MasterChef recap: An early favourite flounders and Marco Pierre White brings the sauce

Marco Pierre White perfects his withering stare.
Marco Pierre White perfects his withering stare. Photo: Supplied

Previously on MasterChef, Marco Pierre White came to the kitchen, yet somehow everyone got out alive. So he has returned for elimination night, looking for someone to eliminate.

The garden is still and serene ahead of the elimination, the flowers blissfully unaware of the savagery and bloodshed about to be wrought. As the cooks enter the kitchen they find the judges, Marco, and Keyma, who having won immunity spent the night on the balcony as tradition dictates.

Marco and co strike a pose.
Marco and co strike a pose. Photo: Supplied

Today's challenge is to listen to Marco tell a story and somehow still be alert enough afterwards to make a dish. The great chef has brought in an array of his favourite pantry items. Apart from numerous huge bloodied knives, these are various ingredients, condiments and sauces, in bottles and jars – because as Marco says, "Anyone who tells you to make your own sauce is a lying bastard".

They have 75 minutes to make a dish using more than one of Marco's pantry favourites. The worst dish sends its maker home, assuming they can escape the relentless pursuit of Marco Pierre White.

Marco continues to drift menacingly around the benches, offering useful advice like, "If you think it's too sweet, make it less sweet" and "Don't fear the reaper".

Sarah reveals that she would really like to impress Marco. Harry then shockingly admits that she, too, would really like to impress Marco. A suspicion grows that wanting to impress Marco is becoming more and more common these days.

The judges discuss what they would make in this challenge. Jock and Andy say many fancy words. Marco tells them they are both idiots: they should actually make something simple eg a devon sandwich.

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Dan has been inspired by the ingredients to flash back to his childhood, remembering that when he was a kid his dad, much like Marco, used to cook food. He is going to make a pie and doesn't have much time to do so, so it's lucky he's wasting so much of it talking about it.

Julie is extremely excited to have Marco here. "I've watched him for years and years," she says, adding, "in a non-creepy way". It's uncertain whether we should believe her on this point or not. Meanwhile Billie is remembering when she encountered Marco on her season, and learnt how much fun it is to be bullied in public. From the balcony Keyma offers advice, yelling, "Use a knife Billie!" She does not, however, specify what she should use it for…with tragic results.

Tommy is wrestling with Worcestershire sauce: no sooner has he figured out how to pronounce it than he discovers it's disgusting. However, through failure he has stumbled upon that great truth known to legendary chefs throughout history: everything tastes better when you take the Worcestershire sauce out of it.

Meanwhile Alvin isn't feeling confident, but what's new?

Dan begins to sing "How To Make Gravy", an apt choice given that all the cooks are, essentially, in prison. As Marco stalks the kitchen staring unnervingly at people and waggling his spoon in the manner of one anticipating an imminent disembowelling, Aldo adds his secret ingredient: tears. As Marco and Jock tell him, his dishes always taste better when he cries.

Meanwhile, Mindy is also there.

Billie reflects on what her Nan will think of her using her meatloaf sauce, without making a meatloaf. Back at home, Billie's Nan stares at the screen in horror, her wineglass shattering in her clenched fist, as she fantasises about the terrible revenge she will wreak on her traitorous granddaughter.

Jock and Marco visit Harry. She tells them she's cooking flounder. They tell her she's quite, quite mad. She agrees. Jock and Marco go to the pantry, where Marco confides in Jock about his lifelong hatred of flounder and all it stands for. They then visit Julie, who comes close to literally melting as Marco looks at her. Marco flirts openly with Julie, who realises there is an epic romance brewing. "Want to taste my pie filling, Julie?" Dan calls out, and somehow now everything everyone says sounds sexual. That's Marco for you.

Marco and Jock visit Tommy and inform him that if his fish isn't cooked perfectly he is going to Hell. Jock warns Tommy that Marco is very good at cooking fish. Tommy is shaken by the news that Marco is a very good chef, something he had not suspected until now. Now that he knows that Marco is good at cooking, he will undoubtedly fly into a panic.

The judges gather to worry about Harry. "I worry about Harry," says Marco. "Mmm," the others agree. Harry is, the consensus runs, a bit of a worry.

Suddenly, catastrophe strikes as Aldo drops sauce inside his shirt. The danger that this will make him so delicious that Marco will bite him is a very real one. Marco has already expressed his admiration of Aldo while he stuffs his squids…again, everything sounds sexual.

With fifteen minutes to go, Marco continues to drift menacingly around the benches, offering useful advice like, "If you think it's too sweet, make it less sweet" and "Don't fear the reaper". Tommy is really worried that he is going to run out of time, but luckily for him, Andy comes round to waste his time with pointless chatter.

Tommy may well be in trouble, his only hope being that Harry might be worse than him. Harry is, after all, cooking flounder, which is not a vegetable and therefore deeply confusing to her. "I can't serve Marco Pierre White overcooked fish," she says, but she's selling herself short: I truly believe she can.

With ten minutes to go, Marco tells Aldo that he likes the calamari when they're stuffed. Aldo says sorry but he's married. Aldo sets fire to his squid as a warning to the others that he could blow at any time. Not for the first time one reflects on how difficult it is for the layman to tell the difference between kitchen fires that are a tragedy and kitchen fires that are delicious.

Dan confesses that if you'd told him a few months ago that he'd be cooking next to Julie Goodwin, for Marco Pierre White, he wouldn't have believed them. Which is a bit weird because he had put in his application by that time so you'd think he'd at least have considered the possibility. But Dan is not one for looking too far ahead.

There is one minute left. Then there are no minutes left. Harry and Tommy are both distressed about their fish. Dan is happy with his pie. Marco begins sharpening his cleaver.

The first dish to taste is Julie's fried chicken. She admits to hoping she will not poison Marco. Marco admits to being madly in love with her. Julie loves him too. They collapse into each other's arms. "Your sauce is deliciously sticky," Marco says to Julie, which is weird because he hasn't started her dish yet. Overall Julie's fried chicken is excellent and Marco is taking her away to his private island.

Next to taste is Billie's beef tartare, AKA Beef I Was Too Lazy To Cook. The judges absolutely love it. At home, Billie's Nan hurls a brick through her TV, screaming vengeance.

Next is Sarah and Mindy and Montana and Steph and Michael, none of whom are interesting enough to waste screen time on.

Then there's Tommy, who is all of a-twitter about his dodgy fish. Jock cuts into it. "It's beautiful," he says, eyes turning completely black as he stares at infinity. Everyone claps for Tommy whose fish is fine.

Next is Aldo, who stuffs his squid just the way Marco likes it. "It's Naples on a plate," says Marco, fortunately not accusing Aldo of cooking traffic congestion and political corruption. Everyone claps for Aldo whose squid is fine.

Up steps Daniel with his dubious pie, accompanied by tomato sauce and a delicious bowl of phlegm. "You're very brave," Marco tells Dan, which, I mean, we already knew: he's a fireman. Dan has rushed his mince and ruined the pie, but Marco graciously allows him to live. Everyone claps for Dan even though his pie isn't fine.

Next up, Alvin. His prawns are, despite being prawns, good. "You're a very intelligent cook," says Marco, managing to sound somehow threatening.

Now the moment of truth for Harry's flounder. The judges look at the plate as if they are being forced to review the Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987). Marco considers asking for more money before eating it. The judges are all agreed that Harry made two terrible decisions: 1. Cooking flounder; and 2. Cooking really badly.

Judging time. "I've enjoyed my time with you," says Marco, before disappearing in a cloud of green smoke, returning to the fiery netherworld whence he came. The other judges then reveal that though Harry and Dan both screwed up, Harry screwed up worse. The fiendish ploy of the producers to put flounder in the pantry even though anyone who tries cooking it will be sent home has paid off. Harry is sent home to think about what she's done, but at least she got to fulfil her lifelong dream of failing in front of Marco Pierre White.

Tune in tomorrow, when the kitchen burns down.