MasterChef recap: Massimo Bottura carbs things up and another one bites the crust

You know what black aprons mean - elimination is imminent.
You know what black aprons mean - elimination is imminent. Photo: Supplied -

​​Superstars Week continues with the grim spectre of elimination hanging over last night's unhappy failures.

Tonight's superstar is, to all appearances, legendary author Salman Rushdie, although Melissa assures us that it is actually Massimo Bottura, an Italian gentleman who enjoys mucking about in the kitchen. Massimo greets the amateurs and then immediately begins making macaroni and cheese, as everyone stands around awkwardly wondering when the show is going to start.

Finally, against all odds, the point is arrived at: Massimo finishes his mac and cheese and demands that the black apron-wearers produce their own mac and cheese. The top three mac and cheeses will be safe, but the worst four will go into round two to face elimination.

Massimo Bottura makes mac and cheese.

Massimo Bottura makes mac and cheese. Photo: Supplied

To make their mac and cheese, the amateurs concentrate on two major elements: the mac and the cheese. These are both easily available from Coles in packets, but being pathological show-offs, of course they have to make everything needlessly complicated.

Aaron is using apple cider and pork belly. Katrina is using prosciutto and blackberries. Tom is using puff pastry. Western civilisation has clearly reached a tipping point of decadence.

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"Mac and cheese!" Andy shouts. Liking how that sounded, he keeps going. "Mac and cheese! Mac and cheese!" Andy's friends begin worrying about him. Fifteen minutes later Melissa makes an announcement. "Mac and cheese!" she roars. "Mac and cheese! Mac and cheese!"


The possibility that there is a gas leak in the kitchen becomes ever more likely.

"My strategy for this challenge is to do a mac and cheese that nobody else is going to do," says Dan, coating his pasta with iron filings and spit-roasting a mule. Meanwhile Linda kneels before her oven, looks at her mac and cheese inside, and tells it how much she misses it. The pressure is getting to everyone. Andy starts screaming about raining cheese.

Time is up. Everyone applauds for no particular reason. Linda's Spanish mac and cheese makes her cry, as it would any one of us. Dan's Buldak mac and cheese is very complicated and makes my head ache. Pete's mac and cheese with a strawberry balsamic glaze is, frankly, weird. Katrina's blackberry jam mac and cheese is offensive to public decency. Therese's porky mac and cheese is extremely porky. Aaron's mac and cheese comes with beer, causing the judges to not care how it tastes. Tom's ugly mac and cheese stuck between broken bits of pastry tastes as good as it looks – or less misleadingly, as bad as it looks.

To no one's surprise, Linda, Aaron and Therese are safe, leaving Tom, Dan, Katrina and Pete to fight it out for the honour of scuttling home in humiliation. Suddenly Massimo, who was at the toilet for the entire first round, pops up again and orders the losers to do something with bread. As an example, he does something with bread, because god forbid an episode of MasterChef ever come in at under an hour and a half.

The bottom four have 75 minutes to do something with bread, although it is strongly implied that that something should involve cooking in some way.

Having just seen Massimo make bread noodles, Dan decides to make bread noodles, based on his life philosophy of always copying the last thing he saw. Up on the balcony, Brent is worried that Katrina's bread might not shine, but un-gallantly he does nothing to help her.

Chivalry is dead.

Tom is making a bread and butter crème brulee, because he will forever rage against the natural order of the universe. Andy comes to his bench and starts tasting things, which seems a bit rude. Having tasted the crème brulee, Andy storms off in fury: never has a crème brulee upset him so much. Tom decides he won't serve a crème brulee after all, and decides instead to have a nervous breakdown.

All eyes are on Dan's bread noodles to see if they'll work. They do not work. "Let's get something to work," says Andy, at his most constructive. Dan remembers the first rule of cooking: when in doubt, roll something into a ball and fry it. Meanwhile Tom has just remembered the concept of French toast.

With seconds ticking away, the balcony begins making a god-awful noise. "Dan, presentation, so important!" Conor shrieks, as if he's the boss of Dan. All the amateurs struggle to complete their dishes with the spectators' squawks in their ears.

Time is up and the judges are smug. Tom serves first. He calls his dish "Textures of Spiced Bread", causing much merriment. "I rather enjoyed that," says Jock, losing control in the throes of his enthusiasm.

Katrina serves her bread and butter pudding, with orange. Jock isn't sure whether bread is the star of the dish, as Katrina has plunged enough oranges into it to keep a merchant ship free of scurvy for a year.

Pete serves his salted caramel bread pudding, without orange. "It's the reverse of Katrina's," says Andy, meaning it is good.

Last is Dan, serving his bread balls with duck. He is sure he's going home, because who likes bread balls, when all is said and done? The judges, as it turns out: they all agree that the bread balls taste like bread, and isn't that what we all want from our bread balls?

When the axe falls, it's a question of whether it falls on Dan's balls or Katrina's pudding. When it comes to the crunch, in a bread challenge, balls that taste like bread beat pudding that tastes like orange. Pudding that tastes like orange, of course, beats scissors, but that does Katrina no good. She's going home to reflect on her sins.

Tune in tomorrow, when Conor will have emotions.