MasterChef recap: It's the battle of the prawns but only one curries favour

Jock Zonfrillo, Adam D'Sylva, Andy Allen and Melissa Leong assemble for the class photo.
Jock Zonfrillo, Adam D'Sylva, Andy Allen and Melissa Leong assemble for the class photo.  Photo: Supplied

It's Beat the Brigade Week on MasterChef, which means today the amateurs must defeat the Fire Brigade, tomorrow the Girls' Brigade, and on Wednesday the Fifth Armoured Brigade.

Wait, no, it's something much more mundane: they just have to beat the staff of famous restaurants. Well, when I say "famous"…if you live in Melbourne you might've heard of them.

The amateurs, still shaken by Conor's exit and the realisation that it is possible to make an ice-cream so awful that even MasterChef judges won't enjoy it, arrive at the kitchen to find the judges standing…OUTSIDE the building? WHAAAAAAAT? The amateurs are stunned by this shock twist. As if that wasn't enough, suddenly a whole bunch of professional chefs walk into the garden. They stand there intimidating the amateurs with their low pay and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The pros give their best power stance as they prepare to take on the amateurs this week.
The pros give their best power stance as they prepare to take on the amateurs this week. Photo: Supplied

The amateurs are split into four teams of four. Each day this week will see a different team competing against one of the restaurant teams in a service challenge. If an amateur team beats a restaurant team, they win immunity. Which seems to suggest that it is possible for everyone to win immunity this week. Unless it's rigged, but of course that COULD NEVER BE.

Melissa, who is dressed today as some kind of wonderful exotic butterfly, reveals that today's amateurs will be facing off against the team from Tonka, Melbourne's finest modern Indian restaurant and toy truck manufacturer. The first amateur team is Linda, Depinder, Eric and Elise. The Tonka team is a guy called Adam and some people whose names are unimportant.

But before the cooking starts, there is more pointless nonsense to be gone through: a coin toss to decide who gets to pick what cuisine two of the three courses are going to be. The end result of which is a Mexican entrée, Indian main and French dessert. They will be feeding 20 diners, plus the judges who of course can eat eight times as much as normal humans.

After that brief 14-hour preamble, the cook actually begins. Tonka head chef Adam D'Sylva reminisces about the last time he was on MasterChef, when Larissa cheated to beat him. He is determined to be redeemed and has brought in his deadliest and most sadistic chefs to wreak bloody vengeance upon the amateurs.


Linda is appointed leader of the amateurs because she is the only one with a drivers licence. Linda is nervous, because she's been a stay-at-home mum for years and she really hates her teammates. She doesn't know if she's up to the job, but she realises that there's no way any of the others are.

Depinder has decided to make a prawn curry for main. She asks Adam what the Tonka team is making. He tells her they're making a prawn curry too. It's uncertain whether this is true or he's just saying it to give Depinder a nervous breakdown. Either way it works. Meanwhile Elise collapses into fits of hysterical laughter at the word "custard". This is distinctly worrying, as none of the Tonka chefs have exhibited any tendency to say random foods and then laugh for 30 seconds. It could really slow Elise down.

"Pink team let's start moving!" yells Sabina from the balcony, as if she's Linda or something. They are doing the best they can, Sabina, it is not their fault their best is not very good. Eric, for example, is still filleting the kingfish, which is a major worry, especially given he's supposed to be cooking lamb.

It becomes increasingly clear that Eric has not only never filleted a kingfish, he's never actually held a knife before. In a heartwarming display of sportsmanship, Adam comes over and shows him how to do it. Or possibly, in a heartwarming display of sabotage, Adam comes over and shows him to completely balls it up. Not like I know the difference.

Melissa visits the amateurs to mock their pathetic serving sizes, drawing strength from Linda and Depinder's torment. The fact is that Depinder's prawns are just not big enough and there is no feasible way to blame Eric. Depinder has the idea to supplement her prawns with eggplant, on the basis that a bad idea is better than no idea.

In the interests of balance, Jock visits Adam to mock his entrée and undermine his team's confidence. Adam just laughs, but then Adam seems to laugh at everything. Just quietly, I'm not sure he's quite right.

Guests arrive in the dining room, just as Linda, still working on the kingfish, has begun to long for death. It's all hands on deck for the entrée, and in a massive slice of luck, the amateurs have no time to make the avocado mousse and will instead have to serve something nice.

Tonka's entrees are plated up. They have served beef tartare a la Mexicana, or put another way, cat food with a tortilla chip in the middle. The judges are deeply unimpressed. Several hours later, Linda's team sends out its entrees. They have served ceviche, which is fish that the chef was too lazy to cook. The judges declare it reasonably Mexican.

Tonka sends out its mains – prawn curry that is lovely. Then the amateurs send out their mains – prawn curry that is lovely. "That curry sauce is face-meltingly good," says Andy, losing his grip on reality.

For some reason the amateurs serve their dessert first, which is plums in armagnac. Bit weird. But these judges recently had to eat green olive ice-cream, so anything would taste great.

Tonka sends out its desserts, prepared by a woman I like to think of as "the smiling assassin". It is a frighteningly fancy-looking thing of raspberries and cream and little bits of gold just for the hell of it. The judges basically achieve a transcendent level of sexual ecstasy over it.

And so the great battle is over. Linda admits she was nervous as hell, but has proven to herself that she really is better than other people.

In the judging, the amateurs win the entrée. Then Jock jumps ahead to the dessert, which Tonka wins, which obviously means that the amateurs have won the main because otherwise he wouldn't have done it out of order. And yes they do, so they've won immunity from the next elimination and, yet again, Adam D'Sylva is humiliated on television. The Tonka chefs applaud good-naturedly, knowing that although they have lost today, they still have stable employment and are therefore the real winners.

Tune in tomorrow, when the pain from Spain is for making something plain.