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Revenge is a dish best served cold but, ironically, as our All Stars try to avenge their previous culinary sins, most choose to live up to Paris Hilton’s life motto and choose something “that’s hot”.
Tonight our contestants are going full circle and returning to the dish they first cooked in this most esteemed of kitchens. But first we must have establishing shots so reminiscent of a travel show – there’s a house, a sunrise, some boats – that I’m half expecting Catriona Rowntree to pop up and start gushing about luscious sunshine and excellent hospitality.
Before we head into the kitchen, we watch Justine and Julie gush over an “old” photo she of the more successful daytime cooking show (does anyone remember Julie’s Home Cooked! Didn’t think so) found. “We look so different,” says Justine of the 2009 cast.
Ms Everyday Gourmet then shares a “secret” with us. She would like to win MasterChef All Stars. No. Way. Chris of the Hats says he would also like to win. This is genuinely new information – it’s hard to imagine that these affable kitchen types would submit themselves to this process once more just for fun.
Upon entering the kitchen, the ovens are on, which raises the suspicions of our remaining ten contenders. Gary teases that this series is all about revisiting those “magical MasterChef moments”, which excites the excitable and makes them think they’ll be travelling. Silly, silly, this is a cheap filler series, and the budget’s been blown on Matt Preston’s cravats. No, this is a tease.
“Today, we say, where are you now?” announces Gary, which perplexes the lot of them, because obviously they are back in the MasterChef kitchen against their better judgment. Poh is aghast and Dani squeaks “oh no!” as the horror hits home. The horror of what the challenge is – not being stuck in the contest for an indeterminably long period of time. They must cook the first dish they created in the MasterChef kitchen.
To add to Poh’s pain, she and others are forced to watch that first recipe, chicken with cubic noodles. It affords a rare glimpse of that rare MasterChef feature, the former host Sarah Wilson, and a not-so-rare glimpse of Poh giggling at how “totally stuffed” her attempt was.
Chris says he blotted his “dog” of a dish out of his mind, mistaking MasterChef Australia for MasterChef Korea. Dani, in a rare appearance on screen tonight, described her dish as “peasant-y”. More pleasant than peasant, apparently, was Kate’s first dish, which was a 1980s style coffee cake.
We also look back at Callum, who made peaches and cream in memory of his dad, which makes him teary; he says he must give the challenge “a crack” and if someone cracked a bone tonight, it would be exciting in a Funniest Home Videos kind of way. That could come in handy lest the tedium continue.
Gary tells our enthusiastic mob that this challenge is not about replicating their original dish but about taking it to another level. Marion is excited by this and smiles, thus she wins and the challenge is over. Nope, that’s just if I made up the rules.
Poh looks menacing as it’s revealed that they have 75 minutes to cook. Upon entry into the pantry, Chris messily shoves the herbs around – that’s not respecting the food, Chris – and Marion wails that it appears someone has taken all the coriander. Poh, thus the villain, evilly says “I got every single one”. Oh, Poh.
Kate, who boasts that she has written a cookbook entirely about sweet things, says she will be making her coffee cake fudgier and putting cookbook techniques onto the plate. This is a relief, because sub-standard has been so in vogue lately.
Poh the coriander thief cannot remember the recipe for her cubic noodles, which will be of enormous help to her cooking cause today. Jonathan is trying to redeem his disastrous rhubarb crumble with ice cream from 2010, which originally did not have any ice cream. What a tease.
Callum realises that peaches are not in season so decides to deceive the judges by making a parfait shaped like a peach and a praline with a citrus salad. There appears to be a lot of fruit in this dish, which would usually be of disappointment to Preston, the Lord of Cravats and gaudy pants, but he is absent for an unexplained reason.
Meanwhile, Kate’s pan is on fire, Hayden is confident that using the same ingredients to create the same dish as his debut dish from 2011 will ensure he has a winning combination again. We’ll see. Hatty Chris grumbles about how hard things were back in his day – there were no ice cream makers or blast chillers then. They also had to walk uphill both ways in the snow to the MasterChef kitchen in bare feet.
Marion the Delightful is creating a prawn and paw paw salad, for which she originally forgot the prawns, thereby making it a paw paw salad (or is that a poor, poor salad?) Julie is making a dead chicken even more miserable in death by flattening it out like a butterfly and Dani is cooking something. It’s unclear what she’s doing but at least she’s cooking.
Poh is unsure about her cubic noodles, which then reveal to be less than satisfactory. “It’s just a horrible mess,” she says and the infectious grin is gone from her dial. This is déjà vu, she says of the noodles. She is embarrassed with her failure and plans to remake them. Strong in the face of failure – this is what our Olympic team needs.
Julie talks through her recipe and describes how she is much more relaxed now than in her season in the MasterChef kitchen. She’s so relaxed that a series of corn still in their husks catch on fire. She giggles that the flames will give the corn an “extra smoky flavour” but if I were the producers, or Julie’s husband for that matter, I’d be checking my insurance covered fire, accidental or not.
Jonathan is leaving things to the last minute again, showing that not everything has changed. His ice cream slush is not freezing or churning. Slush is underrated as a dessert anyway.
Kate is poaching a pear in vincotto and then spins cinnamon to attach as a fancy garnish. Show off. Dani is still cooking; apparently secrecy is best because we still don’t know what it is. She hasn’t spoken for a while either – a curse or a blessing in disguise? You tell me. Poh’s second lot of noodles, with tapioca flour, is OH-KAY.
Jonathan’s slush is remaining as slush, Callum makes something that looks like rhubarb sherbet and Hayden is frying fish for his “deconstructed” dish. Deconstructed is the new black, okay?!
The effervescent and always lovely Marion gives the viewer a reality check and reminds that only two of the contestants won their series, so for most of the others there’s “a lot of unfinished business”. Gary and George feel the same; there are real restaurants to run. It’s not all glamour in restauranteering, you know.
Jonathan has decided to serve his slush as slush, codenamed “custard” or “crème anglaise” in an attempt to make the judges eat his food. We see Dani again … but there’s no idea what’s going on at her bench at all.
Kate’s fudgy cake is tasted first – and it is a recipe that is in her cookbook, so everyone must go out and buy it, OK? Kate has a cookbook out and a family to feed.
Gary gets a bit weird with Kate’s cake. “Hello,” he says to the seemingly delicious dessert after his mouthful, “there’s an old friend, an old coffee friend.” As he goes to take another bit, he squeaks “no Gawwy,” which is an imitation of a cake that is neither logical nor explainable. George says Kate’s dish is “honest cooking taken to another level.” What does this mean?!
The positivity continues through the tastings of each dish – and we do find out what Dani made, it was a Vietnamese Bun Cha, but after 15 seconds, she’s forgotten again.
Jonathan’s lack of ice cream is not seen as a problem because the runny slush cuts down the stodginess of his crumble, apparently.
Poh’s cubic noodles with Char Kway Teow are delicious, so her stress was in vain. Marion smiles impishly as her dish is tasted, and all is right with the world.
Callum is ripe for emotional draining, it seems, with Gary asking if the youngest contestant thought his dad would like his reinvented dish. By the way the two judges vacuum up his dish, it is a fair bet to say that it’s fairly tasty.
Four dishes, belonging to Justine, Chris, Kate and Calllum, are judged the best of the day, with Kate winning immunity from tomorrow’s poultry challenge and $5000 for her charity. How heartwarming.
Tomorrow, though, the MasterChef of old is back, with another vicious double elimination in. It’s billed as the “ultimate game of chicken” as the skills with chicken are tested. Marion, in amazing display of mathematics and logical reasoning, says that with the numbers getting smaller, the odds are not good. We forgive you of this stating the obvious sin, Marion, because you smiled before the end – and everything is now okay.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.