MasterChef recap: Who gets a no after re-creating Reynold's 'noi' dessert?

Two-time former contestant and fan favourite, Reynold Poernomo (second from right), sets tonight's pressure test.
Two-time former contestant and fan favourite, Reynold Poernomo (second from right), sets tonight's pressure test. Photo: Channel 10

And so another one bites the dust, so it's no wonder they got eliminated: who cooks dust for a main? Yep, tonight another dream dies in agony, but agony that is sweet and delicious for it will be a dessert that sends them home.

The worst four performers from last night's mystery box challenge are forced to compete in a fiendishly intricate dessert challenge, which seems pointlessly cruel. We already know they're not that good, can't we just see who makes the best hamburger or something? Nope, that's MasterChef: always rubbing it in. Particularly if it's spice for a lamb shoulder.

Reynold's 'noi' dessert.
Reynold's 'noi' dessert. Photo: Channel 10

The complex dessert is set by Reynold Poernomo, two-time former contestant, fan favourite, and inspiration to all Australians who dream of one day finishing several places short of victory in a reality show. But if there's one thing Reynold knows how to do, it is to construct sweet confections of such delicate beauty that they drive those who gaze upon them too long quite, quite mad.

Reynold unveils today's challenge, his signature dish "noi". Noi is a…thing. It's kind of like a…well it's a sort of…um…I guess the best way to describe it is, imagine if you found a couple of dice in some leaf litter, and then found out they were super tasty. Sounds like a great day out, right? That's noi, baby!

Reynold notes that the pressure points are the twigs, the leaves and general existential angst. The four amateurs have four hours to undergo the gradual nervous breakdown that is the preparation of a Reynold dessert. The cook whose noi is least like Reynold's noi will have to live the rest of their lives among their loved ones, like a loser.

"You have to tackle one element at a time," says Alvin, who has apparently never seen MasterChef. He begins steeping his jasmine leaves, whatever that means. Meanwhile, from the balcony, the spectators tell Max to taste his work as if it's any of their business, and Reynold informs the judges that burning things is not the right thing to do.

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It's Jenn's first pressure test, and she's going to have to give it some real polish if she wants to avoid a painful extraction. See, because she's a dentist? Very good.

Jenn's jasmine juice doesn't taste like jasmine. All she can taste is white chocolate. Has John sabotaged her juice? "I didn't really want to make mistakes in the cook," says Jenn, but now that she has, she finds the experience amazingly freeing. Finding it a hard habit to break, she begins making more mistakes, each one more thrilling than the last.

Reynold begins loitering around Alvin's bench, drawing strength from Alvin's incompetence. Alvin becomes more and more nervous, but John is brimming with confidence as he wrangles his chocolate. "Chocolate can smell fear," he says, suggesting the kitchen possibly should be equipped with a breathalyser. John is well ahead of the others, his decision to abandon the recipe and make a white chocolate veloute instead paying off.

All of the contestants begin work on their chocolate twigs, making the disturbing discovery that they are all very bad at making chocolate twigs. This isn't necessarily a bad thing – the ability to make perfect chocolate twigs is a sign of a life spent paying far too much attention to how to make chocolate twigs – but it could hurt in this competition.

Jenn announces that she needs to coat her little cubes, which is more than any of us needed to know. Alvin announces that he, too, must get his cubes done. The room is beginning to steam up with all these hot, moist euphemisms. "My cubes don't even look like cubes," Alvin goes on sadly, necessitating a visit to the doctor. But he declares that he hasn't yet shown what he can do, against all available evidence, and is therefore not ready to go home.

With 20 minutes to go, people are frantic as they spray-paint cubes and squirt balls and arrange twigs and all those other normal cooking tasks.

"I'm proud of myself for doing a complete 360 on yesterday," says John, probably meaning a 180. Neither Jenn nor John are ready to go home, so given that Alvin has already said he's not ready to go home that leaves Max, the poor bugger.

Time is up. It's been a tough four hours, but it'll all be worth it to watch the judges stuffing their faces with multiple desserts. John serves first and his noi is pretty good, against all odds.

Jenn serves next. "I never thought something so beautiful could be given birth to through my hands," she says, slightly disturbingly. Jenn has performed brilliantly, especially with her sorbet, which is so delightfully acidic it eats straight through the judges' cheeks.

Her only mistake is that her twigs are slightly too fat, but it's very problematic to say so.

Next is Max, who isn't sure he's done enough to avoid elimination but just doesn't care because he is his own man with his own hopes and dreams. Melissa asks him if he's feeling more confident or less confident. "Good question," Max replies, and they leave it at that.

Melissa finds that Max's noi, like a packet of batteries, has many pluses and minuses. Jock notes that it "ate like a dish that has style over content", which is a massive mistake: dishes shouldn't eat, they should BE eaten.

Lastly comes Alvin, who says he's not happy but then who is nowadays? He is banking on his flavours, but that's a terrible move when Reynold sets the challenge. Melissa notes that Alvin's noi doesn't look like Reynold's noi, and the judges have a good laugh about how superior they are to the common people.

But after eating, Reynold says, "I'm genuinely surprised" – Alvin has filled his dessert with corned beef and it works beautifully. Everyone loves his caramelised apple and his jasmine mousse and his cute glasses and his whole wacky vibe, but will food that tastes good be enough to save him in what is, after all, a miniature sculpture competition?

Yes it will. Unexpectedly, the judges have decided that today they care about flavours, and so Alvin stays and Max goes. This is pretty depressing and everyone is bummed out, but at least Max has learnt the value of perseverance, ie. nothing.

Tune in tomorrow when Curtis Stone teaches the amateurs how to make a family dinner for under three hundred dollars.