MasterChef recap: Four of the best flake out over a croissant stuffing challenge

MasterChef Australia at Lune 
MasterChef Australia at Lune  Photo: Supplied

Every great road trip should end somewhere anti-climactic, and so MasterChef heads to Fitzroy, where the four winners of the mystery box challenge must cook for their lives, or rather, for immunity from elimination in the next episode: a fate worse than death.

Those four are Linda, Tommy, Kishwar and, as always, Depinder. The reason they're in Fitzroy, besides the slam poetry scene, is to visit Lune Croissanterie, which is French for "Moon Croissant Place". They are shown walking by themselves down the street, as if they're just going for a stroll around the 'burbs, like nobody watching knows this is a TV show.

At Lune, Tommy rates his own pastry skills as "a negative 10", which might mean a very low number, or it might mean he's really good at pastries, but he feels bad about it. The amateurs meet Kate Reid, who studied aerospace engineering and worked as a Formula One designer, but after realisng her life was too interesting and fun decided to make croissants instead.

Kate explains that it takes three days to make a croissant, assuming you are a crazy person like she is. Laid before her are eight different pastry shapes. The amateurs must pick a number, and in order choose one of the pastry shapes to make something with: anything they want as long as it's strange and confusing. Kishwar chooses a traditional croissant, Linda picks the Danish, Tommy takes the vol-au-vent and Depinder selects the half-pipe in tribute to her sk8er background.

They have 90 minutes to make their "Lune Lab" dish: a dish worthy of being fed to Kate's in-house labrador.

It's an extremely easy task given each contestant has the pastry already made and shaped: they only have to fill them and bake them. So really there are no excuses and nobody watching the show should feel inferior in any way, as literally any idiot could do what they're doing. In fact it's contemptible we're even being asked to admire these people. What a farce. Anyway.

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While the amateurs do their simple, low-skill tasks, Kate shows the judges the weird inexplicable nonsense she's made in the past. She is the inventor of the "cruffin", but has yet to be successfully prosecuted. She notes that the secret of a great pastry is to give it a slightly stupid name.

Kishwar is painting her croissants pink, as a message of solidarity. She hopes her croissants will have an aftertaste of rosewater, but god only knows why. Depinder, meanwhile, has a great idea in her mind, which is the best place for it. Kate pops over to tell Depinder that her father invented the moulds that the half-pipe came from just two days ago. Kate's father, that is: it would've been a really bizarre coincidence if Depinder's father had invented them. Depinder thinks this fact puts her under extreme pressure, because…I dunno, if she makes a bad filling Kate's father will come after her?

Linda is busily making her garlic mushroom filling for her vol-au-vents when she suddenly realises she's put her pastries in the oven without putting their moulds in first. This means the base of the pastries are puffing up as if they're Macaulay Culkin being stung by bees. Linda frantically pulls the pastries out of the oven, which is forbidden by Lune lore. But then, big deformed pastries that you can't get any filling in are forbidden too, so it's a dilemma. With this as well as forgetting to turn the fryer on yesterday, Linda is fast gaining a reputation as this season's Forgetting Things Queen.

Kate comes by to tell her that by taking the pastries out mid-bake, she has completely screwed herself forever. "I'm interested to see how they come out," she says, in the tone of one saying, "I'm interested to see how that bullet works with your foot".

Kishwar takes her croissants out of the oven. They look wonderful, a magnificent tribute to the skill of the person who actually made them and a powerful reminder of how incredibly easy today's challenge is.

Depinder, fooled by the rhyme into thinking she's Linda, forgets to put baking powder in her cake batter. Then she remembers, and puts baking powder in her cake batter. This kind of zany shenanigan happens all the time on this show!

Melissa asks Linda what the haps are. Linda tells her she's making a red curry roux. Melissa is taken aback, but professional that she is, recovers within seconds to convincingly pretend she knows what Linda is talking about.

As time runs short, Kishwar discovers her ricotta is too soft and will never survive on the streets. As if that's not bad enough, Sabine has started doing cowgirl impressions. Kishwar reacts by angrily turning her stand mixer on and doing something with sugar. There's less than three minutes to go and an air of delirium has taken over the kitchen, as Aaron stage-whispers from one side and Melissa manically air-drums on the other. Reality no longer has any meaning as Depinder frets she's tried to do too much and accidentally overwhelmed her natural extravagant hand movements.

Time is up and the pastries, despite everyone's misgivings, must be eaten. Tommy goes first with his banh mi Danish, which look like little walled vegetable gardens. Andy thinks the pate is gutsy and meaty. Kate thinks it's everything a Lune Lab dish should be. Melissa thinks it's unapologetically buttery, her search for a pastry that doesn't apologise finally complete. Jock notes that Tommy is much better at pastry than he thought he was, proving that anyone can make good pastry as long as it was actually made beforehand by someone else.

Linda serves her mushroom and red curry vol-au-vents, knowing the pastry isn't perfect but hoping to avoid punishment. Luckily, Kate's tastebuds are singing, and the song they're singing is called "The Texture of This Isn't Quite Right But Still It's Pretty Nice So That's OK". It's a country song.

Depinder plates up her ginger, chai and poached pear half-pipe croissant, which is really just a bit much isn't it? That's a lot of, you know, stuff. Jock and Kate say that the pastry got lost, which is always a risk when you put a croissant on top of a cake. Depinder's quest for stuff has stumbled and her status as teacher's pet is in jeopardy.

Finally, Kishwar. Her dish looks like an amusement park but is actually a "Kolkata Croissant". Which doesn't tell you much, but Kishwar's strength has always been mystery. "Very interesting one, this one," says Andy, possibly referring to the dish but who knows. "I wanted all of your filling all of the time," he tells Kishwar, and everyone agrees they did not at all need to hear that.

The best pastry of all is Tommy's, and he not only wins immunity from elimination on Sunday, his banh mi Danish also gets to be on the menu at Lune Croissanterie, and there is no greater prize than the prize of unpaid labour.

Tune in on Sunday, when emotion rears its ugly head.

Catch up on Ben Pobjie's previous MasterChef Australia 2021 recaps