MasterChef 2020 recap: It's a fight over fancy instant noodles and comfort food

The calm (Jess) and the chaos (Poh) before the instant noodle storm.
The calm (Jess) and the chaos (Poh) before the instant noodle storm. Photo: NETWORK 10

It's immunity challenge night, otherwise known as the night when not very much happens, everyone is nice to each other and no one goes home, yet here we still are. Yesterday's mystery box was all about vegan food (sorry I missed it, I was washing my hair...or something), and winners Poh, Jess, Simon and Reece are up for immunity tonight. Reece, distracted by Katy Perry and all the "tits" and "daddies" flying around, missed his chance last week and so really hopes it's his turn tonight.

As they enter the MasterChef kitchen their benches already have a pot of water boiling on the stove. Poh looks intrigued – are they getting steam facials today?

Poh says she wants immunity again. She says she liked the smell of Top 10 from her spot in the gantry last elimination, which presumably just smells like Reynold's sweat and Laura's pasta sauce. Poh is wearing a daggy old t-shirt from what looks like 1989, so god knows she needs this prize money.

Melissa says there will be two rounds, and the first round is going to be "fast and furious". I hope she is not talking about the film, because we really do not need another sequel to that damn franchise.

Andy goes to get the "hero" ingredient and comes back with a trolley that could be his standard Saturday shop: stacks and stacks of instant packet noodles. Jess is excited because two-minute noodles are "her thing" and the last time she ate them was yesterday, which goes to show you how well Channel 10 are looking after these guys.

Round one is all about pimping up these packet noodles. Jock asks if anyone has done this before, but no one admits to it. Jock says that no one is too posh for instant noodles, which is an odd thing to say from a man who wears a three-piece suit every. Single. Day.

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The contestants can use whatever they want from the pantry and garden, though I guess not that random red Vespa that seems to have been parked there for about a decade.

Melissa says they only have 15 minutes to finish,  time starts and the judges talk about what they would cook in this challenge, none of which sound very good: Jock says he would do a meat and seafood instant noodle; Andy says he would make a broth with miso, shiitake and seaweed; Melissa says she would just utilise the flavour sachets because they are flavour, flavour, flavour (and also MSG, MSG, MSG, but, hey, I'm not complaining).

Poh has decided to go full Crazy Rich Asian and make poached lobster instant noodles. She is also chucking in some oysters and squid because she is a baller and that's how she plays.

Simon is trying to open a bottle of soy sauce but says his fingers are too fat; aww don't beat yourself up about those chubs, mate. But I do often wonder why the contestants have to open brand new items every time they cook… What happens to the rest of the bottle after they use one teaspoon of something? We are living in a panic buying pandemic and these guys are out here throwing away half-full bags of flour every episode!

Jess is making Thai khao soi noodles with a curry broth and crispy noodles on top. Reece is making spicy pork noodles with an egg inspired by a Chinese restaurant at home. Reece's biggest problem is that out of all the instant noodle brands he has chosen Maggi's "oriental" flavour, which is, yes, still a "flavour" and, yes, still the worst.

Poh has the entire contents of Coles sitting on her benchtop and Tracy wonders "what is going on in Poh's brain". Tracy, I often wonder this about Poh and I have come to the conclusion it's the meme of the woman working out Pythagoras theorems.

Melissa tag-teams Jock and Andy in together to have their turn asking questions to the contestants because Jock needs to supervise Andy at all times. Jock and Andy move around the benches like they are at a local speed dating night at the pub asking the contestants what they are making, what are their hopes and dreams, what do they look for in a man (or two). Of course, no one has time to answer them and everyone just wishes they would leave. Jess is speaking so fast she could definitely get a job as an auctioneer if this MasterChef thing doesn't work out.

Everyone seems like they are losing the plot. Jess starts throwing lemons around. Reece is also stressing about getting a lid off a bottle. Laura yells down from the gantry to get it off with a spoon, but he says he is "not that masculine". Katy Perry did refer to him as a pair of breasts last week, so I understand why his confidence is down.

Jess wants to fry her noodles but the oil is not hot enough. She says she must include the crispy noodle element in her khao soi noodles to stay true to the Thai dish. To be honest I don't think Jock or Andy would notice the difference.

Simon is making his noodles with a fried egg, fried anchovies and a spicy chilli sauce. He decides to use two packets because he thinks one packet of noodles is never enough. I am not into fat-shaming, but if he is so worried about his chubby fingers, he should probably just stick to just the one packet.

Lots of random shrieking seems to be happening in the kitchen, it could be Poh or Jess, but most likely it is Reece.

Jock decides to be a drama queen by telling everyone they have two minutes to go by pouring a kettle of hot water into a bowl.

As the countdown ends, Melissa theatrically shovels Jock's noodles in her mouth, which is... something. She tells everyone to get their chopsticks at the ready, looking specifically at Andy.

Jess brings over her khao soi noodles and Melissa starts doing a noodle dance. Jock is making spirit fingers. Katy Perry may be gone, but she clearly made an impression. Andy says that Jess has packed an "ace" amount of flavour into there.

Reece brings over his dry pork noodles. It's the first Asian-inpired dish he has made all season!? He says he had fun making it, which is what matters right? Jock slurps, Melissa gobbles, Andy is... there. Melissa says the balance is slightly out but he's done a lovely job.

Simon brings over his chilli oil noodles with fried anchovies, though I can't see any chilli oil. Jock says he really, really, really loves it, but there were too many noodles and the ratio is not right.

Poh says her noodles are "the most comedic noodles ever made" and I'll be the judge of that, thank you very much. She says it's got oysters, squid, lobster and nashi pear, forgetting that it also has enoki mushrooms, tofu and wakame.

Andy says she's a mad woman and is surprised she didn't make her own noodles, too. He says everything had a place and the "master stroke was putting the egg through the broth". After listing off a food-writer monologue about Poh's noodles, Melissa then contradicts herself by saying, "all I can say is 'wow'".

Jock says there were two clear favourites: Jess and Poh. Reece and Simon head up to the gantry feeling very sad.

Round two is all about the ultimate comfort food. Melissa says her comfort dish is lo mai gai sticky rice parcels. Andy's comfort dish is a "weird" pasta dish he makes with tomatoes and anchovies and lemon that sounds pretty normal to me (and Laura). Jock says his grandma's favourite comfort food is a Victoria sponge with a cup of tea. Jock doesn't tell us his favourite dish, which is just HP sauce on toast.

The girls get to it and Poh says she can taste the Top 10 on the tip of her tongue. She is going to go all out. Not as all out as Jess who is going so fast she is throwing bay leaves around like it's a curry-themed wedding. She's making a red duck curry with roti canai and coconut rice. She puts her duck in the pressure cooker and gets started on making her two curry pastes.

Meanwhile, the Pohllercoaster is AWOL. Her bench is bare and Jock finds her just casually skipping around the pantry like Mary Poppins at the farmers' market.

But in a very non-Mary Poppins move, she says she'll be making fish custard. Jock looks at her like Chrissy Teigen at the Golden Globes: euggghhh? He says her comfort food is "crazy" forgetting the point made earlier that comfort food is very subjective and personal. Poh says she is making otak otak; the translation – a fish custard cooked in banana leaf. Poh is also making nasi lemak and a sambal. She says she eats it for comfort because it reminds her of her mum. Sweet.

Jess slapping her roti dough around is probably the most aggressive Jess has ever been in her life. Though she does almost take out Melissa with a jar of ghee.

Jess says her Thai red duck curry reminds her of her dad. Her parents used to have a Thai/Malaysian/Indonesian restaurant and she used to help make this dish with her dad when she was a kid. So lovely that they are both cooking dishes that remind them of their parents; my comfort food is a bag of Doritos and a ginger beer, sorry mum and dad.

Jess wants to include a Thai chilli jam with the curry. Jock asks if it's spicy but she says "it is quite mild". Almost in the same breath she says "it's quite spicy" leaving Jock none the wiser about if he needs to bring a glass of milk to this tasting.

Poh scrapes her fish flesh from the skin for her fish custard. She runs out to get a banana leaf from the garden, though hopefully she didn't have to climb up the tree with a machete to get that thing. On second thought, of course she did.

She wraps up her fish custard in the banana leaf and puts it in the bamboo steamer. She moves on to making her nasi lemak, which is like a Malaysian banquet in one dish. She says she ate it every day for recess, which makes me want to have a word to my mum about my daily Le Snack.

Jess' curry is looking good. She says it needs to be spicier and free-pours a jar of chilli powder into it. I am worried for Jock's health. She starts slapping her dough for the roti. Poh says she nearly made roti too and we could have had a roti off. Laura begs Poh from the gantry not to start making roti now and you can just see Poh considering it in her mind.

Five minutes to go and Poh still needs to boil and peel her eggs. The gantry suggest she just fry the egg, but Poh prefers chaos and drama and would never do such a sensible logical thing.

Poh asks the judges if she can serve her egg with the shell on. She says she's joking, but we all know she secretly wanted them to say yes. The gantry countdown the last 10 seconds and I feel nauseous watching her pluck the egg from the boiling water and peel the shell from the wobbly whites and now, oh god, the yolk is just dribbling over her fingers like lava. As Poh says, it's "nasty lemak".

Jess is proud of her duck curry, she got everything on the plate except for her Thai chilli jam. Melissa is happy with the carb-on-carb action. Jock says the "bread" (hi, it's roti) looks crisp and flaky and it's a "bloody great red curry". Jock can't believe a 21-year-old can make something so good, aren't they too busy on TikTok or whatever?

Andy praises the chilli and shrimp salt Jess added at the last minute saying it is "the master stroke", which is clearly a phrase he just learnt because he used it an hour ago. Melissa says that Jess "shows intuition and intelligence that belies her years".

Poh says she's happy with the result but realised that she bit off more than she could chew. What's new? Jock is still confused about the fish custard and asks her to explain the dish for the third time.

Andy says he's so much happier now that he's tried this dish and it takes him on a journey, which might be the most he's ever said about anything. Melissa says it takes her back to ordering breakfast from hawker stalls. "Who needs cereal when you can have that?" No one answers because Andy clearly still enjoys his rice bubbles every morning. Jock says a lot of words that amount to nothing.

So, the winner is: Jess. Melissa says wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. Jess is so proud and can't wait to tell her parents about it. Awww, now someone give the girl a bigger dinner allowance so she doesn't have to eat instant noodles every night.

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