Masterchef – who’ll be sleeping with the fishes?
Last night on Masterchef, Matt made a complete prat of himself, but we won’t be seeing that in the previews for tonight. We will, however, be seeing George bellowing about something and Jake feeling “devastated” because he wanted his seafood platter to be perfect. So, um, spoiler alert? Jake puts up a dish that isn’t perfect? Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em, people. I think this could be tedious.
Post credits, Matthew reminds us why they’re here – because they messed up the pasta. Unfortunately I’m not sure why I’m still here. Jake tells us that seafood is the one thing he’s really good at, so this Rick Stein challenge should be right up his alley. Has he forgotten that the pasta challenge was also seafood? And that we have just seen his interview alerting us to a lack of perfection? Trivialities, perhaps, but my tolerance threshold is low tonight. Jimmy reiterates his food dream, and I don’t think Masterchef is really the right place for him: they’re always going to criticise him for something that he should be celebrated for and he has a strong sense of what he wants to do, anyway. If Matthew doesn’t make it through tonight, he should probably try to sort out some of those dad-approval issues.
Gary’s hurt his leg, so Matt is on hand to welcome the boys to the kitchen. The safe contestants are lined up on the balcony as usual – I really hope Aaron positions himself over Matt and drops something at his head. We get the big intro to the guest chef, but since we’ve known that it’s Rick Stein for at least 24 hours, it’s just grating, pompous blah blah blah.
The seafood platter is revealed and the “little man” beside Jimmy is, indeed, beaming. Neither Jimmy nor Matthew looks to be confident. Rick goes through all the seafood carefully, after which George says, redundantly “there’s lot of different seafoods here”. Well, yes. Fifteen elements, to be precise. Matt prompts Rick to reveal that it would be $300-$350 worth of seafood and “it would be a travesty” to mess it up. Our losers have two hours to do just that. Fireball.
Jimmy is planning not to panic, which is a damn good approach. They’re getting their nage on, or “stock” as Marion dumbs down for us. She’s concerned that Jimmy’s not onto his crab yet, as are George and Rick, particularly since he’s been a little too precise chopping his veg for the nage… I mean stock.
Jake is mixing his mayo by hand, as is Jimmy, but Matt has completed his within 30 seconds using a stick blender. He interviews that “it would be a travesty” to screw up the expensive seafood, which shows that he has potential for a career in politics, with his ability to stick to the talking points. Maybe that would satisfy his dad?
Overcooked seafood is the biggest mistake people make, according to Rick, so that’s what he’ll be looking for. Jimmy gets some advice from the peanut gallery to beard his mussels after cooking, which is not something I’ve ever considered doing. Matt is breaking open his sea urchin and Joanne observes that both he and Jake are going like steam trains, while Jimmy is falling behind. He is determined to run his own hare-and-the-tortoise race here, which is an idea with some merit if he manages to get everything done and not destroy the sea urch… oh, too late!
After the fireball, Jimmy’s sea urchin is still a mess. Just as he voices over that he hopes Rick doesn’t notice, we see Rick peering over the balcony with a look of concern. George and Matt scurry over to try to talk Jimmy through a salvage operation.
George bellows at them: “do me a favour and don’t. overcook. the. seafood”. Well, since you asked as a favour, George. Jake loses a body part from his crab and Matthew provides us with an inventory of what he still has to do. Jake feels that he’s got everything cooked at this stage so is just cruising, and Jimmy has Joanne and Adam hissing at him from the balcony to get his crab out. Peter thinks Jimmy might actually be edging ahead, since Jake has taken half an hour to pick his crab. After the crab, Jake then starts on the oysters, and seems to be taking his sweet time cleaning those, too. Matthew is getting onto his tarragon butter sauce and somebody notices that Jimmy’s is too thick. Just as Rick calls Joanne over to tell her to get Jimmy to thin it down, he pulls the head off his lobster. Bom bom BOM!
Jake, having cruised through the prep, realises that he has undercooked his blue swimmer crab. Jimmy is dealing with poo chutes as Matthew starts to plate up. George exhorts them to “boom boom”. Really?
Jake still needs to do his mayo and his crab, and Peter thinks he has forgotten about his sea urchin. He hasn’t. George promises us that for one of them it will be the last time they’ll cook in the Masterchef kitchen, so at least we’re not in for surprise comebacks.
Jake’s mussels still have their beards, Jimmy has forgotten his fingerbowl, and who knows what Matthew is doing? Plating up with ruthless efficiency, I guess. Time’s up and Jake is devastated because his seafood is far from perfect.
Rick smiles at Matthew, so he won’t be getting a return gig. He needs to take a crash course in snarl 101 if he’s going to cut it with this crowd. Matthew explains that he felt he was up against the seafood specialist in Jake and is then dismissed so our judges can eat. Matt declares the platter spectacular and Rick agrees. As for the cooking, Rick is happy with the mussels and clams and George is impressed with the sea urchin. Negatives? The yabby is undercooked and the bug still has a poo tube, but Rick still declares himself happy with it.
Matt reminds Jimmy that he should be trying to prove that he’s not just a “spice” man – is that why they’ve presented him with an almost spice free challenge? He believes he’s put every element on the plate, which is a start, I guess. Rick doesn’t necessarily disagree with this self-assessment, but thinks it looks “dropped” on the plate and George eagerly points out the urchin issues. He’s a bit of a dobber, our George. This is why I don’t like the judges prowling during cooking. Matt delicately spits out some crab cartilage and also finds some “intestinal tract”. He’s too sensitive for “poo chute” but will hurl somebody’s food on the floor? I think I need some strong paper towels to mop up the mess I’ve just made. George loves the crab dressing and they all praise the yabbies.
He starts by saying he’s not happy with his work – I guess it’s a good strategy to set the expectation low. Jake’s messy presentation is seen as “God throwing seafood on a plate”, so dropping is bad, throwing is good, but only if you’re a god. Which… Jake is? Matt spits “gravel” out of a clam and pulls out a poo tube (he wasn’t too precious this time). The crab salad lacks capers, but the tarragon butter is good and the oysters are lovely.
Rick bows out of the judging.
Matt tells them they put up three GREAT seafood platters.
- Jimmy put up the best crab salad, but the presentation was clumsy
- Jake: best yabbies, oysters and mayonnaise, but the crab salad was insipid and not generous
- Matthew: nailed the presentation is criticised for leaving the intestinal tract in. Given that he wasn’t the only one to do so, it’s obvious that he’s safe.
Oh, what was that, Matt? Matthew is safe. Huh, who’d’a thunk it. Are you sure you don’t want to interrogate them over their “intentions” first? He’s told to phone his dad and essentially say “nerny nerny ner ner”.
Jimmy gets an eerie “time’s up” chill. And… fireball.
And he’s going home.
“The great thing about Jimmy going is that you know he’s going to be okay”, says Aaron. This suggests that the others would be placed on 24 hour watch.
- There must be a rule where the chef can’t communicate directly with the contestants, preventing Rick from telling Jimmy about his sauce, but why was Joanne in sole charge of overseeing Jimmy’s progress
- Was there any mention of the quality of Jimmy’s sauce in the judging?
- As discussed with EricG, why does the chef join in with eating and commenting on the dishes and then recuse him/herself from judging? Do the judges actual remove the chef’s comments from their consciousnesses?
- I really wish they’d just tell the unsuccessful contestant that the decision’s been made and what it is, rather than have that totally useless “I wanna be here 110%” session.
- Matt’s credibility for me is so low that I wouldn’t be surprised if he kept a poo tube up his sleeve for judging. Not that it would be SCRIPTED, you understand, just – you know – teed up with a couple of cameramen.
- Tomorrow? Maggie Beer. I typed “Maggie Bear” first, which would be great if Ruth Cracknell was still with us. Can you imagine? She’s call Aaron “Arthur” and compare him unfavourably to Robbie. Still, even given how much I love Maggie Beer, how is that going to be a challenge of a similar calibre to, say, Philippa Sibley? Aaron could have a shot.