MasterChef 2020 recap: Poh is pure chaos in this speedy, stressful immunity challenge

There's three rounds, which means three times as much Poh anxiety.
There's three rounds, which means three times as much Poh anxiety. Photo: NETWORK 10

Poh, Khanh and Callum are our three winners of "Heat Week" and as they walk through the MasterChef garden, they all reflect by staring up wistfully at some unknown object in the sky. God, is that you?

Poh says she has a fire in her belly, possibly from the durian yesterday, possibly from some dodgy shellfish, she doesn't tell us. Callum follows her closely, he says he was runner up in season two, and there's only one spot that is better than second…and that's first in line at Lune Croissant.

Today the challenge will be in three rounds, and all three contestants will compete in each round – with each dish scored out of 10. Melissa, who has dressed like a Sunday Schoolmarm today, says round one is toasties and they only have 15 minutes. I think if it takes you more than 15 minutes to make a toastie, you're doing it wrong, so how hard can this be?

Oh yeah, Poh is how hard it can be. Poh comes back from the pantry with a hefty basket. She says she usually uses fruit loaf for her toastie but it wasn't available so she is just using sourdough and will make her own fruit butter to go with a honey, prosciutto and gruyere filling. I'm just thankful she's not attempting to make her own sourdough right now, because that's a Poh move from a mile away.

For some reason she slices the bread lengthways like some sort of heathen who doesn't care about wasting an entire loaf of bread.

Khanh says he is all about the cheese, which is the correct answer. He is using manchego, gruyere and parmesan and is going to cover the entire toastie in cheese. Today Khanh is wearing a chain so obviously he has also watched Normal People.

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Andy says he is "stinging" for a toastie and we are "up for three belters" and "huge props" to the contestants, which may have been the most Andy sentence ever.

Callum is making a mushroom and cheese jaffle with porcini salt. He has decided to use white bread, because toasties are the reason Tip Top exists, right? He is browning his mushrooms with thyme and then starts bathing his bread in an anchovy butter that he has made especially to win Andy's heart.

Back to Poh's enormous foot-long toastie, which she says was inspired by her time working at the Adelaide Central Markets. She transforms her sourdough into makeshift fruit loaf by spreading it with her five-spice butter and raisins. As much as extra as Poh is, that is clever and I will 100 per cent steal it.

Callum says he wants this to be the best damn toastie he's ever made, so puts in a hefty wedge of cheese in it and, yeah, that should about do it.

Khanh is creating his crispy parmesan coating, which Melissa fancifies into a "parmesan lace". He says a little prayer, which seems to be his thing now.

Callum serves up his cheese and mushroom jaffle, and it looks golden and crunchy and perfect. Melissa pulls it apart and the cheesy goodness stretches out like a piece of art. Andy says the crust is perfect and the anchovy butter was a genius move. Melissa says it was satisfying and warming like a big hug. Jock says it was jaffle joy. The judges write their scores down in little black books, and also who they have crushes on.

They move onto Khanh's three cheese toastie with a "parmesan tuile", which he has now named it to try and score extra points. Jock loves the parmesan crust, but the sourdough bread choice made it dry. Andy says the cheese lace was "stupidly good", of course.

Next is Poh's prosciutto honey rocket gruyere toastie with raisins, toasted walnuts and a spiced butter. Andy loves the heaping of prosciutto; more "bang" for your buck, Andy? Melissa says it reminds her of a Boxing Day sandwich and loves that Poh's food is always telling a story – yes, like one of those disaster movies.

The scores are revealed: Callum gets 23/30; Khanh gets 24/30; and Poh scores 25/30.

For round two, the judges want dinner. But because it's a Thursday and it's been a long day at work and that stupid Peter Helliar show is on soon, they want it quick, in just 20 minutes. But they don't just want a midweek meal, they want a brilliant meal to "blow their minds".

Callum doesn't even bother going to the pantry, his idea is to make fresh pasta so needs to get started immediately to allow the pasta to rest. Laura's ears are pricked.

Khanh is making banh xeo, a Vietnamese pancake. He makes it all the time but has never done it 20 minutes. He throws in all his ingredients without measuring them, which is a perfectly acceptable way of cooking.

Poh is making pork and cabbage potstickers, because handmade dumplings in 20 minutes seems like just the right amount of stress and impossibility that the Pohllercoaster strives for.

Callum is adding crab to his pasta. Now that he is behind one point, he is feeling the pressure. He says he "needs to make sure it's a cracker", which is what Andy told him to say.

Jock gives Callum a pep talk, and by pep talk I mean a take down, saying he is a "mad man" for trying to make pasta in 20 minutes.

Speaking of mad people, Poh is rolling her dumpling wrappers and cackling like a crazy woman. She will be serving them with a ginger, soy, chilli and Chinkiang vinegar dipping sauce, which, worst case scenario, she can throw into the judges eyes if it all fails.

Andy comes over to talk to Khanh, who is trying to cook his pancake batter on one wok, and his pork belly and prawns in another. Andy keeps asking Khanh questions, but Khanh needs to get on with his nuoc mam sauce so tells Andy to please leave him alone. Andy takes this quite well because he is used to people getting bored of him mid-sentence.

Callum gets his dough out, which has only rested for eight minutes. Jock is watching him like a very unhelpful, somewhat scary Italian/Scottish grandfather, who is willing you to mess it up. Callum says he "knows Jock thinks he's a massive idiot" but he wants to show him that you can make fresh pasta in this amount of time. 

At five minutes to go, Poh has put her dumplings in a pan and hopes they will cook in time. They usually take seven minutes, so two minutes too late seems actually quite good for Poh's bad time management record.

Now Melissa is pestering Khanh and asking him questions he does not have time for, so he runs away again. Melissa is offended, so tries to find someone else to be friends with. Callum is easy bait. She asks him why his pasta isn't in the water and is everything ok? He says his pasta only needs 30 seconds to cook, so apart from the world being on fire and the global pandemic, everything is all good thanks Mel.

With just a few seconds to go, Khanh flips over his pancake and out onto the plate. It's crisp and golden. He fills it with the pork and prawn and tops it with herbs and serves it to the judges. Andy says he was "transported to Khanh's home". Jock says it was zingy, poppy and crunchy, which is also what he plans to name his children.

As Callum brings over his crab pasta, Jock asks Laura if she would make pasta in 20 minutes. "Absolutely not," says Laura, although she 100 per cent would.

Andy says the sauce had good depth of flavour, but needed a squeeze of lemon juice. Melissa says there was "round umami flavour" and Jock says he did a beautiful job, and you definitely can make pasta in 20 minutes, which maybe means Laura has been slacking off all this time?

Poh thinks her potstickers are the most perfect she's ever cooked them. The judges agree: Andy says the filling is full of flavour and the skins were crunchy; Melissa says she has "achieved technical perfection"; and Jock says it's the opposite of meh, "hem". How is it that Andy has said the most insightful comments tonight? The world truly has turned upside-down.

The judges note down their scores in their journals. Callum scores a 9, 8 and 9 – 49 in total. Khanh scores 9, 10 and 10 – 53 in total. Poh scores 10, 9 and 9 – 53 in total.

Poor Callum looks like the boy no one chooses for their soccer team. He says he has nothing to lose now so is going to cook his best. Go son!

So for the final round they have to make a top 10-worthy dessert, but they only have 30 minutes to do it.

They race to the pantry, which for some reason always has the door closed, even though it seems really arduous to open and they waste so much time opening it. Either the producers are being cruel, or they are preventing Andy from stealing snacks between takes.

Callum says he is so behind, he feels like he is climbing Mount Everest, which is definitely a hyperbole. It's the Adelaide Hills, max. He is making some sort of citrus surprise, with desert lime marmalade, gin and tonic cumquat granita, gin lime mousse and a lurid green bay-leaf oil. He says he wants to knock the judges' socks off.

Andy says he would make a raw coconut custard with roasted rhubarb. Melissa says she would make a crumble, which does not sound like it would blow anyone's socks off, except for maybe some Women's Weekly readers from the 1980s.

Melissa says she doesn't want to see someone cram a 60-minute dessert in 30 minutes and POH ARE YOU LISTENING?

Khanh says he is making his own recipe today, a sponge with chocolate honeycomb and orange sherbert. He needs to have 17 minutes to cook his sponge so has to hustle to make sure he gets it in in time.

If anyone was still on the fence about whether Poh was a crazy overachiever lacking in all sense and logic and decision-making skills (in which case you probably need to catch up on these previous recaps here, here and here), the proof is in this pudding. She can't decide what to make so is making TWO desserts in 30 minutes. 

She wants to make a French cherry clafoutis, and a traditional Malaysian kuih koci – glutinous rice sweet coconut cake steamed in banana leaf. She says she wants to show her range, but you would think after almost 40 episodes, a whole other season and a decade in-between, she would have already done this?

Poh says she's in chaos mode. She wants immunity "so badly it's not funny". Don't worry, Poh, we're all too stressed to be laughing.

Jock says he loves her enthusiasm, but thinks it's a ridiculous move. Everyone in the gantry is whispering and raising their eyebrows. But Poh thinks if she can pull it off she can win. Take that, haters!

Jock comes over to talk to Khanh, but Khanh has had it with the judges interrupting him all the time so runs off to put his his chocolate honeycomb in the fridge. With 13 minutes to go he finally puts his sponge cakes in. Say a prayer for them.

Poh has her clafoutis in the oven and starts her kuih koci. She tries to wrap them up in the banana leaf but the filling is too hot and they are falling apart. She starts to realise she won't have enough time to whip her cream, so at the last minute she decides to ditch her second dish and everyone breathes a huge sigh of relief.

Callum, who has just been quietly making magic happen on his bench, is finishing up all his elements and starts plating up. He even has time to clean his bench and crack a joke. Give the guy a gold logie already!

Two minutes to go and Khanh's ship has hit a Poh-sized iceberg. His choc honeycomb hasn't set and his sponge cakes are not cooked. He tells Jock he might not get a dish up.

He runs to the pantry to get some creme fraiche, but maybe just pick up a Violet Crumble and call it a day?

Time is up and Poh says she is proud she made the call to just stick to one dish. I don't know if I would really be proud of doing explicitly what the judges asked for and exactly what the other contestant also did from the start, but Poh's brain is an engima wrapped in a riddle etc.

Callum is the only one whose dish looks MasterChef-worthy AND he has made three plates. He may just have reached the top of Mount Lofty.

The judges call for the dishes to be brought to their special room. Poh brings her clafoutis and says she is worried it will be too simple. Andy says it is "near on a perfect clafoutis". Melissa says it is "quietly perfect". Jock says "it's faultless" but he is "not wowed". Consider his socks not blown off.

Khanh has brought up a cereal bowl of chocolate honeycomb shards, creme fraiche and mandarin sherbet. Jock says he is sad about the missing cake, but Khanh says "it tastes really good" and he still thinks he's "in the running", trying to project a winning critique onto the judges.

Jock liked the chocolate honeycomb and the sherbet, but says it doesn't feel like a complete dessert. Andy says it does taste good but all the elements were garnishes. Melissa says she's not sure it's worthy for a ride to the top 10.

Callum thinks his dessert is the best he's cooked so far in the competition. He is worried he hasn't done enough because Poh and Khanh are incredible cooks, but is obviously just saying this to be polite because, dude, did you see what they made?

He serves up his seven kinds of citrus made into a mousse, granita, marmalade and more, and the judges love it. Melissa says it was "bright, fresh, fun and sophisticated" and it reminded her of an elegant Splice ice-cream. Andy says the marmalade brings it all together and "hallelujah". Jock says it goes to show Callum's depth of knowledge when it comes to flavour.

The judges emerge to reveal their scores to the trio. Poh gets a 7, 7 and 8, for a total of 75. Khanh scores three sixes, for a total of 71. Callum scores three 10s, 79 in total and wins immunity and will be the first contestant in the top 10. Awww, I feel all warm and fuzzy.

Callum says he feels bloody amazing and that he should "cook like I'm losing all the time". That's the attitude, Bradbury.

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