Masterchef – team challenge
The preview makes me reconsider my decision to blog tonight: a food court challenge immediately makes me think “People of Walmart”, and my biliousness increases when we see Dani doing her usual commentary about weak team-mates. If I don’t get through this recap, send help.
Masterchef house: Billy and Alana are relaxing by playing a computer game, and Ellie and Dani are in a table tennis tournament. Hmph. And Adam suggested that things were tough! Who wouldn’t want to spend time with near strangers relaxing for a camera crew? Mat interrupts the good times by telling them they have to be at Westfield. Hayden, of course, is safe from the horrors of the suburban shopping mall.
Gary welcomes the contestants, who’ve been randomly divided into teams by the old escalator trick. He seems to think that people go to food courts looking for great food. Sigh. “But tonight…” [I hold my breath, thinking he’s about to be struck by a fit of honesty and say “there’s even less chance they’ll get that, since you lot are cooking”] “…it will be a culinary coliseum”. One person from each team will be “battling it out against each other, gladiator style” at each of the six outlets. Winners get to eat at a fabulous restaurant. Strangely, Gary is going to send them all to Surry Hills to eat at Marque, instead of just treating them to some of the great food available at the food court. The whole losing team will face elimination. [One of the regular commenters, EH, has informed me that this particular Westfield is in the CBD, not a suburban mall, and that the food court outlets are run by well-known chefs – Justin North is one, and he made an appearance on MC not long ago. I must have missed that bit – I guess my conditioning goes straight from “shopping mall food court” to “slop” with no stops in between. What we saw tonight… but I’m getting ahead of myself.]
Matt Moran lists off the usual suspects of food court fare, but adds an evil twist: food intolerances, allergies and “food choices”.
Pairs are decided by a coin toss.
- Billy (blue team) chooses pastry. Michael interviews that this is a natural choice, as “he is the queen of pastry”. He gets egg and sugar intolerance to go with his choice. He chooses to cook against Michael.
- Mat (red team) puts his hand up. He chooses the rotisserie… and gets diabetic and vegan. Seriously, this is lame. He wisely chooses Danielle, instead of Sun, as his opponent.
- Ellie (blue team) chooses fish and chips, low salt and low fat. She goes up against Craig because she only sees him cooking desserts. “Cooking fish and chips – no problem! That’s probably why I’m overweight”. Did he miss the “low fat” part?
- Alana (red team) chooses lactose free, low carb pizza and will cook against Kumar because she thinks he struggled with pizzas in the team challenge.
- Sun (blue team) will be cooking gluten free, vegan Mexican, which she is half happy about as she can knock up “bangin’ beans”. Not my description, I hasten to add. She chooses Peter. She doesn’t realise he’s spent time in Mexico.
- Dani (red team) is last to choose and she gets “burger, low salt and low carb”. She interviews (from what I can make out between the incessant giggling) that it will be hard.
Dani is making a burger with mushrooms, wagyu and lettuce. Kate is nervous and sends me reaching for a paper bag to hyperventilate in as she reminds us of Dani’s inventiveness with RICE BURGERS.
Kate is making a dough with a small amount of flour, but adding potato flour and brown rice flour which… I’m no nutritionist, but aren’t they carbs? For some reason Dani is as stunned as I am and lets on to Kate that it’s a bad idea. Kate immediately shares this intel with Kumar.
Ad break, and I’ve got to say (this might be controversial) that I miss the days when AFL was only shown on 7 so I wouldn’t have to see any footy related guff on other channels.
Kumar is doing a savoury pizza with eggplant, mushroom and tomatoes, and a fig and goats cheese pizza. His base now has more semolina in it (and I haven’t suddenly gained a qualification in nutrition since last time, but is semolina any better? And goat’s cheese? Hmmm).
Alana respects Kumar’s flavour combinations. She’s making one pizza, with lots of ingredients (grilled capsicum, herbs, eggplant, olives, anchovies and goats cheese) and her low-carb base is a mix of white flour and semolina. I guess the cheese and semolina are okay, then.
Billy is making a jaffa cake with an almond base and chocolate mousse top.
Michael is making a banana mousse tart with caramelised bananas.
Peter wants to win! So does Sun! He is making a burrito wrap, corn salsa, guacamole and chilli con carne. Surely he means chilli non carne.
Sun is doing a burrito with roasted corn and some guacamole. For a minute I thought she’d forgotten about those “bangin’ beans” but she’s going to do a “nice bean mix”. Which… is what Peter’s doing, right? She’s feeling confident but notes that they are all “fairly decent cooks now”. Surely they were… oh, never mind.
Chris Craig [thanks, Littlepetal] is doing a marron salad, steamed flathead and sweet potato fries. He thinks age and experience will beat innocence and youth. I think people should learn from the mistakes of others – steaming flathead seems risky to me.
Ellie is making a salmon roulade, which she will poach. The care she takes over removing the bones suggests that George will be put in the position of trying to pretend he’s not choking when he tries her dish.
Mat points out that a vegan is unlikely to even go to a rotisserie. This is his cooking nightmare, but he is cracking on with a ratatouille with vincotto reduction. He tries to render some editors redundant by creating his own fireball.
Danille is doing a rotisserie grilled capsicum stuffed with mushroom and quinoa with a roasted corn salad and grilled fennel. She thinks she has the edge over Mat.
As time ticks on
- Kate observes that Dani is going no carb, but the instruction was “low carb”, so she’s going to do a flat bread.
- Peter notes that he and Sun are pretty much making the same thing. Bangin’ beans.
- Billy and Michael think they’re okay.
- Craig is doing the fish “en papillote” which is a good nod to the Masterclass move.
- Ellie is chopping lots of things and is worried about time.
- Alana considers doing an extra pizza but decides to focus on her savoury.
- “You can’t stretch time – there’s no gluten in that” bellows Gary, who must have lost a bet with George.
- Ellie’s chips are burnt, Craig’s fish might be underdone, Billy’s cake is too warm and his mousse is melting, Kate’s burgers are collapsing, Dani is rapid-fire worrying about… everything and Gary and George are doing some subtle marketing for Kung Fu Panda 2.
After the fireball takes care of Billy’s melting mousse, Sun has her own little meltdown with an uncooperative tortilla. She decides to copy Peter’s method and is immediately smitten by karma when she burns her hand on a hot pan. The medic watches on as Sun completes her copy-crepe, and we cut to Ellie’s roulade, which is mighty disconcerting, as I thought it was a close up of the burnt flesh. Eeew.
Time’s up, and we get Dani’s “weakest team-members” soundbite again and it’s not redeemed by context.
Tasting (red team member = first name)
Peter vs Sun
- Sun’s presentation is hideous – she wasn’t exaggerating when she said she just “plops it on the plate”. They don’t comment on the plating up, which is a bit of an oversight. George likes the bright and green avocato and the beans.
- Moran is engulfed in a well-timed fireball when he tastes the super-hot chilli. Well, he can’t say he wasn’t warned. George says it’s beautiful and the presentation is glamorous. Moran thinks the burrito is bland.
Dani vs Kate
- Gary gets too much salt on his lips from the “little twist” that Kate gave and thinks the carbs are “way too much”. Moran wants to forgive it because it’s “such a great tasting burger”.
- George thinks the Dani’s burger requires a bib. It looks tiny when he picks it up, and he doesn’t look as though he has giant meat-hooks. Pluses, to Gary, are low carb and he couldn’t taste any seasoning. Heh. “It’s bland”. Well, DUH.
Craig vs Ellie
Craig seems too cocky to get away with victory tonight, but we’ll see (as he says).
- Unsurprisingly, George loves Ellie’s dish. We don’t get anybody else’s viewpoint – well, why would we? It’s not as though George could fail the objectivity test, right?
- Gary loves Craig’s marron salad but the fish tastes like cardboard. Oops. Moran agrees that it is overcooked. Didn’t Craig think it was under?
Mat vs Danielle
- George thinks Danielle’s dish is really healthy. Gary says it’s packed full of flavours and fulfils the vegan/diabetic brief, but thinks it’s not “rotisserie”.
- Will we get an Anton Ego moment with Mat’s ratatouille? Gary is pleased that it was mostly from the rotisserie, and George continues his run of bad luck with raw food. “Oi can’t eat it” he pronounces, having spent aeons sawing away at some eggplant. It’s not raw chicken, George, it won’t kill you.
Alana vs Kumar
Moran pulls Kumar up over the goat’s cheese, and Gary confirms that it still has some lactose. Alana looks concerned, as well she should, given that the cheese is only on half of Kumar’s pizza, but all over hers.
They note that the lactose-free half of Kumar’s pizza is okay, and that Alana has made a really nice pizza, but it’s not lactose-free.
Michael vs Billy
- Gary likes the flavour of Billy’s chocolate mousse, but finds the cake stodgy. We’ve already seen George pull it apart in distaste. “This is the worst we’ve seen you cook, to be honest” says Gary.
- Moran loves that pastry on the bottom of Michael’s dish. George reels off a string of adjectives, none of which is “beautiful”, and finishes with “who’s the pastry king now?”. They all chuckle, but according to Michael’s earlier assessment of Billy’s place in the royal pastry family, they are now perfectly matched.
Michael def Billy. One to red.
Sun def Peter. One all.
Kumar def Alana. Blue is in the lead.
Ellie def Craig. Blue.
Dani def Kate. Red is still trailing by one. Dani is being confirmed as the “burger queen”. Blerg.
Danielle def Mat. Blue wins. I wonder what would have happened if it had been a three all tie.
Blue will go to Marque, and Red will fight it out for elimination. And I will consider investing in a smaller television in case I watch any more of this show – watching George eat on the large-ish screen is making me ill.