MasterChef 2020 recap: Poh makes a 'dodgy' call and Reynold falls down a rabbit hole

How do you cook 20-minute rice in 15 minutes? Asking for a friend.
How do you cook 20-minute rice in 15 minutes? Asking for a friend. Photo: NETWORK 10

After last night's mystery box had Australia weeping like children in the first five minutes of the show as each contestant unveiled a cute baby photo, Reynold, Poh, Jess, Brendan and Khanh won the challenge with their best nostalgic dishes.

Tonight they'll be cooking for immunity, and Reynold has his eyes on the prize. He says he's never won immunity before in this or his last season; he says George, Matt and Gary gave him perfect scores but still didn't give him the pin and, oof, is that a chip on your shoulder, Reynold?

Khanh also hasn't won immunity before and mostly wants to win it this round so he can spend elimination up on the gantry with Emelia in his Sunday glam. Emelia looks thrilled about this idea.

Melissa says this dish has to tell a story. There's a row of mystery items hiding under sheets. Andy does the reveal like he's on Sale of the Century – it's a set of Encyclopedia Britannica! Not really, but it is an old book that nobody wants: Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Under each of the other sheets is another classic fairytale, which the contestants must use to inspire their dish today.

Khanh says he is "obsessed" with this challenge because he "loves fairytales". You can also see the cogs turning in Reynold's mind, as he wonders if he has enough time to make seven genoise dwarfs and a tempered Snow White.

When the clock starts they bolt to the pantry, Reynold bulldozing sweet Jess so he can get in first. Who has time for chivalry when there are magic mirrors to freeze in liquid nitrogen!?

Jess fills her basket with about 1000 mangoes – she has decided to do Goldilocks and the three spheres. I'm hoping it will be better than it sounds.

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Khanh is doing a kladdkaka, a Swedish chocolate cake that his friend Oscar taught him when they were watching the Beauty and the Beast remake. He says the chocolate cake is going to be the beast because it's kind of ugly, and he's going to make a rose-petal ice-cream to symbolise the beauty. What will he use to symbolise Emma Watson's terrible singing, though?

This is his fourth immunity challenge, but he's never won any of them. He acknowledges that this is very embarrassing.

Andy says that when he was at school he "only ever had a basketball or a cricket bat in his hand" so apparently he "doesn't know any of these fairytales". This confirms all my derogatory thoughts about Andy.

Jock says he would pick Hansel and Gretel because he loves gingerbread and carrot cake, and I guess also the thought of kidnapping small children.

Melissa says she loves fairytales and is wanting some "escapism" today. Yeah, you and everyone else, Melissa, that's why we all binge-watched Tiger King in the first few days of lockdown.

Reynold is doing Alice in Wonderland, chapter one to be precise, because Reynold is all about the details. He was inspired by the "down the rabbit hole" storyline, so is making a tempered chocolate tree to put in a matcha moss garden. He'll then pour hot caramel to make a sinking rabbit hole. This guy is too good for this show.

Poh is making a tofu lilly soup inspired by the Ugly Duckling. She says she identifies with the story, awww aunty Poh! She'll be making something really beautiful out of humble ingredients.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Poh cook without some sort of crazy time-bending. She says there's a "dodgy" area, because to make her rice she first has to finish pressure-cooking her stock. She tells us not to worry because she knows these dishes like the back of her hand, of course, we are all still very worried.

Khanh tells us his confidence is down. Whenever the judges question something he then falls down a hole of thinking he's going to fail. I'd quite like to fall down Reynold's caramel hole though.

Jock is shocked that Khanh is making a cake because he never does dessert. Khanh name drops his friend Oscar again and says that he taught him how to do it and it's so easy, "it's just butter, sugar, eggs and flour". Does Khanh know these are the ingredients to pretty much every cake?

Khanh's self-fulfilling prophecy comes true when Jock asks him if his cake is going to be "beautiful". Khanh says yes, but has no idea how to do that. Jock says, "there's a rose, then there's a rose" ominously.

Khanh now realises he has no idea how to present this cake to the judges. He wonders if this is going to be a mistake. First cake up against dessert royalty Reynold and Jess? Oscar has a lot to answer for.

Melissa, who has taken her dress from a curtain rod today, asks Brendan what he is making. He has decided to shout out his grandma and make her Mauritian hakien spring roll. He says it's inspired by Beauty and the Beast, too, because it's not pretty to look at, but the beauty is in its flavour. He says it's twice fried and, yeah, that sounds like a thing of beauty to me.

Jess says she wants immunity even though she has already won it twice, no big deal guys. She is making three mango spheres and says she wants to make a plate for each judge, which sounds unnecessary. Reynold's not making three tempered chocolate trees now is he? (Though he probably could.)

Poh starts delicately slicing her tofu lily. She slices the tofu leaving 2mm at the bottom so that when it sits in the broth it blooms like an anemone. Poh tells us again how she identifies with the Ugly Duckling character because when she first came to Australia she hated how she looked and was so embarrassed that she always came to school with fried rice for lunch. Poor Poh, but at least now she only has to be embarrassed about her terrible time management skills.

Reynold tells us about how he made a chocolate log in his first season and we get a flashback to Matt and Gary cracking into his log and baby Reynold with Dragonball-Z hair.

Jess has to scoop out the insides of her spheres but her small spheres are too hard to scoop. She rushes back to the pantry to get a million more ingredients for some reason. We get a squealing edit of her being stressed out.

Andy comes over to ask Reynold how he is making his Alison in Wonderland garden. Reynold explains all the technicalities to him, and Andy is like, sounds good, mate, then walks off to find a cricket ball.

Twenty minutes to go and Reynold starts making his chocolate branches by piping the chocolate into ice-cold water. Simon, who looks like he borrowed the same floral shirt Scomo wore on his trip to Hawaii, says he is so grateful to be able to watch Reynold at work.

Poh has apparently moved on from staring into ovens to staring into her pressure cooker and willing it to finish; she realises she hasn't thought about the rice element very well because it needs 20 minutes still to cook. I am wondering why a) she can't just finish the stock early, and b) she can't just cook the rice in water?

Reynold is cutting his tempered white chocolate discs. Callum says it's "riveting to watch". Yeah, okay Callum, but have you seen Love is Blind?

Khanh tells Jock his cake is "sexy". Alright, Mr makes-a-cake-once.

Ten minutes to go and Jess is feeling overwhelmed. She tells Reece this is "the worst storytime ever" and runs out to the garden. Andy wonders if she's just bailed, and look I wouldn't blame her.

Reynold is out in the Bunnings area of the kitchen, spray-painting his bowl with dark chocolate to give it a forest floor effect. Andy seems to find this amusing. He picks up the spray gun and has a go spraying Jock. This is why you don't let kids play with big-people toys!

Reynold places the bright green pistachio sponge on the top of the forest floor and matcha crumble to represent the moss, then sticks in his chocolate tree and branches. He puts some tiny shiso flowers on the branches and it looks like cherry blossoms and so I guess Reynold wins?

Time's up and it's time to judge.

Khanh is up first and he is very happy with his cake. He says it will taste "bang", which means Andy should probably love it.

The rose petal ice-cream and strawberry rose buds look pretty and he has put a glass cloche on top to symbolise the rose in Beauty and the Beast.

Khanh tells the judges he first made this dish with his mates (Hi Oscar!). Jock thinks it is, indeed, a sexy cake and there you go. Melissa says it's fudgy and the ice-cream was full flavoured. Andy says he didn't love it as much, but appreciated that Khanh "grasped the concept" well. Andy has said before that he doesn't love cake, so we don't really care what he thinks.

Reynold is up next and did you know that he's never won immunity before, because he tells us again. He gets a couple of minutes to plate up – "just two seconds, guys, just have to cook my lime yoghurt foam in nitrogen for you".

He serves up his forest and the judges look suitably impressed. He pours in the hot caramel onto the chocolate, and after a suspenseful and well-timed ad break, it suddenly melts through to create that rabbit hole effect. "Magical," says Melissa.

Jock says it's hard to fault. Andy appreciates the quick thinking that Reynold had to come up with this dish. Melissa says it's a bombshell dish on every level and that the dish says "I am back to win". The dramatic music right now has reached ridiculous new heights.

Poh brings out her Ugly Duckling, a tofu bloom in dried scallop "pond" with fried rice on the side. Andy says the soup is like a very soft hug from your grandma, but the rice is obviously undercooked. Melissa says it feels "ancient and monastic", but the rice needed to be perfect. Jock says the rice is a failure. This is all very awkward for Poh, who just spent decades in therapy trying to get over being embarrassed about her childhood fried rice.

Brendan brings his fairytale dish inspired by Beauty and the Beast, Mauritian hakien spring rolls. Jock serving them up silver service-style while simultaneously making fun of Andy's inexperience is giving me life.

Andy thinks Brendan just wanted to make this dish and forced it into the concept. Melissa says Brendan didn't try hard enough with the presentation and the dipping sauce was not good. Jock says he has no issues with the dish, but it was the wrong dish for today. Anyway, we barely saw him this episode, so this is hardly a surprise.

Jess hopes she has done enough to win immunity, and I think nine mango spheres is probably enough. Although maybe it is too much. Melissa thinks she crammed in too many things and Andy says she bit off more than she can chew. Jock says the dish "promised the world but delivered an atlas with a few missing pages". Another great quote from philosopher Zonfrillo.

Melissa says this was a "one horse race" and everyone immediately looks at Reynold. She says it "hit the brief and hit it out of the kingdom". Obviously, Reynold is the winner. And whatever world Reynold makes next, I want to live in it.

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