cut and cooked the pasta.
- Matthew: His ravioli with the sage butter is let down by the leathery pasta. Redemption is out of reach.
- Jimmy: Matt says it looks like two-minute noodles and Jimmy agrees.
- Alvin: His tortellini with prawn and celery brodo earns him a “welcome back” from Matt, who praises the way he’s lifted a “shop bought” stock.
- Jake: Dog’s breakfast, says Gary.
- Aaron: Gary reminds him that he cooks pasta four to five times a week and wants to open a pasta restaurant. Should Aaron give up on his dream? Not yet – Gary LOVES it. LOVES IT! Aaron looks really relieved, but he’s really worried about what Matt will think. He flings it on the floor telling Aaron that it’s disgusting. What a prick. And what does that say of his opinion of Gary’s palate? I guess he’s giving himself another chance to shill those paper towels – I wonder if they’re strong enough to protect against piercing shards of broken porcelain?
Just in case we missed it, we get to see Matt’s disrespectful arrogance again.
And then… the reveal. It’s a fakeout! He was going on to say “disgustingly good!”. The shark? It has been jumped.
- Marion’s dish is apparently brilliant, but I don’t care anymore.
- Jonathan’s dish: commended for being clever and interesting but doesn’t quite work.
Alvin, Jonathan, Marion, Aaron, Sharnee, Joanne
Joanne? Did we even SEE her dish? Apparently it was great?
Aaron. Hopefully it was worth the stress.
Jimmy, Jake, Matthew
The rest are told to breathe a sigh of relief and go home. I wonder if they are going to spend their down-time wondering whether they want to continue participating in this ritualised bullying-only-joking! Hahahahaha! It’s all about the food, no really!
- Once the judges have announced the first two of the top three for the Mystery Box challenge, how is it exciting that there is one spot left? There’s only one winner and no advantage for the other two.
- Tortured alliterative wordplay of the evening: “Pasta perfection or past it’s use-by date”
- I have to go back to that fakeout on Aaron. The guy seems to have been having a rough time. We began the episode seeing how fragile he was and how much the parcel from his partner cheered him up, but he was clearly feeling the pressure given that the expectation was so high for him with pasta. Matt’s comment was not one that could be spotted from a distance as a typical fakeout (and I’ve seen some fakeouts in my time of watching reality TV): he said “That’s disgusting”. It wasn’t sneaky editing that cut off the -ly – he said “that’s disgusting”. He roared. He flung the plate down. And that kind of blatant manipulation? Is disgusting.