MasterChef 2020 recap: Tonight's immunity challenge was a cook-off at the sushi train

The MasterChef judges patiently waiting for their dragon rolls to arrive.
The MasterChef judges patiently waiting for their dragon rolls to arrive. Photo: NETWORK 10

After the last few days of "suburban takeover" week has sent the contestants skipping down sleepy neighbourhood streets like they've never been to the 'burbs before (Playgrounds! The grass! It's so quiet! Coles!), today's immunity challenge brings us to the inner Melbourne suburb of Windsor, where we can finally see some real-life restaurants. Sigh, remember them?

Andy meets the winners of yesterday's Mystery Box challenge, Amina, Tracy and Emelia, and I am excited to finally hear Tracy say more than two words and Emelia prove to me she isn't a fembot.

Andy takes them to Japanese restaurant Ganbare Kaz. Ah, the days when Channel 10 had the budget to send the contestants to actual Tokyo, not just a sushi train in Windsor.

The deal is that Amina, Tracy and Emelia will be cooking five plates each, but not just for the judges – the other contestants will also be dining. So that's both 100 plates each and a crushing reminder that there are still a bazillion contestants left on this show.

Emelia notes more than once that this is more like a pressure test, clearly salty that her first ever immunity challenge is going to be a real drag and not just a fun day out with Curtis Stone like last week.

The judges announce that this will be a blind tasting, so will not be watching them cook in the kitchen for the first time this season. This is a good thing because the kitchen is the size of a shower cubicle.

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As soon as Amina gets in there, she bulldozes Emelia to get to the produce section. She wants to get her hands on a cabbage so she can make her kimchi. So see you next month while we wait for that to ferment!

Nah, just jokes, Amina (who is part Korean) is making a quick-pickled kimchi known as geotjeori, which can be eaten fresh. 

The judges all think Emelia has an advantage in this round because of her "finesse". Melissa thinks Amina may also have an advantage because of her Korean heritage. Jock says he is hoping for some dishes that are clean and healthy and Melissa and Andy burst out laughing, like, "woah, woah, Jock, don't be so crazy!" I don't get the joke, guess you had to be there.

Emelia says she wants music, but Amina refuses to sing for her. Everyone is grateful.

Emelia starts working on her potstickers, which she says she's going to make rectangular. This sounds terrible, but I guess we can't all be gyoza pleating wizards like Brendan.

Ninety minutes to go, yells Melissa, who is sitting at the sushi train with the other judges and contestants waiting to be fed. I cannot believe that the producers are making them all wait in the restaurant the entire 2.5-hour cooking time! I hope someone has Netflix on their phone. Or at least a flask of whisky to put on the train.

Emelia is mixing her kingfish sashimi and says she is feeling "completely vacant in her mind". Fembot! Knew it! She is glad Jock is not in here yelling at her, which makes me wonder what the producers are editing out of the show...

For some inexplicable reason the girls start singing a sea shanty about MasterChef.

"One hour to go!" yell the contestants, who have already waited an hour and a half and I am surprised a Lord of the Flies situation has not broken out. Tracy asks if anyone needs a hug. Emelia says there is no time for hugs, which is just what a fembot would say!

Jock sends a little note via the sushi train to the kitchen saying 45 minutes to go. The producers have clearly told the girls to laugh at Jock's funny joke so Emelia tries to pretend like she is really impressed with it. Amina has no time for this BS.

Tracy has been a real Debbie Downer this episode, telling us every time the camera cuts to her that she's really behind, only prepped one dish, might not get all the plates up in time… Seriously guys, she really needs a hug!

Emelia is ready to serve most of her first dish, piling her ceviche into mountains on white plates. Amina, who is serving on brown plates today, has decided to pack hers carefully into rings so they are all the same size. Well, this isn't my first rodeo, I can see where this is going.

Ta, da! Emelia has pulled a Chris and realised that she has not portioned her ceviche properly and is running out of kingfish. Jock notices the inconsistency as he sees the smaller plates passing by on the train. Andy says the chunks of fish lack finesse, because he heard Melissa use that word earlier today.

Amina's tuna chirashi starts rolling through and the judges say they love the smell. Andy gives us a classic Andy one-two punch by saying the dish is both "banging" and "cracking" in the same sentence. Someone give this guy a pocket thesaurus already!

Tracy is in struggle town, population her kingfish sashimi, which looks like a seagull has taken a dump all over it. The judges don't think so, though; Andy says it's "sexy" and Melissa says it has "restrained elegance" – are they describing a plate of fish or an upmarket escort? It's very unclear.

Bit disappointed in Khanh today, who after Tuesday's brilliant Michael Hutchence gaping white shirt number has come to lunch in a brown polo shirt. It is beige in every sense of the word. I mean we are in Windsor, not a Zoom meeting, make some effort man!

Emelia starts deep-frying her karaage chicken, which she plans on serving with a mayo and pickle. Amina is already plating her rice ball up, which she has seasoned with seaweed and sesame oil and served with her quick kimchi. Amina subtly roasts Jock and Andy by worrying they won't understand her dish.

Emelia's karaage goes out on the train. Jock and Andy are impressed with how much is on the plate, but Jock realises there is no pickle on there. Emelia also realises, but it is too late. It's an actual pickle!

Amina's rice ball comes out and she was right to be worried. Jock – who absolutely butchers the word "geotjeori" –  thinks it is greasy and taste likes last night's fried rice. Melissa asks what's he got against last night's fried rice? Yeah, Jock? What's the beef? Melissa disagrees and says it's balanced perfectly. Andy sits on the fence, but does not describe it as banging or cracking, so he must not be that impressed.

Tracy's ma haw comes out and Jock loves the flavours. Andy says the kaffir lime leaf was a great addition. Which is all great news, except back in the kitchen, Tracy realises she now needs to make 20 chicken katsu sandwiches in just 15 minutes. I don't think even Mr 15-minute-meals himself Jamie Oliver would pretend that is possible.

While Tracy starts breading and deep-frying her chicken like there is no tomorrow, Amina asks Emelia to taste her bulgogi because the beef is not Halal. Emelia says it needs more salt. If this were Survivor, Emilia would have said, "why yes… it needs seven tablespoons of salt, Amina...", but this is MasterChef and everyone is just lovely.

Emelia's rectangular gyoza look like giant bricks. Andy says he found it hard to pick up with his chopsticks. Oh honey. The judges say it didn't have finesse. Finesse is clearly the word of the day today, which is a shame that Emelia is lacking any of it.

Amina's bulgogi beef cup comes up next. Melissa says it's fun to eat because you can use your hands; Andy is just thankful he doesn't have to use chopsticks again. Andy and Melissa both make a joke again about Jock eating lettuce. I still don't get it.

Tracy is behind, of course. She hasn't put anything on the plate and to top it all off her paper towel lights on fire. Nothing is going right, but Amina keeps telling her to breathe. The girls cheer her on and man it is hard to be funny and scathing when they are all just being kind angels.

Tracy finally plates her katsu sandwiches and everyone is shocked at how big they are. To be honest they look small to me, if anything, but anyway if the judges didn't want to eat 15 dishes they probs shouldn't have asked them to cook that many!

The boys are complaining and Melissa says "at least you aren't wearing Spanx." This probably would spur a greater writer into a piercing  feminist commentary piece on the pressures of women needing to look skinny on TV and why should she have to wear a modern day corset underneath her dress even though her job is to literally eat food all day... but, alas, I am not that writer. All I will say on the topic is: "let it all hang out, girlfriend" and "one more katsu sanga for me, thanks!".

Anyway, the judges all hate Tracy's katsu sanga. "Unremarkable," says Jock.

We skip over the fourth dish because even the producers have realised that five dishes was too many dishes. Poh says she has eaten so much she will have to undo the top button of her pants and the zipper. Poh, NSFW! This is a family-friendly show!

It's time to serve the final dish. Emelia gives the girls a very mediocre pep talk about how they "rock!". No one is convinced.

Her final dish is beef tataki with ponzu sauce and pickle. Guess what? It lacked finesse! Andy says the beef is like a chunky steak. Jock says that the white plates have "lacked #finesse across the board".

Tracy and Amina are both doing scallops. It's a scallop off! Amina sears hers and plops it on top of a wakame salad. Melissa says it was "gentle and restrained, but in the right way", which is an odd way to describe a scallop if you ask me.

Tracy is the last to finish, but the girls all chip in to help her plate up her citrus-dressed pan-seared scallops. The judges think it's vibrant and fresh.

The girls all hug. How lovely. How wholesome. How boring.

The judges say they are just going to choose the menu they enjoyed the most, which is.... Brown plates! Amina wins!

Amina is aghast, like the judges have just told her that she has caught coronavirus or something. She says deep down she is ecstatic and blames her weird reaction on feeling like a zombie. Fair enough, 2020 has ripped the soul out of the best of us.

As if this episode couldn't be pumped with any more #GirlPower, Amina asks the judges if they can give Tracy and Emelia immunity, too. What. A. Pure. Angel. I'm not crying! Actually, I'm lying! Amina has broken my cold, sassy heart! I am crying! What an amazing human. Anyway, Jock shuts her down and that is the end of that. Choo choo!

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