MasterChef 2020 recap: Can Hayden survive a major cooking mistake?

It's hot then it's cold, it's overcooked then it's undercooked for Hayden Quinn tonight.
It's hot then it's cold, it's overcooked then it's undercooked for Hayden Quinn tonight. Photo: NETWORK 10

It's elimination night, and I don't know about you, but I am still recovering from Thursday night's hot mess that was Katy Perry being let loose in the MasterChef kitchen. Now, every time I use a tea towel, I think about Reece's "tits". Whenever I use a kitchen timer I start singing the minutes left. And every time I see a picture of Jock I whisper, "put it in my mouth, daddy", then shudder.

Anyway, Jock says he has some news! Maybe he actually is the real daddy of Katy's baby? Maybe they have finally found out about Coronavirus! But nope. Guys, the moment we have all been waiting for has arrived. Ben Ungermann has officially left the building, though I am disappointed by the lack of police sirens and handcuffs. "Ben will not be returning for personal reasons," says Jock. OoooOoooh, "personal reasons". The contestants look like they could not care less, but I for one will miss his floppy hair and XXS t-shirts. Thanks for the memories, Ben, I hope they serve ice-cream wherever you are.

Jock tells the contestants to pick a bench. Poh is safe up in the gantry after introducing Katy Perry to duck and she liked it. For some reason, Melissa has turned up as I Dream of Jeannie tonight.

Andy announces the first twist is that for round one they will be competing against whoever they are paired next to on the cooking bench. Sarah Clare immediately regrets her decision to stand next to Straight-A student Reynold.

The second twist is that they have to cook a dish from the cuisine underneath their cloche.

MasterChef Season 12 Hayden Quinn and judges Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen. For Good Food May 2020

If Melissa the 60s genie gives us a wish, mine is that Katy Perry comes back. Photo: NETWORK 10

Callum is happy that his cuisine is French food, but is sad that he is up against Simon, who he "has a lot of love for". Simon promises that they will high-five at the end of this no matter what, and excuse me while I audibly retch for the next five minutes.

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Tracy and Hayden are fighting it out over Chinese food. Tracy is doing blue swimmer crab with black bean and chilli sauce. Hayden and Andy bond over the fact they are both bogans and Hayden says that even though his normal Chinese takeaway order is Mongolian lamb and honey chicken (get out), today he is making pork dumplings in a "really nice" broth. He says he cooked it for Brendan and Reece last night and they liked it and here's hoping they were not just being polite.

Sarah Clare and Reynold have American cuisine and so Sarah is making buffalo wings with hot sauce. Reynold says he doesn't even know what American cuisine is but obviously watched American Pie when he was 13 so thinks that pie is a thing. He says he's going to make a "traditional" apple pie, but just watch him put 15 elements in there and make it not traditional at all. Reynold says he doesn't feel confident against Sarah, which is just a lie the producers told him to say, so he is going to add some blown! sugar!

Emelia is out in the garden having a larf with Reece. Reece tells her he is making a creme Catalan, which Emelia thinks is a strange Chinese dish.

Sarah Tiong and Khanh are cooking Italian, which Laura is super jealous about. Jock  asks Sarah if she'll be out of her comfort zone. But Sarah's like um...no, I cook Italian food all the time thanks very much, how do you like tortellini in brodo, Daddy?

Brendan is upset because he's cooking against "his best friend", Reece. They have some friendly banter and I crown this bromance "Breece" forever more.

They are cooking Spanish food and Brendan says he is making a "prawn potato quail egg inspired brick parcel". Literally, that's what he said; I even watched the video again just to make sure he did indeed say "quail egg inspired", and God help the boy. He says he's eaten this dish at a Spanish restaurant before, but I think maybe he is confusing "Spanish restaurant" for Bunnings?

Jock and Melissa come over cruisin' for a bruisin'. Reece tells them he is making a rhubarb compote with his creme Catalan, and Jock is like, Spanish people don't eat rhubarb, idiot!

Brendan says he is putting paprika and cumin in his brik pastry parcel, and Jock is like, duh no cumin in Spain, dummy. Also brik pastry is from the Middle East, jeez! Jock is so offended at Breece's incompetence he has to mic-drop and walk off, moaning to Melissa about it on the way out.

Reece is so emotionally scarred from Jock's attitude that he decides to swap to a fig compote. Brendan says "this is messed up". Not sure if he is talking about Jock's hurtful words or his prawn potato quail egg -inspired brick thing.

Tessa and Jess are cooking Vietnamese food, which Tessa says she eats a lot of. She is making banh xeo and Jess is making bun bo Hue with her own rice noodles. Melissa slurps a noodle again proving the incredibly staying power of her red lippy.

The back bench are still reeling from Jock's comments, so Brendan decides that to make his dish more Spanish he will add a bunch more paprika and just hope for the best.

Reynold wants to add more elements to his apple pie, which is so Reynold. NO BIG DEAL, but let me just blow some sugar into an apple-shaped dome to cover my parfait that will sit on top of my apple pie. Jock is like, woah woah woah, not cool that you are better at cooking than me.

Reynold is not happy with his first attempt and says he is stressed out and he has to get the dome perfect. Someone needs to remind him that literally no one expects him to put a hand-blown sugar dome on top of an apple pie.

As he makes a second dome, the judges run down to watch like there's a punch up in the schoolyard. Reynold feels the pressure and says, "there's no room for error", which is such a MasterChef thing to say. Reynold is acting like he hopes the judges will piss off, but secretly he is excited to show off his amazing sugar blowing skills. The judges are impressed. Jock asks Andy if he could do that and everyone laughs at Andy's obvious incompetence.

Reynold and Sarah Clare are first up with their American dishes. Jock cracks into Reynold's apple pie snow globe. Melissa takes a food-writer flex and says, "it is ephemeral art that is absolutely gorgeous to behold." Andy says it is "wow".

Meanwhile, Sarah has served up chicken wings with carrot and celery sticks. The channel 10 editors try to make it seem like this is anyone's game, but when Reynold wins no one is surprised, not even Sarah.

Tracy and Hayden come up with their Chinese dishes. Hayden says he has cooked pork and ginger wontons with a "really nice" chicken broth. Ok, Haydo, stop trying to sell us your bloody broth. Jock says the broth was indeed "really nice" so I guess his projecting really worked, but he made a big mistake – the dumpling dough is raw and how is that even possible?

Andy says that Tracy's chilli and black bean crab was as good as Kylie Kwong's, and I hope Kylie Kwong doesn't hear about this. Obviously Tracy is safe over Hayden, because you can't serve the judges raw wontons no matter how much you say the broth is "really nice".

Jess wins the Vietnamese cook-off with her bun bo Hue; Emelia wins the Japanese showdown against Laura with her tofu dish; Khanh wins the Italian challenge with his seafood pasta; and Simon's boring French dish wins again Callum's boring French dish.

Backbench bandits Breece come up to the table. Andy likes the crunchy brik pastry and the flavour of the filling in Brendan's parcel, but says he is "not being taken to Spain". You and the rest of the world, Andy. Jock says it's brilliant, it just isn't Spanish. No mention of the quail egg inspiration.

Jock says Reece's creme Catalan was too English with the fig compote and almond shortbread. The question now is which one is more Spanish. Channel 10 give us a well-timed ad break, but obviously creme Catalan is more Spanish than a potato prawn quail egg inspired brik parcel, so Reece wins.

In round two, the final twist is that there is no twist! Whoop-de-bloody-do. Everyone has trust issues with Jock so no one believes him. I say the twist should be that the judges have to cook! Please, daddy, please!

The final round will see the remaining seven contestants cook a dish with a classic pairing: apple and cinnamon, tomato and basil, lemongrass and ginger, walnuts and dates or beetroot and horseradish.

Laura immediately runs to the pantry to panic-buy all the tomatoes. She surprises exactly no one by saying she is making a pasta! It has been a couple of days since she's last cooked the judges pasta and I was getting worried she had forgotten how to make it.

Brendan is making lemongrass and ginger pork rice rolls. Andy says to make sure it is a "belter". Brendan doesn't know what this means, but his soulmate Reece blows him kisses from the gantry and so he is feeling good.

Hayden gets a sexy slow-mo surfing montage that leads him into a braggy spiel about how he's written two cookbooks, hosted TV shows but how winning this would cement his credibility. I also feel inadequate with my many book deals and TV contracts.

Hayden says he has chosen beetroot and horseradish but is actually just rolling beef in lardo. Jock asks him where his beetroot and horseradish is and he says it is going to be a ketchup on the side. Jock looks worried but Hayden's like all good bro, I got my pen in my cap.

Tessa is making sashimi-style bonito with lemongrass and ginger granita. Sarah Clare is making beetroot and horseradish beef tartare with a wattleseed cracker, which she makes at her restaurant. Mel says that tartare has sent people home before and it is a risky move. I wish everyone had agreed on a pronunciation of "tartare" before starting this episode.

Hayden is too busy adding a bunch of xanthan gum to his ketchup (yuck) that he doesn't realise his beef skewers are burning to charcoal on the hibachi. If he wants to prove his credibility as a chef (especially one who says he is most comfortable cooking on the barbie), he should probably have learned to use the damn hibachi by now!

Thirty seconds to go and Sarah Clare's egg yolk breaks just as she puts it on top of her beef tartare. Her tears roll down the side of her cheek like the yolk runs all over her plate. Melissa's tartare prophecy may just come true.

Side note: We haven't seen any footage of Laura at this stage, but the producers are just expecting us to remember any of the other hundred episodes when Laura has made pasta and just imagine it's exactly the same, because it is.

Brendan is first up to the judge's table and he says he's proud of his dish. The judges think he's nailed the brief, with the lemongrass and ginger front and centre. Andy says "yum cha me up with Brendan", further proving Andy is not fit for this show.

Poor little Hayden is shielded by his delusion and unfortunately thinks his overcooked beef dish with barely any beetroot and horseradish in it is going to get him through. Jock says, "the beef is so well done; it could pat its own back", which is a burn I am definitely stealing for future recaps.

Andy says the ketchup is too xanthan gummy. Melissa says beetroot and horseradish were not the hero. I hope Haydo has another book deal lined up.

But, Sarah's barbecued prawns aren't very lemongrass and gingery either, say the judges.

Callum's apple and cinnamon frangipane wins Jock over with the added whisky. Andy says Laura's hand-rolled cavatelli is "just another perfect pasta dish", then passes out from the boredom.

Jock says Tessa's seared bonito is a clever dish. Andy says there is no weak link.

Last up is Sarah's tartare with her runny egg. She is frustrated at herself. She says she hasn't been happy with the food she's been cooking lately and the pressure gets to her. Jock says it's not the worst tartare he's ever had, but it's certainly not the best. Which is a roundabout way of saying it was crap, but it was better than Hayden's.

So Tessa, Brendan, Callum, Laura and Sarah Tiong are safe. Melissa says Sarah's tartare was too earthy from the beetroot, but Hayden's ketchup was too much of a sidekick and that's why he is going home. Hayden says he's learnt so much, but mostly just how not to use a hibachi.

Read the rest of our MasterChef recaps here and follow Eloise Basuki on Twitter @eloise_baz.