MasterChef recap: This honey dessert from Gelato Messina's 'Evil Zumbo' has a sting in the tail

Tonight's pressure test is set by Donato Toce aka "Evil Zumbo" (third from left).
Tonight's pressure test is set by Donato Toce aka "Evil Zumbo" (third from left). Photo: Channel 10

It's home time for one unlucky contestant tonight, just the latest victim of weaponised ice-cream. The four losers from last night's mystery box challenge, all of whom cooked dishes calculated to make a rainy day even more depressing, are brawling to avoid elimination, and today's pressure test now bears down on them like an enormous bat flapping through the sky ready to entangle itself in your hair.

Of course it wouldn't be a pressure test without a guest chef that everyone pretends is incredibly famous despite never having heard of them. Today's is a master gelato maker who the judges call "Donato Toce", but who I call "Evil Zumbo". Melissa claims he has "more dedication in his little finger than most people have in their entire bodies". This sounds impressive, but it just so happens he has a particularly dedicated little finger. In fact his little finger is in control of his brain and bent on world domination.

Donato Toce's "Honey" dessert.
Donato Toce's "Honey" dessert. Photo: Carmen Zammit

After Jock asks the cooks how they feel about gelato, to which they all respond that they think it's basically fine, Evil Zumbo presents his dish: "Honey". On top is a honey tuile, whatever that is. Beneath that is a block of honeycomb gelato. And finally there is a blown-sugar beehive, which contains strawberries and cake and releases a swarm of lethal bees when bitten into. "It's called Honey and it's Honey for a reason," says Dan, wise as always, observing that the reason it's called Honey is all the honey in it. This will be quite important to remember.

Montana begins at a fast pace, having noticed that the most successful cooks in pressure tests are those who do things, rather than falling to the floor and crying. She notes that she's never made a blown-sugar beehive before, displaying her lack of life experience.

Meanwhile, Dan is having trouble retaining information, as he reads the recipe, gets the ingredients, then realises he's forgotten what he just read in the recipe. "I just don't trust myself," he admits, staring in rapt wonder at a lit match.

Matt is working on the cake, which is a "financier", known in English as a "venture capitalist". "I think a financier is just a financy word for a cake!" he says puckishly, substituting humour for self-esteem. He makes a cake and notes that it looks like a cake: all is well in this best of all possible worlds.


Dan begins to panic. An hour into the pressure test, he feels like he's been moving fast, but as he looks around the kitchen he realises that all the other contestants have already left for the day and the lights have been turned off. He needs to hustle!

Andy asks him what's up. He tells Andy he just needs to re-read the recipe. "You've got no time to re-read," says Andy, advising Dan that he should just make something up instead. Inspired, Dan fills his financier with tuna.

Montana begins work on her honey tuile, definitely the most pointless and unnecessary part of the dish. Making a tuile is a tricky business: to begin, you must first abandon all sense of practicality and commonsense. Andy asks Michael whether he's even blown sugar before: Michael denies the allegations. "I'm excited," says Michael. Donato indicates his approval by doing a John Turturro impression.

As time ticks away, people continue to say "financier", and it's not getting any less stupid-sounding.

Dan begs for approval from the balcony as he makes his tuile. He knows he's a little bit behind – his Chrisco Christmas hamper just arrived – but he keeps plugging on. He reminds himself that in his job as a fireman he faces much more stressful situations, and goes dangerously close to gaining a sense of perspective.

Meanwhile, Billie has noticed from the balcony that Matt's cake is too thick: a common affliction in the MasterChef kitchen. She says nothing to Matt, gaining sustenance from the thought of his pain. Matt has moved on to his beehive. "Is it supposed to stick to me?" he asks, as the beehive symbiote, having found a healthy host, aggressively attempts to bond with his DNA.

Montana blows air into her sugar and lowers it into the mould. It doesn't work. She tries again. It still doesn't work. Over on Matt's bench, it's not working there either. Or on Michael's.

Evil Zumbo provides some advice. "Try heating the tip of the nozzle," he says suggestively.

Dan has hit on the secret, though: "I used to work in the mines," he muses, and this seems to do the trick. He makes his beehive, puts it in a container and then breaks it. Disaster! As he checks the recipe and discovers he wasn't supposed to break it. "Pressure makes diamonds, Mel," he tells Melissa, hoping he'll get extra points for geological expertise.

Having made a second beehive, he moves onto the tuile and begins staring up at the ceiling, hoping a tuile will fall on him.

Everyone has their beehive, but Montana is on her tenth attempt. Evil Zumbo tells her to forget about everyone else and focus on herself, take some me-time, maybe go to a day spa. Romance is in the air. With 10 minutes to go, Montana remains unsatisfied by her sugar, but then there's no pleasing some people.

With three minutes to go, she has another go at the beehive and breaks yet another one. "She just needs one," Jock tells Donato. "I know," Evil Zumbo replies, barely able to contain his glee.

Finally Montana produces one sort-of-OK beehive and everyone claps quite patronisingly. Montana takes infinite care with putting the finishing touches on her dish…and breaks the last beehive. She is now certain that she'll be eliminated, but there is still hope: remember how Billie thought Matt had screwed up his cake? That's what we call FORESHADOWING.

Tasting time. "They desperately don't want to go home," says Melissa, contemptuous of these foolish mortals and their earthly desires.

Matt plates up his Honey. He has five minutes to fill the beehive with cream, cake, jelly and strawberries, sprinkle yellow stuff on his gelato, and put the tuile on top for no particular reason. The judges taste it, as contrary to all previous indications, how it tastes matters somehow. Upon tasting, they discover Billie was right to question Matt's cake: like the global economy in 2008, Matt's gelato has too much financier in it.

Michael goes next, plating up his dessert with the world-weary air of one who has fought on this battlefield before and who now knows he has seen too much of war. His Honey is declared "pretty good" by the judges, who seem to be in kind of a bitchy mood.

And now Dan, the knockabout bloke from the Top End who had never even heard of honey before today. Dan's dish is fantastic, as you'd expect of ice-cream made by a fireman. "I think it's better than mine," says Evil Zumbo, conceding at last that his job is actually very easy.

Finally, in comes Montana, beehive-less. "I'm gonna keep fighting to that very last second," she says, briefly considering setting off a smoke bomb in the dining room. Instead she fiddles about and comes up with something fairly lame but better than nothing: a sort of faux beehive.

The judges enjoy the taste of her dessert, and after much discussion, decide that although she literally failed to complete her dish, there is definitely a way they can rationalise ignoring that fact, and kick out someone they like less instead. So it's bye-bye Matt! We'll miss your infectious Kiwi energy and your loveable awful moustache.

Tune in tomorrow when there'll be more decisions you don't understand.