MasterChef 2020 recap: Is a fancy fried rice enough to save Ben from elimination?

Ben Ungermann, man of mystery.
Ben Ungermann, man of mystery. Photo: NETWORK 10

It's the end of "Suburban Takeover" week, and, oh, the places we've gone! Ringwood East, Wantirna, Windsor, Box Hill. It's been the trip of a COVID-19 lifetime.

The contestants enter the MasterChef kitchen to find the judges standing behind 40 cloches. Tonight's challenge: Eat a cloche – you die, you lose!

The judges explain that tonight's actual elimination challenge is all about the food that we eat in – takeaway. Jock asks the contestants what their favourite takeaway dish is: Poh's is pad see ew, which she seems embarrassed about; Khanh's is lobster noodles because he is a fancy boy; Reynold's is boat noodle soup, which he had last night and consequently seems to have a bad case of IBS.

Underneath each cloche is a popular takeaway item – the contestants have to guess the dish and the country of origin to be safe from elimination. The first four contestants to lose will have to move on to round two, and also weep in shame as we all realise they are dumdums.

Jess is worried because she says she doesn't know "ANY countries", which also worries me, but more for the sake of Jess' general knowledge than this challenge specifically. Chris says he never has takeaway because apparently he is the seventh Duke of Wellington. Tracy says she never has takeaway because she lives in the Barossa, and people just drink wine for dinner down there.

Andy reveals the first dish. It's a pizza and everyone gets this right because not even Chris is too snobby to have not eaten pizza on the kitchen floor after a big night and possibly some vomming.

Vietnamese beef pho is next, which everyone also gets correct despite Hayden trying to throw everyone by saying it's ramen.

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The next is a plate of Peking duck pancakes. How embarrassment for Ben – turns out his alleged mysterious crimes are not the only disgraceful thing he does this season – Ben thinks these are Vietnamese rice paper rolls! (That's "cold rolls" if you are from Adelaide and need a translation). He is the first one sent to the second round. His fringe flops in shame.

The fourth dish is a seafood laksa. I would say this is a Malaysian dish, but I have also met Singaporeans who would fight me to the death to prove it is one of their national dishes. As the contestants reveal their answers, it looks like most have put Malaysian; but some have put Singapore. Chris and Tessa have put Vietnam and Tracy has put Thailand, because southeast Asia is all same, same but different, right? No! I truly don't understand how you can call yourself a MasterChef in 2020 and not know the answer to this question, but maybe they don't have maps in the Barossa either?

Jock somehow saves an international disaster and gives us all a history lesson by explaining that both Malaysian and Singaporean answers will be accepted because Singapore was a part of Malaysia until 1965. I hope Tracy, and the Barossa, are listening.

It is pretty embarrassing that the producers put down 40 dishes thinking it would take this many for four contestants to make a mistake, but in fact it only took the first four.

Round two of the elimination challenge will see Ben, Chris, Tracy and Tessa cook any takeaway dish they like. The twist is that it has to be both MasterCheffy (a word) and survive a delivery. Melissa will be tasting the dish at home 20 minutes later once it is delivered to her. Please welcome our new sponsors, Deliveroo!

The contestants will have 70 minutes to cook their dish. While Melissa is at home, Jock and Andy will stay in the MasterChef kitchen because they can't bear to be apart from one another.

The time starts and Ben is like Usain Bolt off the starting block (are we still making this reference?). Ben is making nasi goreng, Indonesian fried rice, because he thinks it will stand the test of time during delivery, and also because he is part Indonesian and lived in Bali for a year, did you know?

Chris has decided to make saag paneer, because he makes it all the time. Chris says it reminds him of home… and I feel a backstory montage coming on! Chris reveals that he met his wife Julia on MasterChef! Aww, I didn't know this – happy for them.

We see a shot of Chris cooking Julia something on the barbie. He flips a chop: "They are looking about yumsticks!" says Chris to Julia, which, ew, deserves immediate elimination.

Tessa is making a south Indian fish curry because she went to India once and is now an expert. Tessa gets a very dull backstory clip, which says all you need to know about Tessa.

Tracy again says that the Barossa is not known for it's takeaway… Has anyone told Tracy that takeaway food is just regular food eaten at home?

Anyway, Tracy wants to make fried chicken. She made it once on her old MasterChef season and now has it on her restaurant's menu.. In the Barossa… Where you cannot order takeaway... FYI. Tracy feels confident. But she starts thinking about the travel time and suddenly realises that her fried chicken is going to taste like  armpit after 20 minutes in the Deliveroo backpack. Sorry, Deliveroo. She makes the decision to start from scratch.

The judges come over and Tracy starts crying over the chicken decision. This leads us to Tracy's backstory, which is mainly about how she wants to inspire her children. How lovely! She decides to make a Thai green chicken curry, the one takeaway dish she has heard off when she dares to leave the Barossa.

Melissa starts listing off her favourite takeaway dishes before Jock interrupts and calls her a "kebab". Melissa has the ultimate comeback, "you're a kebab". I feel like I am either watching seven year olds duke it out in the playground or this is some real cooking-industry specific flirting.

Ben is making his aunty's sambal to go with his fried rice. Aunty Frida's sambal has won him challenges before, which is great, but also, get a new trick?

Ben runs to the garden to pick some flowers, because he also forgot it is Mother's Day.

Tessa has four elements in her fish curry, the curry, the laccha paratha, a coriander chutney and the rice. Everyone in the gantry is worried about Tessa, but Tessa just wishes everyone would shut up because she is "here to challenge myself", which is more than we can say for Laura. Tessa's fish is only cooking for five minutes, but she says she'll take Melissa's out a minute earlier to ensure it doesn't overcook during the delivery. Andy thinks it's risky.

We get a reminder that the Deliveroo drivers are on their way, and Network 10 get a payday.

Ben is ready to fry his rice. Jock and Andy think the fried rice is a clever idea. I think cooking fried rice in 70 minutes on MasterChef is a bit of a joke, but what do I know.

Andy hopes Tracy's emotion doesn't get in the way, which is such a man thing to say.

Laura asks Chris what kind of bread he is making. Chris says "just flatbreads", but will be brushing them with ghee and rolling them into coils. So Chris is actually making paratha, but apparently doesn't know it.

Chris is looking super casual and confident. He puts his pale ales in the fridge to chill and pretty much just pats his own back for the rest of the challenge.

It's time for Tessa to get her fish ready to cook, but she is having trouble filletting. Tessa starts hacking into the fish with less delicacy than Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs, and starts to get stressed.

The UberEats – sorry – Deliveroo drivers arrive with 10 minutes to go. Ch-ching!

Ben has decided that to make his fried rice MasterCheffy, which apparently means topping it with a fried quail egg. Please remember fine-dining food is all about making things small and expensive. Melissa will be getting a soft boiled deep-fried hen's egg version so it will survive the ride. I think this is a good idea, but Jock thinks he can't serve Melissa something different. Ben starts questioning his choices, now and in his life in general. Unfortunately, for now and in his general life, he decides to stick to his guns (which are bursting through his button-up shirt, incidentally).

At five minutes to go, Tessa decides to bin her chutney idea – she doesn't have time. Reece yells at Tessa from the gantry "to make sure her fish is cooked perfectly". Thanks Reece, I am sure she has not already thought of this.

Chris is draining his rice, which – I'm sorry – is something people who don't know how to cook do.

Thirty seconds to go and everyone starts putting their food into their delivery bags. Chris pops a beer in the bag in the hopes that the judges will be too drunk to taste his bland food.

Jock and Andy are having a romantic dinner together in the judges room, while the drivers arrive at Melissa's house with her takeaway. Despite working from home, Melissa opens the doors in her fancy off-the-shoulder top, leather skirt and stilettos, therefore isolating all of Australia who have spent the past eight weeks opening doors in unwashed pyjamas and Uggs. I wonder if she hip bumps the door like that when the cameras aren't there.

Melissa starts with Ben's fried rice. Back at the judges' table, Ben's has served what looks like a tablespoon of fried rice for Andy and Jock. What is this, a dinner for ants??

Andy seems totes fine with the quail egg decision for him and Jock, and a boiled egg for Melissa, but Jock is not convinced. Melissa's boiled egg is perfectly runny, she loves it, she loves aunty Frida's sambal (I mean she's loved it every other time he's served it, why wouldn't she love it now…?) Melissa does a happy dance. Jock says it is easily one of the best nasi gorengs he's ever eaten, which makes me think he has not had that much nasi goreng. No one says anything about the great egg debate of 10 minutes ago.

Chris is up next with his saag paneer. He serves the judges a beer, because "you can't have a curry with no beer", unless you are Hindu and don't drink alcohol, of course. Melissa says the rice is perfect, but says the rest of it is just fine and she would have liked to have seen more complexity. Andy says "nothing is blowing him away". Jock has equally "meh" feelings about it. The beer was not strong enough.

Tracy comes in with her Thai green curry chicken with eggplant, her herb salad with nahm jim, and rice. Tracy tells the judges she only feels like she is hitting her stride now and can they please not send her home.

Melissa says the curry has big flavours and is really impressed. Andy loves it and that the herb salad dialled up the flavour 200 notches. Jock says it's top-notch cooking. As you can see, Jock and Andy have just learnt the word "notch".

Tessa is the last one to the judges table, serving her south Indian fish curry with laccha paratha and rice. Andy likes it, but negative-Nancy Jock says it needed to be cooked longer. The fish itself, however, is cooked perfectly, and even Melissa's travelled well.

Melissa arrives back at the MasterChef kitchen, and walks past the contestants hips swinging like the "hot girl" in every teen movie ever made.

The judges start conferring about their favourite dishes. Melissa's was Ben's nasi goreng and Tessa's fish curry. Andy loved Tracy's curry especially her "nahm jam" dressing, and, oh boy, this episode has been a lesson in white-washing. Everyone seems to think Chris' saag paneer was trash. It's not looking good for the "meat guy".

The announcement comes and Ben gets through without a word about egg gate or his alleged arrest. Safe to fight another day, it would seem. Tessa is also safe, with Melissa saying that her fish could not have been cooked better by anyone anywhere in the world… which might be a hyperbole.

It comes down to Tracy and Chris... but Tracy is safe. Chris's saag paneer was a saggy mess. Andy says they will really miss him, but, let's face it, no one is gonna miss his fedora.

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