We made it, guys. We've finished a full working week of making gently sarcastic comments about this show and we're finally at the immunity challenge end. Thanks for sticking with me.
After last night's #BrothOff, Khanh, Sarah Tiong, Ben Ungermann, Laura and Reynold are in the kitchen cooking to win a night off from Sunday's elimination. Instead they can have a relaxing evening just looking down from the gantry and yell unhelpful comments. Kind of like my nights, I guess.
Andy reveals it's going to be a taste test. I don't quite remember what a taste test is, but I am hoping it is like ours at Good Food when national food writer Callan Boys tastes an unhealthy amount of different jars of mayo and say funny things about each. It's not, bummer. But nevermind about that, because… it's cloche o'clock!
Cloche. Love to say it out loud. Cloche. Cloche. Great word! #MasterChefAu— Channel 10 (@Channel10AU) April 23, 2020
Each judge stands ominously in front of their cloche, which underneath holds a dish supposedly made by each of them (though I'm extremely skeptical). The clincher is that each dish is made using 24 ingredients, which, as someone who reads recipes all day, every day, is a lot.
The contestants have to play favourites and choose whose pantry they want to work with. Khanh and Sarah decide to stick with their girl Melissa, while Reynold and Ben choose Andy's and – surprise, surprise – Laura chooses her former boss Jock. The cloches (clochi?) are revealed and Melissa's is a meat pie; Jock's is a pasta; Andy's is a curry.
Sarah contemplates the life of pie. Photo: NETWORK 10
The contestants have to guess each of the 24 ingredients in their dish; whoever gets the most correct, gets the most amount of time to cook. Everyone seems pretty confident, except for Ben, who stares at his paper like he's doing a year 12 exam. It turns out that actually none of them did very well: Khanh got 16, Sarah 15, Reynold and Laura both scored 14, and Ben got just eight after thinking the fish was chicken.
Getting 8 ingredients is still only the 2nd most embarrassing thing to happen to Ben this year #masterchefau— Basic Masterchef Quotes (@BasicMasterchef) April 23, 2020
Khanh is up first and decides to spend his extra 10 minutes staring blankly at the ingredients. Chris whispers from the gantry, "Is he having a brain fart?" And, wow, great diagnosis, Chris. Poor Khanh even seems unable to form full sentences when Melissa comes to ask what he's doing, so she backs away slowly. He picks up a bunch of things at random and hopes for the best.
Melissa explains that her dish (that she definitely cooked and totally didn't get one of the kitchen assistants to make, ;)) is beef rendang pie. She says it is a mash-up of both her south-east Asian heritage and growing up in Australia, and that she has made it a lot recently as she's been missing her mum. A waft of sisterhood flows through me, because I actually made an Indonesian-style beef rendang pie for Easter two weeks ago inspired by my dad. The rest of this recap may or may not be now a Melissa fangirl blog, sorry 'bout it.
Melissa slicing off cheese to snack on during this cook... as if I couldn't love the woman any more 😍🧀 #MasterChefAU— anonymissjane (@anonymissjane) April 23, 2020
Sarah begins her cook with the same ingredients. "It's a beef off" someone yells, and, seriously, can we not do this again?
Sarah has decided to do a lemongrass and coriander beef fillet with coconut curry sauce. She seems cool, calm and collected – and high on aromats.
I’ve been on this earth for 31 years and I can safely say I’ve never done a single thing with even half the enthusiasm Sarah has for literally anything #MasterChefAU— Kristen Amiet (@KrissiAmiet) April 23, 2020
Seems like the extra waiting time has also paid off for Reynold who has spent the time thinking about his dish: confit blue eye with red curry and kecap manis-glazed onion. It's something he has never made before, but also something we know he will probably nail, because it's Super Reynold.
Meanwhile, Laura is also collecting her ingredients and Andy has to help her carry her enormous cheese wedge to her bench, which TBH seems like a standard portion for one of my cheese boards. No guesses for what Laura is making… pasta! Parsley garganelli with braised silverbeet and pancetta, at that, a dish that she makes at her pasta bar in Adelaide. As much scoffing as I've done this week about Laura, you've got to give it to the girl for playing to her strengths.
It's finally Ben's turn to start and he runs like a bull out of the gate. I'm surprised no one makes a Usain Bolt reference.
Did Usain Bolt sponsor this season? This must be the fifth time he’s been mentioned. #MasterChefAU— Noelle Perera (@noellemartine) April 20, 2020
Ben is dipping into his Indonesian heritage (who knew I would feel so much cultural connection to a MasterChef episode, but yay for representation) and cooking his aunty's sambal oelek with steamed blue eye.
The judges swing by Khanh's bench and have a taste of his curry. Too mellow, says Melissa, but leave the poor man alone! He tries to explain his dish is like a deconstructed coconut beef curry, but no one, including himself, seems very confident that he will pull it off. Even Poh and Harry start gossiping about it from the gantry saying it's a bad move to grill it on the hibachi and will be as dry as a dead dingo's donger... or something like that.
Someone's using a hibachi. Drink! #MasterChefAU— unforgettable luncheon (@hannahspants) April 23, 2020
Laura's pasta shapes are like delicate green leaves and her sauce is giving me Alison Roman vibes with all that cheese and pancetta. For once I wouldn't be mad if she won this challenge.
As time runs out, Ben is first to present to the judges. His sambal oelek looks fresh and spicy, just like it should, and Jock says his fish is cooked perfectly. "Every flavour deserves to be there," says Melissa.
Stopping myself from getting attached to Ben. #masterchefau— I'll be the Liz to your Harry (@abilovestv) April 23, 2020
Laura's green garganelli is picture perfect. To me this feels like a big step up from the beige AF cacio e pepe she served up earlier in the week. Jock says it's textbook garganelli, and wow, that sounds like a wild bedtime read.
Reynold's confit blue-eye is served with a red curry sauce and charred onions in a kecap manis glaze. It looks beautiful, but the judges think it's a touch too sweet. Little did they know, this was actually meant to be a dessert!
Khanh comes in with beef coconut curry. It looks good, but he literally lies to Melissa's face when he says he's really happy he chose her pantry; he's only been going on for the last 45 minutes about how much he regretted it. Andy isn't a fan; the meat isn't cooked properly and the sauce is too mellow. Shame!
Lastly, Sarah comes over. She had the same pantry as Khanh, but her lemongrass and coriander beef looks like a much more thought-out version. Her beef, flame-grilled hot and fast on the hibachi, is cooked perfectly. And Jock is loving the intense punchy sauce. Oh god, I hope he doesn't skull it again. In a shock spoiler, the judges blurt out that Sarah is the winner. Wow! Not an even an ad break, channel 10?
But the moment they announce it to the gang, pure joy melts my sassy heart.
Sarah deserves immunity and sunshine and maybe an academy award for her emotive hand gestures #MasterchefAU— Caitlin (@caitiejayne) April 23, 2020
Sarah is thrilled. She, like all of us, thought Laura would win. But of course, old Loz does get an honourable mention from Jock. And, look, she earned it this time. Melissa reveals that the first masterclass is up next, but you're on your own for that one my friends. Until Sunday!