So after last night's live-audience challenge made everyone rethink ever wanting to go out in public again with all the too-loud over-enthusiastic clapping from the crowd, Poh, Hayden, Harry, Amina, Laura and Sarah Tiong are at the bottom left to duke it out over elimination.
The pressure test rules have changed: instead of cooking a 400-step recipe by a fine-dining guest chef, the contestants will get to create their own pressure test recipe – anything they want – in the allotted two hours. The one thing the judges require: wow factor.
You would think this would make it easier for the contestants – they get a night to think about it, they can cook to their skill-set, they get a nice black notebook to write down their thoughts and feelings. But, no. Not on Poh's watch.
Poh decides she wants to make a stout-braised beef pie, something that usually takes four hours. Someone really needs to explain to this woman the concept of time. Like bring in those little plastic clocks you get at primary school; a packet of Arnott's Tic Toc biscuits at a pinch. But, hey, if she can time bend four hours into two, I guess that does deserve a "wow".
Sarah has decided to do a southeast Asian spin on sweet and sour pork. Presumably this means without the fluorescent pink sauce and weird crispy foam noodles, but Jock and Andy don't really seem to get it.
This is probably a good time to bring up a conspiracy Twitter theory I've seen come up on my feed that Jock and Andy always approach the contestants' stations together, while Melissa is always by herself. I have to say, it is odd. Is this some sort of weird bro mentality thing? Is it because Andy needs Jock with him for back-up? Is it just to balance Jock's three-piece with Andy's Converse? If anyone has any explanation, slide into my DMs.
Someone tell Andy and Jock they don’t have to do everything together #MasterChefAU— Nicole 🦕 (@nicolebeth8) April 27, 2020
Hayden has also decided to give himself an impossible challenge: dessert. He's decided to do a frozen take on the Violet Crumble, with a honeycomb parfait dipped in chocolate. I like his gumption, and I like that he is not just cooking barbecue food, mostly because I am sick of people saying ""hibachi" every five minutes.
Hayden says honeycomb was the first thing his mum let him cook when he was little, which is very cute, but, like, also pretty dangerous? Boiling hot sugar, Mrs. Haydo? Give the child some cupcake batter, please!
Hayden says tonight is not just about impressing the judges, but he also wants to impress himself. Melissa says the fact that Hayden wants to impress himself impresses her in and of itself. Safe to say, we're all impressed.
Pity there were no Violet Crumble bars in the pantry for Hayden #MasterChefAU— Cassandra, House of Priam (@DharmaBray) April 28, 2020
Harry is doing poached lobster, Laura is doing something with kangaroo tail. Reynold says from the gantry that he's jealous he's not cooking this challenge. "Shut up, Reynold," everyone thinks.
Poh says she's feeling confident about her pie, but, come on girl, no one is buying it. She shows the judges her illustration of the pie in her notebook, which looks like one of those mindfulness colouring-in books, then realises she's already 10 minutes behind schedule and should have put her beef in the pressure cooker. Classic Poh.
Harry is calling his dish "Rock pool", and I hope he's talked to Neil Perry's lawyers about this. He has written in his notebook that he wants the judges to experience the journey of the "rock pool"– so he'll be pairing it with sea urchin, all sorts of seaweeds and pickles. Andy has not been listening, but does point out that Harry and Hayden are wearing the same outfit. Matchy matchy!
I don't want to sound like a broken record, but Laura is making pasta! It does sound pretty impressive though - ravioli doppi, a double-sided ravioli with two different fillings. She's doing one with ricotta and warrigal greens and one with braised kangaroo tail.
judges: cook outside of ur comfort zone— Michael Scott (@puntingscott) April 28, 2020
laura: i’m cooking something from my pasta restaurant
jock: wow amazing #MasterChefAU
Amina is making dondurma, a Turkish ice-cream that has a chewy texture. If you've never had it before, go find it – it's life-changing. She plans on stepping it up, but will she be able to do it to the level a pressure test requires? The judges aren't sure.
Hayden spreads his honeycomb out on the baking tray and it is looking good: thick, golden and foamy. Mama Hayden taught him well. But then he starts compressing the honeycomb with another tray. The gantry all think he's lost it, pushing all the air out of it like that, and pretty much jump off the balcony to make him to stop. Hayden ignores them all, because, guys, he's been making this since he was five.
The judges are worried that Poh is behind, but, to be honest, I would be worried if she wasn't. Jock says it's the "Pie of Promise". Poh says it's the "Pie of pain in the ass".
At 35 minutes to go, Poh is braiding pastry like she's a carefree Amish housewife not like a MasterChef contestant who definitely needed to have that pie in the oven 10 minutes ago. Poh reckons she can just crank the oven to 190, and, look, to be honest that is probably something I would do, too.
At 30 minutes to go the judges leave the kitchen so they can get the proper surprise when the dishes are revealed underneath the cloches.
Hayden wants to start putting together his dessert, which means getting a shard of his thin honeycomb onto the semi-frozen parfait. Unfortunately the honeycomb starts cracking everywhere when he tries to cut it, whether this was from compressing the honeycomb so much is unclear, but it doesn't matter because he's going to cover it with chocolate anyway. Hayden reminds us that desserts are not his thing and that he is happier out cooking on the barbie. Yeah, yeah, we get it, BDE.
Laura is in the zone filling her ravioli doppi, and folding the parcels together, carefully pressing out the air so they don't fill with water when they are cooked. Sarah has a little psychotic fit over how good they look and TBH, same. Laura's done good.
Harry gets a pang of imposter syndrome and feels like he needs to add more elements to his "Rock pool" to make sure it has the wow-factor Jock was talking about. He decides to add a pickled calamari, because poached lobster, fresh wakame, pickled wakame, uni, caviar and fish roe, just isn't enough.
Sarah's pork jowl has cooked perfectly, so she slaps it onto the hibachi for a final flame-grill. Here I was thinking we almost had an episode without the damn hibachi.
Poh is staring vacantly at her oven again. She acknowledges that this is becoming a worrying habit, but she feels happy that her sides are all done perfectly and promises she is going to pull out in the last 10 seconds of the clock. Yeah, that's what he said.
Do they have a blast oven?— Linda (@LindaFothergill) April 28, 2020
Asking for a friend named Poh #MasterChefAU
At five minutes to go, the peanut gallery in the gantry are all yelling at Laura to start cooking her pasta. You would think Miss Pasta 2020 would know how long it takes to cook ravioli, thanks very much. Leave the girl alone!
Hayden pulls out his frozen parfait, and the chocolate has set perfectly. He is very happy with it, but I think it kind of just looks like an Eskimo Pie, which everyone knows is the worst ice-cream in the deli freezer.
With just a few seconds to go everyone starts plating up. Poh pulls out her pie just in time and it looks great – has the Pohllercoaster done it again?
The judges are in their special room all talking about how strange it is that they have no idea what any of the dishes are going to be. It is strange, because they should know exactly what the dishes are because they were in the kitchen for 90 minutes of the cook. But, anyhoo.
Laura is first up with her ravioli. She won't know if it's worked until the judges bite into it. But Jock says "wow", so we know she's through.
Harry is next. As he pulls away the cloche, his mini "Rock pool" is revealed. No, it isn't Neil Perry's head on a plate. It's an oasis of sea greens and dry ice. Melissa is impressed with the theatrics, but not with the taste. Too many things going on and nothing worked together. Soz, Harry.
Amina comes up with her Turkish ice-cream, which she has served with cream-filled maamoul biscuits and apricot jam. It's a hit with the judges, and with me. Dialling up Hakiki as we speak.
Sarah brings up her sweet and sour pork. When she pulls up the cloche she reveals a caramelised, glossy piece of pork that looks perfect. Andy says he's "so disappointed"... *insert classic MasterChef dramatic pause* … "that that was his last mouthful!". Oh, Andy, you had us there! Such a trickster.
Hayden brings over his Violet Crumble. His cloche reveal is actually a surprise because he's sprayed the chocolate purple, put an edible violet on top and flecked it with gold leaf. We see what you did there, Haydo. The judges don't rate the taste or texture, and the honeycomb gets stuck in Jock's teeth (is that not normal?), but full points for trying.
At this point we've had so many ad breaks it seems like there's a fireball under every cloche.
Today you’re eating.... ads. Soooo many ads. #MasterChefAU— blair squishes grapes (@blair_jensen) April 28, 2020
Poh is up last and has two cloches because she's twice as extra as the other contestants. She reveals her stout-braised beef pie with blue-cheese crust, orange glazed carrots, Robuchon mash and cider-braised cabbage. A little bit over-achieving, but ok. Her braided pastry is cooked perfectly (note to self: cutting corners does work); and the beef is tender but not overcooked. It's magic, someone says, probably Melissa.
I feel like Poh has brought a pie to a knife fight. #masterchefau— Ben Shute (@Ben_Shute) April 28, 2020
So who wins the day? Who delivered the most "wow" dish.
Jock says Poh's pie was capital W-O-W. He says Amina's was sophisticated. He says Laura's pasta was "wham bam thank you wow" (please, never say that again). He says Sarah's sweet and sour pork was the dish of the day. I say Khanh's jumpsuit is the outfit of the day. Boy, that thing is fabulous.
#MasterChefAU after 19 million ad breaks, we finally have an elimination— Mel Graham 🤘 (@mellovesmusicau) April 28, 2020
So it's just tweedle dee and tweedle dum left. Andy says that with Harry's dish, "wow turned to woah", but Hayden's flavours worked together (hate to be a contrarian, but didn't he say he didn't like the flavour of the parfait just two seconds ago?). Anyway, this means that it's time to go – Harry.
Melissa says that everyone will remember him for a long time, but, let's be real, the girl is lying through her lipstick.