MasterChef recap: Tommy is livin' MoVida loca in this team challenge

Will the contestants (arti)choke under pressure against Frank Camorra's team?
Will the contestants (arti)choke under pressure against Frank Camorra's team? Photo: Channel 10

Beat The Brigade Week continues in much the manner of an actual thing, and today the amateurs visit MoVida Aqui, to face a fearsome team headed up by the legendary Frank "Sodom and" Camorra. The amateurs taking on the challenge are Jess, Tommy, Dan and "Scott". Same deal as yesterday: three-course meal for 20 diners. But instead of tossing a coin to pick cuisines, they'll be tossing a coin to pick ingredients. Andy is selected to toss the coin because it falls into his unique skillset.

Jess wins the toss and the amateurs decide that entree will feature lemongrass – a mysterious foodstuff that is not known to exist outside televised cooking competitions. MoVida chooses Jerusalem artichoke, somewhat controversially, for main. The amateurs then select kumquat for dessert, so we are definitely in for something gross.

Jess volunteers to be captain because she's the kind of person who does that, like, all the time. "I love teamwork," she enthuses, by which she means, "I love having servants". The amateurs whip out their butcher's paper and begin writing down a variety of insults to yell at the professionals. Tommy takes entree, Dan takes main – because he is a "porkmaster", Jess says, unsettlingly – and "Scott" takes dessert, traditionally the course which is cooked by the imaginary friend. Meanwhile, the MoVida crew plan their dishes, but as we have not been following them over a series of weeks on TV, we do not care about them in any way.

The judges observe that the MoVida crew has the "home turf" advantage, because they are cooking in their own kitchen. Nevertheless, Jess is loving being team captain, as her time on MasterChef has so far given her little, if any, time to scream orders at people. We flash back to Jess at home with her twin boys, who are three years old and therefore have provided an excellent preparation for taking charge of Tommy and Dan.

"I'm looking after the main course, which has to hero Jerusalem artichokes," says Dan, forcing us to reflect on the fact that more than a decade after MasterChef pioneered the most annoying possible use of the word "hero", people are still using it unironically in front of a national audience. He is a little worried because not only is he cooking pork belly, which as a dish tends to hero pork belly more than anything else, he is also unsure what a "Jerusalem artichoke" is. He asks around. Nobody knows.

Melissa visits the amateurs to remind them of what happened yesterday, which proved conclusively that even when a team of amateur cooks is performing woefully, they can still miraculously turn it around with hard work and judicious editing. Reminded that it's actually pretty easy to cook better than acclaimed professional chefs, the amateurs redouble their efforts.

Tommy's entree needs more lemongrass, but he's not sure he can put any more lemongrass in it. He's also unsure whether anyone on the entire planet even wants lemongrass. He suggests to Jess he change the dish. Jess tells him not to be such a goddamn maverick, in this kitchen we go by the BOOK.


Tommy rushes off to do a different dish. Jess is uncomfortable. Tommy, ashamed of himself, gets back to his insufficiently-lemongrassed wotsit. He puts even more lemongrass in it. This is going to be one lemongrassy entree.

MoVida plates up its entree, which has scallops and gazpacho, because they couldn't even be bothered to heat it up. Meanwhile Tommy is getting Dan to taste his entree. "It's got lemongrass in it," says Dan, incredibly unhelpfully.

The judges eat the MoVida scallops. "I'm a happy man," says Jock, which seems a bit irrelevant. Melissa and Andy say a lot of vague adjectives which seem to indicate it's rather good.

The amateurs' entrees are sent out. Tommy is shocked to discover it looks practically edible. The judges taste the lemongrass beef carpaccio – yet another dish from chefs too lazy to actually cook. Andy thinks it's delicious, but what would he know, seriously? "I quite liked that," says Melissa, in a tone usually reserved for describing her third-favourite niece. Jock is unsure whether they've heroed the lemongrass, and doesn't even care whether that sentence has any meaning whatsoever.

Meanwhile the pork belly is burning, but the bad news is this isn't Scott Pickett night. The MoVida crew, who know how to not burn things when they don't want to burn things, send out their main, which is a wood-fired quail with Jerusalem artichoke to add that little extra bit of pretentiousness. "It just reeks of Jerusalem artichoke!" Andy exclaims, and such is the nutty world of haute cuisine that this is a compliment. Jock rhapsodises about the things Frank has pumped into the quail, a turn of phrase we really didn't need.

The amateurs send out their main. Dan has his fingers crossed that the pork belly is consistently cooked, because that is the hallmark of a great chef: having no idea whether you've cooked the meat properly or not. The judges have mixed feelings. Melissa commends them for playing with the pickle, whatever the hell that means, but Andy disapproves of the protein choice, if you get my drift. "The Jerusalem artichoke just gets sidelined," says Andy, and this time this means a bad thing.

It is dessert time. Both teams have made something with kumquat, which is a shame, but everyone makes the best of it. The judges love the MoVida crew's kumquat granita thingummy, but Andy thinks there's a "door open" for the amateurs, in that the professionals' kumquat is not as kumquatty as it could be. Amazingly, everyone uses the word "kumquat" over and over and over again with straight faces – that's why they get paid the big bucks.

Judging time, and the news is gently broken to the amateurs that they are just really not that good. Their lemongrass isn't lemongrassy enough, their Jerusalem artichoke isn't Jerusalem-artichokey enough, and their kumquatty kumquat has sadly kum too late to save them. Jess, Dan, Tommy and "Scott" get no immunity and must now live beneath the sword of Damocles.

Tune in tomorrow, when the amateurs must cook against …"Lucy Liu"? That can't be right can it?